Greetings ACPA Members,
It’s hard to believe, but I’ve rounded out 9 months as President/CEO of the American Concrete Pavement Association. While these three quarters have brought a lot of change to the Association – some good, some challenging – we’ve tried to stay forward-looking and keep the course to help our members and our Chapter/State Partners grow and produce a strong paving market nationwide. No doubt, for the first time in generations, concrete paving has unique opportunities ahead with the implementation of the Bi-partisan Infrastructure Legislation (BIL). As ACPA/National, we stand ready to continue to provide first-rate service and support to our Chapter/State Partners as well as continue to be active at all levels of government including but not limited to FHWA, FAA, and Congress.
Although I have traveled to nearly 20 states in my tenure attending workshops, board meetings, and otherwise getting to know contractors and our strong cement partners, I have unfortunately not been able to reach everyone. As such, I’d like to provide an update of some of the exciting things ACPA is accomplishing to help your businesses and this Federation grow and thrive. You will find an update of just a FEW of the many things our great team and network of partners are accomplishing below.
Laura O’Neill Kaumo
ACPA President & CEO
ACPA 2021/2022 Member Update
ACPA’s Strategic Planning Committee is putting the finishing touches on a new plan that will set forth goals and objectives for the Association for the next 5 years. The plan is member-driven with a variety of influential voices at the table helping chart our course. I’d like to again thank those who have committed, served, and carved out the time over these past few months. Thanks to:
- Ed Griffith, St Marys Cement – Chair
- Sarah Bazey, American Highway – A Simplex Co.
- Mike Lipps, Duit Construction Co., Inc.
- Greg McCormick, Northern Improvement Co.
- Kevin McMullen, Wisconsin Concrete Pavement Assn.
- Greg Mulder, Iowa Concrete Paving Assn.
- Patrick Cleary, Holcim
- Steve Freiss, Milestone Contractors
- Tyler Jensen, Ash Grove Cement
- Gordon Smith, National Concrete Pavement Technology Center
A diverse set of stakeholders were interviewed by ACPA’s facilitator. Their valuable feedback helped the committee identify key drivers of change including those related to technology, innovation, material shortages, workforce development, sustainability, and policy/political dynamics. While the goals and objectives of the plan won’t be unveiled until the Mid-Year Meeting, we can already see the contours of the plan emerging. Important areas of focus include strengthening the ACPA federation, better anticipating and solving future paving challenges, and influencing decision makers on sustainability issues. Conversations seem to focus on identifying the next concern, beyond sustainability; emerging leaders and workforce shortages; and technological advancements.
- Q1 Tech Briefing. Even before I came on-board, I knew that ACPA had a great story to tell, but the hardworking staff doesn’t often pause to tell that story. Gary Mitchell and Eric Ferrebee are some of the hardest working folks you will ever meet. To this end, when the Association started to compile a list of the services ranging from project troubleshooting to influencing specs to fighting for discount rates, and developing design and assistance guidance, we were able to estimate that ACPA’s tech team, in conjunction with our Chapter State Executive Directors, saved this industry over $4 million in one quarter! And that’s over a winter season! To help amplify the value and hard work ACPA offers, we’ve compiled a Tech Briefing that we will issue each quarter to help showcase the hard work and commitment of our dedicated team. While we’ve only created one report, it’s easy to see that as a Federation comprised of strong Chapter State Partners, our professionals help keep this industry financially, technically and structurally sound. The tech briefing is available here and on our website.
- Airport Workshop. Chief Engineer Gary Mitchell is pleased to announce that ACPA will return to hosting its Airport Workshop in-person for the first time in many years. We are targeting August 2-4 for this workshop in Indianapolis.
Marketing and Communications
- ACPA as a Federation is only as strong our Chapter/State Executive (CSEs) Directors on the ground. Each day, National works hard to create opportunities for the concrete paving market across this country, while our knowledgeable and committed CSEs help promote concrete projects and otherwise sell squares on the ground. It’s a partnership that has worked for many years and will continue to work for many years to come, with dedicated professionals telling our story and telling it well. That’s why we’ve on-boarded the experienced association management firm AOE [click here to see list of clients], a marketing firm with two decades of experience serving the concrete industry and 15 years with our partner IGGA, to help create first-rate marketing tools for our Chapter/States and also, ensure these materials are tailored to the right audiences. This is something that is long overdue, and we’ve heard the CSEs loud and clear. One of their first charges is tackling the needed messaging related to our role in the global conversation on sustainability. From DOTs to soccer moms and anyone and everyone in between, we need to make sure everyone understands that concrete paving is a sound choice!
