Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Executive Director Message - August 2017

I am not sure where summer has gone, but I can tell you things have no indication of slowing down for the asphalt pavement industry for the foreseeable future. Between a record year for the association’s golf tournament and a very successful luncheon and plant tour hosted by UAPA, the APWA, and Geneva Rock Products, August was great month for all things UAPA. In addition to the events above, I also attended a special conference for the directors of all the state asphalt pavement associations in the country. I’m excited to incorporate some of the ten pages worth of notes that I took into what we are doing with UAPA. I was also pleased to learn just how far we have come as an association within the relatively short timeframe of six full years of existence. We’re certainly on the right track, but there is more we can and will do!
Moving forward, I hope you will join us for our next UAPA Lunch and Learn happening on the 21st of September at Honnen Equipment. We should have great discussion about paving with an eye towards quality and, as always, lunch is on us, so come out!
Looking ahead, we also have the Southern Utah Asphalt Seminar happening on the 13th and 14th of November at the Dixie Center in St. George. Along with the 2018 Utah Asphalt Conference (Feb, 21 -22) right around the corner!

Times are busy, but good. Stay safe. Maintain quality. And expect the best of yourself and others and I’m confident that we will finish this construction season just as strong as we began it a few short months ago – we’re almost there for 2017!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Executive Director Message - June 2017 - Even at Full Blast, Think Safety!

It seems as if everything is on full blast this time of year. Simply put, there is a lot going on with the association this month. We successfully held another Lunch and Learn in June on asphalt binder, we're gearing up for the golf tournament in August, we're working through some additional specification work on preservation treatments, working to get a meaningful certification program up and off the ground, and we are trying to get out and visit job sites, projects, and demos. While there is a lot going on, my one request this month is that we all take an extra minute to focus on safety.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Executive Director Message - May 2017 - One Asphalt Specification to Rule Them All…and Put More Oil Back Into the Mix

Hey, a guy can dream, can he not? Oh, that such a proverbial “silver bullet” existed when it comes specifying, producing, and constructing quality asphalt mixes. It would simplify production, reduce waste, and increase proficiency across the board from design to construction and even preservation!

Unfortunately, no such specification to rule them all exists (at least not one that I am aware of!), but I do believe that industry and owners, by working together, have taken a much-needed critical step in the right direction over the course of the last few years. Indeed, after many meetings, lots of discussions, and maybe even a few shed tears (mostly on my part), I firmly believe that UAPA, UDOT, and particularly the Utah Chapter of the APWA have worked very hard to produce a set of 2017 standard asphalt specifications that will meet the needs of Utah. So while our bullet is not quite silver, I do believe that now, more so than ever before, we have developed quality specifications that can and should drive our industry as the “go-to standards” in Utah for the years to come.

If I may, I would like to focus on just the APWA Standards. By simplifying the APWA Specifications through, among other things, targeting air voids, changing calculations for the absorptiveness of virgin aggregate and RAP, and bumping binder grades to account for the use of RAP in your mix according national standards, we now have standard specifications that will meet the needs of every city and county in Utah. By narrowing our specs to five or six go-to mixes based on the application, we can and, by all accounts, we will build better roads, reduce waste, and become more efficient both as industry and owners in what we do. By working together, we can go from the over four hundred iterations of city and county specifications across the state to under ten mixes that will handle most, if not all, applications for cities and counties in the state.

It is that sentiment that drove us last week to hold the fist UAPA Lunch and Learn of 2017. At that meeting, we had over one hundred people in attendance to discuss opportunities and challenges in specifying, producing, and constructing asphalt mixes along the Wasatch Front. I am very grateful to Waylund Ludlow (Geneva Rock Products), James Inglis (Granite Construction), Doug Watson (CMT Engineering), and many others who offered valuable insight and time as we prepared for the May Lunch and Learn presentation. As Waylund, James, and Doug led the discussion, I was impressed with their candor and willingness to share their perspective on what has happened in the Utah market over the course of the last ten to fifteen years. I was also really taken back by the slides Doug shared that illustrated the unbelievably high amount of mixes you could produce across the Wasatch Front based on previous specifications. Simply put, such a continued proliferation of different specifications is not sustainable, nor warranted.

That’s why UAPA’s invitation to take a fresh look at the 2017 APWA Standards for the production of hot mix asphalt (HMA) for cities and counties in Utah is a key priority for our association in 2017. So much so, we have even shared a letter from either the presidents or vice presidents of all of the major companies (or parent companies) that produce asphalt in the state.  Click HERE to view the letter.

My invitation and challenge to you, if you are representative from a city or county (including consulting engineering firms that represent cities and counties!) that builds, designs, bids, preserves, or manages roads, is to take a look at this letter and then give me a call. I am happy to visit with you about this development in specifications, talk to you about where your current specifications may be improved, and, more important than anything else, just be with you to listen to you speak about your roads, understand what you are seeing, and work together to meet the challenges and opportunities you are facing – in a nutshell, that is UAPA’s commitment to industry and that is my commitment to any of you that would like to take me up on this invitation.

We are off to a great start to the construction season. Stay safe. Be aware. And be sure to come home to the ones you love each night.

Best regards,


W. Reed Ryan
Executive Director
The Utah Asphalt Pavement Association