Irving Materials, Inc. (imi) has been delivering quality concrete throughout the midwestern and southern U.S. for almost 75 years. Other than the quality and reliability of its concrete, imi’s innovative approach to adopting new technologies sets it apart from the competition.
In a recent article, we shared how imi tested one of the industry’s newest innovations, CarbonCure, before rolling it out to 48 of its concrete plants. This follow-up article describes how imi launched sustainable concrete in its markets and the success it is experiencing with it to date.
Taking the Pulse on the Sustainability Market
Following the testing and internal buy-in processes, the imi team turned its focus outwards and conducted a market blitz to spread the word about its new sustainable concrete mixes.
“On a typical day, we targeted the design community for half the day, visiting architects and engineers, and targeted general contractors for the second half,” said Jeff McPherson, Vice President of Customer Development. “This process really opened up imi’s eyes to the appetite for sustainable concrete solutions.”
The market—the design community, contractors, and developers—loved the solutions. As long as they got the same quality concrete and it didn't compromise any of the structural features or greatly impact cost, they were all in. According to Jeff, “It was a home run. We started to get a lot of momentum and expanded our installations at this point.”
Spreading the Sustainability Message
As momentum continued, imi began attending industry events and trade shows. They realized that there was an appetite among the general public for stories like theirs. imi began to gain a lot of positive attention for its environmental and community-centric message.
“My daughter heard about the CarbonCure project over dinner one day and asked me to visit her high school to present to the class. I didn’t realize how big of a focus sustainability was in schools and among young people in general,” said Darrin Litteral, Quality Control Manager at imi. “It really demonstrates how the younger generation that’s entering the workforce puts value on sustainable products.”
Some time later, imi was approached by Gates Notes—Bill Gates’ blog—about doing a piece on CarbonCure. Bob Haldrup, a senior VP at imi was interviewed for a three-minute video that was shared on the blog to 48 million followers around the world.
“It was a great marketing piece for us,” said Jeff. “It really made us feel like we’re doing the right thing. It was a very humbling experience.”
Winning New Business with Sustainable Concrete
According to Jeff, imi’s customers were proud to be associated with CarbonCure—imi even won new business solely because of its sustainable offering.
“We visited FA Wilhelm as part of our market blitz around the time they were completing an RFI for Indiana University Purdue University,” recalled Jeff. “The next day, the University called FA Wilhelm and said if they could get CarbonCure, this project was theirs.”
The project involved 6,000 cubic yards of concrete. CarbonCure helped save 180,000 pounds of CO2—the equivalent of 106 acres of trees absorbing CO2 for a year.
Total Impact of CarbonCure at imi
Today, imi has implemented CarbonCure at 48 plants and has produced over 574,000 cubic yards of concrete or over 71,000 truck loads. And the demand keeps growing. According to Jeff, imi has delivered 21,000 truckloads in the past two months alone.
To date, imi has saved 6900 tonnes of CO2 which is the equivalent of 8,145 acres of trees absorbing CO2 for a year.
Advice from imi: Keep It Simple and Just Do It
Since imi was an early adopter of the CarbonCure Technology, it went through a long process of testing, gaining internal buy-in, pitching to customers, and creating demand. Today they’re reaping the benefits.
According to Jeff, the most important step was the internal buy-in process. Once that’s secured, it’s a lot easier to gain momentum in the market.
“My advice is to keep it simple, don't overthink it, and just do it,” said Jeff. “You'll maintain the quality product that you're sending out every day to your customers while doing the right thing for your communities.”
If you have any other questions, connect with a CarbonCure rep at +1 (902) 442-4020 or firstname.lastname@example.org.