Farewell, 2016

2016 concrete year in review Today is December 27 and 2016 is almost over. A lot of things have happened during the past year. The main thing in dealing with difficulties is having strength.

I delivered my first World of Concrete presentation this year. My topic was “Concrete Quality Control as a Profit Center.” Fortunately my ratings were high enough for me to be asked to speak again. At the 2017 World of Concrete on Tuesday I will talk about “Troubleshooting Ready Mix Quality – When Bad Things Happen to Good Concrete”. This presentation is meant for ready mix concrete QC personnel who need to resolve problem reported by their customers. On Wednesday I will present the other side of the coin with “What Everyone Receiving Fresh Concrete at the Jobsite Should Know”. This presentation is meant for contractor personnel and discusses what they need to know and do to protect their companies by maintaining the integrity of the concrete they receive. You can register for these classes my going to my Speaker page at https://worldofconcrete.com/Attendee/Conference/SpeakerDetails?id=564587

In addition to our big annual Customer Conference, this past year Command Alkon conducted regional conferences in Chicago and Portland. At the regional conferences I conducted hands-on training for our COMMANDqc Quality Control software. Our next regional conference will be held in Kansas City on Feb. 7 & 8. http://www.commandalkon.com/rps/kc/index.html We will be doing more hands-on training on COMMANDqc there.

As usual, I attended meetings for ACI, NRMCA and ASTM. The NRMCA International Concrete Sustainability Conference was especially interesting because it was held in conjunction with the RILEM Conference on self-consolidating concrete.

In November the Instituto del Cemento y Hormigon (the cement and concrete association) in Chile invited me to speak on developing concrete mix designs. As usual, the ICH gave me a warm welcome and over 200 people attended my presentation.

One week later I attended the Anna Maria Workshop sponsored by McGill University in Anna Maria Island, Florida. While there I did a presentation on “Concrete Production in the Year 2050”. Of course it is nice to wear shorts and flip-flops on the beach in Florida in November, but it was also interesting to hear about some of the cutting-edge concrete technology that was discussed during the Workshop.

By the end of 2016 this blog has accumulated over 85,000 views. I know I haven’t done many new posts lately, but I hope that will change soon. I have been working on a major project for Command Alkon and in Q2 of 2017 I hope to have an announcement that readers of this blog will appreciate.

In summary, I would like to thank all my readers for their supportive comments and suggestions. I wish all of you a Happy New Year and a prosperous year in concrete.

Until next time,

Jay Shilstone

My video from the Command Alkon Annual Training and Technology Conference

Hello all! I recently returned from the Command Alkon Training and Technology Conference in Atlanta.  Below is a link to their YouTube channel which showcases one of my classes they recorded.  In this video/class I was highlighting what I believe to be some of the more recent and noteworthy developments in concrete technology, as well as what I think the future might hold.  Enjoy!

“The Concrete Producer” 2016 Annual Survey

Print Those of you that have been following my blog for a while probably know that I am a big advocate of surveys. The NRMCA is noted for several surveys they publish each year, but The Concrete Producer magazine also does a major Annual Survey. The submission period for the 2016 survey is coming to a close on August 8, 2016. If you are a concrete producer and haven’t submitted an entry yet, you are missing out on a great opportunity to have your voice heard. Continue reading “The Concrete Producer” 2016 Annual Survey

NRMCA 2016 Quality Award Applications

Following is a repost from NRMCA. If you are a concrete producer it is well worth the effort to apply.

-Jay Shilstone

NRMCA now accepting applications for the 2016 Excellence in Quality Award

NRMCA is now accepting applications for the prestigious 2016 Excellence in Quality Award. A company must be a NRMCA producer member in good standing to participate. Companies can enter as a company or a division. Applicants are asked to respond to a multiple-choice type application form that generates their score, which is then evaluated by NRMCA staff. Companies or divisions that achieve a score of 75% or greater will be recognized at NRMCA’s ConcreteWorks in September in Nashville, TN.

