Seeing the concrete industry get its fair share of work is a huge satisfaction for Jenne Imholte-Decker, the first female president of the International Grooving and Grinding Association (IGGA). Imholte-Decker has worked long and hard and is now a position that can impact the industry.
Imholte-Decker is not a newcomer to concrete; she grew up with it all around her. Her uncle was a co-founder of Progressive Contractors Inc. and her dad was their first foreman hired in 1971. She would spend time on the weekends with her Dad, either at the shop or riding around in his truck on a jobsite. “I remember when my Dad first explained to me what the segments were on the saw blades. He showed me all the sparkly little diamonds in the segments and I begged him to make me a ring! I laugh now because I understand it was not feasible,” said Imholte-Decker.
She worked for Progressive Contractors Inc. herself as a laborer for seven years. She has been with Simplex Construction Supplies, Inc. now for 12 years. She also serves on the advisory board for the Women in Concrete Alliance, an online network designed to connect women working in the concrete construction industry.
Along the way she’s seen a lot of changes in the industry. She explains, “What has amazed me is the technology. Bid letting used to mean everyone bringing computers to one city and printing out and bringing the bids to the contractors at their hotels. Now it’s all internet bidding.”
This industry just came naturally for her –from her upbringing to her mentors along the way. “I have been very fortunate in that many of my `teachers’ have been contractors. From the estimators to the field superintendents, I have learned a great deal from them. I believe I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for many of them. They have been my mentors. Yet I wouldn’t have even had a chance without Sarah Bazey, my employer. She gave me the opportunity when she hired me 12 years ago,” says Imholte-Decker.
Imholte-Decker was nominated to the board of directors as secretary in 2006 and served three years, and then she was nominated for vice-president in 2009. She never thought about being president, but instead was very diligent in doing her part as a member to find new avenues for the IGGA. “Becoming president wasn’t something I had set out to do. It really wasn’t until a few people started asking if I’d like to be president is when I started thinking about it,” said Imholte-Decker.
She is now working on maintaining and increasing IGGA membership while becoming more politically active. “The authorization of the six year Transportation Bill is very important to our infrastructure and I want to encourage and help ensure IGGA members earn their share of the work,” said Imholte-Decker. “We need to reach out to more state and county engineers and educate them about the long-term benefits of Concrete Pavement Rehabilitation. With increased participation through our membership, this can be achieved.”
She would also like to continue the vision that Lester Kuzmick began in 1972. He believed that the concrete rehabilitation industry could advance with collective interest of its members.”Here we are 38 years later and I think we are everything and more that Lester strived for. We will continue to grow with the support of our members, and we will continue to promote the benefits of concrete rehabilitation and pavement preservation.”
To achieve her goals she continues to follow three mottos that she encourages others to follow:
Since January 1 Imholte-Decker has looked at all the names of the past presidents of IGGA several times. She says, “My thought every time has been 'Wow, those are a lot of big shoes to fill'.” Her passion, hard work, and willingness to question will guide her to fill those shoes.
The International Grooving and Grinding Association (IGGA) is a non-profit trade association founded in 1972 by a group of dedicated industry professionals committed to the development of the diamond grinding and grooving process for surfaces constructed with Portland cement concrete and asphalt. In 1995, the IGGA joined in affiliation with the American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA) to represent its newly formed Concrete Pavement Restoration Division. The IGGA/ACPA CPR Division now serves as the technical resource and industry representative in the marketing of optimized pavement surfaces, concrete pavement restoration and pavement preservation around the world. The mission of the International Grooving and Grinding Association (IGGA) is to serve as the leading promotional and technical resource for acceptance and proper use of diamond grinding and grooving as well as Concrete Pavement Preservation (CPP) and restoration. For more information, visit www.igga.net.