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The Value of Wondering

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I Look Up

As he reflected on his first days as Executive Director of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) after taking the helm some twenty-three years ago, Ed Sauter talked about sitting at his desk, dreaming up things to do. “It was an open slate,” he said. “I’d walk in each morning and think, ok, what could I do today?”

The simplicity of that mentality is powerful. It allowed him to focus on generating new opportunity for an organization and industry that needed creativity. He didn’t approach the job with all of the answers or rely solely on his experience to set the direction. He allowed himself to wonder.

In a recent conversation with my oldest son, who will turn seven this summer, I caught myself wondering and almost blew it. There was the potential to see the Northern Lights in Iowa that night, so we were discussing all things space. He was throwing out questions about the speed of light, falling stars and space suits. We both started to discuss potential answers and debated issues to which there are, in fact, scientific answers. The conversation was filled with imagination and wonder. I was about to take out my iPhone and look up some answers when I realized that would end the discussion.

In an age where we can simply consult Siri or Google and end a debate in seconds, I hope that we remain aware of the value of wondering. It is an exercise that promotes conversation, creativity and problem solving. Without it, we would never come to solutions that don’t already exist and we would rarely, if ever, question the rationality of the current way of doing things.

While the TCA is a more complex organization today than it was two decades ago, with a multitude of balls to keep in the air each day, I find myself asking the same question Ed asked himself in those first days as Executive Director. I look back on what he and the organization set out to accomplish and see today that they were successful. I am honored to take the torch and continue the effort with the same level of passion and dignity this organization has come to expect, but more importantly, beyond continuing the in-progress efforts, I aim to continue that spirit of wonder. It’s in that mindset that new ideas flourish and progress is made.

Mitch Bloomquist
Executive Director, Tilt-Up Concrete Association

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TILT-UP TODAY, a publication of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association, is THE source for Tilt-Up industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the Tilt-Up industry. A subscription to TILT-UP TODAY is included in a TCA membership. Subscriptions for potential TCA members are also available. If you would like to receive a complimentary subscription to the publication, please contact the TCA.