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From The Top: Shaping America and our industry

audrey copeland
This joint column appears in the Summer 2024 print edition of NAPA Quarterly. Subscribe here.

Your engagement with NAPA informs all that we do to advance the asphalt pavement industry. Participation and leadership from every corner of our nation and industry are evident in this, our second issue, of NAPA Quarterly, along with the rest of our media and communication products. Help us help you stay engaged by selecting what you want to hear about as a NAPA member or industry stakeholder.

As announced at our 2024 Annual Meeting in January, we welcome increased leadership from women in our industry, who are providing direction to four of our committees, representing the industry on Capitol Hill, bringing their voices to the board of the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) at Auburn University, and encouraging more women to join the industry through Women of Asphalt.

In February and March, NAPA enjoyed first-of-their-kind opportunities to bring the asphalt pavement industry’s voice directly to Congress with invited testimony featuring Walbec’s Brian Enders and Construction Partners Inc.’s Heather Dylla. Their presence on the Hill and our expanded advocacy efforts are the early results of our newly energized advocacy team, representing your interests as we look down the road toward the next highway bill and sustainable, predictable funding for surface infrastructure.

Another advocacy win we’re proud to celebrate as this issue goes to press is the critical passage of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act, signed into law by the President on May 16. This law secures the future of the Airport Asphalt Pavement Technology Program (AAPTP), which NAPA administers under a cooperative agreement with the FAA, along with an additional $3 million in funding for the program – bringing the total investment to date to $15 million. That investment spurs ongoing research to develop and implement asphalt pavement technology to improve commercial and military airfield performance and safety. Speaking of airports, read how Allan Myers earned NAPA’s 2023 Ray Brown Airport Award.

While members like Enders and Dylla and numerous others are ‘out front’ engaging in public testimony and directly with policymakers, other NAPA members are powering ‘back end’ systems to advance the association and our industry. We’re extremely proud to celebrate the one-year anniversary of our AI research assistant, Hey NAPA, developed by Associate member XBE. Hey NAPA brings decades of asphalt pavement engineering and paving practices to your fingertips. It continues to grow in terms of research inputs, stakeholder usage, and ease of use. It’s even growing in recognition, with a nickname coming soon for our Hey NAPA avatar!

There’s so much more to explore in this issue, and in all that we are doing together – NAPA members, staff, NAPA PAC supporters, research partners like NCAT, our Partners in The Road Forward, policymakers, and countless others. Your awareness and engagement continue to strengthen this Association and keep America moving!

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