Essentials Training with Cheng Concrete | Concrete Exchange

Nationwide Expansion

CHENG Concrete Training Academy Announces New CHENG Center of Excellence – Lincoln, Rhode Island

Training Facilities Expanded to Accommodate Fast-Growing Demand for Concrete Countertop Training

BERKELEY, CA (February 24, 2009) — In response to the increasing demand for concrete countertop education developed by world-renowned author and designer Fu-Tung Cheng, the CHENG Concrete Training Academy is pleased to announce the opening of its latest training location, the CHENG Center of Excellence at custom concrete maker Livingstone Studios in Lincoln, Rhode Island.

Livingstone Studios, headed by CHENG -certified artisan and former CHENG Concrete instructor Justin Hawkins, joins three other nationwide locations including Amelia Concrete Fusion in Atlanta, Surface Studios in Des Moines, and the headquarter location CHENG Concrete Training Academy in Berkeley, CA.

Hawkins’ well-equipped northeast region training facility will offer the curriculum developed and made famous by Fu-Tung Cheng and his team of concrete professionals of which Hawkins was an original member. The first workshop, Concrete Countertop Essentials, a one-day seminar imparting the basics of concrete countertop design and education, took place on February 21st. Training techniques taught included countertop design, mold-making, mixing, pouring, grinding, and finishing.

Hawkins apprenticed under the master designer/creator/author Fu-Tung Cheng. With Cheng, Hawkins worked as a countertop artisan and led the product development team. He was instrumental in developing the CHENG Pro-Formula Mix, the original concrete countertop product line, as well as fostering the Concrete Exchange; a global network of concrete craftsmen. In addition, Justin trained hundreds of professionals from all over the country in the art of concrete countertop making. Justin was handpicked by Fu-Tung to lead the fourth national training facility bearing the Cheng name.

“I have the utmost faith in Justin’s ability to carry-on the Cheng aesthetic to this brand-new and growing audience,” said Cheng. “Justin’s skill is apparent, and as one of the few individuals bearing the status of CHENG-Certified, his involvement ensures the quality and methodology long-associated with the CHENG Concrete Training Academy. I am both proud and excited to be affiliated and working with Justin on this venture.”

Hawkins’ northeastern facility at 85 Industrial Circle in Lincoln, RI will cater to aspiring concrete craftspeople in the New England area. “It is fun to share with people and see the excitement they get when they realize that this is something that they really can do. This confidence is something you can’t get from a book, it can only be experienced through hands-on training. I also really enjoy meeting and working with people of all backgrounds. Everybody brings something different to the table, and I feel that I learn as much from them as they do from me,” says Hawkins.

The Concrete Countertop Essentials Workshop provides both professionals and do-it-yourselfers education in the fundamentals of designing and creating concrete countertops. Furthermore, detailed education in the Cheng design philosophy, as well as craftsmanship and construction techniques are emphasized.

“The concrete countertop industry is thriving. It has huge potential, not only from a professional business perspective, but also within the DIY market, where creating concrete countertops is a huge trend,” said Mike Heidebrink, President of CHENG Concrete. “There is no question the Concrete Countertop Essentials Workshop will provide any attendee the tools necessary to get started in the concrete industry. The information offered is second-to-none in terms of interest and relevance for anyone looking to learn a new skill and get busy getting creative with concrete.”

Enrollment for The Concrete Countertop Essentials Workshop is now open. For additional information on this program, scheduling, other 1-day Concrete Countertop Essentials Workshop locations, and other Training Seminars, please visit, call 800.877.6052 ext. 217, or email

About Justin Hawkins and Livingstone Studios

Justin Hawkins is a CHENG Certified Concrete Craftsman and fabricator of custom concrete products. Hawkins began his career as a graphic designer with a degree in Multimedia. Tired of sitting behind a desk and wanting to use his hands, he experimented with metal and junk sculpture. When his graphic design client closed business, he seized the opportunity to change career paths and combine his design experience with his love of hands-on creation.

