With an information-packed agenda, the 22nd annual Pennsylvania Concrete Conference drew 175 attendees and featured a wealth of business and technical information for participants. 

“We had 50 participants from PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike,” says ACPA/PA President John Becker, adding, “We were very happy to welcome first-time attendees, who comprised about 40 percent of our overall participation.”

John adds that the first-timers included experienced representatives from companies that have not previously been engaged with the concrete pavement community along with younger professionals who are the future of our industry. “We also had six posters presented from doctoral candidates and recent graduates from four universities on research that could reshape the state of the practice in concrete technologies.”

A diverse group of attendees representing 72 different organizations, including eleven contractor firms attended. “The conference helped us reach new and prospective members,” John says, adding, “In the past six weeks alone, we’ve added six new members, and today, we added a seventh!”

With a good mix of agencies, industry and academia, the conference started with keynote remarks from Yassmin Gramian, P.E., Acting Secretary of Transportation, PennDOT, who provided an overview of the mission and vision of PennDOT. This presentation was followed by a talk on the PennDOT 2020 construction program and on concrete pavement initiatives by T. Jay Cunningham, P.E., PennDOT’s Bureau of Maintenance and Operations. Tom Harman, FHWA, made a presentation about innovation. Craig Shuey, COO of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, presented on automated speed enforcement.

Becker says Leif Wathne of ACPA delivered an excellent historical overview of pavement type selection, which set the stage for a talk by Randolph Kirchain, Ph.D., of MIT; he spoke about the impact of competition on pavement economics.

Wathne also participated in the Chapter’s board meeting, held the day before the conference. At the boarad meeting, lively discussions centered on marketing, promotion, technical matters and legislative outreach efforts. 

At the conference, technical presentations covered materials, best practices, case histories, research and more. Rich Jucha from ACPA/PA presented on a contractor/aggregate producer-led skid study and Heather Steffek from the New York State Chapter presented on full-depth reclamation with portland cement stabilization. Preliminary findings from work being done by IRISE, a research consortium led by the University of Pittsburgh, were also presented. 

John says the allied promotional partners from the concrete precast, pipe and ready-mixed industries once again participated in and made presentations at the conference. “Casting this wider net serves the members of ACPA/PA, who are able to dialogue with a number of allied suppliers, producers, and others who are drawn to this more diverse program,” John says. 

As a follow-up to this conference, three Regional Concrete Pavement Forums will be held in April. Discussions will take place with greater participation from PennDOT Districts, contractors, and ACPA/PA staff on addressing and overcoming barriers to the use of concrete pavement. Discussions will also take place with designers on cost-effective concrete pavement innovations discussed at the conference.