Better Together: One HC+M Supporting Reins of Life

At HC+M, we know that our work in the communities we serve expands beyond construction projects. We build relationships within our Heritage family and give back to organizations who serve our community and our very own team members. We are proud to share how Milestone Contractors, Asphalt Materials, Inc. and US Aggregates came together to support Reins of Life in Michigan City, Indiana. 

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Enhancing Safety Protocols Through Strategic Operational Audits

Safety is an important part of everything we do. At Asphalt Materials, Inc. we understand that to succeed, we need to create a culture where everyone can share ideas and have a voice at every level of our company. Through communication, education and prevention, we accomplish our goal of getting our employees and associates home safely at the end of each day.  

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Paving the Future: Montana Highway 200

Co-authors: Andrew Eicher & Naarah Holloway

Road managers know that the longitudinal joint is the first part of the pavement to fail. As a road’s most permeable part, this joint is susceptible to the elements. Air and water work down through this gap causing the joint to deteriorate, crack and pothole. And when the longitudinal joint fails, the rest of the road soon follows—triggering the need for even more maintenance.

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How To Drive Safely This Holiday Season

(Featured Photo by Thom Holmes on Unsplash)

The holiday season is upon us, which means sitting for prolonged periods in the car. Whether it is traveling to visit loved ones or attend a festive event, safety behind the wheel should be a priority. During the holiday season, adverse weather conditions, heightened traffic, and various distractions can call for challenges on the road. Holiday events and celebrations should be a joyous time for friends and family, but these celebrations can quickly turn into a tragic event if we are not being mindful. AAA predicts there will be 55.4 million people traveling (including more than 49 million Americans driving) between the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (November 23) and the Sunday after the holiday — making this the third-busiest Thanksgiving travel period in more than two decades. This season lets us make a commitment to road safety, the wellbeing of ourselves, our passengers, our hard-working road crews and fellow motorists.  

Here are simple ways you can stay safe on the roads this holiday season: 

  • Do not drink and drive. Do not drive when you are impaired, and do not allow your family members or friends to drive while impaired either. Designate a sober driver, call a taxi, or use a ride share service to protect yourself and others on the road. 
  • Inspect your vehicle. Take the time to ensure all of your lights are working and all fluid levels are normal. Check your tires, tire pressure, headlights, taillights, brake lights, and tag lights. 
  • Map out the route. Plan your route ahead of time and be aware of how projected weather conditions may affect your travels. 
  • Click it or ticket! Ensure you and your passengers are properly restrained in seat belts and car safety seats. 
  • Avoid fatigue. Ensure you receive a good night’s rest before driving, take breaks. If you begin to feel tired, share the driving or pull off the road to a rest area.  
  • Have an emergency plan. It is important to have a cell phone and charger with you in case of emergency situations. Keep emergency roadside assistance information on hand. 
  • Do not text and drive. Keeping your full attention on the road is important to ensure your and other motorists’ safety. If you need to use your cellphone, utilize a hands-free device. 
  • Keep a safe driving distance. A safe driving distance allows for ample time to react to traffic around you. If someone is tailgating you, allow them to pass and do not try to compete with impatient, aggressive drivers.  
  • Watch your speed. Do not go over the speed limit (especially in work zones) and give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your location. 
  • Remain calm. If you begin to feel stressed or irritable, take deep breaths and maintain your patience. If you drive with road rage, it compromises the safety of yourself and fellow drivers. 

Happy holidays, and safe travels from the AMI team! 

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National Pavement Preservation Conference 2023

September 18-21 | Indianapolis, Indiana

This year, Asphalt Materials Inc. and Heritage Research group attended the National Pavement Preservation Conference (NPPC) hosted by the National Center for Pavement Preservation (NCPP). Sessions were held to further knowledge, development, and research regarding the preservation of pavement. The poor condition of our roads results in $130 billion dollars added to vehicle repairs and operating costs per year (Alabama DOT). To avoid such situations, we must establish an effective preservation program and protect infrastructure investment.  

DAY 1

On day one, we heard from several presenters that traveled near and far to share their advice, best practices and research. Below we highlight some of the speakers and key topics they discussed.  

Mike Smith: Commissioner of Indiana (INDOT) 

The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has owned and maintained more than 5,700 bridges and has nearly 30,000 roadway lane miles. INDOT has created a long term, fully funded plan to improve Indiana’s roadways and bridges that consists of fixing what they currently have, finishing what they have started, planning for the future, and impacting the surrounding cities, towns and counties. 

Mike shared that at the highest level it is important to invest in our infrastructure, keep roads in good condition longer, use taxpayer dollars wisely and be environmentally sensitive. Looking ahead, INDOT plans to focus on the quality of the pavement life including preservation techniques, economic development, resiliency, and sustainability.  

George Connor: Deputy Director, Operations (Alabama DOT) 

George Connor discussed the preservation challenge and how important it is that we create longer lasting pavements. It is a challenging undertaking because the road system has 4.2 million centerline miles. The nation’s infrastructure is valued at $8.3 trillion, and in 2019 federal state governments spent $3.6 billion on highways.  

