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Duval Asphalt hosts Rep. Rutherford for tour

By Molly Berry, ATS

Congressman John Rutherford Tours NAPA Member Duval Asphalt’s Production Facility

The teams at Duval Asphalt Products, Inc. (Duval Asphalt) and Asphalt Testing Solutions & Engineering, LLC (ATS) hosted Congressman John Rutherford, District Director Chris Miller, and Asphalt Pavement Alliance’s (APA) Buzz Powell and Brittyn Heisler at their Philips Highway location in Jacksonville, Florida on Feb. 27. The group toured Duval Asphalt’s plant to learn about plant operations, focusing on the updates and technologies implemented to streamline operations for efficiency and lowering their carbon footprint during production. They also toured the ATS labs for a behind the scenes look at an asphalt pavement’s life cycle from initial design to its materials’ properties to specification verification and future performance.

Duval Asphalt’s direct engagement with the National Asphalt Pavement Association’s (NAPA) advocacy efforts, such as attending the Hill Days event in September 2023 and answering the call to work with local officials, created the opportunity for Representative Rutherford to not only visit and learn more about Duval Asphalt and ATS, but learn more about the asphalt industry as a whole and NAPA’s work to advance its key legislative priorities in Washington.
“I thought the tour was a great success, and I’m excited to advocate for our industry,” said Evelyn Warder, Duval Asphalt’s Government Policy & Contracts Liaison. “It is very impactful when we are seen and heard by our legislators.” Warder attended NAPA’S Hill Days program last fall which initiated the relationship with Rep. Rutherford.
Discussions focused on multiple industry initiatives such as sustainability efforts, workforce development
programs, work zone safety, and mental health. Education and open communication are crucial to ensure well-informed outcomes regarding potential mandates, laws or rules affecting our industry.
“The Asphalt Pavement Alliance was excited to support the visit by Representative Rutherford to Duval Asphalt,” said Buzz Powell, APA’s Technical Director. “Duval [Asphalt] sets the gold standard in leadership, stewardship, and engagement in the asphalt industry. Representative Rutherford’s law enforcement history gave him a unique perspective on asphalt paving through his involvement in roadway safety. It was encouraging to see how engaged he was during his visit and tour. The conversation was not just limited to asphalt paving. Both Duval Asphalt and Representative Rutherford have a shared passion for community involvement in areas such as reintroduction of previously incarcerated individuals to the workforce, support for veterans, and mental health.”
Mitchell Gant, Vice President of Duval Asphalt, felt the visit was beneficial to all parties involved. “It was a pleasure to host Representative Rutherford at our Philips Highway facility,” he said. “These visits allow us to pave the way to open communication with our legislative branch while showcasing our facilities and the world of asphalt.
Rep. Rutherford was very engaging, learning that asphalt is our nation’s most recycled product, an art,
and a science. Representative Rutherford shared some of his initiatives and goals as they relate to our industry and local community and updated us on Washington’s political climate. He also introduced us to two local nonprofit organizations centered around workforce development, which is one of Duval Asphalt’s top priorities.
Overall, this was a very successful visit for all involved. Duval Asphalt and ATS welcome all friends from Congress to visit their facilities in Northeast Florida, but they were especially proud to showcase the industry’s work with a key member of the House Appropriations Committee, who works directly with regulatory partners at the Department of Transportation on key industry policies.

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