Let me set the scene for you. Freezing temperatures, grey skies, bratwurst, outstanding local beer, unbridled enthusiasm for concrete paving, quality education sessions, and an impressive number of key stakeholders, including state DOT staff and leadership in the audience listening and collaborating. Can you guess what two state workshops I visited these past two weeks? If you said Iowa and Wisconsin, you’d be right. Iowa Concrete Paving Association Executive Director Greg Mulder and Wisconsin Concrete Pavement Association President Kevin McMullen both put together impressive programs, with Kevin even securing the WisDOT Secretary as his keynote speaker!

While the content of the workshops was informative, what I enjoyed most was hearing the contractor stories from the grade and witnessing the genuine respect and friendship, even among the fiercest competitors, as they socialized. Companies join trade associations because they want to improve their bottom line, grow the marketplace, and ensure relevancy by keeping up with best practices and emerging technologies. Clearly, ACPA offers all of those things as part of its value proposition, but the intangibles, such as the opportunity to network and grow, both personally and professionally, is an important part of what makes ACPA special. It helps build a business, but moreover, it builds a profession. Well done, Greg, Kevin, and all of the members of your teams that made those events such an overwhelming success. Well done!

Attention this week now shifts to Washington, D.C., where we await the passage of yet another stopgap measure to fund the government. Unfortunately, while these Continuing Resolutions, or CRs as they are called, keep the lights on, they also prevent agencies like FHWA from accessing the funding levels prescribed in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) or Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), as some refer to it. We continue to work with our industry partners to advocate for the funding to be released and hope to have good news to share soon.

We’ve got a great issue this week with a look at what ACPA Staff presented at the two frigid conferences and South Dakota, a heartwrenching announcement about a longtime friend of ACPA and WCPA, a report of ACPA’s ongoing involvement with the Air Force Institute of Technology, and an overview of our most recent interaction with Capitol Hill.