How Washtenaw County, Michigan is Focused on Pavement Preservation

Washtenaw County is located in southeast Michigan. The County seat is Ann Arbor, home of
The University of Michigan Wolverines. The Washtenaw County Road Commission (“WCRC”) is responsible for maintaining 1,653 total miles of primary and local roads along with 598 lane miles of State highways under a contract arrangement with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

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Meet the AMI Team: Dave Stanczak

Name: David Stanczak

Title: Territory Manager

Location: Cicero, IN

A group of people posing for a photo

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

How long have you worked with AMI?

I started at AMI in October of 2020.

What do you like best about working at AMI?

The team atmosphere at AMI is the best. I am surrounded by talented, intelligent, and supportive teammates. AMI is the best company I’ve ever worked for – They care about their employees and their customers & focus on building strong relationships based on trust, instead of going after short-term wins.

Best lesson you’ve learned in your current position?

Persistence always pays off.

Fun facts about you & your family?

This November, I will be celebrating my 14-year anniversary with my wife. We have 11-year-old twins and a 7-year-old who I enjoy coaching in basketball & soccer. In my free time, I enjoy playing basketball, pickleball, and golf – I once hit a hole in 1!

Are you involved with any groups in your local community?

I have volunteered to coach soccer and basketball for the last 7 years with the Palatine Park District. I am also volunteering to coach basketball and volleyball and St. Theresa School for my twins. I am a member of the St. Theresa Men’s Club and help run fundraising events for the school. My wife and I also volunteer to help at other St Theresa School functions.

Currently Reading: Beyond Basketball: Coach K’s Keywords for Success

Currently Listening To: Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend Podcast

Favorite Movie: National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

Favorite TV Show: Breaking Bad

Favorite Quote: “The past is history. Tomorrow’s a mystery. Today is a gift, that is why we call it the present.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

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Team Member Spotlight: Orr Fellow Annie Hynes

Getting More with Orr  

Annie Hynes’ experience shows how employees, companies and young professionals benefit when Orr Fellows join The Heritage Group. 

Pictured: Annie on the job in her current role at Asphalt Materials, Inc. 

Finding Heritage 

When Chicago native and chemical engineering major Annie Hynes began her senior year at University of Notre Dame in 2018, she wasn’t sure what career she’d pursue after graduation. By the time she walked across the stage at commencement, though, her next two years were set: Annie had accepted an Orr Fellowship. That meant she’d have a full-time job and a whole lot more. Orr Fellowship supports young professionals with a community of peers and opportunities for continued learning and community involvement. 

As a senior at Notre Dame, Annie had already explored career options within her major. “I had interned in research at a biotech company in college, but I wasn’t convinced that engineering was the right place,” she said. Orr Fellowship gave Annie a chance to learn about all areas of a business, which appealed to her curiosity. “The Fellowship is two years to explore, to get new experiences and figure out what you want to do — and I liked that,” she said. At Finalist Day, the last step of Orr’s application process, Annie and her fellow candidates interviewed with a handful of Orr’s dozens of Partner Companies — including The Heritage Group (THG). 

Annie had no idea what to expect going into her interview with THG, but she was “happily surprised that Heritage had both science and engineering opportunities as well as business opportunities,” she said. The interviewers from THG, Matt Kriech and Kierstin Janik, were happy with Annie, too. Orr Fellowship matched her with THG for three eight-month rotations.  

Annie (left) with Fellows on a hike during 2020 winter retreat in Gatlinburg, Tennessee 

Exploring Heritage Companies 

Annie’s first rotation began in June 2019 with Biosynthetic Technologies (BT), which had been recently acquired by The Heritage Group. Her degree in chemical engineering translated well to her research work with Biosynthetic, where she circulated samples to generate interest in the company’s capabilities.  

Recognizing the benefits of the company was easy. “With The Heritage Group, you’re being backed by the security of a 90+ year old company, but you still get innovative entrepreneurial experiences from a startup as well,” Annie said. 

“Annie reacted quite well to the challenges of an early-stage company, which can be chaotic to say the least,” commented COO Matt Kriech, Annie’s supervisor at BT. “She worked with a diverse team to create technical data packages that greatly accelerated our time to market by reducing the amount of technical development our manufacturers had to do.”      

Annie outside the Biosynthetic Technologies lab 

For her second rotation, Annie relocated to Houston, Texas, to work as a production engineer with Monument Chemical. Orr Fellows are typically based in Indianapolis, so Annie’s time in Houston was unique. “I had never worked at a plant before, so that was my introduction to manufacturing, and I loved it,” Annie said.  

