April 2021, Volume 37, Issue 4 Print

President's Memo

Spring is officially here and I am looking forward to the warmer weather and more daylight! Spring also means that ACI-IL is in the homestretch before our summer pause on monthly meetings and it also means award season. We are now accepting entries for our Excellence in Concrete Construction Awards Program. This program recognizes exceptional local concrete construction projects. There are seven categories including low-, mid-, and high-rise structures, infrastructure, repair and renovation, decorative concrete, and flatwork. If you have a project in mind that fits into any of these categories, now is the time to get that application filled out! It’s an easy application and we can help with any questions. Entries must be submitted to Joni Jones by April 14th. Please see additional details on the awards program in this newsletter and on our website.

In March, Cindy Williams presented a detailed update on 2021 Tollway construction as well as some of the ongoing concrete initiatives she’s leading.  We’d like to thank Cindy again for her contributions over the past two months and her willingness to share her expertise with the chapter. We are going to continue these virtual lunch time monthly meetings through May. On April 22nd, past ACI international president Dr. David Lange will present on his research about using superabsorbent polymers for internal curing. I know he has some exciting results to share. In May, we will be having a virtual meeting on May 20th about low compressive strength test results. This presentation is part of ACI’s Chapter Talks program. During the May meeting, we will have a raffle for ACI-IL members. The winner will be able to choose between an ACI individual membership ($259 value), ACI collection of concrete codes, specifications, and practices ($859 value), ACI university all-access digital subscription ($299 value), or ACI concrete repair digital subscription ($249 value). I know we will all be busy, especially in May, but put these meetings on your calendars now so you don’t miss them.

As always, please feel free to join our monthly board meetings and contribute. They are currently held virtually the third Thursday of each month.

Stay safe and I hope to see everyone at the virtual chapter meeting on the 22nd!

Dan Gancarz
ACI-IL President 2020-2021


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Calendar of Events

Virtual Chapter Meeting
Thursday, April 22, 2021
12 pm - 1 pm
Topic: Superabsorbent Polymer Research - David Lange

Virtual Chapter Meeting
Thursday, May 20, 2021
12 pm - 1 pm
Topic: Low Compressive Strength Test Results - Speaker: Sureka Sumanasooriya, PhD, American Concrete Institute

Golf Outing
Monday, June 21, 2021
Ruffled Feathers - Lemont
More information to come

Board Meetings
We hope you'll take the time to join us for our board meetings as they go virtual for now:
Thursday, April 15 - 3:30 pm
If you are interested in attending, please e-mail [email protected] for more information.


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Upcoming Certification Sessions

Due to the COVID restrictions, class sizes have been reduced and we are taking careful sanitary measures.

April (recently added!)
13/14 - Aggregate Lab Technician Certification - Elmhurst (day 1)/Downers Grove (day 2)

To register, please download forms from our website: www.aciillinois.com or e-mail [email protected] for more information.


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Join Us for our Next Meeting

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.

When: Apr 22, 2021 12:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. 

Topic: Benefits of using super absorbent polymers in concrete

Super absorbent polymers (SAP) are of increasing interest in the concrete industry.  SAP is delivered as a dry powder into the concrete mixer, and the particles are capable of absorbing water about 20-30 times their own weight.  The swollen SAP particles hold on to the water during mixing and placement, but give up the water after concrete hardens and after the water of convenience has been used or evaporated.  In this way, SAP functions as an internal curing technology similar to porous lightweight aggregates.  Benefits include suppression of drying shrinkage, improved durability, and more convenient curing options that can avoid steps such as burlap blankets and water sprinkler systems. SAP is particularly attractive for high performance concrete with lower w/c ratio and applications such as large flat slabs that are vulnerable to drying shrinkage cracking. This presentation will include methods to calculate dosage, lab results demonstrating benefits, and best practices for use in field applications.


David A. Lange, FACI, is Professor Emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL. Lange served as ACI President in 2018-19, and continues service on the ACI Board of Direction.  His past positions include Chair of the ACI Technical Activities Committee, Chair of the Publications Committee, and Chair of the Board Outlook 2030 Task Group.  Lange received the ACI Wason Medal for Most Meritorious Paper in 2003, 2018, and 2020.  Lange is a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society and he received a J. William Fulbright Scholar Award in 2013. Lange holds degrees from Northwestern University (PhD, 1991), Wichita State University (MBA, 1984), and Valparaiso University (BSCE, 1981). 

If you would like a PDH for this meeting, please e-mail your request to [email protected].

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ACI Excellence In Concrete Construction Awards

ACI-IL is calling for concrete construction projects that exemplify their vision of concrete innovation in the 2021 Excellence in Concrete Construction Awards program.

Now more than ever, concrete design and construction projects must integrate creative techniques and technologies to keep up with ever-evolving economic, environmental, and aesthetic demands. The ACI Excellence in Concrete Construction Awards provides a platform to recognize concrete projects at the forefront of innovation and technology, and showcases these projects to inspire excellence in concrete design and construction around the world.

Projects must be within the state of Illinois and can be submitted in seven different categories:

  • Low-Rise Structures (up to three stories): Up to three stories residential (multi-family and houses), school, commercial, warehouse and industrial, etc.
  • Mid-Rise Structures: 4-15 stories
  • High-Rise Structures: more than 15 stories
  • Infrastructure: Bridges, site structures, water resource structures, marine structures, other structures, etc.
  • Repair and Restoration: overlays, rehabilitation, remodel, retrofitting, etc.
  • Decorative Concrete: Decorative or architectural feature or element such as exterior or interior finishes, hardscapes, ornamentation, stained, stamped, or polished concrete, art installations, etc.
  • Flatwork: Pavements, parking lots, runways, commercial/industrial floors, etc.


