Herb Nordmeyer Education, Career Experience

Education

Starting in 1952, Herb Nordmeyer was home-schooled in chemistry and cement chemistry.

When Herb was 12-years-old, his father determined that he needed to learn to lay brick, so he could better develop mortar formulae. He learned the process and worked on several small jobs.

When Herb was 14-years-old, his father determined that he needed to be able to apply stucco if he was going to be developing stucco formulae (there was only 3-coat stucco at that time), so he learned the process and worked on several small jobs.

Even though he went on to earn degrees in biology, chemistry, and aquatic ecology, he considers his real education that home schooling. As a result, when working for corporate America he never displayed a diploma higher than his 8th grade diploma.

Work history

Short

After following a career track based on his formal education for a few years, he got back into the construction materials field. Over the years he has had such formal job titles as: assistant to the head of research and development, director of research, and product and technology manager, and has worked for Pozzolana, Inc., Rainbow Cement Co., Inc., Southwest Industrial Minerals, Inc., Best Masonry & Tool Supply, ISG Resources, Headwaters, Inc., and OldcastleAPG.

Since January, 2010, he and his wife own, and he operates, Nordmeyer, LLC, a consulting, writing, and publishing company. He is a partner in HerbCrete, LLC, a start-up company developing specialty stuccos.

Long

While with Pozzolana, Inc., Herb regularly ended up on 3-coat stucco and masonry jobs to check the progress. He used these occasions to learn new techniques from the crews and to pass on techniques he had learned at other job sites. He also was instrumental in developing a masonry cement which did not contain any Portland cement. The masons in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas loved the product, but masonry cement producers were able to get ASTM C 91 changed so his masonry cement would no longer meet the standard.

While with Rainbow Cement Company, Inc., he produced colored cements for use as mortar and for use as stucco topcoats. During that time, as a consultant, he developed a 3-coat stucco and a masonry cement for Best Masonry.

After putting the formulae into production, Best Masonry determined that they wanted him to work for them full-time (1993). The job involved refining formulae, developing additional formulae, teaching sales staff and customers how to properly use the products, and serving as a technical consultant to customers using the Best Masonry line of products. The customers included 3-coat stucco applicators, 1-coat stucco applicators, and masons. The technical consulting involved doing forensic work when a failure occurred on a job site. The work was confined to Texas and Georgia. An interesting sidelight is that periodically Best Masonry management would loan Herb out to a competitor to solve the competitor’s job-site problems. Best Masonry sales staff would follow behind to talk to the contractor about switching to Best Masonry since Best Masonry had the expert on their staff and the other company did not. During this time Herb became active in the stucco portion of ASTM Committee C 11.

Best Masonry was purchased by ISG Resources in 1999. Work continued as above with an expanded geographic base (all over much of the US) and with additional responsibilities concerning Adhered Concrete Masonry Veneer (basically a 3-coat system through the stucco scratch coat and then precast veneer attached with a bonding stucco). The loaning him out to solve the competitor’s problems continued, but the geographic area served was expanded.

ISG Resources was purchased by Headwaters, Inc., in about 2004. The work continued.

The stucco / mortar portion of Headwaters, Inc., was transferred to Oldcastle APG (architectural products group) in December 2007. The work continued. Laid off in January, 2010, when the R&D unit he was working for was eliminated due to the economic downturn.

In late 2009, in anticipation of the layoff, Herb formed Nordmeyer, LLC, with his wife. Nordmeyer, LLC’s consulting work concerns the correct way to use mortars and stuccos to prevent problems and provides forensic work to determine the cause of failures, and periodically Herb serves as an expert witness, mostly on 1-coat stucco cases.

Some of the projects he has worked on include:

  • Developed and taught AIA classes concerning mortars, stuccos, cement technology, and green construction;
  • Developed, implemented, and oversaw the QA/QC program for MagnaWall One-Coat Stucco;
  • Developed user-friendly, high-pozzolanic, mortars and stuccos that were the greenest in the industry;
  • Drafted ASTM standards for ACMV;
  • Operated a manufacturing plant to produce colored mortars and stuccos;
  • Provided technical customer support;
  • Provided forensic analysis for problem jobs;
  • Provided technical training to sales and technical staffs;
  • Provided applicator training to masons and plasterers so they could achieve consistent results;
  • Served on due diligence teams to determine whether a company should be acquired.

ASTM

Herb has been very active in ASTM, serving on:

  • Committee C 1 (Cements),
  • Committee C 11 (Gypsum and Related Products – including stucco),
  • Committee C 12 (Mortar for Unit Masonry),
  • Committee C 15 (Masonry Units), and
  • Committee C 27 (Precast Products).

