Monday | October 23, 2017

Asphalt Plant, Paving and QCQA Training in 2018

For this year’s training directory, we must address the elephant in the room. Asphalt companies, just like construction companies overall, are losing long-time, skilled employees to retirement. These workers have put in decades of exemplary service, helping the asphalt industry create masterpieces across North America.

They have combined skill sets that company owners and project supervisors wish could be bottled and poured into new hires on Day One. By training both existing workers and potential workforce members, our industry increases the knowledge base that will deliver consistent, quality pavements into the future.

Consider this: The Asphalt Pavement Alliance (APA) has put in place a system to identify and “reward” long-lasting asphalt pavements, which the retiring workforce was instrumental in building. According to the APA Perpetual Pavement Awards website page, “Long-life asphalt Perpetual Pavements are built in optimized layers designed to distribute the strains and stress of tires and traffics throughout the pavement structure. This helps confine pavement distresses to the easily-replaced surface while the deeper structure remains sound and in place indefinitely.”

To build a system that fits the definition of a Perpetual Pavement, the team involved requires engineers, lab techs, mix designers, aggregates managers, plant operators, loader operators, haul truck drivers, paver operators, lute men, roller operators, quality control/quality assurance (QC/QA) techs, equipment mechanics and additional personnel who have a solid understanding of their roles and how to wield their skills at the right stage during the build.

“Since 2001, the APA’s Perpetual Pavement Award program has recognized 118 long-life pavements in 30 U.S. states and one Canadian province,” the asphaltroads.org site spells out. “These roads were all at least 35 years old when honored, and had never experienced a structural failure. To qualify, a road could not have had more than 4 inches of new material added over the previous 35 years, and it could not have been resurfaced more frequently than once every 13 years. The winning pavements range in age from 35 to 99 years, and the average age was 44.7 years at the time the award was won.”

Do you have a paver operator who served on one of the projects built 44.7 years ago? Perhaps your veteran lab tech worked on an award-winning pavement of a mere 35 years of age, but I’m betting even those operators are few and far between. In fact, you may work in one of the companies that is currently struggling to find a qualified equipment mechanic in today’s environment. During a call hosted by The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) Aug. 29, one of the contractors on the call shared that his team has seen interns come for on-the-job training not knowing how to hold a hammer. These potential workforce members need intensive training.

The equipment operators you already have in your employ need a new round of training, as well. Let’s look at a concept you may already be working toward and which we broached in the September issue’s maintenance department: the proxy mechanic.During the CONEXPO-CON/AGG  tradeshow in March, Preston Ingalls, the president and CEO of TBR Strategies, took the stage as part of the CASE Construction Equipment “What’s Now” Speaker Series.

He shared ideas for developing a proxy mechanic program to leverage the employees you already have on staff. Let’s first review the information he shared concerning worker shortfalls—as it relates to trucking and construction technicians—over the next five years. “There’s less emphasis on pursuing a blue collar or trades job,” Ingalls said. “So with the shortfall of programs to attract people, or even prepare or train them, and not a lot of interest from [their] families to pursue that, we’ve got a reduced pipeline on the front end. That has a significant impact that’s only going to get worse.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction and trucking industry will need to recruit 67,000 new technicians by 2022 just to meet the demand and replace retiring baby boomers….This number does not include the 75,000 new diesel engine specialists that the Bureau anticipates will be needed by then just for growth reasons.” What Ingalls showed was the vocation programs we still have in the United States graduate a little more than 10,000 aspiring technicians each year, which is far short of the anticipated need.

While equipment manufacturers have been designing machines that require less routine maintenance, and creating technologically advanced vehicles and systems that let operators and fleet managers know when they require attention, contractors have ways to take advantage of “smart” machines. Train the equipment operators to care for the machines. Ingalls referred to this as using a proxy tech. He defined a proxy tech as the equipment operator who also has responsibilities for performing certain maintenance or repair tasks.

For many contractors, that’s been standard operating procedure. For example, the roller operator performs a pre-shift cleaning and inspection of the asphalt compactor, greasing the grease points and cleaning the water system filters and spray nozzles. The paver operator does his walk-around that includes checking hydraulic points and refilling fluids. But Ingalls took that kind of routine maintenance a step further.

