American Concrete Institute Hosts World of Concrete Conference

American Concrete Institute pic
American Concrete Institute
Image: concrete.org

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 www.concrete.org/events/worldofconcrete.aspx.

An Interview with Ernest Grotsky

Former President of the Mason Contractors Association of America and the Associated General Contractors of America, Ernest Grotsky possesses decades of experience as an entrepreneur, construction manager, and general contractor. I recently had the chance to talk with him about his career.

Q: What was your first leadership role in the construction industry?

A: I served as President at G&W Masonry Systems in Columbus, Ohio, in the 1970s. Most of my work at that time came from government, industrial, and commercial projects. Many of our projects were small, but several were worth more than $1 million dollars.

Q: And what came next?

A: I formed a second company, Construction Systems of the Palm Beaches, in 1982 and began contracting in Florida. As owner and Manager, I continued to take small contracts but also won some larger ones, with some worth as much as $5 million. We had several major clients, including Bloomingdale’s, General Electric, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Nationwide Insurance.

Q: what kind of work did you focus on?

A: We did a lot of work in concrete. That portion of the business alone had 8 major pieces of equipment and more than 16 employees. We poured an average of 200 to 600 cubic yards of concrete every day.

Q: I notice you went back to school in the 1990s. Tell me more about that, please?

A: Yes, I decided I needed a degree in 1997. I completed my Associate of Science in Architectural Construction Technology in 1999 and am partway through a Bachelor’s degree in Construction Management at North Carolina A&T State University. I’ve also taken courses through The Ohio State University and Franklin University, and earned a Certificate in Construction Law and Labor Relations from Pepperdine University.

Q: What was your most recent position?

A: From 2006 to 2008, I had the opportunity to serve as a Senior Project Manager for CB Richard Ellis. I developed dozens of projects and worked directly with government agencies, general contractors, and clients. One of my biggest priorities there was to make sure that I documented every phase of construction to show that we were meeting milestones and adhering to our contracts.

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Reasons to Hire a Design-Build Contractor

Design-Build Contractor pic
Design-Build Contractor
Image: houzz.com

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
Image: concrete.org

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.

What to Consider When Your Business Expands – Part II By Ernest Grotsky

As the workload at your small business increases, it is no longer feasible to do everything yourself. Perhaps in the beginning phases you were responsible for accounting, administration, production, and distribution, but you should now start to outsource some of these tasks to companies that have experience in managing them. If you want to start small, try a part-time personal assistant or a company that will man the phone lines and take messages for you.

Manage your workload and assess whether your current workforce can handle the flow of incoming projects. There is a fine balance between the correct number of employees and the correct amount of incoming work. In finding this balance you will make some mistakes, but once you get it right, operations will be smoother and the profit will flow in. Use any unexpected income you might currently be receiving to invest in the future of your business. If you have a surplus of funds, channel it into your company’s operational expenses: use it to pay off debts, bump up your marketing, or purchase new technology or essential equipment.

Lastly, take a short moment to enjoy the fruits of your labor and revel in the success of a smoothly-operating and well-planned business expansion.

About the Author: Ernest Grotsky is a project manager with a wealth of experience in numerous large-scale construction companies and real estate organizations, including CB Richard Ellis, Brooks Construction, and John S. Clark Company.