Additionally, he had the honor of serving on the Board of Directors of ASTM Committee C 12 until he was term-limited out.

Publications

Books related to construction

Herb has published The Stucco Book–The Basics. This is the first of a three-volume series. Volume 2, which is currently being drafted, will deal with forensics and repairs, and Volume 3 will deal with creative stuccoing.

With Rick Garagliano, Director of Quality, Headwaters, Inc., Stone Division, he is co-author of the forthcoming book The Adhered Concrete Masonry Veneer Book(anticipated publication date of late 2014).

With a team from Haiti and engineers from the US, he is co-author of a forthcoming book on construction of earthquake-resistant homes in Haiti using modifications of the Haitian indigenous construction techniques.

 

Construction-related papers by Nordmeyer

High Pozzolan Mortars and Stuccos {14th International Symposium on Management and Use of Coal Combustion Products (CCPs), EPRI, Palo Alto, CA, 2001},

Acid Resistance of High Fly Ash Mortars and Stuccos {15th International Symposium on Management and Use of Coal Combustion Products (CCPs), EPRI, Palo Alto, CA, 2003},

High Pozzolan Mortars and Stuccos (Masonry: Opportunities for the 21st Century, STP 1432, ASTM, P.O. Box C700, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959, 2003},

Degradation of One-Coat Stucco By Well-Meaning Professionals {Walls and Ceilings Magazine, BNP Media, November 2005},

Degradation of One-Coat Stucco By Well-Meaning Professionals-A Further Look {Walls and Ceilings Magazine, BNP Media, February, 2006},

Water-Repellent Performance in Pozzolanic and Traditional Mortars (with Paul Taylor) {World of Coal Ash, 2007 Proceedings, American Coal Ash Associations, 15200 East Girard Ave, Suite 3050, Aurora, CO 50014, 2007},

Type S Masonry Mortars Modified with Liquid Water Repellent (with John H. Matthys) {TenthNorth American Masonry Conference. The Masonry Society, 3970 Broadway, Suite 201-D, Boulder, CO 80304, 2007},

Greening of Mortars with Pozzolans (with Keith Bargaheiser) {Eleventh Symposium on Masonry, STP 1496, ASTM, P.O. Box C700, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959, 2008},

Variations in the Activity of Dry-Powder Water-Repellent Mortar Admixtures with Different Mortar Formulae (with Pam Hall) {Eleventh Symposium on Masonry, STP 1496, ASTM, P.O. Box C700, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959, 2008}.

Non-construction publications by Nordmeyer

Animals I Have Hated is a collection of true animal stories with life lessons.

Grandpa, Help! Answers to Questions a Young Lady Would Never Ask Her Parents is the first of a series of books he is writing with several of his granddaughters.

Herb co-authored Grandpa Helps Grandparents with his granddaughter, Sylvia Scheid. This book provides guidance to help grandparents build strong bonds with their grandchildren.

Herb served on the devotion writing team of his church for 15 years, and numerous of the devotions he wrote were published.

With his wife Herb wrote Living with Cancer – That Intense Houseguest. It is available as a free ebook from www.smashwords.com. Search for Nordmeyer.

Speaking

In the past, Herb has been a speaker at World of Concrete and the Concrete Décor Show. He is scheduled to give two presentations at the 2014 Concrete Décor Show.

Haiti

When the President of the Lutheran Church of Haiti read The Stucco Book, he determined that Herb was needed in Haiti. After turning down the opportunity to move to Haiti for 10 years, he agreed to make 4 trips to Haiti each year to teach concrete technology and earthquake-resistant residential construction as long as his health and finances held up. If you are interested in learning more about this work, or to support it, feel free to contact Herb at HerbNordmeyer at gmail.com.

Other Notes

Herb is a leading stucco authority and has been published regularly in trade journals and ASTM publications. As a result, he is in demand as a speaker, an educator, an on-site consultant to solve construction issues, and an expert witness. Besides being admired for his knowledge, integrity, and candor, he is also known for a dry wit that is honed as sharply as is his mastery of the stucco industry.

Herb is an experienced wilderness kayak guide and a certified kayak instructor. He has been accused of using the same style in his classes as on wilderness expeditions—that of a loving grandfather teaching his beloved 16-year-old grandchild.

He uses this style, even when his students are older than he is. Herb leads at least two nature kayaking trips per month. Some of those trips take 4 to 6 hours, and some require several days of primitive camping. Herb lives in Castroville, Texas, with his wife Judy and the occasional stray cat or guinea fowl.

Since “retiring,” he divides his time between being a grandfather, consulting, serving as technical manager for HerbCrete, LLC, writing, and working with contractors in Haiti to produce disaster