September 30, 2023
Jeff Girard entered the world of concrete back in 1999, driven by a simple desire to craft concrete countertops for his kitchen. At the time, concrete was merely a utilitarian material to Jeff, an engineer by profession. However, a pivotal moment occurred when he stumbled upon an article featuring Buddy Rhodes, revealing the artistic potential hidden within concrete. Inspired by the sheer beauty it could achieve, Jeff’s perspective was transformed.
With the precision of an engineer, Jeff delved into the intricacies of concrete. He meticulously crafted a spreadsheet to decipher the ideal concrete mix and the appropriate reinforcement. After eight months of dedication, he crafted his very first concrete countertops. Shortly after, Jeff founded his own company and secured his inaugural customer.
Over the course of more than two decades, Jeff has worn multiple hats within the industry—artisan, educator, consultant, engineer, and product developer.
Today, his focus centers on product development and consultation, coupled with teaching CCI classes. His aim is to elevate the skills and concrete quality of artisans across the industry. Jeff has enigneered several concrete products, with more innovations in the pipeline. Each product undergoes rigorous testing, encompassing all aspects, from user experience to strength. Regarding his approach, Jeff emphasizes, “Hard data prevails over anecdotal evidence, rigorous testing surpasses casual experience, and understanding ‘why’ takes precedence over blindly following a recipe or fleeting trends.”
Throughout his career as an instructor and product developer, Jeff’s ultimate objective is to furnish his students with a robust technical foundation, business guidance, and access to top-tier products, enabling them to embrace their creativity and realize their concrete ambitions.
Caleb Lawson plunged headlong into the world of concrete in 2012, devoid of prior experience in the material or the construction industry as a whole. Despite encountering challenging setbacks and daunting failures, Caleb sought guidance from industry luminary, Jeff Girard, and dramatically altered the course of his business trajectory.
Over the past decade, Caleb’s business has flourished and he has earned a reputation for tackling formidable challenges head-on. Caleb’s passion lies in bringing his clients’ visions to life, demanding nothing short of the highest quality and authenticity in his artistic endeavors.
Caleb also partners with Jeff as an instructor at The Concrete Countertop Institute, hosting classes at his studio in the mountains of Western North Carolina. His dedication to teaching stems from a desire to empower emerging artisans within the concrete community.
Caleb has also assumed an ownership role at The Concrete Countertop Institute, where his primary focus lies in overseeing the business aspects of CCI, directing marketing efforts, and spearheading forward-thinking initiatives that align with their mission of fostering student success.
In his pursuit of artistic excellence, Caleb engages in daily projects, both commercial and residential, at a substantial scale. His work serves as a testament to the credibility and value of CCI. Beyond his artisanal endeavors, Caleb actively nurtures alumni relationships, engages with the community, and imparts knowledge through teaching classes. He actively collaborates with Jeff in product development, rigorously testing products for secondary validation and formulating real-world protocols for artisan studios. Additionally, he takes charge of planning and executing CCI classes in collaboration with the skilled CCI administrative team.
Together, Jeff and Caleb lead the Concrete Countertop Institute, an organization dedicated to equipping artisans with the knowledge, skills, tools, and support system necessary to run thriving businesses within the niche decorative concrete industry.
To become part of The Concrete Countertop Institute family and enhance your expertise in the concrete industry, seize the opportunity to enroll in one of the final two classes of the year by Clicking Here while spots remain!