NRMCA e-news
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Association & Industry News

Last Wednesday, following the swearing in of President Biden and Vice President Harris, President Biden issued a flurry of Executive Orders (EOs). The EOs covered regulatory reviews, immigration, climate change, COVID-19, Buy American and numerous other issues. Biden has also already taken quick steps to mold the different regulatory agencies to his liking, particularly the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), by firing both the NLRB general counsel and deputy general counsel, and appointing current Democrat NLRB Member Lauren McFarren as chairman of the Board. This is in addition to the army of other appointees tapped at all the agencies since Biden’s Inauguration.

As is customary and anticipated, President Biden started his EO activity with a regulatory freeze on all regulatory items from the Trump Administration that had not been finalized or taken effect yet. Over the next 60 days or so, the different regulatory agencies and their Biden political appointees will make determinations on how to proceed; whether they require a withdraw, redrafting or simply just to be shelved.

In addition to freezing pending regulations, Biden also signed an order to “modernize” regulatory reviews. Traditionally, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has functioned as the gatekeeper of regulations and conducted cost-benefit analyses before they're finalized. Under Biden’s EO, OIRA’s cost-benefit analysis also needs to now take into consideration “suggestions on how the regulatory review process can promote public health and safety, economic growth, social welfare, racial justice, environmental stewardship, human dignity, equity and the interests of future generations.” This marks a sea change in how regulations will be considered before finalization and the new level of scrutiny they’ll endure. Also on the regulatory front, Biden executed an EO to roll back Trump era regulatory reviews, including guidance policies and regulatory reform directives.

While these EOs were not a surprise, what is currently unknown is how far the new administration will attempt to go in the next couple of weeks to turn around regulations from the previous administration. Biden’s EPA has already asked the Department of Justice to halt its defense of any Trump regulations currently in litigation. As well, we have yet to see if Biden and Congress will use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to withdraw finalized Trump rules that were issued in the last 60 legislative days. Any rules that were approved by the Trump Administration since about mid-August 2020 may be fair game for Congress to overturn using the CRA. Many of the regulations the agencies and Congress will examine have direct impacts on the ready mixed concrete industry. NRMCA is currently drafting communications and responses to the different regulatory agencies on a host of regulations.

Furthermore, front and center with the EOs President Biden issued were those addressing COVID-19. Specifically, Biden has now mandated masks be worn on all federal property and lands as well as during domestic and international travel. However, more directly concerning the ready mixed concrete industry was Biden’s anticipated call to the agencies to examine how to further protect workers from COVID-19 and whether an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) is required to address COVID-19 in the workplace. This action, required of multiple agencies, will be conducted in short order with any ETS recommendation required no later than March 15. The EO also directs the Department of Labor to review enforcement activities and plans as they relate to COVID-19 and to coordinate with “labor unions, community organizations, and industries, and place a special emphasis on communities hit hardest by the pandemic.”

As the Biden Administration’s regulatory focus continues to come into view, NRMCA remains organized and prepared to expediently and diligently address these regulatory changes and advocate for beneficial industry outcomes.

Click here to review all Biden Administration EOs. For more information, contact Kevin Walgenbach at kwalgenbach@nrmca.org.

Government Affairs

Last week, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation held a confirmation hearing to consider President Biden’s nomination of Pete Buttigieg to be secretary of the Department of Transportation. Mr. Buttigieg advocated for major infrastructure investment, receiving a friendly reception from members of the committee, and is expected to be confirmed easily with bipartisan support. As a presidential candidate, Mr. Buttigieg proposed a robust $1 trillion infrastructure investment, with a heavy climate and public transit focus.

During the hearing, Mr. Buttigieg suggested that raising the federal gas tax to support a sustainable funding stream for the perennially under-funded Highway Trust Fund was on the table, among other options. However, shortly thereafter, staffers walked back openness to raising the gas tax. The reversal on a possible gas tax increase coincided with long-time supporter of raising the gas tax, Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s (D-OR), pivot away from a gas tax and toward a potential vehicle miles traveled scheme.

Conversations with lobbyists briefed by House Ways and Means staff suggest that the taxing committee is taking a serious look at bonding as a major source of revenue for an upcoming infrastructure package.

For more information, contact Andrew Tyrrell at atyrrell@nrmca.org.

On Monday, after public statements from both Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) opposing the repeal of the Senate rule requiring 60 votes to proceed to consider legislation, Senate leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are expected to reach a power sharing deal modeled after a deal between former Senate leaders Trent Lott and Tom Daschle who presided over an evenly divided Congress in 2001 (for a detailed analysis of the 2001 deal, you can access a Congressional Research Service report here).

The deal will likely reflect equal representation of the two parties on Senate committees as well as equal distribution of committee staff and resources. As reported by NRMCA’s Government Affairs team in the past, the retention of the legislative filibuster will be a key component to slowing or stopping some of the adverse policies in the legislative agenda of President Biden, Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer. The 60-vote threshold, however, can be obviated under limited circumstances using a procedure called reconciliation, which Democrats are considering to pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

For more information, contact Andrew Tyrrell at atyrrell@nrmca.org.