Justin answered an ad by CHENG Concrete for a fabricator. He says, “I only had limited experience with concrete, basically pouring a concrete sidewalk.” However, CHENG Concrete was impressed with his unique combination of design talent and hands-on skills, two important success factors in concrete countertop fabrication.

For four years, Hawkins mastered the art of concrete countertop fabrication under Fu-Tung Cheng’s direction. Justin was also a leader in the research and development arm, helping create the very products available today, and quickly rose to become the lead instructor at CHENG Concrete. He has also shared his knowledge with hundreds of aspiring concrete professionals from all over the country.

With a yearning to return homeward to the East Coast, Justin found himself on a cross-country roadtrip with stops along the way at various individuals whom Justin trained at CHENG Concrete. He decided that concrete was in his blood and he needed to start his own concrete studio at home in Rhode Island.

Justin founded Livingstone Studios, a company dedicated to handcrafted concrete. Versatile in nature, they specialize in anything from custom concrete countertops, sinks and vanities, to furniture, and environmental living applications. Livingstone Studios works with designers, interior decorators, builders and homeowners to create a functional living space while capturing the soulful essence of the concrete material.

Livingstone Studios has been recognized by world-renowned designer Fu-Tung Cheng with two Merit Awards in the fourth annual Members’ Circle of Distinction Design Challenge at the 2008 World of Concrete in Las Vegas, Nevada, as well as an Honors Award in 2007. He was critical to the curriculum development and instruction of training at the CHENG Concrete Training Academy in Berkeley, CA, including the 1-day Concrete Countertop Essentials and Advanced Concrete Countertop Design Training, as well as achieved the status of a CHENG Certified Concrete Craftsman through his subsequent work with Livingstone Studios.

For more information about Justin Hawkins and Livingstone Studios, home of the new CHENG Concrete Center of Excellence, or to register for any of their CHENG Concrete Workshops, please visit or contact Justin Hawkins at (401)487-7775.

About CHENG Concrete and the CHENG Concrete Exchange

Best-selling author and award-winning designer Fu-Tung Cheng’s deep appreciation and passion for concrete is the impetus behind CHENG Concrete – a specialized online channel dedicated to all topics, products and information related to concrete as a finish material and based on more than 25 years of design, fabrication, and inspiration.

CHENG Concrete is the single, leading resource for concrete countertop design, products, and training. Geared for the professional contractor, architect, designer and or the typical DIY-er, CHENG Concrete offers a bevy of knowledge, complete instruction and products for individuals to craft their own concrete countertops. The CHENG Concrete Countertop Product Line includes a proprietary mix, tools, accessories and instructional products, including books and DVDs.

Through the CHENG Concrete Training Academy, an education program that offers hands-on workshops and programs across the country, CHENG Concrete shares the techniques and design principles in Cheng’s innovative concrete work. CHENG Concrete has trained nearly 2,500 students in workshops ranging from introductory courses in concrete countertops to advanced training in glass fiber-reinforced concrete, fireplaces, counters and walls. CHENG Concrete features a directory of hundreds of concrete contractors across the country offering homeowners a resource for Cheng-trained local contractors.

CHENG Concrete educational tools include a series of Cheng-authored bestselling books published by Taunton Press (Fine Homebuilding, Fine Woodworking). Cheng’s first books, Concrete Countertops and Concrete at Home have sold more than 200,000 copies. His new for 2009 book and DVD set, Concrete Countertops Made Simple is based on his introductory workshops for hundreds of contractors and homeowners and shares his vision for the broad, creative appeal of hands-on design and the “green” low-carbon footprint benefits of having local craftspeople and homeowners use locally quarried materials to create low-cost products for their homes. The book and DVD provide step-by-step instruction for anyone wishing to use their creative skills to easily and inexpensively craft their own concrete countertop, a locally-made and sourced green DIY product.

For more information about CHENG Concrete, CHENG Concrete Countertop Products, and the CHENG Concrete Training Academy please visit