Industry News

Dickson Named FAA Administrator

The Hon. Stephen M. Dickson was sworn in Monday by U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao as the 18th Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

With almost 40 years of aviation industry experience, Dickson is widely respected and takes on the role of FAA Administrator during a critical moment for aviation safety, according to an FAA press release.

As Administrator, Dickson will lead an agency responsible for the safety and efficiency of the largest aerospace system in the world — a system that operates more than 50,000 flights per day. He will oversee a $16.4 billion-dollar budget, more than 47,000 employees, and focus on ensuring the agency and its employees are the best prepared and trained professionals to meet the growing demands and requirements of the industry, the press release continues.

“I am honored to join the outstanding team at the Federal Aviation Administration and look forward to ensuring our aviation system maintains its proper place, leading the world in both safety and operational performance,” said Captain Dickson, a retired Delta Air Lines official and former U.S. Air Force officer and F-15 pilot.

Acting Administrator Daniel K. Elwell will continue his service to the FAA as Deputy Administrator.  

Photo:  Federal Aviation Administration file photo.

Follow this link to see ACPA’s government affairs repository.

Panel Evaluates Pavement-Vehicle Interaction

An FHWA technical review panel (TRP)* is studying various Pavement-Vehicle Interaction (PVI)** models —including two from MIT—to assess the role the models can play in determining vehicle operating costs and evaluating excess fuel consumption based on roadway conditions.

One of the goals is to determine the compatibility of PVI models with traditional economic models that agencies use for highway and roadway investment.  The panel also plans to study and resolve  gaps between the PVI and economic models, and all of this is aimed at ultimately influencing factors that can improve pavement sustainability.

An initial web meeting last week began with a discussion of both the study and meeting objectives, literature review, and other details, including comments about the various PVI models currently available. In opening remarks, the panel acknowledged a comment that none of the current PVI models has been perfected to date.

“No model is perfect,” says Leif Wathne, ACPA Executive Vice President, “But that doesn’t mean it’s not useful.  These models are context sensitive and there are uncertainties, but there are ways to handle uncertainty. We need to use the models as best we can to inform decision making.”

Leif, along with ACPA Chairman Jim Mack (CEMEX) represent the concrete pavement industry on the panel.  Jim says awareness about PVI has increased significantly and adds this has become an increasingly important sustainability factor to the roadbuilding community.

“The roadbuilding community has gained a greater understanding and appreciation for the value of PVI modeling than when the industry and MIT first presented it in 2012,” he says.  Today PVI is widely seen as an important use-phase sustainability benefit, and in fact is one of the major factors in use-phase sustainability consideration.  Use-phase benefits are often significantly more impactful than other environmental factors such recycling and reuse, particularly for heavily trafficked corridors.   

“None of this would have likely happened had the cement and concrete industry not invested in itself to research, advocate and support PVI and other sustainability research and technology,” Jim says,

The work of the TRP is particularly important because of the current situation with limited funding, which impacts everything from research to staffing among agencies.

“We’re currently in a period of constrained resources,” Jim says, “And yet, industry is being asked to address issues that we’ve never had to deal with in the past.” He points to the ACPA’s VISION2040 initiative, which is looking closely at disruptors such as driverless vehicles, in-road magnetic induction, smart highways/roadways and other technologies that will increasingly affect how infrastructure investment decisions are made by agencies.

“PVI goes far beyond traditional cost factors and pavement type selection decisions used historically,” Jim says, adding, “This initiative is really about improving the quality of information needed to make the best and most informed decisions possible.  This is not just about fine-tuning the approach to cost and pavement-type selection, and in fact, decisions among highway and roadbuilding agencies will increasingly be made long before pavement type is considered.”

“As we look ahead, industry will continue efforts to learn more about PVI and its role in highway construction and continue supporting our agencies with solutions that offer exceptional performance, longevity and value, and of course, sustainability benefits,” Jim says.

* The TRP is being led and facilitated by the FHWA’s Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, Engineering & Software Consultants, Inc, The Transtec Group, Inc.  The TRP is comprised of three state highway agency officials, two members of academia, representatives of Argonne National Laboratory and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and representatives from the concrete and asphalt pavement industries. 