“Instead of waiting for the mechanic to arrive, we’re actually going to do something a little more creative,” Ingalls told the CONEXPO-CON/AGG audience.When Ingalls listed examples of tasks proxy techs can be trained to do, I could see that asphalt professionals are already leaning toward the use of operators as proxy techs. When you ask the roller operator to replace a bent scraper bar and worn out cocoa mats, you’re getting work done without calling on a mechanic who may be dispatched to another site at that moment. The operator who knows how to clear a plugged spray nozzle saves the company time and money.

Who’s teaching that operator how to recognize a plugged spray nozzle and how to resolve the problem? If your veteran roller operators have already retired, you’re behind the 8 ball. For the AGC call in late August, the association had first conducted a national survey of more than 1,600 contractors. “Forty-six percent of firms also report they are doing more in-house training to cope with workforce shortages,” the association reported. Your in-house training will need to include veteran operators showing newer employees how to do the job—and how to do it right.

Be aware of what your veteran operators may not know. A spokesperson for Roadtec’s Paving Professionals Workshop shared something that was echoed on the AGC call: “The asphalt industry has changed drastically and the [workers] that have been doing this need more training to better understand what is now needed to meet all of the requirements.”

We are all aware that technology is supplementing the industry. Not all veteran operators have embraced it, but all employees need to learn how to use paving automation, intelligent compaction systems, QC/QA devices, 3D mapping systems and the like. These tools are in vogue because they improve the quality and accuracy of the pavement build. When any worker—whether a new hire, middle management, or three-decades-long equipment operator—turns the automation off because it’s intimidating, the technology isn’t helping anyone. With the training opportunities available nowadays, contractors shouldn’t have to worry about a member of the crew turning off the technology that’s designed to help get a bonus.

Brodie Hutchins, the vice president of dealer development for Wirtgen America Inc., Antioch, Tennessee, pointed out new hires have the benefit of a more comfortable working environment for a learning foundation. “This generation has grown up with screens and joysticks more than the generation before them,” he explained. Thus when the new employee climbs into a Hamm roller cab, he or she will have a familiarity with the surroundings that should speed the learning curve, whether the learning takes place at an OEM’s training center or in the field.

One of the techniques consultants have found successful in teaching crew members is to leave the workers in their working environment to train them on equipment, technology or methods. Clarence Richard, the proprietor of Clarence Richard Companies, Minnetonka, Minnesota, has used web-based training combined with classroom training for years with quantifiable results, and has added a third branch to his methods in the past few years.

“I’m taking training full circle,” Richard said. He spends a full day at the plant site with operators and technicians, working alongside the crew members he’s training. “I’m teaching them how to fish; I’m not fishing for them,” he said. “I’m teaching them how to watch their instrumentation. There are times when I arrive at the plant and their instruments aren’t working, and we can get them working….We can electrically troubleshoot.”

This hearkens to the system John Ball uses for paving crews. He’s the proprietor of Top Quality Paving & Training based in Manchester, New Hampshire, and the consultant on AsphaltPro Magazine’s online training course: Asphalt Paving 101. Ball goes to the company that requests training, works alongside the paving crew, filming and photographing while teaching and training. After a couple days of this method, he reviews the video with the crew members, going over their good work and pointing out areas for improvement. The classroom plays a role in the learning for Ball’s students, but hands-on work alongside the employees to be trained is the name of his game.

Richard offers this on-site training whether the company allows the plant operators to participate in the classroom and web-based training or not, but he prefers they get that foundation. The off-site learning sets them up for success. When Richard gets to their site, he focuses on energy efficiency, but safety is covered in every step.

Hutchins described a similar process at the expanding Wirtgen Center for Training & Technology (CTT), which is doubling in size for 2018. “The more hands-on training, especially on the technical side, the better,” he began. “We have prerequisites for many of our classes so that students can maximize their time at our CTT. At the risk of being redundant, we show them, then show them what we showed them and then we show them again by using online tools, the classroom and most importantly, hands-on the machines.”

Dave Dennison, the manager of marketing services for BOMAG Americas Inc., based in Ridgeway, South Carolina, said hands-on training is still second-to-none, even though the company is now offering electronic courses to accompany its in-person education. The online courses began as what can be described as “training the trainer,” so BOMAG dealers were better prepared to teach customers. “We have developed about 35 self-directed, online modules for our dealers, for e-learning,” Dennison said. “We do individual, customized training for end users, too.”

