This Executive Update features the WAPA 2018 Annual Conference, including general session highlights and details on the technical sessions and award winners.

Overview and General Sessions

Downtown Madison was the place to be in late November for anyone involved in Wisconsin's asphalt industry. WAPA held its 59th annual conference just steps away from our state's capitol building at the Concourse Hotel. Our thanks to all exhibitors, sponsors, presenters, and attendees for making this event a success.

In particular, we'd like to express our gratitude again for the support from our exhibitors and sponsors, which grew yet again in 2018 as first-time exhibitors and sponsors joined veteran supporters. These contributions allow WAPA to secure an outstanding slate of presenters and speakers each year and to provide educational opportunities to all attendees -- from industry executives and front-line workers to academics and representatives of all levels of government.

The dialogue and networking that happens at the WAPA conference shows how healthy and connected we are as an asphalt industry. They are the reasons why the WAPA conference is the asphalt event of the year in Wisconsin.

General Sessions

As noted in the Full Conference Program, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings of the conference featured general sessions focused on policy, funding and government updates as well as innovation and technology. Presentations are on the 2018 Conference Page.

On Tuesday, Jerry Kaproth, NASCAR's Manager of Testing Logistics and Track Safety gave a lively presentation about how  NASCAR tracks are designed, constructed and maintained for friction and wear. Almost 95 percent of NASCAR tracks are paved with asphalt, and given the outstanding ride properties of asphalt, that comes as no surprise WAPA. 

Bill McCoshen with Capitol Consultants offered some great insights with an analysis of the 2018 election and what the outcomes mean for transportation funding. Discussion about the need for a sustainable funding source and long-term bipartisan solutions continued in conversations throughout the day.

On Wednesday, Mike Groh with Pavement Consulting i and Tim Murphy with Murphy Pavement Consulting had a dynamic dialogue about how to  properly design, construct and maintain commercial and industrial parking lots -- and important ways they differ from roadways. The Commercial and Industrial Parking Lot Training on January 9 and 10 in Minneapolis goes into this important topic in much more depth.

Mike Acott and Ester Magorka provided a National Asphalt Pavement Association update. As outgoing NAPA president, Acott reflected on his 40 years of industry experience with WAPA leaders of the past (Ned Bechthold, Chuck Mathy and Bob Kennedy, Sr., to name just a few), and we were proud to bestow on him WAPA's Distinguished Service Award "in recognition of exceptional leadership and devoted service to the asphalt industry." Acott received a well-deserved standing ovation from all in attendance.

Closing out our general sessions were a pair of federal updates. Mike Davies, FHWA Wisconsin Division Administrator, provided the latest on Trump regulatory reform and autonomous vehicles . In addition, Chris Wagner with FHWA's Resource Center outlined FHWA's Pavement Performance  Program and national guidance on performance testing.

We hope these presentations offered useful information and new insights to all attendees for the coming year.

Technical Sessions

During the conference, we offered six Technical Breakout Sessions over the course of three time slots. As in past years, WAPA was pleased to provide professional development hours to participants.

Building on the successful "back to basics" sessions that we debuted in 2017, we offered two of these sessions in 2018. These helped lay out fundamentals for individuals new to selected technical aspects of asphalt while providing a refresher and update for those with experience in the field.

All presentations are available on the 2018 Conference Page.

Perpetual Pavements
Dr. David Timm, Auburn University

Pavements subject to extreme loading conditions can require increased pavement thicknesses. With the requirement for thicker cross section pavements, heavy-duty pavements often are great candidates for employing a perpetual pavement or a long life pavement design. A perpetual pavement design solution can also provide an attractive solution for heavy-duty pavements due to the increased service life in critical corridors where user delay is costly.

Pavement Preservation
Deb Schwerman, WAPA

To ensure drivability and performance, aging infrastructure requires periodic maintenance and rehabilitation. Smart, effective, economic strategies for pavement preservation and maintenance exist, but have not always been deployed at the right time or manner. This session investigated different options available for maintaining asphalt pavements and why maintenance and rehabilitation are important for the industry.

Design and Construction
Mark Blow, Asphalt Institute

Accurate design and construction are essential to achieve desired pavement performance. This session highlighted proper thickness design, asphalt mix type, and binder selection. Construction best practices include tack coat application, longitudinal joints, and density.

Back to Basics: Paving
Kevin Jeske, Carlson Paving

Placing a smooth, uniform asphalt pavement begins with proper operation of the paving machine. This session highlighted the different parts of a paver, as well as paver set-up and operation, and how it all contributes to ensuring a pavement with a high level of drivability.

