Elected October 1991

Frank M. Drake

Elected October 1991


A 1938 graduate of the University of Kansas with a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering, Mr. Drake began his career with the Kansas Highway Commision as a Construction Engineer.


It was during his 25-year tenure with the Highway Commision that he developed a mechanism for cross-slope control af asphalt paving machine screeds. His attachments, which were adaptable to the major models of paving machines in use in the late 1950s, emabled Hot Mix Asphalt contractors to improve the riding quality of the pavements they were constructing, using existing machinery, and at the same time, increasing productivity. His invention became known as the "Drake Device," and was the forerunner of today's electronic controls.


Mr. Drake also developed the mobile stringline, which traces the roadway's profile, senses changes in elevations, and transmits the information to the paver controls. His revolutionary developments reduced, and in some cases eliminated the need for pavement skin patching and made it possible to place true-to-grade pavement courses directly by paving machine.


He joined the Asphalt Institute in 1963 as District Engineer and later served as Regional and Assistant Division Managing Engineer for the Institute's Northern Division. While serving with the Institute, he developed an asphalt mixture gradation, called stone-filled grading, that promised to retard and prevent permanent deformation in asphalt mixtures. He also served six years as Chairman of the Flexible Pavement Construction Committee of the (then) Highway Research Board of the National Aademy of Science. He was active in many national engineering organizations, including the Transportation Research Board, National Society of Professional Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists, as well as a number of state engineering organizations.


He retired from the Institute in 1977 and has remained active in consulting activities, particularly in the area of stone-filled Hot Mix Asphalt mixtures. In 1978, he was elected to the Institute's Roll of Honor in recognition of his lengthy and distinguished career in asphalt technology.