What the BOMAG team has found successful for training clients is to start with a 45-minute overview of what they’ll be learning, then have a walk-around of the equipment, going directly to the machine, and then reinforcing what they learn at the machine with some traditional classroom time.

There’s value in the kind of experience shared here. Consider this will be Gencor Industries’ 48th year of training when they welcome plant personnel to the Gencor University Training Center in Orlando. Consider the team of teachers with years of field experience who lead the Roadtec Paving Professionals Workshop in Chattanooga. Consider the more than 90 years of industry knowledge that lays the foundation for AsphaltPro Magazine’s online training course with hall-of-famer John Ball. These are just a few examples of the quality education available to your crew members. Look through the next few pages for a listing of training schools and courses that can help you bring existing employees, as well as new hires this off-season, up to speed on the latest technology and the back-to-basics techniques they must perfect for your bonus-earning season in 2018.


All-Test Pro LLC

All-Test Pro LLC offers the World Class Motor Diagnostic Workshops in various locations including customer facilities.

Students will learn in the categories of:

  • plant operations
  • mechanics
  • equipment repair

Oct. 30-Nov. 3 in Houston

Nov. 13-17 in Chicago

Dec. 4-8 in Las Vegas

Fee: $1,695-$2,295

Students can earn CE units.

More info


Applied Test Systems

Applied Test Systems offers lab equipment training by appointment at its headquarters in Butler, Pennsylvania, or at customer facilities upon request.

Students will learn in the categories of:

  • lab and mix design
  • QAQC
  • QA supervisory
  • training the trainer

Fee: Contact ATS for pricing

More info

 


Asphalt Pro Magazine

AsphaltPro Magazine offers the Asphalt Paving 101 online school in your own facility.

Students will learn in the categories of:

  • paving
  • laydown
  • mechanics
  • equipment repair
  • supervisory
  • training the trainer

Fee: $599 for lifetime access

More info


Astec Inc.

Astec Inc. offers the Astec Advanced Customer Schools in the J. Don Brock Training Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Students will learn in the categories of:

  • plant operations
  • mechanics
  • equipment  repair

Jan. 8-11, Jan. 15-18, Jan. 22-25, Feb. 5-8, Feb. 12-15, Feb. 19-22

Fee: $1,150—this includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and evening entertainment

More info


Astec Mobile Screens Inc.

Astec Mobile Screens Inc. offers Pro Training at its facility in Sterling, Illinois.

Students will learn in the categories of:

  • plant operations
  • crushing
  • screening
  • mechanics
  • equipment repair
  • supervisory
  • training the trainer

Oct. 10-12—Track and Screen School

Visit site for 2018 dates

Fee: $299-$399—this includes breakfast and lunch for attendees

More info


Bomag

Bomag offers courses at the FAYAT Training Academy on the BOMAG campus in South Carolina.

Students will learn in the categories of:

  • paving
  • laydown
  • mechanics
  • equipment repair

Week of Dec. 4

Week of Jan. 15

Week of Feb. 12

Week of Mar. 19

Fee: none.


Caterpillar Inc

Caterpillar Inc offers Paving Operations Training, AP1000F/AP1055F and AP600F/AP655F Service Training, and PM620/PM622 and PM820/PM822/PM825 Cold Planer Service Training at the Caterpillar Paving Products Customer Solution and Learning Center in Maple Grove, Minnesota, and the Tinaja Hills Training Center in Tucson, Arizona.

Students will learn in the categories of:

  • paving
  • laydown
  • mechanics
  • equipment repair
  • supervisory
  • training the trainer

F-Series Asphalt Paver Service Training (AP1000F, AP1055F, AP600F, AP655F): Jan. 23-26 (Maple Grove), Jan. 30-Feb. 2 (Maple Grove)

Paving Operations Training: Feb. 5-9 (Tucson), Feb. 12-16 (Tucson), Feb. 26-Mar. 2 (Tucson), Mar. 5-9 (Tucson), Mar. 12-16 (Tucson), Mar. 19-23 (Tucson)

PM600 and PM800 Series Cold Planer Service Training: Jan. 9-12 (Maple Grove)

Fee for Paving Operations Training: $3,100

Fee for Service Training: $1,400

More info


CEI Enterprises

CEI Enterprises offers the Service School Seminars at the CEI Training Seminar in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Students will learn in the categories of:

  • mechanics
  • equipment repair

Jan. 8-11

Jan. 22-25

Jan. 29-Feb.1

Feb. 12-15

Fee: $1,079

More info


Clarence Richard Company Inc.

