Meet the State Exec: APANM’s Brian Jones
sAlthough the Asphalt Pavement Association of New Mexico (APANM), Albuquerque, New Mexico, may be one of the most-recently formed state asphalt pavement associations, don’t let its relative youth lead you to believe it isn’t fighting every day to protect the asphalt industry. After all, it was born to fight.
“We have a very strong branch of Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), known as the Associated Contractors of New Mexico (ACNM),” said APANM Executive Director Brian Jones. “When the concrete folks started a push for more opportunities, ACNM decided they had to remain neutral, so the paving contractor members decided to form APANM to promote asphalt.”
Since its formation in 2014, APANM has collected 35 members, including the State DOT, several counties and cities, one university, and nine producing and two supplying members representing 80 percent of HMA/WMA production capacity in the state.
“It is interesting that most of my members belong to both organizations (APANM and ACNM) and thus pay double dues on projects,” Jones said. “As of today, they still believe in the value of APANM.”
Jones himself has been the association’s executive director since APANM’s inception in 2014. AsphaltPro spent some time getting to know Jones, APANM and what they’re doing to promote asphalt in New Mexico.
What are the top two or three ways you have increased membership in the association?
Training programs. We have five different seminar programs each year. We hold each seminar twice: one each to cover the northern and then the southern parts of our state.
What is your favorite method for recruiting new asphalt professionals to the industry in general?
Direct contact and mailings basically discussing the benefits, including training and our assistance with problems.
In what month do you hold your annual meeting?
Do you have a staff that assists in preparing the annual meeting?
We have myself and a part-time technical person, Jessica Sena, who retired from the New Mexico Department of Transportation after 25 years. Among other things, she is one of our representatives on the NMDOT base and pave committee that works on paving spec changes and issues. Together, we put the meetings and training together.
Do you have a trade show/expo in addition to your annual meeting?
No, but we do have sponsors and advertise their sponsorships. For the first time this year, we are allowing one sponsor to have their logo on our major golf giveaway, which are windbreakers.
What other activities does the state association hold for members as fundraising events, and to what are those funds applied?
We sell mulligans and have special holes (where you buy a chance to move the ball closer to the hole) at our annual golf and last year raised about $2,000 which was given to El Ranchito de los Niños, an organization that aims to keep siblings together.
About how many member asphalt projects do you visit per year, and how many asphalt plant tours or open house events do you host each year? What about state agency or DOT meetings?
I visit very few during construction. We do give our “Best of the Best New Mexico Paving Projects” awards in several categories. Both contractors and owners can nominate projects, which we’ll then visit when the projects are complete for judging purposes.
We don’t do asphalt plant tours or open houses, but I do attend 10 state agency/DOT meetings per 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?
2.5, but this is increasing.
Concrete keeps pushing for projects, but because of our training activities that promote asphalt (and quality asphalt) we’ve been keeping their effort at bay. We have five training opportunities a year with 70 to 90 attendees.
Also, I attend most of the highway commission meetings and have cultivated relationships with the commissioners. We also have a good relationships with key players at the DOT that we work with to promote favorable asphalt projects.
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? And, how does your state APA assist members with workforce development?
4. We don’t assist members with workforce development. The ACNM branch of AGC handles this area.
On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being none at all; 5 being very much), how involved are your state elected officials in transportation issues such as funding and infrastructure improvements?
5. I attend most NMDOT Highway Commission meetings and discuss the needs. In July, I am treating both commission members and highway leaders to an afternoon at the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico, to trap and shoot. I did this three years ago and it was well-received. It’s a good time to get to know each other better.
On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being none at all; 5 being very much), how involved are your asphalt members in transportation issues such as funding and infrastructure improvements?
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 workforce development, etc.?
ACNM does most of these, some of which we’re invited to. Additionally, we invite our highway commission members to visit jobs in the district. However, to my knowledge, only two have ever visited projects.
Get to Know Brian Jones
Why did you join the asphalt industry?
I was retired from a 37-year career in the construction supply business (pipes, bridges, retaining walls, etc.). Three or four of the contractors that wanted to form the Association approached me to ask if I would be interested. I agreed to a part-time job, but it’s now closer to full time and I am loving every minute.
What do you see as the most important part of your job as an executive director of a SAPA?
To create good relations with our major “stakeholder”—owners of projects, including the DOTs, cities and counties.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
For me personally, it is dealing with my lack of paving knowledge. For the industry in general, the most challenging thing is the continual funding problem.
What do you find most enjoyable about your job as an executive director of a SAPA?
The people, the activities, and just making things happen.
What has been the most rewarding experience for you during your time as the executive director?
The most rewarding experience during my time as executive director has been losing very little to Portland cement concrete pavement (PCCP). Since the push by the PCCP folks, we have had only three projects bid as PCCP.
One offered a PCCP alternate, but went asphalt because we were able to hold to the need for a short completion time. To satisfy the “PCCP beast” we did not contest one project requiring the interstate ramps to be concrete. The third was a port of entry on the southern border with heavy truck traffic from plants in Mexico and from a newly-installed rail freight yard.