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ICSE Kicks Off in Atlanta

RR111919 ICSElogoNov. 19, 2019  – The 38th International Cement Seminar and Exhibition (ICSE) kicked off with a bang this morning in Atlanta, as Portland Cement Association Economist Ed Sullivan delivered a well-attended Keynote on the economy and his projections for cement production. Sullivan noted that while we may see slower economic growth, there are no clear signs to indicate a recession in the future. He also discussed factors that will contribute to economic growth in the future, such as increasing population and the influence of millennials on the economy. ICSE is owned by Rock Products parent company Semco Publishing. Cement Americas, Rock Products and Concrete Products co-sponsored the event.

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The $1.3 Trillion Wish List

RR111419 BidenNov. 14, 2019 – Stop me if you heard this one before. If elected president, Joe Biden wants to spend $1.3 trillion on an infrastructure package that includes a transportation overhaul and rebuilding the country’s roads, bridges and tunnels while moving to net-zero carbon emissions, and he plans to finance it “by making sure the super-wealthy and corporations pay their fair share.” While the $1.3 trillion would be spent over 10 years, Biden said he’d use $50 billion his first year in office to rebuild roads and bridges, according to a campaign press release. $100 billion would be used to rebuild public schools, while $20 billion would go toward providing broadband internet access in rural areas, and $10 billion would help revitalize distressed cities. $5 billion will be invested by the Department of Energy in battery and energy storage technology to help Americans transition to driving electric cars only. An additional $2.5 billion of funding per year would go to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to support freight shipping, including waterways, railways and ports. $400 million will be earmarked for clean energy research to help reach Biden’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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Equipment Update

RR111319 equipmentNov. 13, 2019 – According to Rouse's October 2019 Equipment Report, values through the third quarter of 2019 for general construction and heavy earthmoving equipment have softened in the auction channel. Conversely, there have been some bright signs in the retail channel where values have been between flat and slightly improved. This trend first surfaced in February’s major auction events. Heavy earthmoving products were the first to be impacted, with observed downward pressure on excavator values and – to a lesser extent – dozers and wheel loaders. As the year progressed, similar patterns have appeared across general construction products, namely aerial equipment, telehandlers. and light and medium earthmoving equipment. The downward trend in equipment values comes on the back of very strong results in 2018, which represented a market peak for many products. In addition to the price weakness in the used equipment markets, Rouse has observed a notable spike in volumes (units) of equipment that has been coming for sale into the auction channel.

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Hire a Vet

RR111119 VetNov. 11, 2019 – Today is Veteran's Day. Aggregates operations, construction companies and manufacturers are all in the same boat when it comes to labor. Finding good people is difficult. One idea is to explore the new world of veteran recruitment. If you think that you’ve tried it, it doesn’t work for you, or there is no one to recruit in your area, then you simply aren’t up to date, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). Many companies find veterans to be more productive employees with lower turnover rates when compared to their non-veteran counterparts. Additionally, their past military background can give veterans distinctive capabilities and perspectives that can add insight and diversity to your team’s problem solving. Employers can also qualify for up to $10,000 in federal tax credits per veteran. And certainly the public relations benefits of caring for our veterans builds goodwill in the community. Read more about AEM's efforts to hire veterans here

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Elevate was Great

RR110719 ElevateNov. 7, 2019  – Command Alkon's Elevate Conference in Chicago was a great experience, with plenty of technology to see and excellent face time with industry professionals. I had the privilege of leading a group discussion focusing on industry technology and the use of Command Alkon products at aggregates operations with IT specialists from Vulcan Materials, Graniterock and Midwest Concrete Materials. Look for a feature in an upcoming Rock Products magazine.

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