“Usually, when we get someone that new out of school, they focus on one area until they’re comfortable,” said Operations Manager Jake Moehring, Annie’s supervisor at Monument. “Annie made it a point to branch out and take the opportunity to get involved with as much as she could.” 

In March of 2020, Annie and many of her co-workers at Monument went remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the new virtual environment, she developed experience in the manufacturing field by monitoring production processes using automatic data collection from the plant. “I was still using my degree, but in a way I didn’t really know was possible,” Annie said. “I liked the creativity of the work and I loved my team there, so it was a really positive experience.” 

During each of Annie’s rotations, her Heritage leaders made a difference. “I was given a lot of responsibility off the bat because of how much my managers trusted me and believed in me,” she said. “I liked the ability to make an impact early on in my career.” 

Annie’s experience echoes other young professionals who are met with trust and responsibility when they join the Heritage family. For example, “I make it a point to treat our college interns as close as possible to a full-time new hire engineer,” Jake said. “I want them to be engaged and exposed to all areas of the plant to get a real taste of the role so they can make a good decision for their career path.” 

Annie’s third and final rotation was completely remote, so she spent her final eight months of the Fellowship working from home in Chicago. Annie worked as a financial analyst for Heritage Environmental Services’ accounting and finance department, an area new to her academically and professionally. “To get that experience in accounting and finance was really beneficial to any job I might have in the future,” she said. “It’s nice to have a well-rounded picture of how our businesses operate from end to end. That has definitely benefited me, even in my current role in engineering.” 

Joining the Heritage team 

Annie (right) with colleagues at AMI 

After her Orr Fellowship ended, Annie became one of the 57% of Fellows who stay with their Partner Companies by accepting an offer from Asphalt Materials, Inc. to work as a manufacturing engineer. Her work is primarily remote, but she travels to locations where J-Band is produced in Illinois and Indiana. “The work I do now is more like production planning and working out the kinks,” she said. “With some of our products, there are unique obstacles that I can help troubleshoot, which can be done remotely.” 

Annie was one of The Heritage Group’s first two Fellows, but she is far from the last. THG has hired two Fellows from the class of 2020 and one from the class of 2021, and three more Fellows will join the Heritage family after their graduation in May 2022.  

THG’s Early Career Talent Specialist, Lexie Seward, was an Orr Fellow at another Partner Company before joining the Heritage family. “Orr Fellows’ eagerness to participate in a wide range of experiences allows us to be creative with the rotations and make sure we fit company need with a Fellow’s interests,” Lexie said. “Overall, Orr Fellows bring curiosity and adaptability to THG. Because they’re agile and hungry for experience, there’s no limit to what they can do here.” 

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Harnessing the Power of Family: The Lofton Story

The story of family and its role in our lives is something that is essential to the entire Heritage family. It’s why we explore this topic with such depth, as well as share our own inspirational stories from all over to remind us how families shape everything about who we are. Our newest employee-inspired video features the Lofton Family – a family who for decades, has embodied what it means to belong to The Heritage Group and Asphalt Materials Families.

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Wisconsin DOT Research Recommends Extending Roadway Life with VRAM and Penetrating Emulsions

“This research helps to confirm the direction thedepartment has taken with recent changes to longitudinal jointspecifications.”

– Project ManagerDan Kopacz, WisDOT

How to Create Better Longitudinal Joints? 

The longitudinal joint is the Achilles’ heel of every paved road. Road managers know the first part of the pavement to fail is the longitudinal joint. As the road’s most permeable part, this joint is susceptible to the elements, especially with their inherently lower density. Air and water work down through this unavoidable seam in the pavement 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 and costly repairs.​  

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Initiatives of National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW)

Toward Zero Deaths

Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) is a national initiative to eliminate highway fatalities founded in 2009. The ATSSA Foundation’s mission is to support injured or fallen roadway workers and their families, impacted by roadway work zone crashes. This national strategy on highway safety to advocate for eliminating serious injuries and death on our nation’s roadways was conceptualized by safety practitioners, researchers, advocates, and others from a variety of disciplines. This initiative calls for all stakeholders to champion the idea that one death on our nation’s roadways is too many, and we must all work together to bring the annual number of roadway deaths to zero. With this input of over 70 workshop participants and further discussions with the Steering Committee following the workshop, the name of this effort became “Toward Zero Deaths: A National Strategy on Highway Safety.”

