This Executive Update features the WAPA 2019 Annual Conference, including general session highlights and details on the technical sessions and award winners.
Overview and General Sessions

WAPA's 60th annual conference was a resounding success, and a landmark event for several reasons. 

It was our first to be held outside of Dane County in many years, and the Ingleside Hotel in Waukesha County  provided a great opportunity to visit other convention space around the state. It also brought record-breaking support from our exhibitors and sponsors.

We are so grateful for this financial support, which allows WAPA to keep conference registration rates low while continuing to attract the top-tier voices and nationally recognized leaders that WAPA conference attendees have come to expect.  

Thank you to all of our exhibitors, sponsors, presenters, and attendees for making this event such a success.

General Sessions

As noted in the Full Conference Program, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings of the conference featured general sessions focused on practical updates, from new legislation to innovations in research, and even a roadmap for recruiting and developing a workforce for the future. Presentations are available on the 2019 Conference Page .

On Tuesday, Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow kicked off the conference with his stirring welcome address, which credited our industry with  touching the lives of everyone in Wisconsin, from our driveways to highways

Wisconsin DOT Secretary Craig Thompson emphasized the importance of partnerships between the agency and WAPA and discussed WisDOT's commitment to new research and long-term investment in Wisconsin's infrastructure. 

Jon Anderson of Caterpillar, Inc. gave a fascinating presentation on the challenges and opportunities involved in paving under the playing surface of U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis within extremely tight tolerance and time constraints using 3D paving techniques.

In the final session before lunch, John Gard, the former Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly, provided a legislative update and valuable insight regarding Wisconsin's transportation funding.

On Wednesday morning, Ester Magorka of the National Asphalt Pavement Association and Laura Cataldo of Baker Tilly  Virchow Krause, LLP each provided insights on the state of the road construction industry's workforce, and offered practical solutions to better educate recruit, and retain  the next generation of workers. More details on this critical topic will be available at NAPA's Annual Meeting from February 2-5, 2020 in Maui, Hawaii.

Next to take the stage was Barry Paye, Chief Materials & Pavements Engineer at WisDOT, who supplied a variety of Hot-Mix Asphalt updates, including changes in specifications for 2020.

WisDOT's Erik Lyngdal and Dan Kopacz offered details on the Wisconsin Highway Research Program's research projects and goals  that WisDOT Secretary Thompson had mentioned in his welcome message. 

Finally, Randy West of the National Center for Asphalt Technology gave an overview of balanced-mix design, which aims to solve many of the problems associated with traditional pavements and improve long-term asphalt performance. A full-day workshop, which was offered after our conference for pre-registered attendees, provided a more in-depth understanding of this topic as well.

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.

All presentations are also available on the 2019 Conference Page.

Stone-Matrix Asphalt (SMA)
Deb Schwerman, WAPA 
Steve Hefel, Wisconsin DOT

SMA was developed to provide heavily trafficked roads with a durable, rut-resistant wearing course using a gapgraded aggregate structure and a modified asphalt binder at elevated asphalt contents. This session illustrated why SMA has been used worldwide for almost 50 years, and capture advancements in mixtures and pavements over the past 25 years since the first SMA pavement was placed in Wisconsin.

Air Quality/Emissions
Erin Hansel, Wisconsin DNR

This session provided a review of applicable asphalt industry rules and compliance expectations with information on the general operation permit revision process, state department resources, and an invitation for feedback going forward.

Asphalt Pavement for Recreational Facilities
Wayne Jones, Asphalt Institute

This session addressed the important factors that need to be considered when designing and constructing recreational facilities such as running tracks, tennis courts, and golf cart paths. Since these types of facilities do not carry heavy loads, they need to be built differently than roads and freeways. Specific mixture requirements are needed to build a durable pavement that will resist environmental distresses such as cracking and raveling. Restricted work areas also present challenges that were discussed during this session.

Ethics Training
Mike Wittenwyler, Godfrey & Kahn

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."

Back to Basics: Aggregates
Hans Dawson, Lannon Stone

The aggregate skeleton is what provides the majority of strength and stability in an asphalt mixture. Choosing the right gradation and knowing how aggregate properties impact mixture performance are critical to ensuring pavement performance. This session explored how the size and type of aggregates can impact asphalt mixture design and performance.

Back to Basics: Mix Design
Randy West, NCAT

Building on an understanding of binder properties, aggregates, and volumetrics, this session provided a basic overview of the steps for asphalt mixture design using the Superpave method, including discussion of how recycled material affects mix design considerations.
Award Winners

The 2019 Awards and Scholarship 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 2019 winners!
We will be using an open nomination form again in 2020. 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 2019. 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

    Trenton Pasch, University of Wisconsin-Platteville
    Jack Wagner, University of Wisconsin-Madison
    $1,000 award each, for engineering technology students enrolled in a technical college

    Zachary Halbach, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
    McKenzie Thomson, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
We are pleased to announce that we will again award student scholarships in fall of 2020. 

Quality Management Program Award

The Quality Management Program Award recognizes outstanding certified highway materials technicians who have displayed exceptional leadership roles in developing quality materials used in highway construction projects. The award was presented in conjunction with UW-Platteville's Highway Technician Certification Program. 2019 Quality Management Program Award winners were honored at the WAPA conference.
  • Team Award

    WisDOT Bureau of Technical Services (BTS): Hot-Mix Asphalt Unit (Jeff Anderson, Steve Hefel, Dan Kopacz, James Pforr, Erik Lyngdal and Aaron Coenen.)
  • Individual Award

    Tim Grezinski
    , Northeast Asphalt
  • Individual Award (posthumous)

    Nancy Whitesell, Monarch Paving Company

Environmental Leadership Awards

2019 marked the 20th 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.

Four permanent plants won renewal awards this year:

D.L. Gasser Construction Plant 65 (Baraboo)
Northeast Asphalt Control 67  (Glenmore)
Payne & Dolan Control 5 (Fitchburg)
Rock Road Companies (Janesville)

The Environmental Leadership Awards would not be possible without the cooperation of the environmental compliance staff at our member companies: Jim Mertes with the Walbec Group; Tara Wetzel with Mathy Construction; and Gus Small with Rock Road Companies, Inc.  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.

 See You in 2020!

Please watch our website for details about our 61st annual conference in 2020. 

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,