American Concrete Institute Hosts World of Concrete Conference

American Concrete Institute pic
American Concrete Institute

As the former president of Construction Systems in West Palm Beach, Florida, Ernest Grotsky helped the bid-and-design/build contractor grow from five employees to more than 60 by the end of his tenure. When active in the construction field, Ernest Grotsky stayed current with best practices in the industry through his involvement with professional organizations such as the American Concrete Institute (ACI).

Founded more than a century ago, ACI has grown into a global leader in education, resources, and standards development for the concrete and construction industries. In addition, the organization offers a range of training seminars, certification programs, and events for its members.

One of ACI’s largest events is the annual World of Concrete conference. The 2017 event will be held January 16-20 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and will feature indoor and outdoor exhibits as well as product demonstrations. Additionally, the conference will offer skill-building training seminars and certification programs from some of the industry’s leading experts. To learn more about the upcoming World of Concrete conference, please visit


Reasons to Hire a Design-Build Contractor

Design-Build Contractor pic
Design-Build Contractor

Ernest Grotsky, a contractor with more than three decades of experience, lists three reasons why the design-build model works. Most recently, Ernest Grotsky worked as Senior Project Manager at CB Richard Ellis, Inc., in Washington, D.C., where he was responsible for managing the design and build-out process.

A Single Source
The typical contracting process requires a client to hire an architect, finalize the design, bid the project to a builder, and then the client works as a middleman themselves to ensure the end product is what they hoped for from the beginning. Having one company work on the same project from start to finish allows for better quality control, more accountability when things do not go as planned, and eliminates part of the tedious bidding process.

Price Control
Having one company bid for the whole project helps to keep the project within the client’s budget. Since all of the expenses go through the same organization, it is easier to record and manage costs throughout the whole process and encourages honesty during the bidding process.

Improved Communication
After working though many customer scenarios, it became apparent that having a single source working on the design process and the build process makes communication with the client easier. There is no third party with their own set of ideas confusing the process, and the customer and contractor can go back and forth singularly to create a product that satisfies both parties.

A Look at the American Concrete Institute By Ernest Grotsky

American Concrete Institute pic
American Concrete Institute

By the dawn of the 20th century, concrete had become an essential and increasingly popular construction material, but it lacked a unifying body of standards. Municipal Engineering editor Charles C. Brown recognized the importance of the material and the dangers of not maintaining order and control in its development and utilization. In 1904, Brown and several other professionals created the first association for concrete block manufacturers, and in 1913, it adopted the name American Concrete Institute.

Over the past century, the American Concrete Institute has overseen numerous initiatives that have improved the product. Its journals and newsletters print the latest information on materials research, structural analysis, and design. The twice-yearly conventions allow individuals to meet with leaders in concrete technology and learn about their innovations. Additionally, the American Concrete Institute offers accreditation to supervisors, inspectors, technicians, and craftsmen.

About the Author:

The former President of Construction Systems, Ernest Grotsky spent 15 years overseeing the West Palm Beach contracting firm and expanded its staff by a factor of 12 during his tenure. Grotsky belongs to the American Concrete Institute.

The History of USO, Inc., by Ernest Grotsky

Dedicated to improving the spirits of America’s troops and their families, USO, Inc., has provided support to soldiers since 1941. During the start of World War II, a number of groups emerged to assist people fighting overseas. To supplement entities such as the Salvation Army, the Young Women’s Christian Association, and the National Jewish Welfare Board, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt formed the United Services Organization, more commonly known as the USO.

Concentrating on emotional support and entertainment, the USO conducted its first camp shows in 1941. Six years later, President Harry S. Truman ended the program and gave it an honorable discharge. In 1951, it was restarted to aid troops involved in the Korean War. Consistently active since then, the USO has adapted to meet soldiers’ evolving needs. During the 2000s, it developed programs such as USO Care Package, USO Operation Phone Home, and USO2GO to respond to those fighting in the War on Terror.

About the Author:

Involved in the construction industry for nearly three decades, Ernest Grotsky is a State of Florida Certified Building Inspector, a General Contractor for the State of Florida, and a Licensed Contractor for Palm Beach County. In charitable activities, Grotsky donates to the USO.

Hiring a General Contractor

By Ernest Grotsky

Hiring a general contractor for work on your home or business can be a difficult process, particularly if you wait until just before you need the work done, which can limit your options and compresses your selection timetable. If you allow yourself plenty of time to choose and follow the steps below, however, you should be able to find a great contractor and set your project in motion with confidence.

1. Gather Recommendations

Following the recommendations of people you know and trust is much more effective than relying on advertising or cold-calling contractors out of the phone book. Friends and family are a great place to start looking, but if after talking to them you still need ideas, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and your local lumberyard are good places to check for the names of reputable contractors.

2. Interview Potential Contractors

There is no better way to know whether you will enjoy working with someone than personal interaction. Start narrowing your list with phone calls and then meet your top choices face to face. Be sure to ask whether a contractor takes on projects like yours, what his or her availability is, and how long he or she has worked with his or her subcontractors. Do not be afraid to ask for work references from previous clients and financial references from banks and suppliers. Reputable contractors should be willing to accommodate you.

3. Check the Facts

Once you have found contractors you like, be sure to investigate them. Call their references. Check for complaints against them with the Better Business Bureau and your local Chamber of Commerce. Make sure they and their subcontractors are licensed, bonded, and have the permits they require.

4. Ask for Bids

Now that you know with whom you would like to work, ask the contractor for bids on your project. Make sure he or she itemizes labor, profit margin, materials, and other expenses so you can see where your money will go. Be sure to set up a payment schedule that stipulates complete payment only after you are satisfied, and do not make your decision based purely on price. Choose the contractor you will be most comfortable with, even if his or her bid is a little higher than another’s.

5. Sign the Contract

Finally, make sure you put everything you have discussed with your contractor in writing, including the payment schedule, start and completion dates, materials and products to be used, proof of insurance, and lien releases from subcontractors and suppliers. A clear contract is your best assurance of a successful project.

About the Author:

Ernest Grotsky is a licensed general contractor with more than 30 years of experience in the construction management field, and has worked with clients such as 3M, Eveready Battery Company, and Bloomingdale’s.