Frequent donator, Minnesota-based company 3M raised more than $15k this year partnering with The ATSS Foundation by operating the zero deaths pledge wall from the start of the year through ATSSA’s 52nd Annual Convention & Traffic Expo. The company offered to match donations up to $5,000 and most of the raised funds came in during the final days of the Expo. “As the new ATSS Foundation Chair, I can’t express enough how grateful I am for support from companies like 3M that share the vision with us to help families that have experienced such horrific work zone tragedies,” said Kevin Shelton. For more information on how to promote traffic safety culture in your community, visit the TZD webpage for a list of initiatives you can implement today.

National Work Zone Memorial

Honoring those who died in work zones with a traveling & virtual memorial, The ATSSA Foundation offers the National Work Zone Memorial, honoring lives lost in work zones to help make fatalities “real” to policy makers and drivers. Originally unveiled in April 2002, “The National Work Zone Memorial – Respect and Remembrance: Reflections of Life on the Road” program is a living tribute to the memory of lives lost in work zones2. The new design of the traveling National Work Zone Memorial was unveiled in February 2017.

The traditional Memorial travels to communities across the cross each year to raise awareness of the need to respect and stay safe in America’s roadway work zones. A virtual National Work Zone Memorial is also available for meetings and events and is open to anyone interested in increasing roadway safety awareness and is now available at no cost. The Foundation encourages ATSSA members, ATSSA chapters, state DOTs and industry leaders to host the Memorial at your next event. To apply to host the Memorial at your next event, or to submit a name for the memorial, visit ATSSA webpage for more information.

Roadway Worker Memorial Scholarship Program

A work zone tragedy shouldn’t mean the end of the dreams and aspirations for the worker’s spouse, children, and family. This is exactly why The ATSS Foundation created The Roadway Worker Memorial Scholarship Program. This program provides financial assistance for post-high school education to the children or spouse of a roadway worker killed or permanently disabled in a work zone incident. The scholarships, offered by The American Traffic Safety Services (ATSS) Foundation3, can help put the worker’s dependents on the road to a brilliant future. The scholarships are competitive and have a value up to $10,000. Applicants who demonstrate a strong commitment to volunteerism may be eligible to receive an additional $1,000 in honor of Chuck Bailey, an esteemed member of the roadway safety industry from Ohio who died in 2002 as a result of a work zone incident.

The Roadway Worker Memorial Scholarship Program celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and has awarded $358,000 since its inception. Thirteen students are currently attending college thanks to a Roadway Worker Memorial Scholarship. Two of those also received a Chuck Bailey Memorial Scholarship for this school year. Hear from Roadway Worker Memorial Scholarship recipients about how The ATSS Foundation scholarships helped them achieve their dreams.

“It is a privilege to help the dependents of fallen or permanently injured roadway workers pursue their goals,” said Foundation Director Lori Diaz. “But we couldn’t offer these scholarships without the generosity of individual donors, ATSSA members and sponsors of the events we hold throughout the year.” The ATSS Foundation is the charitable arm of ATSSA and was formed in 1988 with the core purpose to promote roadway safety through charitable giving and public awareness programs. Donations can be made at Foundation.ATSSA.com/Donate.

Public Awareness

In March of 2019, the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA)4 passed a resolution recognizing April 8 – 12 2019 as National Work Zone Awareness Week. The resolution was passed at the NLGA 2019 Federal-State Relations Meeting where the lieutenant governors discussed state, federal, and international affairs. ATSSA’s Government Relations staff members were in attendance and requested the resolution be considered by NLGA. The NLGA is a professional association for the elected officials first in line of succession to governors in all 50 states and five U.S. territories. Their goal? The NLGA strives for efficiency in state government by providing professional support, to foster interstate cooperation, and to generally improve the efficiency of state and territorial administration through education on issues and leadership training. “ATSSA is pleased that the Lt. Governors passed a resolution acknowledging the importance of work zone safety awareness as we begin the spring construction season. Public awareness is key in helping to remind motorists to be mindful when navigating work zones,” said ATSSA’s Director of State Government Relations Ashley Wieland.

1 https://www.towardzerodeaths.org/

2 https://foundation.atssa.com/Programs/National-Work-Zone-Memorial

3 https://foundation.atssa.com/Programs/Roadway-Worker-Memorial-Scholarship-Program

4 https://nlga.us/

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What is the History of National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW)?

Roadway construction season has arrived! Construction zones are often full of obstacles and potential hazards, so it is important to stay alert and follow all posted signs and instructions. As we all know, roadway construction is a necessary part of keeping our roads safe and maintained. By being aware, alert and focused on driving and not being distracted, we can all help to make the construction season safer for everyone.