Clarence Richard Company Inc. offers the Clarence Richard Plant Operation Workshop and Clarence Richard Electro-Mechanical Workshop in various locations including customer plant sites.

Students will learn in the categories of:

  • plant operations
  • mechanics
  • equipment repair

On-site plant training includes hands-on work with equipment.Students receive CE units for courses.

Fee: $1,500—includes breakfast

More info


Gencor Industries Inc.

Gencor Industries Inc. offers the Gencor Advanced Training School at the Gencor University Training Center in Orlando, Florida.

Students will learn in the categories of:

  • plant operations mechanics
  • equipment repair

Jan. 29-Feb. 2

Feb. 5-9

Feb. 12-16

Feb. 19-23

Fee: $950-$1,000

More info


Heatec Inc

Heatec Inc offers a day of training during the Astec Advanced Customer School at the Heatec Training Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Students will learn in the categories of:

  • plant operations
  • mechanics
  • equipment repair

Jan. 9

Jan. 16

Jan. 23

Feb. 6

Feb. 13

Feb. 20

Fee: included in the Astec school fee

More info


Honeywell/Hauck Mfg Co

Honeywell/Hauck Mfg Co offers three Aggregate Seminars at the Maxon training center in Muncie, Indiana.

Students will learn in the categories of:

  • plant operations
  • mechanics
  • equipment repair

Jan. 16-18

Jan. 23-25

Jan. 30-Feb. 1

Fee: $950—includes breakfast and/or lunch during days of the seminars

More info


Hotmix Parts & Service

Hotmix Parts & Service offers plant training at its facility in Louisville, Kentucky.

Students will learn in the categories of: plant operations

Jan. 14-17—Hotmix University Managers Exchange

Feb. 18-21—Hotmix University Operators Plantology

Mar. 25-28—Hotmix University Operators Plantology

More info

 

 


Johnson Crushers International

Johnson Crushers International offers PRO Training at its facility in Eugene, Oregon.

Students will learn in the categories of:

  • plant operations
  • crushing
  • screening
  • mechanics
  • equipment repair
  • supervisory
  • training the trainer

Visit site for dates

Fee $299-$399—this includes breakfast, lunch and one hosted evening event during the week

More info


Kolberg-Pioneer Inc.

Kolberg-Pioneer Inc. offers PRO training at the Scheid-Iverson Training Center in Yankton, South Dakota.

Students will learn in the categories of:

  • plant operations
  • crushing
  • screening
  • mechanics
  • equipment repair
  • supervisory
  • training the trainer

Dec. 5-7—Service Application School

Visit site for 2018 dates

Fee: $299-$399

More info


The National Center for Asphalt Technology

The National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) offers the Asphalt Industry Training Program at NCAT in Auburn, Alabama.

Students will learn in the categories of:

  • lab/mix design
  • QC/QA

Nov. 7-9—Balanced Mix Design

Jan. 23-25—Balanced Mix Design

Feb. 19-23—Asphalt Technology

Mar. 12-16—Asphalt Mix Design

Apr. 24-27—Asphalt Binder Technician

Fee: variesStudents can earn CE units.

More info


Roadtec Inc

Roadtec Inc offers the Paving Professionals Workshop and the Technical Service Schools in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Students will learn in the categories of:

  • paving
  • laydown
  • mechanics
  • equipment repair
  • supervisory
  • training the trainer

Technical Service Schools

Jan. 10-12—Paver 1

Jan. 15-17—Paver 2

Feb. 7-9—Mill 1

Feb. 12-14—Mill 2

Feb. 20-21—Shuttle Buggy® 1

Feb. 22-23—Shuttle Buggy® 2

Feb. 26-27—Stabilizer

Fee: $450

Paving Professionals Workshop Jan. 22-23—Session 1, Jan. 24-25—Session 2, Jan. 29-30—Session 3, Jan. 31-Feb. 1—Session 4

Fee: $250Students can earn CE units.

Special instructors for the Paving Professionals Workshop for 2018 include John Ball of Top Quality Paving; Brian Horner of E.D. Etnyre; Scott Hall of Oldcastle; and Richard Kramer, Charles Butler and David Bussard of Roadtec.

