ICPI’S CERTIFICATION PROGRAM POSTS SIGNIFICANT GAINS

Background

The mission of the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute (ICPI), founded in 1993, is to increase the use of segmental concrete pavement systems throughout North America. To achieve this mission, ICPI provides an array of technical and marketing resources to its membership of concrete paver producers, contractors, suppliers, design professionals and consultants.

ICPI’s Level I Concrete Paver Installer Certification program is among the important services the organization offers to promote proper installation and advance industry guidelines. Experienced concrete paver installers must complete a two-day training session and pass an exam to earn certification. ICPI’s certification program began in 1996, and in the first two years 410 concrete paver installers participated in the program. In 1998, ICPI enlisted the support of Bostrom in strengthening the program and growing the number of certified installers.

Solutions for Success

Bostrom enhanced marketing and administrative aspects of ICPI’s Level I Concrete Paver Installer Certification Program. First, the program was marketed to all member manufacturing companies to sponsor courses in their local market area for their installer customers. Bostrom promoted this and developed 10 steps to hosting a certification course and telemarketed the benefits to member companies.

For certification to have worth in the marketplace, potential customers need to understand the value of hiring a certified concrete paver installer. Bostrom applied its marketing expertise by creating a fourcolor brochure that educates consumers on the benefits of having certified concrete paver installers construct their paver driveways, walkways, and
patios. These brochures reach the hands of thousands of consumers when contractors distribute them in the
bidding process.

With the application of new technology, Bostrom also introduced real-time posting of newly certified concrete paver installers on the ICPI web site and integrated it into the certified concrete paver installer database. This feature adds value to certification because those passing the certification exam immediately join ICPI’s online directory of certified concrete paver installers—a direct link to prospective customers. Once on the list, certified concrete paver installers continue to receive business leads and value from the program. Scantron technology replaced manual certification exam scoring and school evaluation, which resulted in more efficient and timely reporting of results.

Results

Bostrom’s partnership with ICPI has shown strong results. After starting with 410 certified concrete paver installers in the program’s first two years, the total number of Level I ICPI Certified Concrete Paver Installers will grow to more than 13,000 by June of 2007 with 3,200 certified at 114 schools in this fiscal year.

The program’s administrative costs per person have decreased, which made additional resources available for ICPI to invest in other programs for its members. ICPI introduced an advanced certification program on March 1, 2007, and the organization has also begun construction of an online education program.

Bostrom’s experience with ICPI demonstrates how information technology know-how and marketing expertise can leverage an organization’s program assets for expanded benefits to members and the public.