Former AI chairman Haverland retires

By John Davis

After 41 years in the oil business, Bill Haverland, Marketing Manager for ConocoPhillips, and two-time Chairman of the Board of the Asphalt Institute, has decided to retire.

Twenty-three of those 41 years were spent in the asphalt business, raising industry standards and helping to improve asphalt products and their delivery.

Bill’s involvement with the Asphalt Institute (AI) spans his twenty-three years in the asphalt industry. He became the first person in contemporary history to be AI’s Chairman of the Board two times. “This one act demonstrates his commitment to the organization and typifies his selfless service,” said AI President Pete Grass.

During his first chairmanship, in 1996, Haverland lead the strategic plan team in hammering out a vision and a mission for the Asphalt Institute. The most significant accomplishment of 1996, said Haverland, was our progress in addressing the asphalt fume issue. “The coalitions with NAPA, ARMA and NCRA helped bring the industry, labor and government, together to effect reasonable solutions to complex problems.”

During his second Chairmanship, in 2005, he set in motion AI’s plans to expand the membership drive initiated by 2004 Chairman Bill Kirk. In June 2005 AI Chairman Haverland, Membership Chairman Len Nawrocki, AI President Pete Grass and Director of Marketing and Membership Brian Clark embarked on a five-city recruitment visit that resulted in three new regular members and one new International member. AI closed out 2005 with a gain of 11 new members for a total of 89?the largest number of members in the history of the institute at that time.

Changes over the years

Over the years Haverland has seen some notable changes. “Specification changes and supplier/contractor consolidation have been two of the most notable,” he says. “The move to SuperPave has been a huge change in the production of liquid and hot mix asphalt. While it was a struggle initially, the end result has been that we produce a more superior product than we did prior to its adoption.”

The other notable change is the consolidation of industry participants, says Haverland. “Contractor consolidation is probably the most visible. Many of the small, family-owned businesses didn’t have the resources to meet the new, more demanding requirements of SuperPave. Others were sold because of a lack of succession planning or no heir-apparent availability. Others just thought it was the right time to get out of the business and had a willing buyer waiting.”

Haverland thinks that the adoption of SuperPave, introduction of warm mix asphalt and the industry’s preparation for the IARC monograph were the most significant events during his 23 years in the asphalt industry. “The first two have made our products better,” says Haverland, “and positioned asphalt pavements to better complete with concrete. The last one will decide the future of our products.”

Future opportunities and challenges

“Funding certainly has to be at the top of the list,” says Haverland. “In the past five years liquid asphalt demand has gone down around 35 percent. Some of this can be attributed to the recession and lack of building construction. But the lack of a strong multi-year highway bill is the major contributor to the downturn in road construction. Given the funding, our industry can put people to work. Getting Washington to understand that is a huge challenge.”

Advice for new leaders

My advice to the young generation is to get involved, says Haverland. “You can’t sit back and think someone else will get it done, you have to be willing to do it yourself. There have been many people I have looked up to during my career, and that was always their advice to me.”

Pete Grass recalls that it was not uncommon for Bill to include visits to AI’s headquarters during his travels, often bringing a new salesperson with him. “Bill used these occasions to introduce his people to AI and we all gained from his genuine interest in our staff and in the current issues facing our industry.” Grass adds that Haverland was a visionary thinker and often lead the challenge for us all to pursue excellence.

Haverland thinks we have some great new leaders coming into the industry with many tools available to them. “I have every confidence that they will take the reins of the industry and make it a better one for us and the motoring public,” he says.

Haverland shares one last bit of advice and that is “take advantage of the networking potential with our industry peers. You will get many opportunities to work with them on committees, and strong relationships can develop and last for years. This is a real advantage to being a part of the Asphalt Institute.”