tom-ralston-discussing-decorative-concrete-with-cabrillo-college-classI have been reflecting lately about teaching seminars for decorative concrete. I started doing seminars for Granite Rock at the show grounds in Watsonville California.  The Granite Rock demonstration focused on how to color, stamp and texture decorative concrete. This was in 1995.

I remember a few years later I was asked to do a bonifide seminar by the American Society of Concrete Contractors in Dallas Texas. For the first time I had to speak on a podium and then go out in the field and give a demonstration. This particular seminar was on techniques for Acid Staining Concrete and decorative saw cutting. As I watched another person give his talk I became more and more nervous looking out to the audience of approximately 50-people as I watched another person give his talk. I was supposed to do my presentation at 10:30 a.m. but the speaker before me was running over by about 40 minutes. Because of this run over on time my presentation was pushed to after lunch. 

As I sat waiting for my lunch to arrive my nervousness turned to anxiety. When the food showed up I couldn’t eat a thing, in fact I was actually fake eating so that people wouldn’t think there was something wrong. (I might have asked where was the hungry dog under the table was at that moment). When it was my turn to speak the nervousness lasted about 5-minutes. I even had a “quasi-heckler” in the audience and I was able to handle him fairly well. That was over 19 years ago. I’ve been teaching seminars for years.

tom-describes-the-luminescent-concrete-lumi-ballWhy do I love teaching seminars?

I do love teaching and sharing information. Having people that quest for knowledge like I do is exiting. It is a mutual passion and both student and teacher can feed off each other. I love sharing about my trials and tribulations in the world of decorative concrete and hope that my information is of value. I do think I am sharing valuable information.  I have made so many costly errors in every aspect of construction and try express that in my seminars and lectures. Knowing that I’ve helped someone see the art in concrete work is so rewarding to me.

Concrete is so versatile. I don’t think a lot of people see that. Hopefully my seminars and lectures will help them realize that they have a greater scope of what concrete can do to beautify a landscape, a hillside, a property, a commercial building. They could even add a glow with  a Lumi Lumi Concrete applications.

The real joy comes when I see someone that attended one of my seminars and they have done something really cool with what they learned. Or they come up to me and say they still remember my seminar and how it made a lasting impression on them.  I am proud and honored that I could be an inspiration to them.

chuck mornard-gary ransone-tom ralstonI will be teaching about my experiences for many years to come. The rewards are countless and it is a lot of fun to see my students enjoy themselves.

I also am on the Board for the Construction Energy and Management course taught at Cabrillo College and have been for seven years. Chuck Mornard is the Chairperson. This helps students find employment in the broad spectrum of opportunities available in the construction industry. The program also provides continuing education for those already employed in the construction industry.