Pave It Black is the official podcast of the National Asphalt Pavement Association. Hosted by NAPA's Richard Willis and Brett Williams, Pave It Black focuses on the people, issues, and technologies of the asphalt pavement industry, road building, and research and innovation.
In the summer of 2020, NAPA partnered with Georgia State University (GSU) to give Public Relations/Journalism students an opportunity to learn about the asphalt industry. In this season 2 finale, Richard and Brett interview a GSU professor and two students about how the asphalt industry went from something they didn’t know existed to an industry they respected and wanted to learn more about.
Dan Stys, P.E., of the PEA Group, an integrated site development firm with a specialty in test track design, explains why asphalt is predominantly selected for automotive testing facilities and racetracks. Reasons include asphalt’s smoothness, economical cost to build, speed of construction, and ability to fine tune asphalt mixtures. “It’s [automotive proving ground] an exterior lab,” says Stys. “You’re creating a laboratory environment for these automotive test engineers to be able to do their job, and we have to make sure those labs are correct for them to be able to do it. It takes a lot of teamwork and communication -- right down to the aggregate supplier.”
To supplement the release of NAPA’s and the Asphalt Institute’s two new documents on using plastics in asphalt mixtures, we interviewed Paul Lum, Technical Director at Colas Inc. Lum talks about the different types of plastics, the wet and dry processes of introducing recycled plastics, worker safety, and more. “The source and the type of plastics needs to be managed appropriately,” said Lum. “So that would need in itself quality control plan requirements with involvement from the hot mix producers and the DOTs to specify [what] we need the quality of the recycled plastics to be.”
Pat Nelson, President & CEO of Lehman-Roberts Co. in Memphis, Tenn., dives into the details of some very intentional workforce development changes that are happening at his company. The last two episodes of “Pave It Black” have focused on the theory of leadership development, but in this episode the focus is on real-world practice and outcomes. “We believe that every human being has amazing potential, and part of our responsibility as an employer, as an enterprise, is to see people reach their greatest potential,” said Nelson.
In the wake of the “silver tsunami,” who will lead the next generation of asphalt plants and businesses? In this latest episode, Buddy Hobart, President & CEO of Solutions 21, expert on the multi-generational workforce, and author of “The Leadership Decade: A Playbook for an Extraordinary Era,” explains the importance of company leaders having a knowledge transfer strategy and proactively developing employees with potential to be the next generation of leaders. He emphasizes workforce development – for both upcoming and current leaders – as an investment, not a cost.
How does one go from a career in music to a career in asphalt? The answer, for Janie Gallagher, Marketing and Events Coordinator at Wirtgen America in Nashville, Tenn., is the asphalt pavement industry’s commitment to sustainability. In this latest episode, Gallagher explains how she was inspired by our industry’s sustainability initiatives while listening to NAPA President & CEO Audrey Copeland, Ph.D., P.E., speaking at an Australian Asphalt Pavement Association meeting in Melbourne. Gallagher gives insight into why Millennials and Gen Z care about the environment and how important it is to them to work for companies that embrace those values.
To mark the beginning of Infrastructure Week 2020, “Pave It Black" hosted special guests Laura Perrotta, President & CEO of the American Highway Users Alliance, and NAPA’s Jay Hansen, Executive Vice President for Advocacy, to break down the inner workings of Capitol Hill and the effects on highway funding. They provide an outlook on what needs to happen before and after the FAST Act expires on Sept. 30. “If there is a large enough package and they [Congress] choose to include state and local relief, I do think there is a good chance for us to get designated state DOT relief,” said Perrotta.
Brian Fraley of Fraley Construction Marketing illuminates why marketing is important in a low-bid environment. Learn why complacency is the enemy of progress, especially in the age of Google, defined by viral videos, online reviews, professional and personal image, and tweets.
It’s not often you hear someone in the asphalt industry quoting Mike Tyson, but when discussing the topic of resilience, it just fits.
Valerie Echter, a freelance social media strategist and content creator for the construction, asphalt, and engineering sectors, shares the main mistakes industry makes on social media. Discover tips on building brand authority, increasing engagement, attracting employees, and growing sales revenue.
A 30-plus-year industry veteran, Craig Parker, President at Silver Star Construction Co. Inc., has a keen perspective on what he sees as industry game changers. He is particularly excited about balanced mix design.
Dr. Buzz Powell, Assistant Director at NCAT, got his start in the industry as a laborer with the Alabama Department of Transportation in 1986. He's got a reputation for being truly passionate about asphalt pavements. He can tell incredible stories about working on the NCAT Test Track during oppressive Alabama summers.
Grant Wollenhaupt, Chief Commercial Officer of XBE LLC, is challenged to imagine the asphalt pavement industry without cell phones. Wollenhaupt provides insight into how certain workforce interactions would actually improve.