PCA celebrates its 100 years in concrete

Concrete is all around us. This is no accident; over the centuries we have used concrete to build our civilization. We use concrete because it is strong, durable, and massive, traits that are necessary if we expect to build things today that can continue to be utilized by future generations. In this way, each generation can build upon, rather than rebuild, the work of the previous generation. That’s what civilization is all about.

PCAFor centuries, it has been the foundational material used to create our built world. It is because of this essential resource that people around the world can still take in the beauty of The Pantheon in Rome. Think of the other ruins from so many centuries ago that still populate our world. Concrete has allowed us to connect to those who walked this Earth so long ago. It allows their memories to live on, and for us to share in those magnificent times.

The Portland Cement Association has been a widely-recognized authority on the technology, economics, and applications of cement and concrete since 1916. The organization sees its centennial year as an opportunity to celebrate not only the association itself, but also the great progress the industry has made and the role that concrete will continue to have in building a resilient, sustainable world.

“We want people to appreciate the pivotal role that concrete has played in building our society,” said James G. Toscas, president and CEO of PCA. “Nearly 100 years ago, PCA’s first chairman remarked that unlike many other human activities, building with cement and concrete adds to the permanent wealth of a community. Today, as we look upon the extensive transportation systems and magnificent cities that we have built since then, and that will continue to serve us today and in the future, we see the truth of those words.”

While building with concrete offers measurable benefits, some of its advantages go beyond numbers.

“For example, people feel safer in concrete buildings,” remarked Toscas. “Resilient concrete homes resist fire and can withstand storms. They are also solid, quiet, and low-maintenance. People have a sense that the concrete roads and bridges that connect our communities are durable, efficient, and long-lasting.”

But what will concrete mean to us in 100 years from now? As mundane as it might seem, concrete is actually a complex, high-tech material.

“Research done at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has greatly expanded our knowledge of this material, from the quantum nano-scale all the way through mega-sized applications,” noted Toscas. “Researchers have now been able to model and measure qualities of concrete that we previously took for granted, such as the greater energy efficiency of concrete roads and buildings. They have also laid the groundwork for further improving the performance and sustainability of concrete construction.”

“As long as there is civilization, there will be a need for concrete,” concluded Toscas.


In 2016, the Portland Cement Association (PCA) celebrates its centennial year. During the last 100 years, PCA has become widely recognized as the authority on the technology, economics and applications of cement and concrete.

PCA Programs and Events

• March 13-15, 2016: PCA Spring Congress, Four Seasons Hotel, Chicago. PCA Centennial Celebration Reception and Banquet at the Renaissance Blackstone Hotel on Monday, March 14.

• May 24-25, 2016: 2016 DC Fly-In, The Liaison Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, PCA Centennial Celebration Cocktail Reception and Dinner at The Hay Adams on Tuesday, May 24.

• July 27, 2016: PCA Centennial Outing and Celebration (picnic), PCA Campus, Skokie, Illinois. A joint PCA/CTLGroup event that will offer campus tours to the public, government officials and potential clients.

• August 29-31, 2016: PCA Fall Congress, InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, Chicago. PCA Centennial Celebration and Associate Member Recognition Reception on Tuesday, August 30.

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