More info


The Rocky Mountain Asphalt Education Center

The Rocky Mountain Asphalt Education Center (RMAEC) offers training and certifications at the RMAEC in Centennial, Colorado. The certifications are done under the Laboratory for the Certification of Asphalt Technicians (LabCAT).

Students will learn in the categories of:

  • paving
  • laydown
  • plant operations
  • lab/mix design
  • QC/QA
  • supervisorytr
  • aining the trainer

Dates are run on a calendar year basis.

Fee: varies

More info


Top Quality Paving & Training

Top Quality Paving & Training offers individual and whole-crew training at the client’s site and on the jobsite.

The students will learn in the categories of:

  • paving
  • laydown
  • mechanics
  • equipment repairs
  • supervisory
  • training the trainer

Fee: varies

More info


TransTech Systems Inc.

TransTech Systems Inc. offers Non-Nuclear Density Gauge Training at TransTech Systems Inc. in Latham, New York, near Albany.

Students will learn in the categories of:

  • lab/mix design
  • QC/QA
  • supervisory
  • training the trainer

Dates are available upon request

Fee: none

More info


Volvo Construction Equipment

Volvo Construction Equipment offers the Volvo Road Institute® at the Road Institute® in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; Shippensburg, Pennsylvania; or Phoenix, Arizona.

Students will learn in the categories of:

  • paving
  • laydown
  • mechanics
  • equipment repair

Oct. 24-27—Paver and Compactor Operation & Maintenance (PA)

Nov. 7-10—Paver and Compactor Operation & Maintenance (AZ)

Nov. 14-17—Paver Hydraulic and Electrical Systems (PA)

Nov. 29-30—Paving and Compaction Application Seminar (PA)

Dec. 4-8—Paver Hydraulic and Electrical Systems (PA)

Dec. 12-15—Paver and Compactor Operation & Maintenance (AZ)

Dec. 12-14—Small Asphalt Compactor Mechanics (PA)

Jan. 9-12—Paver and Compactor Operation & Maintenance (AZ)

Jan. 9-11—Large Asphalt Compactor Mechanics (PA)

Jan. 16-18—Paver Screed Operation and Adjustment (PA)

Jan. 22-26—Paver Hydraulic and Electrical Systems (AZ)

Feb. 5-9—Paver Hydraulic and Electrical Systems (PA)

Feb. 13-16—Paver and Compactor Operation & Maintenance (AZ)

Feb. 13-15—Soil Compactor Mechanics (PA)

Feb. 20-22—Automatic Grade and Slope Systems (PA)

Feb. 27-Mar. 2—Paver and Compactor Operation & Maintenance (AZ)

Mar. 6-8—Large Asphalt Compactor Mechanics (PA)

Mar. 12-16—Paver Hydraulic and Electrical Systems (PA)

Mar. 20-23—Paver and Compactor Operation & Maintenance (AZ)

Apr. 3-5—Paver Hydraulic and Electrical Systems (PA)

Apr. 10-13—Paver and Compactor Operation & Maintenance (AZ)

Apr. 24-27—Paver and Compactor Operation & Maintenance (PA)

May 8-11—Paver and Compactor Operation & Maintenance (PA)

May 15-16—Paving and Compaction Application Seminar (PA)

May 22-25—Paver Hydraulic and Electrical Systems (PA)

Fee: varies

More info


Wirtgen America Inc.

Wirtgen America Inc. offers a school at the Center for Training & Technology (CTT) adjacent to Wirtgen America Inc. headquarters in Antioch, Tennessee.

Students will learn in the categories of: paving, laydown, crushing, screening, mechanics, equipment repair

Sept. 12, 2017, through June 7, 2018

Fee: varies—includes some meals

More info

 


State Associations offer training in your backyard. Don’t forget about regional training opportunities with your state asphalt pavement association (SAPA). Many SAPAs offer courses and classes during their annual conferences.

About Author

Sandy Lender

Sandy Lender is the editor of AsphaltPro Magazine and part of the team that originated the how-to information concept in asphalt industry publishing. She holds an English degree from Truman State University in Missouri, but lives in sunny Florida where her spare time allows her to write fiction and help with sea turtle conservation on the side. Find her on Twitter, LinkedIn, and anywhere Google takes you...

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