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NRMCA’s M2M Benefit program jump starts 2021 by continuing to provide better service and more value to all members, and by adding another Associate member, Arete Partners, to the growing list of Member2Member (M2M) providers. Arete Partners provides executive services for emerging small businesses throughout the U.S.; it is offering NRMCA members 50% off the first three months of service. Please visit all NRMCA dedicated services on the updated M2M webpage where you can explore these offerings.

Neither membership in NRMCA nor participation in the M2M Benefits Program can in any way be construed as an endorsement, explicit or implicit, of any company, product or service by the Association. NRMCA accepts no responsibility in any dispute between supplier and customer. The M2M Benefits Program is intended solely as an informational service. Participating companies are responsible for insuring all M2M benefit information is correct and up-to-date.

For more information, contact Jacques Jenkins at jjenkins@nrmca.org.

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Pavement

NRMCA Producer member Concrete Supply Co., Charlotte, NC, recently hosted its first Concrete Parking Lots Boot Camp, reports NRMCA Senior Vice President, Local Paving, Phil Kresge. The Boot Camp was coordinated by Concrete Supply Business Development Manager Drew Turner and included individuals from the company’s sales team as well as from the concrete division of Duncan, SC, based Sloan Construction Company. Not only was this the first Boot Camp for Concrete Supply, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was also the first to be hosted virtually. Kresge and his colleague, Senior Vice President, Local Paving, Jon Hansen, presented the 10-hour program remotely to the participants who were in several separate locations.

Additionally, Hansen provided a special opportunity for the Boot Camp attendees to participate in a webinar titled Concrete Overlays of Existing Asphalt Surfaced Street and Parking Lots which was hosted by the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC). Hansen worked with ASCC Director of Member Services Jill Zeller to help incorporate the concurrently-running webinar into the Boot Camp agenda.

Conducted by the NRMCA Local Paving Team, Concrete Parking Lots Boot Camp is a 10-hour program, typically conducted over two days at a contractor or ready mix producer’s site. The program includes in-depth review of ACI 330 Guide for the Design and Construction of Concrete Parking Lots, Guide to Concrete Overlays of Existing Asphalt Parking Lots, and NRMCA’s Concrete Pavement Analyst Design and Cost Comparison software. Additionally, attendees are coached on where and how to prospect for new business. Following this Boot Camp, Turner reported that he sees a lot of value in the information provided and is looking to identify additional Boot Camp opportunities.

For more information or to schedule your own Concrete Parking Lots Boot Camp, contact Phil Kresge at pkresge@nrmca.org or Jon Hansen at jhansen@nrmca.org.

Buildings

NRMCA, in conjunction with the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute, the Boston Society of Architects, Build With Strength, the Massachusetts Concrete and Aggregate Producers Association, the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub and many other national, state and local sponsors, is hosting a virtual Pathways to Net Zero Buildings conference beginning Thursday, January 28, and concluding on Friday, January 29. It will be held from 11a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern time each day.

This highly-interactive event will explore the concept and achievement of net zero construction. Over the course of several sessions, industry and research leaders will work to define the concept of net zero from an embodied and energy standpoint to present different strategies to achieve net zero buildings.

Click here for more information and to register. You may also contact Doug O’Neill at doneill@nrmca.org.

The United Stated Green Building Council (USGBC) strives to evolve the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard so the design and construction of buildings are environmentally and equitably just. A recently-launched Social Equity within the Supply Chain pilot credit is intended to create more equitable, healthier environments for those affected by and involved in the production of materials and products, including the stages of raw materials extraction, processing, manufacturing and assembly of components and products. Specifically, the credit wants to drive material suppliers to demonstrate compliance with the Fundamental Conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and basic human rights at work, including Freedom of Association, Abolition of Forced Labor, Elimination of Child Labor and Equality. More details can be on the USGBC pilot credit website.

The Concrete Sustainable Council (CSC) is referenced as an approved program to meet the pilot credit. The CSC offers compliance due to criteria such as Human Rights and Labor Practices within its certification. Also, the CSC framework guides a producer to enhance and elevate environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices so that they can meet ongoing trends of supply chain sustainability and responsibility. In addition to this USGBC pilot credit, the CSC has already been acknowledged in the world’s largest green building rating system BREEAM, as well as in the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure’s ENVISON rating system.

The trend in reporting ESG practices is growing; and with similar criteria being discovered in green building construction documents and specifications, procurement decisions are evolving beyond price and performance. Where material suppliers demonstrate ESG practices, increased business opportunities can be realized.

CSC is integral to Strength Through Transparency, the Build With Strength campaign and for member and industry competitiveness in the green building marketplace.

