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Morning Sun
  • Industry pros taught to be concrete technicians at PSU

  • There’s more to pouring concrete than most people realize. From checking its chemical makeup and testing its air density to knowing how to mix aggregate for different load bearing strengths, industry professionals have to know what they’re doing.

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  • There’s more to pouring concrete than most people realize. From checking its chemical makeup and testing its air density to knowing how to mix aggregate for different load bearing strengths, industry professionals have to know what they’re doing.
    On Thursday and Friday,  27 construction industry professionals and Pittsburg State University students attended the Kansas Technology Center to become certified, and in some cases re-certified, as Grade 1 Field Testing Technicians. The workshop, which takes place twice a year and it sponsored by the American Concrete Institute, is part of PSU’s Kansas Center for Construction Advancement, a program that aims to promote and enhance careers in construction. The KCCA mission includes working with K-12 and community college educators as well as professionals.
    The standards change about every five years because of new technology,” said Seth O’Brien, assistant professor in PSU’s School of Technology.
    Participants spent most of Thursday in the classroom, but Friday morning they took to the shop to show their instructors their skills. There were tests for how much air and water is in a particular mix — air is an important component in cured concrete because it allows water to expand when it freezes without damaging the integrity of the concrete.
    There also are tests for consistency. From those tests, technicians can determine how strong the concrete will be when it is cured, and also whether the company got what it paid for.
    “We’ll know if they said they sold us nine yards of concrete, that we got nine yards of concrete,” O’Brien said.
    The Grade 1 Certificate is just one of 18 different certifications the ACI sponsors. Kevin Membrino, who just accepted a job as a quality control technician at Oldcastle Pre-cast in Topeka, said becoming certified was a requirement for his job.
    “It’s been exciting, it’s something I’ve never done,” Membrino said. “Most of the stuff I’ve done, or have seen done, before, but I’m learning a lot.”
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