A Conversation with Brian Mintz, Phoscrete Corporation
By Lorella Angelini, Angelini Consulting Services, LLC
Brian Mintz, the General Manager for Phoscrete Corp. based in Deerfield Beach, FL, and operating in North America, is very passionate about bridge preservation both personally and professionally.
Bridge preservation is in fact the focal business of Phoscrete Corp.
Brian participates in the life of TSP2. He chairs the He chairs the Innovative Technology Demonstrations (ITD) National TSP2 Working Group and is industry vice-chair of the Southeast Bridge Preservation Partnership (SEBPP). Brian is also a voting member of International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI) Materials and Methods Committee.
Could you speak of the path that brought you to be the General Manager of Phoscrete Corporation?
I have a long history. In 2003 I began working as Marketing and Communications Director for Stellar Materials, then the parent company of Phoscrete. Because our VP Engineering was native German, I edited his technical documents prior to publication. I learned a great deal about our phosphate-bonded technology. In 2009 I was promoted to Vice President of Business Development for the Phoscrete product line. In 2011 Phoscrete Corporation spun off from Stellar and a few years later, in 2015, the original founder and patent-holder, Jean Tremblay, and I acquired Phoscrete. Unfortunately Jean passed away in 2017. I am now the General Manager of Phoscrete Corporation.
What are your core values as the leader of Phoscrete?
Integrity first. Sometimes we decline projects where Phoscrete is not the best fit.
At Phoscrete we strive to understand both objectives and obstacles facing our customers, distributors, and strategic partners. For me success is when everyone wins.
Phoscrete Corp. offers the Magnesium Alumino Liquid Phosphate (MALP) technology for fast setting concrete repairs. Can you briefly describe this innovative technology, its advantages, and its limitations?
Due to its properties, MALP can solve a number of problems that occur in the repair and maintenance of concrete bridges. That’s why we ask a lot of questions to understand what is important to each customer. Here are the main advantages and limitations.
Phoscrete is a next-generation mag-phos repair mortar that does not use ammonia and does not out-gas. Instead of water we combine our pre-measured dry mix and a liquid phosphate activator.
Phoscrete created MALP formulations for Horizontal/Castable (Pour), Vertical/Overhead (Patch) and Shotcrete/Gunite (Spray) applications. . Repairs are durable and long lasting since Phoscrete bonds strong, both chemically and mechanically, to the concrete substrate, and to itself with no cold joints.
Phoscrete products are fast setting and have high early strength gain. Phoscrete repairs typically allow traffic-reopening as soon as 30 minutes following placement.
Phoscrete products stop steel bar corrosion on contact and protect against the halo effect. Our products also contain fibers for increased ductility.
Phoscrete is an excellent expansion joint header material that accepts joint seals in the same lane closure.
Phoscrete is easy to mix and apply. It can be used even in sub-freezing temperatures due to the availability of a specially designed fast-set admixture.
Like every other technology, Phoscrete has its limitations. Jugs of the Liquid Activator must be chilled to work in hot temperatures. Saturated Surface Drysurfaces require using of a scrub coat or a torch to evaporate surface moisture prior to installation. Installation crews must be able to adjust to the short working time of Phoscrete products.
What challenges has Phoscrete encountered in promoting MALP technology for bridge preservation?
The QPL process is time-consuming, expensive and different from state-to-state. Nevertheless our newest product, Phoscrete HC, was introduced in 2015 and four years later, we are approved in the QPL of 25 US states.
Some States pose upfront restrictions, such as only accepting Portland cement-based repair materials and requiring water-mixes. Other States exclude mag-phos materials due to the out-gassing of older mag-based technologies. Convincing these DOT Materials Labs of the advantages of MALP requires patience and perseverance. Luckily, we have ten-year performance history with DOTs, and many advocates of our technology.
Do you have any advice in order to overcome these challenges? Are there any solutions you would you like to recommend?
Standardized national or regional QPL specifications would be great. NTPEP offers standardized testing, but not standardized specifications.
You are the chair of the Innovation Technology Demonstrations (ITD) TSP2 National Working Group. How did the idea for this Working Group originate?
Our former northeast rep ideated and launched a similar program with the pavement group. It was called Technology Transfer Initiative (TTI). Its concept was to expose innovative products, processes, and services to interested parties, with independent oversight and knowledge sharing. The goal was to find a faster way to bring innovative products and services to come to market.
The ITD Working Group started from the TTI concept and expanded it to bridge preservation.
What has the Working Group achieved so far?
We completed the pilot program using MALP technology. It was a bit slow at the start but we learned a lot of lessons along the way.
Starting this year, we transformed our monthly call into an actual working meeting where everyone dedicates time to collaboration and the creation of documents and processes.
We expanded our Working Group team gathering representatives from manufacturers, consultants, academia, DOTs, in addition to TSP2. We have a truly excellent team.
What are the 2019 goals for the ITD Working Group? And what are its long-term goals?
In the first quarter we completed the ITD Guidelines and Application Form for manufacturers to participate in the program. We already have one company, Jet Filters Application, that submitted the application and three other companies that plan to be participate in the ITD program with their technologies.
Our goal for 2019 is to fine tune the process so it becomes a well-oiled, running machine by 2020. Also by 2020 we count to have presentations of ITD technologies uploaded on the TSP2 website. We are planning to give these presentations at the monthly calls and at the annual Meetings of the four Regional Partnerships.
You have been participating in TSP2 Bridge Partnership National and Regional Meetings for several years. Has your company benefitted from the participation in these Meetings? If so, how?
Absolutely Phoscrete has benefited! 2019 marks our 10th year as a National Member. I made many great professional contacts and personal friends through TSP2. Phoscrete has absolutely benefited from participating in the TSP2 National and Regional Meetings. The year 2019 marks our 10th year as a National Member.
Our success in the DOT marketspace is due in a large part to the introductions at these meetings. We developed mutually profitable strategic partnerships with other suppliers. We hired sales people and manufacturer reps with experience in our industry thanks to TSP2.
TSP2 National Working Groups, including ITD (Innovative Technology Demonstrations)