Pavement preservation is important because of the people and communities it impacts. Roadway networks connect about 7.9 million business establishments with customers, suppliers and workers. In 2018, roadway networks served about 327 million residents and 80 million international visitors. Transportation infrastructure has a major economic impact, so we must work together to share pavement preservation techniques that are working well. 

DAY 2

On day two of the conference, several of our own were able to speak about advancements in asphalt emulsions, workforce development strategies, and cold recycled pavements. 

Dan Swiertz: Asphalt Materials Inc. | Lab Manager 

Latest Advancements in Emulsions 

The use of asphalt emulsions is ubiquitous throughout the lifecycle of an asphalt pavement. From new construction to recycling and reclamation, emulsions are formulated to deliver performance across a range of climatic regions and construction variables. New and innovative advancements in emulsion technology have created valuable opportunities for contractors and road owners alike. This presentation examined several advancements including penetrating emulsion and micro surfacing that offer unique opportunities to extend the pavement lifecycle.  

Kierstin Janik: Heritage Construction + Materials | Chief Talent Officer 

Workforce Development Strategies 

As construction companies face lower workforce participation and an ageing workforce. The U.S. Bipartisan Infrastructure Law projects potentially creating 3.2 million new jobs across the non-residential construction value chain, and 300,000-600,000 new construction workers are needed to fill the gap with projected peak needs around 2027-2028. As a result, companies must develop holistic strategies to engage potential new employees and increase workforce development. 

Kierstin discussed some approaches HC+M has taken recently including highlighting its employer brand through social media and emphasizing the industry’s meaningful work, safety, support and good wages. She also shared more about HC+M’s talent acquisition strategy that prioritizes investing in the future though programs with middle schools, high schools and universities.  

Megan Yount: Heritage Research Group | Pvmt. Mat Engineering Manager 

Characterizing Cold Recycled Pavements from Field-Sampled Cores 

Replicating field-placed Cold In-place Recycled (CIR) and Cold Central Plant Recycled (CCPR) pavements with lab-produced mixtures may not accurately capture field conditions during construction, exact material proportions, or compaction effort. These factors often influence the resulting mixture properties, causing uncertainty that lab-produced mixtures reflect that of the in-situ pavement mixture. Examples from two State DOT projects were reviewed, followed by a discussion of results from tests including Dynamic Modulus, Marshall Stability, and Indirect Tensile Strength Testing.  

DAY 3

On day three, conference attendees visited the Indiana State Fairgrounds, where they could see INDOT evaluation equipment and research posters, static displays, and field demonstrations. Several contractors showcased their equipment including a diamond grinder, greens broom scrubber, pavement evaluation van and more. 

The live demonstrations listed below followed the static displays.

Treatment Contractor 
Hot in Place Recycling  Gallagher Asphalt 
Rapid Set Concrete Patch  CTS/Rapid Set 
Concrete Patch Materials FPT Infrastructure 
RMV Robotic Crack Sealer RMV/Sealmaster Robotic Crack Sealer 
Treatment Contractor 
Mastic and Crack Seal CRAFCO 
Pavement Retexturing  Skidabrader 
Maltene Based Rejuvenator Pavement Technology Inc. 
Microsurface Pavement Solutions 
Scrub Seal  Pavement Maintenance Systems/Etnyre 

Asphalt Materials Inc. and Heritage Research Group had an amazing time attending NPPC and learning pavement preservation best practices from agencies and industry thought leaders. Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth and for sharing your ideas about how to take care of our infrastructure! 

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MnDOT finds PMBs Extend Road Service Life by Six Years

Many highway agencies recognize the benefits of using modified asphalts to reduce pavement distress and increase service life. A recent study from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) found that asphalt pavements with polymer-modified binders (PMBs) perform better than pavements with unmodified asphalt binders. They also found that modified binders are more cost-effective, even for local low-volume roads. While pavements with PMBs may cost more initially, performance is improved in the long run. 

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Mitchell Kovalsky Promoted to Senior Project Engineer

We are pleased to announce the promotion of Mitch Kovalsky to Senior Project Engineer in the AMI Capital Project Engineering Group. In this role, Mitch will continue to lead projects critical to our business operation while supporting implementation of the overall capital plan.

Mitch graduated from Purdue University in 2018 as a Chemical Engineer and joined AMI as a Lab Tech at the Indianapolis Plant. Shortly after, in March of 2019, he joined the engineering team as a Project Engineer.

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Higbie and Jenkins Join the 2023-2024 LEAP Class 

Asphalt Material’s Sales Representative Nate Jenkins and Heritage Research Group’s Senior Asphalt Research Chemist Campbell Higbie have joined the 2023-2024 LEAP Class. Nate Jenkins is a member of the Asphalt Materials, Inc. (AMI) sales team and has worked with the company since January 2014. Campbell began his career at The Heritage Group (THG) when he joined the Heritage Research Group (HRG) in March 2016 as a lab technician for the asphalt emulsion lab. In 2018, Higbie moved into a research and innovation role with HRG. This has allowed him to help AMI develop novel approaches in asphalt applications, specifically with emulsions.  

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