Tuesday | November 21, 2017

Meet the Exec: Dale Williams from Missouri Asphalt Pavement Association

Each year in January, MAPA has its annual meeting alongside its expo and equipment show in Columbia, Missouri.

Brandon Finn (middle), is the COO of Hutchens Construction and NAPA's state director.

MAPA hosts many events throughout the year, including a golf tournament which supports the association's research and education funds.

Missouri Asphalt Pavement Association has been representing the asphalt industry in Missouri since 1990. The association has more than 100 members, including 16 producer members representing about 80 percent of all asphalt production in the state.

Based in Jefferson City, Missouri, MAPA has been led by Executive Director Dale Williams for seven years. Asphalt Pro spent some time to get to know the association, Williams and what’s next for MAPA.

Dale Williams has been leading the Missouri Asphalt Pavement Association as its executive director for the past seven years.

Dale Williams has been leading the Missouri Asphalt Pavement Association as its executive director for the past seven years.

What are the top two or three ways you have increased membership in the association?
The first is having members with relationships with non-members set up meetings to discuss the benefits of the association. The second is cold-calling.

What is your favorite method for recruiting new asphalt professionals to the industry?
I like meeting with them one-on-one and discussing the benefit of membership.

Tell us about your trade show/expo and annual meeting?
Our annual meeting is held every January alongside our expo and equipment show. We also have a Black to Basics spring training, four lunch-and-learns, and a Summer Social each year.

We have a Research and Education Fund that is supported by a golf tournament and cash raffle. And we have a Political Action Committee that is supported by an auction at the annual meeting.

To prepare for the annual meeting, I have an executive assistant and an assistant director who is in charge of marketing.

About how many member asphalt projects, plant tours, open house events and state agency or DOT meetings do you attend each year?
I visit three or four asphalt projects, go to one or two plant tours, one or two open houses and five or six DOT meetings each year.

On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being none at all; 5 being very much), how much of a threat to your members’ marketshare/livelihood is the concrete industry in your state?
In the commercial market, five. In the DOT market, three.

Could you share an example of a time when the concrete industry encroached on the asphalt marketplace in your state?
A large cement producer in the state approached their U.S. Congresswoman to have language placed in the federal rules that would mandate Material Specific Discount Rate. This coincided with a NAPA fly-in and the Missouri Delegation was able to meet with the Congresswoman and explain the issue. Ultimately we were able to keep it out of the rule.

On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being none at all; 5 being very much), how much difficulty are your members having in finding qualified workers for their asphalt paving or production crews?
A four or five. We are looking at what other state associations are doing and hope to build of that.

Brandon Finn (middle), is the COO of Hutchens Construction and NAPA's state director.

Brandon Finn (middle), is the COO of Hutchens Construction and NAPA’s state director.

On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being none at all; 5 being very much), how involved are you in transportation issues, such as funding and infrastructure improvement?
Five. I currently serve on the 21st Century Transportation Task Force. I was appointed to be the president pro tem of the Missouri Senate. We are charged with developing a recommendation for transportation funding.

Could you share an example of a time when your state APA hosted elected officials to educate them on the need for highway funding, asphalt materials, construction work force development, etc.?
We have hosted lobby days at the state capitol. In 2017, our members all wore safety vests which really set us apart from the other people in the capitol. We also have a lobbyist and work with members that host plant tours. Recently, one of our members hosted a tour for the Speaker of the House.

Why did you decide to join the asphalt industry?
After graduating from the University of Missouri – Columbia with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering, I went to work for the Missouri DOT in the Design Division in the Macon District.

After about a year, a position opened up in the Materials Division Office at the Central Office. This was an opportunity for me to move closer to home. The timing of my move coincided with MoDOT implementing Superpave.

Each year in January, MAPA has its annual meeting alongside its expo and equipment show in Columbia, Missouri.

Each year in January, MAPA has its annual meeting alongside its expo and equipment show in Columbia, Missouri.

What do you see as the most important part of your job as an executive director of a SAPA?
I think the most important part of my job is building and maintaining relationships with the DOT, cities, counties, consultants, academia and decision makers.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
Balance. There is no typical day. You have to prioritize and balance the issues as they come up–whether it’s working on funding, specification issues, planning the conference, meeting or training, or fighting off the latest threat from the concrete industry.

What do you find most enjoyable about your job as an executive director of a SAPA?
What I enjoy most are the relationships that are built and how we come together as an industry to solve issues that we face.

What has been the most rewarding experience for you during your time as the executive director?
The most rewarding experience has been being involved in solving issues at the state and national level. As I mentioned earlier, I serve on the 21st Century Task Force. I also serve on the APA Deployment Task Force and the NAPA Pavement Economics Committee, as well as several other committees within the industry. I will also serve as the Chairman of SAPA in 2018.

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