Meet the National Exec: Dan Gallagher
The AsphaltPro staff continues the tradition of introducing the incoming chairman of the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) with 2017 Chairman Daniel Joseph Gallagher. He’ll be inducted during the 2017 annual meeting Jan. 27 through Feb. 1 in Orlando. He is the vice president and CFO of Gallagher Asphalt Corp., working among the company’s Thornton, Joliet and Bourbannais locations. Let’s get to know the new chairman.
Gallagher Asphalt Corp.
How long has Gallagher Asphalt been a member of NAPA?
How long have you been in the asphalt industry?
Do you have a degree related to the industry?
B.S. in Mechanical Engineering Technology from Purdue University
Purdue is home to the North Central Asphalt User/Producer Group
How/why did you join the asphalt industry?
I grew up as the third generation in the family business, and I enjoyed working summers for the company. One of my favorite summers was in 1981 when I helped erect an HMA warmer plant at our Chicago location, which allowed us to switch between recycled mix and virgin mix with our batch plant. It was my first experience seeing engineering in action as each piece was lifted and fitted into place with little field adjustment. After graduating from Purdue, I worked for General Motors for about four years, before I was invited to join the company as a plant foreman.
Would you say your company has had much difficulty or not much difficulty in recent months, in finding qualified workers for Gallagher Asphalt or Gallagher Materials crews? To what do you attribute that phenomenon/trend?
The Chicago market is a strong union environment, which can assist in filling labor needs. On the project manager/project superintendent side, however, it is difficult at this time to find experienced candidates. Our solution is to hire recent graduates and train them in the ways we like things done. Thanks to Gallagher Asphalt Vice President Dan Darden, we started an internship program in 2010 with one intern. Last year, we had about five interns. We see internships as a great way to test drive and see how well an individual may fit into the organization.
Could you give an example of a way the Illinois Asphalt Pavement Association assists its members with workforce development?
Kevin Burke works closely with the IAPA QC Manager Group and Scholarship Program to encourage the development and growth of talent for the industry.
Could you give an example of a way your company works with area employment agencies or workforce development agencies to encourage interest in construction, engineering or asphalt as a career choice?
Gallagher works closely with South Suburban College, a community college in South Holland, Illinois, to ensure its Highway Construction Careers Training Program graduates are ready to succeed in the asphalt pavement industry. We have a Gallagher manager who sits on the advisory board for the program. The advisory board sets, reviews, and implements curricula, policies, and graduation requirements. We also sit in and facilitate mock interviews for students, and speak to each class about what they can expect once they are hired and working in the field. Students also get laboratory tour and asphalt plant tour, which includes at least two hours of classroom time and lunch. Finally Gallagher works with IDOT to promote training programs that are IDOT-funded and reimbursable to the contractor.
What is your favorite method for recruiting new asphalt professionals to the industry in general?
If I could always fill needed positions with people whom I have met over the years and worked with, I would choose to do that, but, because that isn’t always possible, we turn to professional recruiters.
On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being none at all; 5 being very much) how much of a threat to the asphalt industry’s market share is the concrete industry in Illinois, specifically in the Chicago area?
Four. We have seen more private projects in the last year going concrete than we have typically seen in the past. It’s not always a question of price; at times, they just wanted concrete. We need to continue to educate buyers that asphalt is the better choice.
What are your top 2 or 3 ideas for helping NAPA members, and the asphalt industry in general, stay strong in light of PCA/NRMCA desires to increase their members’ market share?
Work closely with the Asphalt Pavement Alliance team—Amy Miller and Dan Staebell—to make sure NAPA, the Asphalt Institute, and the State Asphalt Pavement Associations are providing the support they need to be successful.
As you take on the travel and engagements of a NAPA chairman, who will assist with your many responsibilities back at Gallagher Asphalt?
I’ve always subscribed to the belief you need to hire smarter people than yourself and get out of their way. I’m looking forward to seeing how well things go when I’m truly out of their way! I also have two great partners who will pick up anything I miss.
What do you see as the most important part of your job as the 2017 chairman for NAPA?
I think my role is to continue working with other NAPA members and staff to focus on the strategic objectives that NAPA’s membership and leadership have set. I look forward to sharing all the programs and work NAPA is accomplishing as I represent the association across the country, encouraging membership and involvement with the association. I would like to see the IMPACT Leadership Group continue to grow with more of our members getting involved; that is one of the ways I got involved with NAPA almost 30 years ago.
Get To Know Dan Gallagher
Wife, Sarah Gallagher; Children—Donald Gallagher, 26 (married to Kandice); William Gallagher, 24; Janie Gallagher, 22
Two Labradors—Jake and Sky
Most influential book you’ve read:
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, by Ashlee Vance
I enjoy spending time with my family in Wisconsin, as well as hunting, fishing, and scuba diving.
Could you share with our readers an example of a challenge you’ve overcome in the past and how you overcame it?
I think I’ve been blessed. That said, dealing with loss of my father to Alzheimer’s disease was a horrible and painful process.
Could you share a quote that you find inspiring/motivating?
“Give up what you want now for what you want most.”