Change Agents

By David Smith, ICPI Technical Director

There are four things that change people: books read, people met, beauty and pain. Sometimes two, three, or four of these converge on a person’s experience at the same time, and that often accelerates changes, hopefully in a positive rather than a negative direction. What have you read that crystallized or changed your thinking, beliefs and behaviors? What people have you met that brought inspiration, direction, or just simple and salty advice that you followed? What beauty have you seen in other people or provided it to others, as well as seen it in nature or in the built environment? What pain has wounded or purged you? Many of these change agents arrive when we least expect them, or when we are expecting a particular outcome and it turns into something else, and often outside of our control.

A great part of the segmental concrete paving industry is it creates beauty, intentional or not. In the early 2000s, the Port of Oakland chose 5 million sf of interlocking concrete pavement because a shipper wanted a durable pavement that could accept any type of heavy container handling equipment. Heavy means over eight times the wheel loads of highway trucks. But when you stand in this ocean of pavers covered with shipping containers, it still whispers an industrial beauty.