This executive Update features the WAPA 2020 Virtual Conference, including highlights from the live presentations and details on the pre-recorded technical sessions and award winners.
Overview and Live Presentations
WAPA's 61st Annual Conference was a watershed event.

First, it marked our first-ever virtual program and proved that while we may always prefer to see each other in-person, we can quickly pivot in the interest of safety and still offer a high-quality and valuable experience for our members.

Second, with a mix of live and pre-recorded sessions we were able to provide our content with an added benefit: flexibility. Each day, hundreds of people signed on to attend our live programming, but were able to view our recorded technical sessions at their own convenience. The result is that, for the first time ever, attendees can experience all of the content our conference has to offer, and earn up to 8 Professional Development Hours for doing so. Be sure to download the PDF Certificate and claim your credit.

Finally, we were able to offer our conference at no cost to our attendees, thanks to the support of our generous sponsors.

Thank you to all of our attendees, presenters and sponsors for making this such a successful event -- we could not have accomplished this feat without you.

Live Presentations

During our three-day conference we offered daily hour-long presentations from industry leaders. These are available to view on the 2020 Conference Page and can be viewed at your convenience until the end of the calendar year.
On Tuesday, December 1 we kicked off with a welcome message from WAPA President Mike Byrnes, followed by a presentation from Wisconsin DOT Secretary Craig Thompson on developments in his Department. We finished the live portion with the Awards and Scholarship presentation, which you can read more about below.
On Wednesday, December 2 we welcomed back Anirban Basu of the Sage Policy Group for a discussion of the construction industry's economic outlook after COVID-19. For those who attended our 2017 conference you'll remember Mr. Basu, whose presentations are consistently insightful and engaging.
Our conference concluded on Thursday, December 3, with a look at transportation funding and how the recent election may have affected our industry's financial prospects. Panelists Bill McCoshen of Capitol Consultants, and Ashley Jackson and Jay Hansen, both of the National Asphalt Pavement Association, joined us for this informative discussion.
Pre-Recorded Technical Sessions
Following each day's live presentation we unveiled pre-recorded content, for a total of seven technical sessions over the course of the three day-conference.

Like the live sessions, these are all posted on the 2020 Conference Page and can be viewed until the end of the calendar year.

WisDOT Asphalt Technical Update
WisDOT Bureau of Technical Services: Steve Hefel, Richard Barden, Jeff Anderson, Matt Andreini, Dan Kopacz, Erik Lyngdal, Albert Kilger

In collaboration with industry representatives, WisDOT develops best practices to ensure pavement performance by specification revisions and implementing innovations through research and partnerships. In this session, there will be an emphasis on continued communication with stakeholders to improve the quality of asphalt pavements to deliver a quality transportation system that is essential for public safety and economic prosperity.

Pavement Management
Debbie Schwerman, WAPA Engineering Director

In this session, WAPA Engineering Director Debbie Schwerman discusses the essentials needed to develop a pavement and asset management system for our roadways. Utilizing the PASER rating system of pavement conditions, we will discuss different maintenance, preservation, overlay, and rehabilitation options that are available and the timeliness of when they should be considered.

Back to Basics: Forensics
Buzz Powell, National Center for Asphalt Technology

A successful overlay starts with identifying and correcting deficiencies in the existing pavement surface and structure. This session demonstrates how to recognize different types and severities of pavement distresses through the use of the LTPP distress identification manual, as well as explain how to conduct pavement forensic analyses to determine why pavement distresses have occurred so they can be corrected.

Back to Basics: Tack Coats
Jim Musselman, National Center for Asphalt Technology

A strong layered pavement system owes much to the bond between layers, and a good tack coat allows two independent pavement layers to act as a single unit. This session outlines what materials are available for tack coats, as well as how to recognize and avoid common distresses and problems associated with improper tacking. Participants will also learn how to differentiate between acceptable and poor tack coats.

Back to Basics: Communication on Projects
Tim Murphy, Murphy Pavement Technology

Ensuring good communication, coordination, and cooperation occurs throughout building an asphalt project is key to your financial success and the long-term performance of the asphalt installation. This session is an open and honest discussion on how to get the most out of yourself and your employees specific to clear and concise communication on construction projects.

Life-Cycle Cost Analysis
Debbie Schwerman, WAPA Engineering Director
Brandon Strand, WAPA Executive Director

Life-cycle cost analysis is a decision-making tool that factors in both present-day costs of building a pavement and projected costs of maintenance and repair over the duration of the analysis period. As such, it is important for each agency to conduct a realistic assessment of pavement economics in order to provide objective input into the life-cycle cost analysis. The determination of life-cycle costs of alternative pavement types is an important part of a rational means for decision making and this session will educate you on making informed decisions to get the least expensive project in the long run.

Ethics Training
Jeff Russell, UW-Madison

Offered as part of WAPA's 2020 Annual Conference, this session focuses on the fundamental canons of professional conduct and other appropriate administrative rules and regulations. The discussion is designed to demonstrate a working knowledge of professional ethics and satisfy the requirement for “professional conduct and ethics.”
Award Winners
Our 2020 awards and scholarship winners represent leadership, innovation, and initiative in asphalt design and delivery. We hope that the examples they set 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 2020 winners!

  • FKG Oil Company - MotoMart speed of construction projects.

We will be using an open nomination form again in 2021. Check back next year for details.
WAPA Scholarships

WAPA was again able to grant four awards in our Student Scholarship program for 2020. 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:

  • Engineering Scholarship - $2,000 award each, for students in a four-year civil engineer or construction engineering program:
  • Erik Oshaben - Michigan Technological University
  • Aleah Hummel - Michigan Technological University

  • Engineering Technician Scholarship - $1,000 award each, for engineering technology students enrolled in a technical college:
  • Sara Braun - Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
  • David Ranft - University of Wisconsin-Platteville

We are pleased to announce that we will again award student scholarships in fall of 2021.
See You in 2021!
Please watch our website for details about our 62nd annual conference in 2021.

On behalf of WAPA (Deb Schwerman and myself, our president Mike Byrnes, 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,