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TCA Membership Reaches Landmark Milestone

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The Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) has surpassed 500 members for the first time in the organization’s 36-year history. The milestone marks the achievement of an elusive goal held for decades.

“The Tilt-Up Concrete Association Board of Directors and Executive Leadership team prides themselves on running an atypical organization characterized by operating principals that are flexible, opportunistic, and open minded,” said Mitch Bloomquist, executive director for the TCA. “While we certainly have a mission-focused approach, we generally resist setting arbitrary benchmarks against which we gauge success. This goal of reaching 500 members is sort of an exception as it has been longstanding, established well before my time.”

The TCA last held a traditional strategic planning session in 2012. Leadership sat in a windowless ballroom at the Hard Rock Hotel in Punta Cana where the TCA was holding a conference. After a day-and-a half of canned strategic planning exercises, the board frustratingly dismissed the facilitator. TCA’s board president at the time, Glenn Doncaster, then took the lead and the board agreed on a series of long-term goals. At the core was the renewal of a major effort that began before the great recession: grow the organization’s membership to 500. Over the next decade, the Association would experience sustained membership growth, surging from 255 members in 2012 to 409 in January of 2021.

Figure 1. Member Companies Per Year, 1986-Present

The Association experienced historic changes in leadership during this same period with Mitch Bloomquist assuming the role of managing director in 2013 and, after the retirement of longtime director Ed Sauter, Bloomquist became executive director in 2014. With the industry booming through the COVID-19 pandemic, the board recognized the enormous potential for membership growth and a need for more membership support, so TCA staff was expanded and Jill Heald was hired in August of 2021.

In her first few months, Heald had a dramatic effect on membership retention and helped put into place strategies for membership growth that focused on intense and personal connections with existing and potential member companies. The membership explosion during her first year with the association has been incredible, growing nearly 25% to surpass the 500-member goal.

“We’ve been planting seeds for a long time,” said Bloomquist. “All of the programs, resources, and opportunities that we have built are designed to be valuable, relevant, and sustainable for the long-term. We have invested in systems and people with the sole purpose of making our members, and this industry, better.”

“The TCA sits on an incredible foundation, thanks to the leadership here—both past and present,” said Heald. “It’s an honor to be part of this group of professionals. To new heights, we go!”

Membership Breakdown

The multifarious collection of professionals participating in our industry includes architects, engineers, suppliers, general contractors, concrete contractors, specialty trade contractors, educators, and developers. Our Association attracts the very best our industry has to offer and provides a forum for their discourse and collaboration. Their variety is reflected in the richness of the Association’s work and is a key component to the success of the industry.

Figure 2. Membership by Company Type

Figure 2 illustrates the Association’s makeup according to company type. The overwhelming majority of member companies are contractors, making up over 50% of the membership. With a myriad of specialty products and services associated with the industry, suppliers (including manufacturers, distributors, and technology firms) make up nearly 20%. Professional firms, including architects (7%) and engineers (15%), contribute another 22% with the remainder being consultants, owners, educators, etc.

TCA member companies can be found in every US state except Wyoming, South Dakota, West Virginia, Alaska, and New Hampshire. The largest concentration of members is in Texas (64), with Florida (40), Georgia (38), California (33), and Ohio (26) rounding out the top five. TCA membership covers 11 countries including the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Australia, Lithuania, South Africa, New Zealand, Jordan, and Colombia.

Figure 3. TCA Membership by US State

Figure 4. TCA Membership by Country

“While the membership structure of the TCA is company based, one of the most important initiatives of recent years has been to build deeper, more sustainable relationships with member employees,” said Bloomquist. “For many years, the average number of employees from any one member company who regularly engaged with the Association stood around 1.5–2. Today, that average is around 8 with nearly 4,500 member employees engaging [with] the Association in some way. Best of all, we’ve been able to cultivate fantastic diversity.”

Figure 5. Employee Members per Year, 1986-Present

Past Presidents Reflect on Milestone

“In the 36 years since TCA’s founding in 1986, there has been a kaleidoscope of growth, change, and maturing in the tilt-up construction industry. The spectacular advances in technologies and architectural sophistication have largely been driven by TCA members.

In the mid-1980s the tilt-up concept was quickly spreading from California across the Southwest into Florida and several locations in the Midwest. The codes were scrambling to keep up. ACI introduced a new committee: 551 Tilt-Up Construction. Membership was comprised of leaders drawn from contractors, manufacturers, architects, and engineers. Among that group were several members who recognized that to grow, the tilt-up industry needed representation and a voice in the professional services and construction industries.

In 1986, a small group met in a hotel conference room in Atlanta. The Tilt-Up Association, notably led by Don Musser, chairman of the ACI’s Committee 551, and Peter Courtois, TCA’s first president for whom TCA’s lifetime achievement award is named, came into being.

Since its founding, one of the enduring principles of TCA has been the generous sharing of information and best practices among members. Continuation of this valuable tradition will ensure TCA’s continued success and growth!

Congratulation to you, the great TCA team, and all the board members, past and present, on achieving the 500-membership goal. Well done!” —Robert Foley, FTCA (TCA president, 1988)

“Everyone on the board was committed to growing the TCA organization. We wanted the numbers to grow, but not sacrifice the quality of members. Throughout the years, the quality of members has continued to strengthen and has increased the awareness of how the method can make projects even better within the building industry. The future is extremely bright for the TCA and the strength of our members.” —Tim Manherz, FTCA (TCA president, 2018)

“Over 30 years ago I was invited [to] and attended a tilt-up symposium in Dayton, Ohio. Attendance was less than 30 people.

Five hundred members was one of the goals I envisioned for the organization as president. As the first architect to serve on the board of directors, I felt challenged to attract more design professionals to tilt-up. During my term, we introduced architectural charettes that were combined with the symposium to create the annual TCA convention shortly after. We also instituted student competitions to introduce future designers to the expanding world of tilt-up.

I was delighted to hear the news that the membership has exceeded 500 members. I am honored to have participated in this great organization and its growth.” —Glen Stephens, FTCA (TCA president, 2003)

“How could I have imagined 36 years ago, by attending a meeting of like-minded people, that I would meet people that would truly become lifelong friends? I was 34 years old at that meeting in Atlanta and met the brightest people in our industry, a truly remarkable group. Tilt-up people are an exceptional group, and I thank you all for the memories.” —Steve Miers (TCA president, 1995)

“Congratulations! Five hundred members has been a goal for many years. Bigger isn’t always better, but better is always better. New members are like leaves and old members are like roots. If over time those new members turn into old members then your tree (organization) can weather whatever storm comes along.” —Laurence Smith (TCA president, 2006)

“Excellent work! At the time we set the goal it felt like a reach. But with determination and perseverance and a lot of hard-working people, that goal was achieved.” —Kim Corwin, FTCA (TCA president, 2013–2014)

“Congratulations on this fantastic achievement. I, too, remember that strategic planning meeting. It was tough getting an agreement on the goals. Much has changed since then; the constant is that we attract good people and keep them moving forward.” —Glenn Doncaster (TCA president, 2012–2013)

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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.