- A Net Promoter score is a marketing tool that helps businesses and brands assess enthusiasm. In the fall, ACPA measured its net promoter score, which demonstrated that while our members are pleased with the services ACPA provides, enthusiasm for the “brand” was lacking. Later this year, AOE will begin to push membership recruitment materials to our CSEs and help clearly communicate why membership with ACPA is critical in the overall promotion of concrete pavement. ACPA needs to grow its network of strong and committed contractors, including those mega-contractors, so that we can better advocate on behalf of the industry and continue to provide top-notch technical services.
- Market Insights and Reports. ACPA will soon be able to better track the pavement markets we serve and develop. A third-party data analytics firm has been engaged to develop an online dashboard to track pavement volume and market share data for highways, streets, airfields, and industrial markets. Acquired information will supplement Oman Systems data covering DOT lettings in the highway market. Additionally, analysis tools are in-development to identify opportunities for concrete pavement projects and the issues being discussed by decision makers. ACPA hopes to produce more robust market reports soon, as a result of our efforts. Stay tuned!
- The overarching goal of ACPA’s government affairs program is to advocate for concrete pavement market growth. Leading up to 2021, ACPA was actively involved in advocating for robust and reliable infrastructure investment. That investment came in the form of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill (BIL) in late 2021. Unfortunately, there were portions of the BIL that require additional appropriations approval to ensure the legislation is fully funded. ACPA helped advocate for a smooth appropriations process in FY22 and successfully fought for full funding for the ACPA-conceived $6 million per year Airfield Pavement Technology Program (APTP) that funds FAA’s $3 million per year cooperative agreement with the CPTech Center. ACPA will work to do the same in FY23 and beyond. Since 2022 is an election year, the Appropriations process may give way to other political priorities. It’s imperative that concrete paving remain at the table advocating for continuous funding for the authorized projects.
- As part of its government affairs efforts, ACPA’s Government Affairs Committee laid out its vision for 2022 and adopted its 2022 Government Affairs Action Plan that supports opportunity for concrete paving in the highway and airfield space and opens new paths for concrete research and technology deployment through the appropriations process. Each quarter, ACPA’s government affairs team works hard to deliver on the action plan and address any other unexpected issues that arise on Capitol Hill and beyond. Check out the 1st Quarter government affairs reports here.
- As noted, the BIL, signed into law on November 15th, 2021, reauthorizes the highway program through 2026 and provides a historic increase in infrastructure funding, including roughly 24% growth in the core highway formula funding for 2022, and an approximate doubling of airfield investments over 2021 levels. In a significant win for the concrete pavement industry, the ACPA-conceived $12 million per year Accelerate Implementation and Deployment of Pavement Technologies (AID-PT) program was again included in the measure, funding this important industry-supported program through 2026.
- BIL State-Wide Information Sheets – Upon enactment of the BIL, the ACPA Government Affairs team quickly went to work dissecting the initial funding opportunities for our Chapter/State Partners and published a year-by-year summary table of programs and grants relevant specifically to the concrete pavement industry (available here). Through the work of the ACPA MarCom team, ACPA was able to quickly produce easy to read marketing materials that conveyed state-specific funding levels for all concrete pavement related program in the legislation.
- ACPA continues to engage with various federal agencies on policy issues of interest to the concrete pavement industry, including FEMA regarding concrete pavement’s role in furthering resilience of our transportation networks, FHWA regarding BIL implementation, life-cycle concepts, and the benefits of inter-industry competition, and FAA regarding adoption of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recommended discount rates in LCCA procedures.
- FHWA Sustainable Solutions for Cement and Concrete Meeting – Along with its industry partners, ACPA is currently participating in a two-day Sustainability workshop with FHWA. . Discussions include ways to reduce embodied carbon and updates from industry on the commitment to sustainability. Laura O’Neill Kaumo is attending alongside ACPA Member Amy Brooks with Castle Rock Construction.
New Membership Director
To help provide improved services for our members and increased support for our Chapter/State Partners, ACPA has onboarded new Director of Membership and Chapter Relations, Anna McMullen. Anna will be charged with the task of supporting membership, growing non-dues revenue, and growing ACPA’s emerging leaders program. Anna has a master’s degree in Political Management from George Washington University and more than 7 years of nonprofit association experience. Learn more here.