ICPI Bestows Two Industry Pioneers with Esteemed Lifetime Achievement Award

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The Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) recognized industry leaders Chris Ross and David Bender at the ICPI annual meeting last month in San Antonio, Texas, for a life of significant contributions to the segmental concrete pavement industry.

The ICPI Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes life-long, high-impact contributions to the industry through knowledge, technical innovation, and advocacy. The award emphasizes innovation, dedication of the recipient to safety and well-being of employees, demonstrated leadership, and/or outstanding contribution to the industry from volunteer service to ICPI which promotes growth and advancement of the association and/or industry. The award recognizes noteworthy public service activities at the local, regional, state, national or international levels that bring honor to the industry or to ICPI.

The two recipients received their awards at the ICPI General Luncheon during its annual meeting. ICPI Chairman David Pitre noted “Both Chris and David helped lay the groundwork for which our association and industry operates. Without them, our industry would not be where it is today. They are both true pioneers to the industry and I can think of none other better fitting to receive such prestigious awards.”

Chris Ross
Chris Ross served as ICPI’s Chairman-elect in 1998 and 1999, and then as ICPI Chairman in 1999 and 2000. With his oversight, he supported the transition of ICPI from a small association management company to Bostrom Corp. who helped grow ICPI from a $700,000 dollar budget in 1998 to $2 million plus in 2007. Under Mr. Ross’ chairmanship, ICPI laid some foundations that their board and committees rely on today. Some of these include the ICPI policy manual, policies on financial reserves, development of the certification courses, and regional meetings. The ICPI Foundation was created while he was chair.

Mr. Ross has spent a lifetime growing the industry. With his father Darwin, he was one of several persons who launched the industry in its early days. Growing up in the industry, he worked for his father’s manufacturing plant and later took over the business. He and five others were responsible for creating an early beginning of an industry association.

Several ground breaking projects were supplied by Mr. Ross, including Massey Coal Terminal in Newport News, Virginia (now owned by Shell). The pavers provided the floor to tons of coal storage and had to stand up against heavy, steel-tracked bulldozers that pushed the coal. This project led to another landmark project, the Port of Baltimore. Mr. Ross’ plant supplied the first phase of a wharf bulkhead, about 230,000 square feet. The rectangular pavers were 120 mm thick and made on a new Zenith board machine. The Port of Baltimore later used more concrete pavers that now total about 2 million square feet in container operations and vehicle storage. The Baltimore project set a successful example among port engineers and engineering consultants, and helped open other U.S. ports to using concrete pavers.

In following years, Mr. Ross helped expand commercial and residential markets in Maryland, Delaware, DC and northern Virginia. In 1994, his company was sold to Oldcastle and Mr. Ross took on more of a consulting role with the new owners. The purchase was the first large paver plant purchased by Oldcastle on this side of the pond. With this purchase, Mr. Ross helped introduce Oldcastle to big board production, its operations and economics.

Steve Berry, President of Oldcastle APG East presented the award to Mr. Ross and said, “His experience in the realities of production processes joined with his financial modeling skills became a resource for Oldcastle.” Mr. Ross helped plan and build five new plants with big board machine such as Rekers and Masa.    

David Bender
Mr. Bender left his family farm in the early 1960s to attend Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto, graduating from Civil Engineering Technology in 1966. After graduation, he focused on geotechnical engineering, including materials testing and concrete. Soon after, he established B&B Concrete Products in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. He ran the small company while working for Bell Canada and introduced precast concrete utility products to Bell as an alternate to cast-in-place concrete.    

In 1980, Mr. Bender moved to Texas and established Pavestone Company, now one of the largest paver manufacturing companies in North America. Seven years later he returned to Canada to establish Pavestone Plus (later renamed Navastone) where he worked for the next 20 years. Finally, in 2007 he completed the sale of his company to Hanson Building Products.

Mr. Bender’s son, Elliot Bender who presented the award noted, “Throughout his career, dad [David Bender] was a known as a revolutionary in the industry.” In 1986, he penned a very passionate letter to NCMA detailing how pavers are different [than other pavements] and persuaded the need for the industry to support and market pavers accordingly. Long before its inception, his efforts helped lay the groundwork for the creation of ICPI in 1993.

Mr. Bender continued his passion for growing the industry. His company is a charter member of ICPI. Soon after its establishment, Mr. Bender led the association serving as chairman from 1995-1997. He is attributed with several leadership accomplishments that helped shape the association and industry. One of these was the development of the ICPI Certification Program, which today has had more than 25,000 participants. The establishment of this program helped to overcome one of the six barriers to selling pavers he outlined in 1986, lack of skilled installation contractors.

Mr. Bender also directed several marketing efforts to help overcome other barriers to paver sales success. These included the development of the product certification program, a multi-national public relations campaign, municipal products slide show and a video on mechanical installation.

Both gentlemen were recognized for a lifetime achievement of exceptional leadership and contributions that helped guide the growth of the association and industry.

About ICPI
The Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI) represents producers, suppliers, contractors, design professionals and consultants and supports its members to advance segmental concrete pavement systems as the preferred choice for sustainable and environmentally friendly pavements in North America. ICPI aims to increase awareness, acceptance and use of segmental concrete pavement systems in North America through the development of marketing and technical resources for design professionals, contractors and homeowners. To learn more about ICPI, visit http://www.icpi.org.

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Jessica Chase, CAE
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