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Work Zone Safety and Innovative Pavement Technologies at Top of NAPA’s 2022 Focus Areas

Federal law requires federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Transportation, to revise and update their strategic plan at the beginning of each new presidential term.  In so doing, the DOT invited stakeholders to comment on the Draft DOT Strategic Framework, which included draft strategic goals and strategic objectives to accomplish each strategic goal.

The draft DOT Strategic Framework reflects the agency’s priorities for achieving DOT’s mission through six strategic goals: safety, economic strength and global competitiveness, equity, climate and sustainability, transformation, and organizational excellence. The NAPA organization was the only association providing comments on behalf of the asphalt pavement industry.

NAPA President and CEO Audrey Copeland asked DOT to prioritize worker safety in work zones and the deployment of innovative pavement technologies, both of which should be added to the DOT Strategic Framework. Copeland also recommended the inclusion of a goal: the development of revenue options for the Highway Trust Fund.

Asphalt Materials is Focused on Building, Longer-Lasting, Safer Roads

The Department of Transportation (DOT) published their draft Strategic Framework FY2022-2026, for public comment in November 2021. Shown below are a few of the important elements of the DOT’s document where the focus of Asphalt Materials and this framework as particularly aligned.

DOT’s Goals and Terms Defined 

Make our transportation system safer for all people. Work toward a future where transportation-related serious injuries and fatalities are eliminated.  

  • Safe Workers: Support the health and safety of transportation workers and first responders 
  • Safe Design: Design and build transportation infrastructure, vehicles, and systems to improve safety outcomes 
  • Infrastructure Resilience and climate-informed decision-making
  • Design for the future. Invest in purpose-driven research and innovation to meet the challenge of the present and modernize a transportation system of the future that serves everyone today and in the decades to come. 
  • Foster breakthrough discoveries and new knowledge through high-risk, high-reward research driven by policy objectives 
  • Experimentation:  Identify new ideas, new innovation, and new possibilities. Evaluate the opportunities and risks so the Department can support public benefits 
  • Collaboration and Competitiveness:  Work with diverse stakeholders to share noteworthy practices and accelerate the adoption of innovation and technologies 
  • Flexibility and Adaptability:  Design flexibility into transportation system investments to accommodate and respond to changing needs and capabilities to provide long-term benefits 
  • The DOT has expressed an interest in establishing policies, processes, and innovative culture to effectively and responsibly steward the public’s resources
  • The DOT has expressed an interest in educating the public on the value of their transportation investments 
  • Sustainability Initiatives:  Promote a sustainable, clean, and resilient future 
  • Focus on program outcomes and enhanced analytics 
Asphalt delivers sustainability by being the most recycled material in the world.

Asphalt Materials: Focused on Longer-lasting, Safer Roads

One of the most important objectives of Asphalt Materials is to create longer-lasting roads. This objective of AMI is aligned with the DOT and will lead to a more resilient and reliable transportation system, infrastructure and supply chain.  

At the core of the Heritage Group is a tradition of innovation and a strong commitment to science. You see it daily in the problem-solving that occurs among our companies and their customers. And, you see it in the world-class research that’s driven growth across The Heritage Group and earned more than 100 patents.

Nowhere is this more apparent than at Heritage Research Group, our central research and development unit which operates at the cutting-edge of technology from its state-of-the-art research facility at The Center in Indianapolis.

Our focus on innovation is further demonstrated by the creation of HG Ventures, our corporate venture arm which is primarily focused on investments in early- and growth-stage opportunities in the infrastructure space.

The Heritage Group has been developing environmentally- sustainable solutions for more than 50 years – we started Heritage Environmental Services with a Subtitle C landfill in 1970, the same year the EPA was created.

Today, Heritage Environmental Services is a leader in environmental sustainability and a one-stop waste management solution all across North America.

We help clients leverage the full potential of waste, identifying opportunities and efficiencies to re-claim value and turn waste into productive, sustainable assets by leveraging our research and development partners.

Equipped with experience and driven by creativity and innovation, we are a team of environmentalists and engineers passionate about doing things the right way or not at all.

A particularly excellent example of a Heritage Group, Heritage Research Lab and Asphalt Materials discovery is VRAM, a void reducing asphalt membrane which has been shown to create longer-lasting safer roads. Many of the objectives, goals and strategies outlined by the DOT can be achieved by using more VRAM across a variety of projects in the United States in 2022 and beyond.

