Industry News


Ford Undertaking Historic Preservation for Innovation Hub

Ford Motor Company’s forthcoming Corktown Campus (Detroit) will include the Michigan Central Station as its centerpiece. Designed by Warren & Wetmore and Reed & Stem firms (who are also responsible for New York’s Grand Central Station), it opened in 1913. The 600,000 sf Beaux-Arts building was, at one time, the largest train station in the world, but abandoned in 1988.

Construction of the 12 million sf campus is expected to begin in 2019 and to be completed in 2022, at which time it will become Ford’s innovation hub for the future of transportation. Ford will spend more than $700 million on the project, including $5 million earmarked for workforce education, training and development to ensure there are enough local skilled tradespeople to complete the restoration of Michigan Central Station and additional development of surrounding property, including a 200,000 sf former book depository building designed by Albert Kahn.

Quinn Evans Architects will lead the restoration and redesign of Central Station, with Corktown Transformation, a joint venture between The Christman Company and LS Brinker, providing construction management. Each has extensive experience with historic preservation, including dozens of National Register and National Landmark projects.

Much of the building’s interior and exterior brick and stonework requires graffiti removal, cleaning, tuckpointing and repair or replacement of damaged or missing masonry units. According to, there are more than 8 million brick and 125,000 ft3 of stone between the 3-story depot and 18-story tower.

Quinn Evans Architect Principal Richard B Hess states, “When completed, Michigan Central Station will once again serve as a symbol of Detroit’s ingenuity, innovation and civic pride.” This story will unfold in future issues.

Concrete Masonry Checkoff Program Approved

The Federal Government passed the Concrete Masonry Products Research, Education and Promotion Act, providing Congressional authorization for the concrete masonry products industry to develop a commodity checkoff program to support needed industry initiatives. The concrete masonry products bill was included in H.R. 302 as part of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018, signed into law in October.

Major Ogilvie

Major Ogilvie, CEMEX USA, national chair of the concrete masonry checkoff initiative since 2010 says, “We demonstrated a level of perseverance on this initiative that is only matched by the resilience of products we manufacture. By standing together, we strengthen our industry and our communities. We applaud the members of Congress for recognizing that small businesses can accomplish even greater things together if we can more effectively pool resources to promote ourselves.”

An industry referendum on program creation will likely occur in mid-to-late 2019, with each company that manufactures concrete masonry products being provided the opportunity to vote. The objective is to create an open and transparent development process to ensure the resulting program fairly represents diverse interests exist within the industry.

Incredible support has already been exhibited by associations and individuals instrumental in educating lawmakers in Congress about the industry and supporting their sponsorships of the bill and subsequent votes in its favor.

Numerous commodity checkoff programs already exist. Most relate to agricultural products under the management of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Concrete masonry products would be the second such program related to construction products, softwood lumber under USDA, and this first under the Department of Commerce.

Brickworks Limited Buys Glen-Gery

Lindsay Partridge

Glen-Gery parent company, Ibstock plc, has entered into an agreement to sell Glen-Gery Corporation to Brickworks Limited stated Lindsay Partridge, Managing Director Brickworks. Transaction is expected to be completed by year end, subject to customary regulatory approvals. Glen-Gery operates 10 manufacturing plants and 10 masonry supply centers throughout the US.

Mark Ellenor

Brickworks Limited is the largest brickmaker and a leading building material manufacturer in Australia with distribution throughout Australia and New Zealand. Brickworks Building Products North America President Mark Ellenor noted that “We believe the transaction is an ideal market entry into the attractive US industry, with Glen-Gery having established a leading market position in its core geographic area and a reputation for excellent product quality. By combining these two great businesses, we can learn from each other and become even better.”

Greg Silvestri

Commenting on the sale, Glen-Gery President Greg Silvestri said, “We are very pleased with the opportunities presented by our new association with Brickworks. As leaders in our respective markets, we look forward to the potential for strengthening and expanding our combined companies. Our partnership with Brickworks will enable shared technology advancements and innovations, and the expansion of Glen-Gery’s product diversity and market coverage.”

Effective November 1, 2018, Trinity Lightweight has successfully completed the spin-off from Trinity Industries and is now operating as Arcosa Lightweight. In December 2017, Trinity Industries, Inc., announced its plan to separate into two stand-alone, publicly traded companies through the spin-off of its infrastructure-related businesses to the stockholders. Arcosa, Inc. will be a growthoriented company focused on infrastructu-rerelated products and services with leading positions in construction, energy, and transportation markets.

Only the company name is changed; it is still the same company. Operations teams, management, sales teams and day-to-day operations and phone numbers all remain unchanged. Arcosa Lightweight headquarters will remain at 1112 E Copeland Road, Arlington TX 76011 with Jeff Speck as general manager sales. | 678.777.6278 |

13th North American Masonry Conference

The 13th North American Masonry conference will be held June 16-19, 2019, in Salt Lake City UT. Hosted by Brigham Young University, it is the latest in a series of quadrennial conferences sponsored by The Masonry Society. More than 150 papers from more than 20 countries are anticipated to be presented on a wide array of masonry topics.

The conference provides a forum to professionals from around the world for networking and sharing the latest advances in masonry knowledge and practice. The conference will feature tracks of interest to masonry researchers, designers, practitioners, educators, and building managers. Certificates of Attendance for conference sessions will be available for attendees.

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