Back to Basics: Compaction
Tim Kowalski, Wirtgen Group

Compaction rollers are used to achieve the density a pavement needs to ensure performance and longevity, as well as to create a well-finished surface. This session discussed different types of rollers, their use, and how to determine proper compaction and coverage.

Ethics Training
Cindy Buchko, Construction Business Group

Back by popular demand, this session focused on the fundamental canons of professional conduct and other appropriate administrative rules and regulations. The discussion was designed to demonstrate a working knowledge of professional ethics and satisfy the requirement for "professional conduct and ethics".


Award Winners

The conference Awards Luncheon gave WAPA the opportunity to recognize leadership, innovation, and initiative in asphalt design and delivery.
We hope that the examples set by the award winners will continue to inspire all members of Wisconsin's asphalt community to continue to go above and beyond, delivering the best product and service year after year.

Innovation Awards

WAPA's Innovation Awards recognize technological advancements and innovations in asphalt pavements for three categories: State (WisDOT Region or Office), Local (City, County, Town, or Village), and Business (Commercial Business or Association).

Congratulations to the 2018 winners!
We will be using an open nomination form again in 2019. Check back next year for details.

WAPA Scholarships

Through special contributions from our member companies this year, WAPA was again able to grant four awards in our Student Scholarship Program for 2018. We thank our members for their generosity in making these awards possible.

Among many worthy college student applicants, WAPA recognized the following students who are excelling in their academic pursuit of a career in the transportation construction industry:
    $2,000 award each, for students in a four-year civil engineer or construction engineering program

    Mariah Ehmcke, University of Wisconsin-Platteville
    Michael Laes, Milwaukee School of Engineering
    $1,000 award each, for engineering technology students enrolled in a technical college

    Joseph Jarosz, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
    Luke Mroczenski, Mid-State Technical College

We are pleased to announce that we will again award student scholarships in fall of 2019. 

Environmental Leadership Awards

2018 marked the 19th year of WAPA's Environmental Leadership Award program. To earn this award, a permanent or portable asphalt plant must achieve the highest ratings in community and environmental excellence via a rigorous, independent inspection of their facilities.

Twenty plants won renewal awards this year, and one won a first-time award.

    American Asphalt of Wisconsin Plant 22 (Mosinee)
    American Asphalt of Wisconsin Plant 83 (Arnott)
    Monarch Paving Company Plant 5 (Amery)
    Monarch Paving Company Plant 46 (Hager City)
    Northeast Asphalt Control 55 (Burnett)
    Northeast Asphalt Control 56 (Ripon)
    Northeast Asphalt Control 63 (Larsen)
    Northeast Asphalt Control 64 (Menasha)
    Northeast Asphalt Control 65 (Green Bay)
    Payne & Dolan Control 1 (Sussex)
    Payne & Dolan Control 7 (Franklin)
    Payne & Dolan Control 8 (Cedar Lake)
    Payne & Dolan Control 12 (Muskego)
    Payne & Dolan Control 23 (Paris)
    Payne & Dolan Control 31 (Racine)

    American Asphalt of Wisconsin Plant 54
    American Asphalt of Wisconsin Plant 76
    D.L. Gasser Construction Plant 15
    Mathy Construction Company Plant 23
    Monarch Paving Company Plant 75

    Payne & Dolan Control 20 (Waukesha) 
The Environmental Leadership Awards would not be possible without the cooperation of the environmental compliance staff at our member companies: Jim Mertes and Chloe Soik with the Walbec Group; Tara Wetzel and Beth Stuhr with Mathy Construction; Lori Moen with Monarch Paving Company; Ryan Spies with Rock Road Companies.; John Traxler with D.L. Gasser Construction Company; and Matt Eslinger with American Asphalt of Wisconsin. We appreciate their help in scheduling plant inspections and making sure everything goes smoothly.

Finally, our thanks go out to Marty Burkholder, formerly with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, who worked with us to conduct the inspections. We were fortunate to have Marty on our team putting in this effort throughout this year.

 Please Save the Date, and See You in 2019!

We're off to the Milwaukee area for our 60th conference. Be sure to save the date:

WAPA's 60th Annual Conference and Business Meeting
December 3-4, 2019
Ingleside Hotel (formerly Country Springs Hotel)
Pewaukee, Wisconsin

Please look for more details on our website in summer and fall of next year.

On behalf of WAPA (Deb Schwerman and myself, our president Dustin Gradel, our board of directors, and all members), let me offer one final thanks to everyone and wish you all a safe and joyous holiday season and new year.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,