Chuck Taylor, Commercial Hardscape Advisor
Chuck Taylor, Commercial Hardscape Advisor, Oldcastle, Dayton, OH
What advice would you offer the next generation looking to follow in your footsteps?
About 30 years ago, I was just starting out in this industry and I had a friend ask me why I’d chosen to get into this field. I told him that it seemed to be an excellent industry for young people because it was still growing, and it had huge potential.
Now, when I’m not so young anymore, I can still say the same thing. I believe that this industry offers a great opportunity to build a future, not just for yourself but also for your family. My sons are in the business, and my nephew, and I expect the generation after them will also consider being in this business because that opportunity for growth still remains.
In addition to making a living and being in a solid industry that’s on a growth track, I’d tell anyone looking to follow in my footsteps to remember that this is a field that can make you proud. I know that I’m proud to be involved in it. When I started, my mission wasn’t just finding a career, I wanted to make a difference in the world, and I feel like I’ve done that. I’m still doing that. This is a way to address storm water management, and create more sustainable systems that are important for clean water. I look forward to seeing the impact of the next generation.
We are all aware of the widespread use of segmental pavements in Europe compared to North America, understanding that there are centuries of tradition behind this widespread use. What do you think will accelerate acceptance here in North America?
Well, the European culture has definitely had a head start, since they have so many roads built with stone. If you look at a place like Holland, with its high water tables, they use segmental pavers that can be moved every 10 years. In general, Europe just tends to be more sustainable in their thinking. I don’t think we’ve embraced pavers as a utility here the way they do in Europe, to many people here, pavers feel more like an accessory.
Another challenge is that asphalt here has always been popular because it’s cheap, but the problem is that it’s expensive to maintain. We just haven’t had the level of educational awareness needed here, but people are beginning to recognize that sustainability is an issue.
How as ICPI helped to accelerate the acceptance and use of concrete pavers?
I think ICPI has endeavored to be the voice for the industry, and they’ve provided research and technical papers that have advanced the industry. That’s important because we need a third party that’s not biased — it’s not like speaking to a manufacturer and hearing them talk about why their product is superior or necessary. ICPI has provided a format to teach contractors, and has developed programs specifically for residential and commercial markets.
What trends have you seen in the past few years that could contribute to the increased use of concrete pavers in North America?
I think stormwater management is going to be important, because we have the right system for that, and you’re seeing more municipalities making that a priority. I think the growth of our industry will be in that arena. Also, ports will be an area for expansion, like the Panama Canal. We should also see growth in the residential market. All of these are factors that builders and developers need to look at for new opportunities.