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Broken Records

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Recently, I had the opportunity to be on-site in Lebanon, Kentucky, to observe a significant milestone in the tilt-up construction industry. As the Executive Director of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association, it was both educational and gratifying to stand beside some of the field’s most knowledgeable experts. Together, we watched an 880-ton crane successfully lift a 91-foot insulated tilt-up panel. The accomplishment was not just a new record; it marked a steady and continuous progression in what our industry can achieve.

It’s almost paradoxical that the term “broken record” signifies monotony and repetition in everyday language. Yet, in this context, breaking records is emblematic of innovation and progress. And here lies the irony: We find ourselves sounding like a ‘broken record’ every time we announce that we’ve broken yet another record (tallest panel, widest panel, largest project, heaviest panel, etc.). But far from being repetitive or stagnant, each new milestone serves as a distinct marker on our industry’s timeline. These broken records are not echoes of the past; rather, they amplify our collective achievements, catalyzing further innovation and setting the stage for the next leap forward.

I’d like to acknowledge Barclay Gebel, a TCA Fellow and Past President, whose company was behind this endeavor. Barclay has a rich history in our industry, starting his career as an apprentice carpenter 35 years ago. His work, and that of his team, contributes to the larger story of tilt-up construction’s evolution.

In an era of environmental consciousness, achievements like the tallest or heaviest tilt-up panels could be misunderstood as excess. In reality, these records signify efficiency and resourcefulness. As panels become taller, heavier, and wider, it’s an indication that our systems are consolidating, and our materials are increasingly optimized. Tilt-up is becoming faster, more streamlined, and more versatile; each record is a testament to these incremental advancements.

To all involved in this noteworthy achievement, I extend my congratulations. While this record is a part of an ongoing trajectory rather than a sudden breakthrough, it nonetheless represents a remarkable point on our industry’s path of continuous improvement. It reminds us that while individual milestones may be surpassed, the collective progress they represent continues unabated.

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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.