For more information, contact James Bogdan at jbogdan@nrmca.org or 412-420-4138.

   Master Builder Solutions US LLC       GCP Applied Technologies    
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Remember that starting February 1, employers need to display their OSHA 300A log where all employees have access to it. The summary log needs to stay posted until April 30.

Click here for more information on OSHA recordkeeping requirements and here to access OSHA 300A forms and instructions. For more information, contact Gary Mullings at gmullings@nrmca.org or Kevin Walgenbach at kwalgenbach@nrmca.org.

Last week, NRMCA members received surveys for participation in the annual Performance Benchmarking Survey and the Compensation Survey. These surveys provide valuable benchmarking information for participating companies, allowing companies to compare their performance against national and regional data. Participation in both surveys is open to NRMCA Producer members and is free. Each participating company receives both the survey and an individual company-specific report. The survey information is strictly confidential, processed and analyzed by a third party, unseen by NRMCA staff or other industry participants, and not available for distribution to non-participating members.

Click here to access the forms. For more information, contact Andrew Tyrrell at atyrrell@nrmca.org.

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   Xypex Chemical Corp       MAPEI    
Engineering

The NRMCA Technology in Practice (TIP) series has added topics, TIP 21 and TIP 22, while TIP 18 has been revised.

TIP 21 – Concrete Mixtures for High Strength and Modulus of Elasticity - This TIP outlines the process of proportioning and producing concrete mixtures for high strength and high modulus of elasticity.

• TIP 22 – Reducing Embodied Carbon in Concrete Mixtures - This TIP discusses options for reducing the carbon footprint of concrete with equivalent performance while proportioning mixtures.

• TIP 18 – Managing Concrete Temperature for Specified Requirements - Revisions were made to update and correct some of the information in the previous version.

TIPs are developed by the NRMCA Research Engineering and Standards (RES) Committee. They're written in a “What? Why? How?” format and are developed to support the education of ready mixed concrete industry personnel. They can also be used as information for customers. TIPs are available in PDF format in sets of individual topics and in a collated set with all 22 topics.

The topics can be partially pre-viewed and purchased here. You may also order them by contacting Jacques Jenkins at jjenkins@nrmca.org or 703-706-4865.

Workforce Development

NRMCA's Sales Skills, CCSP IV, scheduled for March 22 – 26, will be offered online due to pandemic restrictions. This innovative course provides a sales framework and toolkit that can immediately adapt to your organization’s strategies to drive revenue. Have your sales staff master the most up-to-date, industry-related sales fundamentals through ready mix-specific simulations, role plays and case study analyses that include the challenges of selling concrete's sustainability attributes as well as applying tools for pervious and parking lot sales.

Get results now: This course is recommended for professionals of all levels, so whether your reps deal with internal or external customers, these skills will make an immediate impact on your work:
• Volume and Value: Sell both for short and long term results;
• Secrets to Good Relationships: Solve problems and win loyalty;
• Who Calls the Shots?: Find and communicate with decision-makers;
• Role Playing is Serious Business: Learn how practice makes perfect; and
• Close Calls: Overcome obstacles and close the sale.

Click here for more information and to register or contact Mason Jean at mjean@nrmca.org or 703-706-4852.

   Concrete Pump Supply       Hendrickson Auxiliary Axle Systems    
Calendar

*Please note that e-mail and direct links to each event listed below can be accessed from NRMCA's Web site

January 28 – 29, Online Webinar
Pathways to Net Zero Buildings
Email: Doug O'Neill, 716-801-6546

February 2 – 5, Online Course
CCSP Module III, General Business Knowledge
Email: Mason Jean, 703-706-4852

February 19 – March 1, Online Course
Concrete Technologist Training & Certification, Short Course
Email: Mason Jean, 703-706-4852

February 22 – 26, Online Course
Dispatcher Training Forum
Email: Mason Jean, 703-706-4852

March 2-3, Virtual Conference
NRMCA’s 2021 Annual Convention
Email: Jessica Walgenbach, 703-706-4852

March 11 – 19, Online Course
Handling Concrete Specifications
Email: Mason Jean, 703-706-4852

March 19 – 26, Online Course
Plant Manager Certification Course
Email: Jessica Walgenbach, 703-706-4852

March 22 – 26, 2021 Online Course
CCSP Module IV, Professional Sales Skills Workshop
Email: Mason Jean, 703-706-4852

May 4 – 7, Smyrna, TN
CCSP Module I “Concrete 101”, Technical Product Knowledge
Sponsored by Tennessee Concrete Association
Email: Darla Sparkman, 615-360-7393

June 15 – 17, Smyrna, TN
CCSP Module II, Customer Business Knowledge
Sponsored by Tennessee Concrete Association
Email: Darla Sparkman, 615-360-7393

November 9 – 11, Dallas
Effective RMC Supervisor Course
Email: Jessica Walgenbach, 703-706-4852

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