Briefs January 2012

Lafarge Canada
recently celebrated 400,000 hours of safe operation at three ready-mixed concrete plants in the Vancouver area (Kent Avenue, Harbour and North Burnaby) and at its McTar asphalt materials operation.

Achieving this milestone means that beyond employees not having to miss work as a result of injury, there has not been a stitch or broken finger incurred by employees during this period, which equates to approximately 660 days of work. Rene Thibault, Lafarge Canada’s president for Western Aggregates & Concrete, recognizes such high standards with his own “President’s Award” for Safety.

Thibault visited each plant to share congratulations and commented, “I am touched by the safety culture each group of employees embraces to work as a family and take care of one another. We specify safe work practices and provide a great deal of training, but employee’s personal behavior and feeling of concern is the key to going home safely every day.”

Chip Wade, expert craftsman and television personality, has been named the national spokesperson for Belgard Hardscapes and its range of innovative outdoor paver and wall products. Best known as the contractor on HGTV’s Curb Appeal: The Block, Wade brings professional know-how and creativity to outdoor projects. In his new role, he will help Belgard in its mission to educate and inspire homeowners on how hardscapes can be used to create unique and lasting outdoor living areas and entrances.

“He offers a refreshing approach to design with creative, high-level construction, engineering and fabrication expertise that resonates well with people who want to create landscapes that add value to their lives as well as their homes,” states Ken O’Neill, vice president of Belgard Hardscapes.

As national spokesperson for Belgard Hardscapes, Wade will appear at special events, in advertisements and marketing collateral. He also will help homeowners with their outdoor living and home improvement questions through a regular “Chip’s Tips” column on the Belgard Hardscapes blog at


Danielle Kleinhans has joined the Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute as a Structural/Transportation Engineer in the group’s Schaumburg, Ill., office. Her responsibilities will include overseeing corrosion issues and technologies, epoxy certification programs, activities related to transportation structures, as well as helping to produce CRSI technical documents.

Kleinhans joins CRSI with more than nine years’ experience in structural engineering and bridge design, most recently as Senior Engineer and Group Manager for CTL Group in Skokie, Ill., where she oversaw a staff of up to 15 engineers. Prior to joining CTL, she was Structural Design Engineer for bridge consultant Modjeski and Masters in Harrisburg, Pa. Furthermore, Kleinhans has extensive research and forensic experience with more than 20 published papers and articles. She is also a registered Professional Engineer in five states (Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, Oregon and Pennsylvania) and is an active member on a number of bridge-related committees in various organizations including the American Concrete Institute, American Society of Civil Engineers, Transportation Research Board, American Institute of Steel Construction, and the International Association of Bridge and Structural Engineers.

The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) is accepting abstracts for peer-reviewed technical papers and student posters to be presented at the 2012 PCI Convention and National Bridge Conference, September 29–October 3, in Nashville, Tenn. Abstracts are due by February 6, and final papers for accepted abstracts are due by May 18.

“The PCI Convention and National Bridge Conference is the premier venue for the exchange of ideas and state-of-the-art information on precast concrete design, fabrication and construction,” said Brian Miller, P.E., LEED AP, PCI managing director of business development. “Presenting a paper or poster at the event is an excellent opportunity for people to gain industry recognition and contribute to the body of knowledge for the precast concrete structures industry.”

All abstracts, papers, and student posters must relate to the design, analysis, materials, production, erection, sustainable benefits, or the maintenance and/or repair of precast concrete. Case studies, research, and project profiles are all welcome. A list of suggestions can be found on PCI’s website, Abstracts should be no more than 200 words, should adequately describe the topic, and be submitted electronically at


Mack Trucks, Inc.
has named Kevin Flaherty president of the company’s North American sales & marketing, effective Jan. 1, 2012. In his new role, Flaherty is responsible for all of company’s North American commercial activities. He has been with Mack Trucks for 38 years and has served as vice president for the U.S. and Canada since 2001.

Flaherty will continue to report to Dennis Slagle, who as part of a recently announced reorganization has been promoted to Volvo Group Executive Vice President for Trucks Sales & Marketing Americas. In this position, Slagle will oversee the commercial activities of all the Volvo Group’s truck brands in North and South America, and have global responsibility for the Mack brand.

According to the annual business “outlook” survey of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, construction equipment manufacturers anticipate overall business to close out 2011 with double-digit increases over last year in the U.S. (18.6 percent), Canada (14.7 percent) and worldwide (14.7 percent). U.S. construction machinery business is predicted to grow 10.8 percent in 2012, 9.9 percent in 2013, and 8.1 percent in 2014.

Furthermore, respondents were asked to rank several factors affecting future business. The state of the general economy, including consumer confidence and credit availability, plus steel prices and the protracted slump in single-family housing starts, are significant negative factors influencing future sales, according to AEM "outlook" survey respondents. A key positive factor cited was the continued strength in export demand. The lack of substantial action on highway funding was cited as a negative factor, with respondents more hopeful for positive results in 2012. The final survey results will be posted at

David J. Compton has joined Reyco Granning as the company expands its senior management ranks. Compton’s background includes more than 30 years at a Tier 1 automotive supplier with experience in engineering, operations and general management. Some of his major accomplishments include the introduction and supervision of lean initiatives, expansion into international markets and the establishment of a significant independent aftermarket parts business. Reyco Granning is a manufacturer of vehicle suspension systems for a wide range of heavy and medium duty vehicles serving the truck, trailer and motorhome markets.

United Rentals, Inc. and RSC Holdings, Inc. made a late-2011 announcement that they had entered into a definitive merger agreement under which United Rentals would acquire RSC in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at $18.00 per share, or a total enterprise value of $4.2 billion, including $2.3 billion of net debt. The Boards of Directors of both companies had unanimously approved the proposed transaction and recommended that their respective stockholders follow suit.

The proposed transaction will create a leading North American equipment rental company with a more attractive business mix, greater scale and enhanced growth prospects. The combination is also expected to accelerate United Rentals’ growth with industrial customers as well as provide a lower cost base and a less volatile revenue profile to better position the company through all phases of the business cycle. The new United Rentals is well-positioned to benefit from increased rental penetration, the continued strength of the industrial sector, serving customers across a variety of industries and a recovery in construction activity.