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).
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
Annie Hynes’ experience shows how employees, companies and young professionals benefit when Orr Fellows join The Heritage Group.
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.
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.”
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
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.”
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.
The Heritage Group, is a multi-generational family business that spans nearly a century. We take pride in our commitment to foster a supportive and cohesive workplace environment for employees. We strive to ensure that everyone feels supported while working together to create long-term value by doing business the right way!
Nearly a century ago, The Heritage Group was founded on this principle:
“This research helps to confirm the direction the department has taken with recent changes to longitudinal joint specifications.”
– Project Manager Dan 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.
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.
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.
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.
Spring is finally here, and that means construction season is underway! As we all know, construction zones can be extremely dangerous places for both drivers and workers. That’s exactly why the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) hosts its annual National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW), this year from April 11-15. The weeklong campaign is designed to raise awareness of the dangers of work zones and encourage drivers to use extra caution when driving through any.
Asphalt paving is a complex process that requires in-depth planning, precision, and specialized expertise. When it comes to paving with asphalt, everyone always looks forward to the end result – i.e., long-lasting and functional pavement. Beyond the numerous techniques and skillset required to completing asphalt paving projects, if you don’t have a solid foundation for your final product, your work will deteriorate quickly.
However, when important steps are neglected, roads can be in a vulnerable condition, susceptible to quicker deterioration such as premature cracking and the all too familiar and frustrating potholes. A recent article published by The Asphalt Magazine introduces five key points which, when followed, can lead to stronger, durable, longer lasting asphalt pavements.
Achieving the highest level of asphalt pavement performance is often the top goal for both clients and contractors alike. In his article, “The five keys to paving success,” Dave Johnson, P.E., emphasizes the importance of considering these factors to never overlook when building high-quality pavements and avoiding poorer-than-optimal performance.
As an engineer and asphalt paving contractor, Johnson has seen his share of bad asphalt surface streets over the years – those with inadequate design and construction factors that lead to poor performance. In his years of experience specializing in asphalt pavements, he has witnessed countless asphalt paving projects – some that have lasted for decades and others that have failed within the first few years. While there is no one formula to ensure the development of a high-quality, long-lasting asphalt pavement, the five keys to doing so, according to Johnson, are these:
Asphalt mix design, mix temperature, placement thickness, aggregate angularity and compaction are crucial to consider when producing a quality pavement. Each of these five keys is important in its own right, but they all work together to create a strong foundation. Asphalt pavement is renowned for its durability, longevity, and cost-effectiveness, but proper construction is critical to achieving these characteristics.
After all, asphalt is the most heavily used construction material in America. “All too often, contractors compromise some or all of these factors in the name of saving time and money,” Johnson explains. “They later discover that short-term savings were far outweighed by the longer-term costs associated with poor performance.” While all five aspects of a top-notch pavement are equally important and work together to create a high-quality product, paving is rarely an exact science.
Conditions such as climate, temperature, traffic, etc. can vary greatly from one work site to the next. These procedures cannot be ignored if you want to ensure longevity and stability in your asphalt pavement, preventing you from having to make costly repairs sooner than later.
The asphalt pavement industry also presents challenges because there are often frequent changes to specifications. By taking the time to ensure each of these five keys is up to par in your project, you can avoid costly mistakes and deliver a high-quality, long-lasting asphalt pavement. While paving is not an exact science, there’s still much that can go wrong if you don’t take the time necessary with each key component from start through completion.
It is an overall complex and sensitive process – one that should not be taken lightly. Neglecting even one of them results in a subpar final product. Be sure to keep these five keys in mind on your next asphalt paving project! Your clients, community, and bank account will thank you in the long run.
For more detailed information on each key and how to achieve success, read more about Johnson’s insights on building better asphalt surfaces here. >>>