Concrete Touches Everybody’s Lives

This isn’t a fancy industry, but like one of our speakers said, ‘concrete touches everybody’s lives,’” said Bill Gleason during a concrete seminar offered at Bisett Building Center in Bradford on Tuesday.

Gleason, vice president of operations at Bisett, offered the comments while contractors and business people from the area took a break in a seminar offered at the company.

“Concrete is really underrated for what it does,” Gleason remarked. “Right now the big thing is the (replacements and repair) of bridges in Pennsylvania, and we are responsible for that.”

Gleason said the seminar was the first of its kind to be sponsored by the company and was attended by approximately 40 contractors from several municipalities and businesses as well as the Bradford Area School District.

“We sent invitations out and got a real good response so that tells us that people want to get educated,” Gleason continued. The goal of the event was to help contractors brush up their skills with the product before the start of spring and construction season.

The seminar opened with a discussion on the composition of cement which is made from coarse gravel, sand, water and Portland cement, a basic, paste-like ingredient of concrete. Gleason said the class also taught contractors about mix designs and how to work with the company’s concrete after it is delivered to a job site.

“Then it’s their responsibility to place it and finish the project to the specifications that the owner wants,” he said of contractors. “Once it gets to the job site, these guys are responsible for what the finished product is going to look like.”

Speakers included a representative from Armstrong Cement and the BASF company.

“We have a concrete technician (Ernie Cowell) on site that Bisett hired” for questions that arise, he added.

George Gigliotti said he and Ken Schaming, co-owners of Bisett, approved the seminar planned by Cowell. Rudy Snow, manager at Bisett, said Cowell’s expertise and certification in working with cement is required for government contracts.

“That’s why we’re doing this,” Snow explained. “We’re making sure our contractors know there is a little more to it than throwing sand and gravel together.”

Gigliotti agreed and said the science of creating solid, durable cement was brought to the country by immigrants, who learned the craft from their forefathers.

“They don’t have that experience that helped (create) bridges that will last 100 years,” Gigliotti said of some modern day contractors. He said this is why the seminar and training with the product is important.

Those who attended the event included Andrew Miller, a construction management student at the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport.

“We spent a whole semester on concrete last semester,” Miller said. “I figured this would be a refresh run, and good to hear it out of somebody’s mouth instead of a professor

Another attendee, Mike Gleason of Gleason Masonry in Bradford, said he also appreciated the class.

“(The speakers) are very knowledgeable — I’m learning a lot about the different chemicals that go into concrete,” he concluded.