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Learning From Texas

Español | Translation Sponsored by Nox-Crete Products Group

I am sure there are very few instances where California wants to be more like Texas, or vice versa for that matter. However, when it comes to realizing the benefits of a market fully immersed in an industry association, everyone has a lot to learn from Texas.

I recently spent a few days in Southern California meeting with tilt-up contractors, architects and engineers. This time was extraordinarily productive, and it reinforced my belief that there are too many good tilt-up companies in the region with no meaningful connection to the TCA. Some of these companies are even actively resisting it. We are committed to changing that, but it is going to take some major players in the area to step up and play a bigger role in their market’s participation (spoiler, it is happening). Instead of explaining why it is so important for one of the largest tilt-up markets in the world to have a strong relationship with the TCA, I will describe how a shift in thinking impacted another mega tilt-up market, Texas.

Ten years ago, the Tilt-Up Concrete Association had very little presence in the state of Texas. While there were incredible tilt-up companies working in the state, there was a total lack of cohesive or consistent engagement with the TCA beyond a few strong market leaders.

Then, things began to change. A few more big players in the market saw great value in the TCA and began insisting on others’ participation. One after another, engineers, architects, contractors, suppliers, and even developers joined the organization and began actively participating in events, serving on committees, writing articles for the Tilt-Up Today magazine, and engaging in many other ways. In just a few years, Texas became the association’s strongest pocket of membership. It remains so today.

What has happened in Texas, particularly the Houston area, is remarkable. We have seen a dramatic shift in attitude from isolationism to an altruistic culture of collaboration, cooperation and sharing. The result has been improved relationships between companies, greater efficiency and quality control, innovation, the emergence of globally recognized leadership and, best of all, more work that challenges and drives the very best companies to be even better.

Specifically, there has been marked improvement in communication within the network, resulting in greater awareness of market conditions, industry concerns, emerging technology, best practices, safety and trends. This has allowed for better understanding and more intentional follow-up on accidents and near misses, for they are talked about in the open instead of being kept under wraps. The quality of work is more reliable, resulting in more consistent client expectations, fewer unhappy clients, and an overall improvement in the acceptance (and insistence) of tilt-up for an ever-expanding list of project types. All of this has had an impact beyond the state of Texas as lessons learned, techniques perfected, and breakthroughs shared have spread throughout this country. This reality is at the core of the TCA’s existence, and its value is undeniable.

In California, things are beginning to come around. Two major contractors in the area, Oltmans Construction Co. and Alston Construction, are now certified by the TCA. Three more companies are in the certification process. The engineering community is plugged in and looking to the TCA for resources. Major architectural firms like Gensler and Ware Malcomb are leading seminars, serving on the board and encouraging others to get involved.

As we prepare for a Tilt-Up Series event in Southern California this June, and consider it for a location for the International Tilt-Up Convention in 2019, we are seeing great promise in young leaders. They are intelligent leaders who see the value in learning from, and with, others instead of on their own. They are innovative leaders, unafraid of change and growth. They are generous leaders who want to give back to the industry that has given them their path to success.

I am confident California will soon join Texas (and Florida) as a shining example of the power our work together has on the success of our own businesses, our own professional development, and the industry as a whole.

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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.