Happy New Year!

As incoming Chairman of the Board of the American Concrete Pavement Association, I’d like to express my sincere gratitude for the opportunity to serve and let you know how excited I am about the year ahead. ACPA has faced some challenges over the past few years, but as we celebrated at Annual Meeting, we are coming out the other side. I want to thank the hard work of ACPA’s staff and the Chapter State Executives (CSEs) who work tirelessly each day to promote and provide technical assistance to state DOTs across the country. I look forward to working closely with you this year to make this a strong year for concrete paving.

And by all accounts, it should be a strong year. Inflation has dropped below 4% and we are starting to see the IIJA investment translate to paving projects. ACPA anticipates growth of just over 5% in the concrete pavement sector. We also anticipate continued federal investment in the form of grants and other discretionary funding that prioritize things like reduced-carbon concrete. ACPA is working alongside the CP Tech Center, a few of its engineering partners, and sister organizations like the International Center for Concrete Research to help contractors, state DOTs and the industry understand the opportunities to transform programs and projects. Now is the time to capitalize on investment that will create projects that will last for generations!

But the year will also have its challenges. Artificial Intelligence potentially undermining quality engineering is an issue that can’t be ignored, which is why I have called for a task force among our membership to evaluate the association’s path. While the industry must embrace technology and the future with open arms, engineering is essential to safe, equitable and long-lasting highway and runway projects.

ACPA is the only national trade association devoted solely to promoting concrete paving. The Association’s technical team and CSEs continue to save the industry millions of dollars including $13 million in 2023! ACPA’s value proposition is strong and the value to this industry is clear – so why don’t we have every concrete paving contractor at the table? One of the goals of my chairmanship is to listen to the needs of contractors across the country and pull in more members! We are stronger together and without the efforts of strong promotion and technical assistance, the future is bleak. We need more voices at the table.

To kick off the year, I traveled to Washington, DC to attend the Transportation Research Board (TRB) meeting and help host ACPA’s reception which has been a long-standing tradition for our industry. Then, I will travel to Las Vegas for the World of Concrete conference where I hope to get around to every ACPA members’ booths and say hello as well as thank you for your support. Reminder, ACPA’s Mid-Year Meeting will be in Kansas City, MO from June 4-6th and our Annual Meeting will be in Phoenix, AZ from December 3-5th. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any service. I am here to listen and happy to help.

In the meantime, have a great winter and Cheers!

Ernie Peterson