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Midwest Products Group, Kirchner Div.

The Missouri-based Midwest Products Group supplies a variety of concrete products through multiple divisions, including Kirchner Block & Brick in the

Tom Kuennen

The Missouri-based Midwest Products Group supplies a variety of concrete products through multiple divisions, including Kirchner Block & Brick in the St. Louis area; Midwest Block & Brick, comprising 11 plants and 19 sales locations in Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee; and, its Midwest Insulation, Gateway Insulation and Nawkaw enterprises. Demonstrating a long-standing and active relationship Midwest Products Group has maintained with the National Concrete Masonry Association, four of its executives have attained the rank of NCMA chairman in the last 25 years.

Though Midwest Products Group President Pat Dubbert was interviewed in these pages during his tenure as 2002 chairman [see Marketing Mission, Concrete Products, February 2002], he wasn't alone at the NCMA helm. I'm the fourth person from our company to serve as chairman of NCMA, notes Mark Wilhelms, sales and marketing manager, Kirchner Block & Brick, Inc. In addition to Pat, director Ron Ohmes was chairman in 1993, and director Dale Kirchner was chairman in 1985.

That high level of volunteer participation and commitment reflects admirably on the corporate culture. It shows an extreme belief in the need to support the industry and repay its support of our business, Wilhelms asserts. The commitment Ron, Dale and Pat have had to the national organization has been tremendous. Even in down times like today, there is never a hesitation to belong to and work with the national association, because we always get more out of it than we ever put in.

Benefits include opportunities to network, compare notes and participate in educational programs, Wilhelms affirms. Each year, we've received a lot of value. Concrete companies like ourselves work in a small market area, because the product is heavy and does not ship more than a couple hundred miles. In fact, most firms are quite local. Thus, a national association is vital to getting good feedback on key issues impacting local operations, such as the energy requirements needed to meet model building codes. An NCMA meeting will brief me on what I need to know, and fast.

We also are exposed to so many experts from around the country, Wilhelms tells Concrete Products. Just this past weekend, a sales rep of ours was working with a school board. We were able to talk with NCMA's engineer to find out what research has been done to support concrete masonry school construction over competitive materials. In 30 minutes, we had all we needed to make an informed sales call.Û www.midwestproductsgroup.com