  • VRAM helps build longer-lasting roads lead to a more resilient and reliable infrastructure and supply chain
  • VRAM helps build longer-lasting roads that are more environmentally friendly than many other mechanical methods
  • VRAM helps build longer-lasting roads that are more sustainable
  • VRAM is a breakthrough discovery that helps roads last up to 5 years longer and delivers a return on investment of 3 to 5 times its cost
  • VRAM is a breakthrough innovation that has an impressive track record that has been performing and delivering results since 2002
  • VRAM is being used in 21 states and The District of Columbia. These states can collaborate with other states to accelerate the adoption of the VRAM innovative technology
  • VRAM provides long-term benefits as shown in an Indiana DOT life cycle analysis where an investment of $12.5M in J-Band can result in a $39M in savings (approximately 3:1 ROI).

Asphalt Materials, Inc. an Important Company Within The Heritage Group

At The Heritage Group, we have been developing environmentally sustainable solutions for more than 50 years. We started Heritage Environmental Services with a Subtitle C landfill in 1970, the same year the EPA was created. Today, Heritage Environmental Services is a leader in environmental sustainability and a one-stop waste management solution spread across North America.

Sustainability is important all across The Heritage Group. Our businesses are focused on leaving the world a better place for future generations.

At Asphalt Materials (AMI), we work closely with The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA). NAPA works to support, advocate, and advance the asphalt pavement industry. One of NAPA’s focus areas for 2022 is climate stewardship and how asphalt is environmentally friendly as it is America’s most recycled material. Our industry continuously explores methods and practices to contribute to a sustainable infrastructure and a healthy environment for generations to come.

It is always worth noting that asphalt delivers sustainability by being the most recycled material in the world !

Be on the lookout for future articles on these subjects throughout 2022.

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NAPA Helps Explain New Sustainability Terminology Expected to Become Commonplace in 2022

At The Heritage Group, we have been developing environmentally sustainable solutions for more than 50 years. We started Heritage Environmental Services with a Subtitle C landfill in 1970, the same year the EPA was created. Today, Heritage Environmental Services is a leader in environmental sustainability and a one-stop waste management solution spread across North America.

Sustainability is important all across The Heritage Group. Our businesses are focused on leaving the world a better place for future generations.

At Asphalt Materials (AMI), we work closely with The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA). NAPA works to support, advocate, and advance the asphalt pavement industry. One of NAPA’s focus areas for 2022 is climate stewardship and how asphalt is environmentally friendly as it is America’s most recycled material. Our industry continuously explores methods and practices to contribute to a sustainable infrastructure and a healthy environment for generations to come.

As part of NAPA’s Climate Stewardship Task Force, they will be helping explain terminology that is expected to become commonplace in 2022. Look for more updates in the coming weeks. Here are a few listed below.

Carbon Footprint

Carbon footprint is an estimate of how much carbon dioxide is produced to support your lifestyle. Essentially, it measures your impact on the climate based on how much carbon dioxide you produce. Factors that contribute to your carbon footprint include your travel methods and general home energy usage. Carbon footprints can also be applied, on a larger scale, to companies, businesses, even countries. (Source: NAPA Action News. Defining The Road Forward. https://www.naylornetwork.com/nap-nwl/articles/index-v7.asp?aid=707737&issueID=88351)

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

Carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless gas produced by burning carbon and organic compounds and by respiration, what people exhale when they breathe. It is naturally present in air (about 0.03%) and is absorbed by plants in photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is one carbon atom that is joined with two oxygen atoms.

Carbon Dioxide is Naturally Occurring

Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring gas. When you inhale (breathe in), air enters your lungs and oxygen from the air moves from your lungs to your blood. At the same time, carbon dioxide, a waste gas, moves from your blood to the lungs and is exhaled (breathe out).

Heritage Construction & Materials

Our Heritage Construction & Materials (HC+M) family of companies have built roads, bridges, and other commercial projects across the Midwest and as far away as China. Our asphalt and aggregate supply companies produce and distribute the highest quality road construction materials and specialty minerals throughout the country.

HC+M companies are industry-leading innovators, due in large part to the problem-solving nature of our employees, our close collaboration with the Heritage Research Group , and our mutual commitment to listen to the needs of our customers.

As part of The Heritage Group, Asphalt Materials was founded in 1956 and we continue to supply high quality products and services around the United States, allowing us to excel in pavement preservation techniques and construction services.

We work closely with the Heritage Research Group team to ensure the highest quality asphalt materials and processes are brought to market. We are committed to building long term relationships and mutual trust. We are excited to tackle our industries biggest challenges, looking for new and inventive ways to create solutions that will mean better, safer and longer lasting roads.

To learn more about HC+M, visit this website: https://thgrp.com/transportation-infrastructure-materials/

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