ASPIRE is a quarterly magazine published by PCI in cooperation with the associations of the National Concrete Bridge Council. The editorial content focuses on the latest technology and key issues in the Concrete Bridge Industry.

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EDITORIAL Turning Internal Champions into External Stars William Nickas, Editor-in-Chief Our profession has an underlying set of rules and when followed they lead to consistent results. These traditional practices are being updated with new delivery schemes and complex new materials. The goal of high-performance assets is to go beyond what has been in the past: to deliver structures that will have low initial cost, low environmental impact, and extremely low reoccurring operating and rehabilitation costs over the long term. Concrete structures are repeatable, rugged, and durable. Past practice has identified decks, bearings, and joints as the most vulnerable to environmental damage. In seismic areas, where integral superstructure and substructure details are most common, moisture and chlorides are no longer reaching substructure caps. These details have put a stop to a vulnerability of the past. Using two-way prestressing in decks keeps the concrete tensile stresses low and decks are lasting longer. Dr. Bayrak wrote in his Winter 2015 ASPIRE article about some important traits of the profession and the need for strong engineering fundamentals. These key principals can be applied to all levels of our heavy civil construction industry. The instability of long-term transportation funding has created unproductive angst and talented people have left all segments of our construction industry. Project managers, engineers, superintendents, crew chiefs, equipment operators, and the list goes on, are critical links in the delivery of new bridges and roads. When you find employees that have the skills and basics tenacity, please invest and grow those people by exposing them to new concepts and allowing them to further investigate recent innovations. Lee Iacocca said, "In times of great stress or adversity, it's always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive." Just run a benchmark test and identify one or two internal person(s) to investigate a recent change that has occurred for one aspect of concrete bridge delivery in your procurement delivery method or prefabricated bridge elements and systems [PBES] arena.) Ask that person to develop the idea as a parallel to a traditional solution and watch the excitement build. Developing internal mavericks will get your firm noticed. Two years ago in the Spring 2013 ASPIRE, I wrote of "Creating a Lasting Separation from your Competitor." Today, mid-size firms are disappearing because of consolidation. Whether a mega firm or a smaller boutique firm, both need to foster a new spirit of innovation that allows identification of a new internal champion and brings new vision to your customers. With this increased value, you will be able to win work and command higher fees with bigger margins. Another way to engage employees is by allowing them to advocate sustainability efforts within your company or for your projects. In the next issue of ASPIRE, we will provide an update on sustainability activities in the bridge industry that may interest an internal champion in your firm This year, ASPIRE launched a few new series to help you refresh your whole team on detailed, specific areas of concrete bridge information. Take a few minutes to use the new online version to search for a topic in all past issues and look at how others have utilized concrete to achieve a desired outcome. Retaining talented employees is a challenge for many in our arena, but mentoring those employees may inspire their creativity, which could Turn an Internal Champion into an External Star.

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