February 2021, Volume 37, Issue 2 Print

President's Memo

It’s that time of year again in northern Illinois. The deep freeze sets in, the ground is covered in snow and you spend more time than you’d like digging out your truck, shoveling driveways and sidewalks. On top of that, Punxsutawney Phil has the nerve to say 6 more weeks of winter! Luckily, this is a great time to plan for the upcoming construction season by getting certified (or recertified) and expanding your concrete knowledge. Good thing that ACI-IL can provide both!

We have a number of certification classes on the calendar including the Grade 1 Field Testing, Strength Lab Technician, Aggregate Lab Technician, and SCC Testing Technician. Additional class dates are constantly being added. Please check the website for the latest information on the certification class schedule.

In January, we kicked off our 2021 virtual lunch time chapter meeting schedule with a very informative presentation on Portland Limestone Cement from Nick Popoff with St. Marys Cement. We’d like to thank Nick again for his excellent presentation on this timely topic. Our next meeting will be on February 25th and will feature an agency panel with Sean Guzik from Chicago DOT, Steve Jones from Illinois DOT District 1, and Cindy Williams from the Illinois Tollway. Each of the panelists will have an opportunity for some brief opening remarks and agency updates, followed by Q&A. This is a new event for ACI-IL and is well suited for our current virtual meeting format. We hope you’ll join us and make this event a success!   

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 25th!

Dan Gancarz
ACI-IL President 2020-2021


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Calendar of Events

Virtual Chapter Meeting
Thursday, February 25, 2021
12 pm - 1 pm
Topic: Agency Panel with Sean Guzik from Chicago DOT, Steve Jones from Illinois DOT District 1, and Cindy Williams from the Illinois Tollway

Board Meetings
We hope you'll take the time to join us for our board meetings as they go virtual for now:
Thursday, February 18 - 3:30 pm
Thursday, March 18 - 3:30 pm
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.

17 - 18 - Aggregate Lab Technician Certification (Review in Elmhurst, Performance Exam in Downers Grove)

2 - SCC Testing Technician Certification -Elmhurst, IL
4 - 5 - Strength Lab Technician Certification (Review in Elmhurst, Performance Exam in Downers Grove)

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

We hope you’ll join us for our next meeting on Thursday, February 25th from 12 pm – 1 pm (Central Time).

It will feature an agency panel with Sean Guzik from Chicago DOT, Steve Jones from Illinois DOT District 1, and Cindy Williams from the Illinois Tollway. Each of the panelists will have an opportunity for some brief opening remarks and agency updates, followed by Q&A.


Sean Guzik is a licensed Professional Engineer in Illinois and a graduate of Webb Institute with a Bachelor’s degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering and the Illinois Institute of Technology with a Master’s degree in Construction Engineering and Management. He has 16 years of experience ranging from roadway and railroad bridge inspections, underwater diving, wastewater treatment plant construction, and roadway/bridge construction inspection. Sean has worked for the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) for the past 5 years, previously as a Construction Manager, and currently as the Quality Assurance Manager & Chief Materials Engineer.

Stephen Jones, P.E., District One Bureau Chief of Materials, Illinois Department of Transportation

Stephen graduated for The University of Oklahoma in 2002 with B.S. in Civil Engineering and is licensed in Illinois. Stephen has spent the majority of his 19 year career at IDOT in the Bureau of Materials; working as a field inspector, Area Mixtures Control Engineer in several counties, Mixtures Control Engineer, and most recently as Bureau Chief of Materials.


Cindy Williams joined the Illinois Tollway in March 2018 as Deputy Chief of Program Implementation. She brings with her 20 years of experience in construction and materials management. At the Tollway she is responsible for infrastructure asset management and materials engineering relative to design and construction. She joins the Tollway near the middle of its 15-year, $14 billion Move Illinois capital program and looks forward to the challenges ahead as she seeks to improve internal and external communication, identify vulnerabilities and evaluate opportunities for innovation.

Register in advance for this meeting:

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

If you would like a PDH for this meeting, you can request it by e-mailing [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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January Meeting Summary

Nick Popoff, Vice President of Product Performance and Technical Services at St. Mary’s Cement gave an outstanding presentation on the topic of Portland Limestone Cement. Portland Limestone Cement or PLC is an alternative to your typical type I/II Portland Cement with a 10% reduction in carbon emissions.  Nick discussed the topics of carbon reduction, how they achieve it and how it impacts the environment. He also spoke on current specifications and possible changes to specifications to increase the amount of limestone replacement to reduce the clinker used further reducing carbon emissions. Popoff presented on the field studies performed using PLC and the positive performance of PLC in typical common concrete mix design. The PCA has set aggressive targets for carbon reduction and carbon neutral products. Portland Limestone cement is the first step toward achieving those targets.

We thank Nick for taking the time to present this topic and answer questions from our group.

Please see the links below to view the presentation in depth on the ACI YouTube channel

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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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