Even in the midst of a political and economic crisis, Brazilians want to learn about concrete. Last week, Rick Yelton and I presented a series of talks in Sao Paulo to 50 Brazilians, mostly engineers, at the Sobratema Summit and Construction Expo. Luckily we had great translators because my Portuguese is poor (as in, nonexistent).

Concrete is everywhere in Brazil, but the quality of the construction varies widely. Next to my hotel was a concrete frame under construction with some very shaky looking concrete masonry infill. But one street over was a beautiful concrete high-rise. And, walking around the neighborhood, I just happened across a decorative concrete driveway with a gray brick and board pattern that was very nice--with a few minor flaws.

The audience was interested in the newest innovations in the U.S. such as maturity methods, precast concrete pavements, moisture in concrete, and self-consolidating concrete. They are looking ahead to better times and want to be prepared when they arrive. Everyone all over the world is an optimist at heart!