  • Entry must highlight new construction substantially completed within 36 months of the submission deadline.
  • Entry must highlight innovative use of concrete as a principal construction element.
  • Entry must demonstrate creativity and innovation in the application of concrete technology.
  • A project can only be nominated in one category.
  • A minimum of four to eight photos are required per nomination. Nomination may include a 90-second time lapse video. No animations will be accepted. Concrete and construction should be featured in some of the photos.
  • Entries must be submitted by Wednesday, April 14, 2021.

Contact Joni L. Jones at [email protected] for the application and/or any questions.

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As a Young Professional, is it worth getting involved in ACI-IL?

That is a great question. Joining an organization, especially a professional one, can be intimidating and complicated. ACI-IL is constantly looking for ways of easing the process to get involved within the organization. ACI-IL wants to emphasize the opportunities for young professionals to network with other peers in the premiere community dedicated to the best use of concrete. The chapter creates an opportunity with long-term benefits for young members to gain knowledge on the industry and wants young professionals to engage earlier in their careers to create a network for future experts/leaders in all areas of construction industry.

ACI-IL members includes over 250 architects, engineers, educators, students, manufacturers, contractors, suppliers, and others with an interest in concrete and concrete technologies. We share the mission with ACI National “to provide a comradeship in finding the best ways to do concrete work of all kinds and in spreading that knowledge.”

“My experience with ACI chapters exceeded my expectations by providing a balanced combination of educational meetings and members participation” said Samhar Hoz, structural/construction engineer with ICC (International code council), who joined ACI 10 years ago and is the winner of the Young Member Award for Professional Achievement from ACI in spring 2021. Similarly, Dan Gancarz, current president of ACI-IL, said “ACI chapters are additional resources for networking and learning. Meeting presentations are educational and typically focus on local topics. These meetings provide an inviting atmosphere for young professionals to get involved with ACI.”

ACI-IL hosts educational meetings in Chicago from September through April with some bonus meetings during construction season. Our dinner meetings are opportunities for members and non-members to network with others in the industry. Our current virtual set up allows you to advance your concrete knowledge from your sofa! (and it’s free!) We provide the ACI certification programs on a regular basis and offer academic scholarships to students who are interested to pursue their career in the civil engineering community.

Are you ready to start gaining strength as a professional? Are you looking forward to a solid development in your career path? Join our next meeting! See it for yourself. As a member, in addition to the discounted rates, you get free digital access to webinars, on-demand courses, codes, guides, reports, specialized job opportunities thru the ACI career center, and more!

Join us to keep, Always Advancing.

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March Meeting Summary

Cindy Williams, Deputy Chief of Program Implementation for the Illinois Tollway gave a very informative presentation on upcoming 2021 work and concrete initiatives at the Tollway. The Tollway is now in the tenth year of their $14 billion, 15-year capital program, Move Illinois. The capital program has some big projects including the completed 62 miles of the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (Interstate 90), the completed new toll route, the Illinois Route 390 Tollway, building a new tolled interstate, the I-490 Tollway, rebuilding and widening 22 miles of the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294), and working on completing a large new interchange, I-294/I-57, to connect the interstates. There is a lot of work going on and in 2021 alone, the Tollway has 82 contracts worth an estimated $749 million that are scheduled to be awarded. To keep the industry aware of upcoming opportunities, the Tollway has a tentative schedule for professional services bulletins and a bid letting schedule posted on their website. Cindy also mentioned the Tollway’s diversity initiatives that include unbundling contracts to provide more new opportunities for all-sized firms and the rolling owner controlled insurance program (ROCIP) projects to support small and diverse businesses.

The second half of Cindy’s presentation focused on concrete initiatives. She touched on things that are newer and in projects now such as pavement sleepers to address expansion and construction joint issues they’ve seen on recent corridors, the maturity method for opening concrete pavement to traffic, the Tollway’s bridge deck latex concrete overlay specifications, Class CAL for overnight pavement patching, fast set concrete for small overnight bridge and approach slab repairs, and ultra high-performance concrete for a new application on some I-355 bridge joint header repairs. She also highlighted some recent changes to the Tollway’s concrete QC/QA requirements and some friendly reminders on her expectations. She finished her presentation by going over what her group in currently working on and what the industry will see in the next year including e-ticketing for materials, mass concrete drilled shafts, precast weigh-in-motion pavement, a new concrete mixtures special provision, and superabsorbent polymers. There are a lot of exciting things happening at the Tollway and we appreciate Cindy taking some time to share them with us.

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2021-2022 Ballots Coming Soon

Attention ACI-IL Members: Ballots for the 2021-2022 year will be e-mailed out after the April 15th board meeting. This ballot is for the purpose of electing Directors and Officers for the upcoming year. Only current members are eligible to vote. Please complete the ballot as soon as possible after receiving the ballot.

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Find us on LinkedIn and Facebook

We hope you’ll join us on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8982821/
and Facebook: ACI Illinois Chapter

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Certification Sponsors

Thank you to our Certification Sponsors!

Certification GOLD Sponsors:

Certification SILVER Sponsors:

Interested in sponsoring?
Contact Pete Stamatopoulos at 630-804-9577.

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