** PVI is a concept that looks at the interaction between a vehicle’s tires and the roadway surface on which it is driving, according to MIT, which adds, it is also known as rolling resistance.

Increase Your Visibility at the ACPA Annual Meeting

There’s still time to sponsor ACPA’s 56th Annual Meeting!  Based on recent ACPA meetings, along with our membership growth, we anticipate strong attendance at the meeting, which makes this a prime opportunity to sponsor if you haven’t already done so. 

Sponsorship provides a great opportunity for your company to be seen by members and guests, and our special sponsorship programs even offer opportunities for recognition before, during and after the meeting.  Another benefit available to sponsors is the inclusion of one or more annual meeting registrations as part of the sponsorship packages.  ACPA offers three “core” registration levels, as well as additional “member experience” sponsorship opportunities at the Annual Meeting. 

Our sponsorship program also provides opportunities for recognition at the popular ACPA reception at the TRB Annual Meeting and at our 2020 Mid-Year meeting.  For more information or to become an ACPA sponsor, please click here.

As you consider sponsorship, please check out our one-stop Annual Meeting event- and hotel-registration site. Follow this link to see more information and to register for the event:   To reserve a room at the Marriott at a discounted rate of $189/night, follow this reservation link or visit the event website.  ACPA members are eligible to receive a 20% discount off any registration ticket type, including those for your spouse and guests for whom you are paying. To receive the discount, please enter the following promotional code at the top of the ticket selection screen before you proceed to checkout: member20.

The meeting will be held Tuesday, Dec. 3, through Thursday, Dec. 5., at the New Orleans Marriott.  Look for additional details in ACPA TODAY and by email in the weeks ahead.  See you in New Orleans!

ACPA and West Virginia DOT Continue Competition Discussions

A recent stakeholder meeting with the West Virginia DOT emphasized the agency’s continued interest in competition in the highway paving market.  The meeting with newly appointed Transportation Secretary Byrd White, and other key DOT officials, focused on ways to extend the purchasing power of the paving dollar in the state, says Ray Seipp, President of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter, ACPA. 

The meeting, which was the latest in ongoing discussions between the chapter and the DOT, presented an opportunity to discuss costs and quality, as well as to share perspectives on alt design/alt bid projects and warranty contracts. The meeting also presented the concrete pavement officials with an opportunity to discuss ways to make both asphalt and concrete pavement projects more competitive and more equitable for both pavement materials. 

Research has shown that increased inter-industry competition has not only resulted in better value for agencies and taxpayers, but also results in higher quality and  increased innovation.

* In addition to WV Transportation Secretary Byrd White, the DOT was represented by Aaron Gillispie, State Highway Engineer, and Ron Stanevich, Director of the DOT Materials Control, Soils & Testing Division. Representing ACPA were Chuck Niederriter, Golden Triangle Construction Co., Inc. (ACPA Past Chairman-2018); Brad Allison & Mike Durst from Hi-Way Paving, Inc.; Rich McDonough, The Lane Construction Co.; Mike Coughlin, McCarthy Improvement Co.; Ray Seipp, Mid-Atlantic Chapter; and Leif Wathne, ACPA.

MIT Presents Solutions to Climate Issues

Dr. Jeremy Gregory, Executive Director of the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub, presented information on “Concrete as a Sustainability Solution” last week to the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis in Washington, DC.  Citing recent negative reporting on greenhouse gas emissions, he explained to committee members and staffers how cement and concrete can be part of the solution to climate change and other societal issues.

He framed the climate issue in the larger context of sustainability, commenting that in order to meet societal goals, people need highways, buildings and other structures.  He added that in spite of criticism of the industry, concrete is very much a low-impact material.  In fact, concrete has a lower embodied energy by mass than other construction materials (like asphalt, steel, timber, plastics, aluminum, etc.).

“MIT’s research and presentation adds clarity to the issue of concrete as a sustainability solution,” says Leif Wathne.  “Dr. Gregory’s presentation was well-received and provided credible, honest and meaningful information on this very important topic.  This information, as well as other information from the cement and concrete industries, will allow people to make informed decisions rooted in science.”  Click here to see the full presentation.

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