Four Core Initiatives
The Foundation's four core initiatives drive investment in four program
areas. Three of these involve education and one involves research,
following simple investment philosophies to maximize effectiveness and
minimize overlap with other Industry education and research efforts.
Investment in each of the PCI Foundation's four program areas goes to
support the programs listed in each area. Several of these programs are
underway; the rest await your support.
Cultivate productive relationships
between the Industry and the academic community
- Scholastic Network - an association of academics interested in precast
concrete structures dedicated to continuously improving their working relationships with
the Industry. Members have distinct benefits:
Prepaid registration to PCI Annual Convention
Travel stipends for attending designated PCI events to select professors
Internet-based technical resources and discussion groups
Subscriptions to PCI Journal, Ascent magazine, and the Designer's Notebook series
Right to nominate students to Scholarship PCI program (see Support Students)
Access to custom Curriculum Resource Kits (see Create Curriculum)
Outreach to Universities currently not incorporating prestressed concrete in their curriculum
- Professors Symposium - an annual, fully-funded educational and
networking conference to foster inclusion of course material on precast concrete systems
- Precast Resource Library - a set of reference publications for a college
or university departmental library containing all major PCI publications relating to design
and engineering of precast structures, updated as new editions are published; also includes
annual supplies of subscriptions to PCI periodicals and PCI Design Handbook CDs for students.
Develop and attract high-potential students to
productive careers within the Industry
The PCI Foundation will familiarize students with precast concrete systems and the Industry
that develops and delivers them, and will identify and promote career paths within the
Industry. The following programs will be targeted to students having potential interest in
precast concrete systems.
Precast Online Library - a continually updated online resource for
technical information, design methodologies, and project summaries useful for classroom
or laboratory research.
Career LaunchPad - a coordinated program offering internships at
production and design facilities of PCI member firms, combined with access to
industry restricted postings of open positions.
Scholarship PCI - tuition stipends plus prepaid registration and
travel reimbursement for attending designated PCI events awarded to high-potential
students selected from nominees submitted by Scholastic Network members.
Industry Scholarship Fund - a special scholarship fund restricted
to dependants of current Industry employees.
Being a member of the Architectural Design Studio - experiencing
actual design of precast concrete structures.
Facilitate inclusion of precast concrete
systems and technologies in college and university curricula
The PCI Foundation will offer information, reference materials, activities, and expert
talent to colleges and universities, and will encourage and support professors
incorporating these resources into engineering and architectural curricula.
Architectural Design Studios - supplements to architectural curricula,
arranged with selected universities, offering students a laboratory for design
experimentation in the creative application of current precast design concepts in a
structured, intellectually rigorous setting offering three levels of instruction and
experience, from beginning students to graduate level.
Visiting Lecture Series - a coordinated program offering classroom
presentations and discussions by Industry experts to augment design and engineering
Precast Industry Field Trips - a coordinated program to provide
students with tours and presentations at PCI Producer Member plants and tours to
local precast structures.
Curriculum Resource Kits - specialized assemblies of information,
publications, references, and electronic resources, customized to support specific
engineering and architectural courses and curricula.
Foster the development of sustainable,
protective, and constructive precast concrete
Become a Better Way to Build
Precast concrete systems have unique advantages toward achieving today's societal
priorities. Architects, designers, government agencies, and the general public are
increasingly seeking an ideal structure that is:
Sustainable - designed and built in a way that considers regional,
global, and long-term impacts as well as local and near-term results, and that
utilizes materials and energy intelligently to ensure the availability of sufficient
resources to future generations. The recent rise in prominence of the US Green Building
Council's LEED rating system is one indicator of this trend. This means, among other
things, minimizing the non-renewable material and energy requirements of a structure over
its "world life" (spanning materials acquisition, processing, manufacturing, production,
construction, service, dismantlement, recycling/disposal). It also means maximizing the
service life of the structure, which reduces its average use of resources per year of world life.
Protective - designed and built to reduce risks to users and occupants,
as well as damage to the structure, from natural and man-made challenges (severe weather,
biodegradation, physical impact, noise, etc.). Enabling users and occupants of a structure
to feel, and actually be, safe and secure is a dimension of value that transcends
sustainability. This aspect of design and construction is gaining importance, particularly
in the wake of highly destructive hurricanes and tornadoes of recent years.
Constructible - designed and built to have predominantly positive physical,
environmental, and economic impacts in its community during its world life. This means,
among other things, construction with minimal traffic disruption, material handling, power
and water use, dust, fumes, noise, visual impact, and overall duration. It also means a
practical, beautiful structure that harmonizes with its environment and enhances its
community. The past decade has seen a renewed sensitivity to community values such as
economic and aesthetic impact. The PCI Foundation will facilitate the development of the
next generation of sustainable, protective, and constructive precast concrete systems and
the enabling technologies to make them practical and economical. This activity will fall
into three areas.
Improve Key Attributes - refine, improve, and/or foster greater awareness
of attributes inherent to precast concrete structures that support sustainable, protective,
and constructive building systems. These include, but are not limited to:
Structural fire resistance (interior, exterior)
Structural biodegradation resistance (humidity, pests, mold, rot, etc.)
Structural force resistance (wind, seismic, impact, blast, etc.)
Operational efficiency (materials and energy required to operate)
Maintenance economy (materials and energy required to maintain)
Manufacturing control (high-quality, high-precision)
Design flexibility (achievable configurations, shapes, surfaces, aesthetics)
Promote Functional Integration - promote greater integration of precast
concrete elements into the broader functional mission of the structure. Leading architects
and designers advocating sustainability have produced an impressive degree of functional
integration in their designs, but the art is still in its infancy. Precast concrete systems
offer the potential for design integration to a degree that is rare today. A few
Structural elements functioning as part of HVAC and energy management systems
Plant precision-glazed wall panels to meet stringent energy management requirements
Roofing systems designed to accommodate natural lighting and "green" roofs
Blast-resistant structures for military and government applications
Connection systems that allow economic dismantling and recycling of elements
Advance Total Design Integration - achieving sustainable, protective, and
constructive building systems will require total design integration. This will allow the
architect or designer to use systems that have previously been designed and engineered to be
integrated, rather than being limited to functionally integrating standard commercially
available components and systems, in creating sustainable designs. Realizing total design
integration will require unprecedented collaboration among industries within the design and
construction community, including development of new products and interface standards. The
PCI Foundation will facilitate this process.
Educational Investment Philosophy
Our educational investment philosophy is vertically integrated, beginning with the
desired end product continuing generations of talented architects, engineers, and
construction professionals to advance our Industry and tracing back to the source.
This leads us to college and university professors, their students, and their curricula.
It is, therefore, in these areas that the PCI Foundation makes its educational investment.
The ability to share information, to network, and to provide input to the curricula of
college students interested in entering a career in our Industry makes all the difference.
In the ensuing years, graduates will inevitably have a better understanding of our Industry
and be better suited to join it.
Academic Chair Council
Research Investment Philosophy
The principal research and development center for the precast concrete structures
Industry is, and will remain, PCI. However, certain types of projects may most
advantageously be handled outside PCI. In particular, the PCI Foundation is well
positioned to coordinate and/or fund research that meets any of three criteria:
Substantially benefits the built environment as a whole, not only the Industry;
Is able to attract significant funding from sources outside the Industry
Substantially involves products, systems, or technologies from other industries.