There are several advantages to participating in this award program:

  1. It provides recognition to the companies that maintain high quality standards;
    2. The award criteria can serve as an excellent quality improvement tool for companies; and
  2. Companies have used the award criteria for conducting internal quality audits.

Click here to download an award form and for more information, including , past quality award winners. Completed forms should be e-mailed in the original Excel format along with required supporting documentation to Karen Bean at [email protected] by T hurs day, June 30,

The Power of the Checklist

Checklist Do you want to know what makes me cringe? Usually when I walk into a concrete producer’s facility I ask, “Who is in charge of quality control?” Sometime I get a glib answer, “ Everyone is in charge of quality control.” When I hear this I want to grab the person I’m talking to and shake some sense into them, because their answer means that there is no one in charge of quality control. I’m sure you have heard the story of Everybody, Somebody, Nobody and Anybody, but it is a good story so I will repeat it.

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.  There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.  Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.  Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job.  Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.  It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have. Continue reading The Power of the Checklist

New survey on the use of checklists in a ready mix plant

I have just created a 14 question survey on the use of checklists to monitor quality aspects of the operational processes in a ready mix plant. Please take just a few minutes to fill it in. You can find it at

Results of this survey will be used in a presentation I will give at the 2015 NRMCA Concrete Works. http://www.nrmca.org/Conferences_Events/ConcreteWorks/

Thank you,

Jay Shilstone

Naming Concrete Mix Designs

P35DDHGP One question I am frequently asked is, “What is the best way to name my concrete mix designs?” The simple answer is “the way that works best for you.” Unfortunately most people don’t find that to be a satisfying response. I have my own ideas about the best way to name mix designs, but I decided to turn to the real experts – you. I crowdsourced the question (doesn’t that sound more modern than “put out a survey”) and got 62 responses back from people around the world. What you are about to read is a summary of the results, with some of my own commentary thrown in. I need to warn you in advance, this blog post is much longer than my usually post, but I didn’t want to split it into two posts, so here it is in all its glory. Continue reading Naming Concrete Mix Designs

Mix Design Naming Convention Survey

One question I get asked frequently is, “What is the best way to name my concrete mix designs?” While some people use sequential mix codes for new mix designs, most people think the mix code should describe the mix design in some fashion. Usually each digit in the mix code will reflect a different aspect of the mix design. For example, 35F6765N would mean:

35 – 3500 psi
F – Fly Ash
67 – #67 (3/4” or 19mm) maximum aggregate size
6 – 6% air entrainment
5 – 5” slump (125mm)
N – Normal water reducing admixture

Of course everyone has a different naming convention depending on their needs. Also, different people have different numbers of characters available depending on the batching system they use.

To try and get a better idea of what people think is important for naming their mix designs, I have created a survey that you can find at .

If you are a concrete producer I would appreciate it if you would take the survey. If you do and you provide me with your email address at the end of the survey I will send you a copy of the complete results after I compile them (probably around the middle of July, 2015). I will also publish a summary of the results in this blog then.

I greatly appreciate your willingness to share your mix naming philosophy with the readers of this blog.

Yours truly,

Jay Shilstone

Just hit 50,000 pagesviews!

Here we are, only a week after my 3rd anniversary with my blog and I have another milestone to announce. My blog has just hit 50,000 pageviews. FYI, it took 22 months to get 20,000 views, but only 14 months to increase to 50,000. I owe it all to my readers, so thank you very much. If you want a summary of my recent posts check out my previous entry about my 3rd anniversary. I would like to expand my blog and write, for example, about iowa tourism, but now I can write only about my life and work.

Thanks again,


Year 3 and Counting!

Hello, world!

jay_shilstone_HS I begin this post the same way I began my first post, three years ago today. Who would have believed I would have lasted this long writing a blog. My father was always the one who enjoyed writing magazine articles, while I preferred to play with computers. It seems that I found a way to do both, so the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree. I thought today I would give you a view of the results of this blog. Continue reading Year 3 and Counting!