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More than 72 members and 15 spouses traveled to Orlando last month to attend the NAPA Young Leaders Conference. The revamped conference format provided the attendees multiple opportunities to learn about innovations and business leadership, as well as to network with peers and industry leaders.

The conference began with tours of Florida's I-4 Ultimate Improvement Project Headquarters and a tour of a P&S Paving plant in Daytona Beach. The I-4 Ultimate is a $2.3 billion project for Central Florida including 21 miles of roadway improvements that will help aid drivers and transform the region. Attendees reviewed presentations on safety and the importance of safety plans and procedures, diversity in the workplace, and the project's overall management and best practices. The P&S Paving Plant tour gave attendees the opportunity to explore the state-of-the-art facility and ask questions about some of the more innovative plant operations.

At the Welcome Reception, the Young Leaders Committee presented a $5,000 scholarship, more than half of which was contributed by the Lane Construction Corp. The Young Leaders scholarship program supports students interested in pursuing a career in the asphalt industry. This year's scholarship recipient is Elliott Kresse (above center), a civil engineering major and senior at Florida Gulf Coast University.

The next two days offered attendees plenty of opportunities to network and grow as professionals. NAPA Chairman Michael Cote kicked off the educational sessions with his case study on business development. Other sessions included discussions on new technologies for the asphalt industry, RAP use in Japan, federal and state legislative updates, and a special guest presentation from NASA veteran Story Musgrave.

NAPA and the Young Leaders Committee would like to thank conference sponsors for their support: Anderson Columbia Co. Inc., Atlas Copco/Dynapac, BLS Enterprises Inc., Dillman Equipment, The Lane Construction Corp., Roadtec Inc., Walsh & Kelly Inc., and Wirtgen America Inc.