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  • Writer's pictureKimberly Kayler

AOE has announced the launch of a fellowship in honor of Wendy Ward

Launched in conjunction with the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Foundation, AOE has announced the establishment of The Advancing Organizational Excellence Fellowship.

The AOE Fellowship honors Wendy O. Ward, a member of the AOE team for more than 10 years. She passed away at the early age of 32 from breast cancer. During her career, she was known throughout the concrete industry as a leading expert in helping organizations with their marketing and sales efforts. Ward wrote a column on those topics in several concrete magazines and she was a frequent public speaker. She was an advocate for broadening career opportunities in the concrete industry.

The ACI Foundation is one of AOE’s clients and over the last couple of years, the AOE board chose to re-invest profits back into the industry by donating more than $275,000 to the ACI Foundation, among other industry organizations. The impact of this support goes beyond the monetary contributions, as AOE has become a vital partner of ACI, the ACI Foundation and the concrete industry as a whole.

“Support from AOE has been essential throughout the work of the ACI Foundation and we are fortunate to have such a committed industry partner provoking significant and durable progress,” said Ann Masek, ACI Foundation Executive Director. “Thanks to the new AOE Fellowship, five of the industry’s top performing students will receive financial support to help them through college so they can focus solely on their studies with less financial stress. The students also become an integrated part of ACI by attending conventions and being immersed in ACI culture. The industries future and measure of success are clearer because of the significant and strong leadership of AOE.”

The fellowship is available to undergraduate or graduate students pursuing a degree as part of the Concrete Industry Management (CIM) program. First preference will be given to students interested in the sales/marketing, association management or the business side of the concrete industry. Designed to provide graduates with a broad array of initial opportunities within the concrete industry, the CIM program supplies the industry with future managers and leaders. CIM is a business intensive program providing solid management skills that are applicable in any industry but developed specifically for the concrete industry. An internship with AOE is optional.

“As a long-time supporter of both ACIF and the CIM program, AOE is excited to launch this fellowship,” said Kimberly Kayler, AOE President. “AOE is proud to re-invest back in the markets we serve and this fellowship is an example of supporting the future of our industry. The fellowship also allows us to pay tribute Wendy Ward, a true industry steward.”

CIM has been a long-time client of AOE. In addition to supporting CIM with their PR and marketing needs, AOE has edited and designed their annual report for more than 10 years and is instrumental with the marketing efforts for their primary fundraiser, an annual auction held every year at World of Concrete. In addition to this fellowship, AOE has regularly donated items to the CIM auction, as well as in-kind time above their consulting services.

"AOE has been a tremendous partner for the CIM program and the fellowship is an example of their commitment to the industry,” said CIM Marketing Committee Chairman Brian Gallagher. “The fellowship will help ensure students are able to continue their education and fulfill their dream of working in the concrete industry. To help us fulfill our mission of advancing the industry by degrees and to ensure we continue to develop the future leaders for the concrete industry, we count on leadership from organizations like AOE. We appreciate their ongoing support and leadership."

The ACI Foundation offers fellowship and scholarship opportunities to high-potential graduate and undergraduate students whose studies relate to the concrete industry.

ACI Foundation Fellowship awards are granted to high-potential undergraduate and graduate students who are studying engineering, construction management, or other related fields of study in the area of concrete. Fellowship applicants must be nominated by a faculty member who is also an ACI member to be considered for these awards. Recipients are eligible to apply and compete for these awards on a year-to-year basis, but must reapply each year, so long as they are still eligible. All fellowship awardees are required to submit a written report near the end of their fellowship award period that describes the value of the fellowship to their development and preparation for their chosen career after graduation. Fellowship recipients will receive the following:

  • $10,000 - $15,000 USD educational stipend for tuition, residence, books, and materials;

  • Appropriate recognition in Concrete International magazine and on the ACI Foundation website;

  • Paid travel expenses and attendance fees to two ACI conventions (fellowship finalists must attend the Spring ACI Convention to be interviewed where they have the option of being assigned a Convention Guide); and

  • Assistance in finding an industry mentor.

The AOE team makes its mark with its work throughout the concrete market, which creates a better industry for us all and a stronger ACI and ACI Foundation. To learn more about AOE visit or contact AOE President Kimberly Kayler at

The ACI Foundation was established in 1989 to promote progress, innovation, and collaboration and is a wholly owned and operated non-profit subsidiary of the American Concrete Institute. Three councils make up the ACI Foundation; the Strategic Development Council, committed to resolving the issues of new technology acceptance within the concrete industry; the Concrete Research Council, which funds and assists in the research of new concrete technologies; and the Scholarship Council which facilitates student fellowships and scholarships. To learn more about the ACI Foundation and its councils, visit



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