The Asphalt Institute is celebrating its 90th anniversary in 2009. In our spring and summer issues we chronicled the rich history of our organization and our many educational and research contributions over the last nine decades.
In this installment we are looking to the future and asking our members to look ahead as well. We asked some simple questions: “What is the future of asphalt?” and “What role will the Asphalt Institute play in that future?”
“Asphalt is no longer your father’s asphalt. It is now known as an asphalt binder and is part of an engineered system.” Asphalt modifiers, such as polymers, adhesion promoters, and cross linking agents, work in conjunction with each other to improve the performance of the asphalt binder which ultimately extends the life of the pavement. Asphalt is no longer specified by its purely physical properties, but on how it is expected to perform.” Asphalt is no longer thought of as a maintenance product, but rather as an economical, higher performing alternative to concrete.”
Pat Lavin – Vice President, Construction Chemicals
ARR-MAZZ Custom Chemicals, Inc.
“Asphalt will continue to be the pavement material of choice. The Asphalt Institute will continue to be the leader in asphalt technology and the promotion of premium paving products. AI will be the organization of choice for producers of asphalt binders and key industry leaders globally.”
Ralph Shirts – Americas Asphalt Zone Technical Leader
“No question that our industry is in a ‘state of flux.’ Unfortunately not the asphalt variety, but with the eminent start up of cokers around this country (U.S.) things will change. Hopefully with the increasing presence of heavy crude, we should be fine. There is no question that the economics will change and volatility will be the norm not the exception.
With the changing environment, the tried and tested strength of AI’s mission will become even more needed in our industry. We look forward to strengthening our relationship with AI to weather the opportunities.”
Baxter Burns – Executive Vice President
Ergon Asphalt & Emulsions, Inc.
“Producers constantly look at what products have the highest return to the individual refineries, and asphalt will have to be able to compete with other products in order to fill the demand requirements. The days of it being a ‘disposal product’ have long since passed. During the past year we have seen examples of feed being pulled out of cokers in favor of asphalt production. It is simple economics.
I believe the Asphalt Institute plays, and will continue to play, a significant role in the future of asphalt. Our heavy involvement in health-related research illustrates the commitment to worker safety. We as members rely on the Asphalt Institute to direct these activities for the long term future of our industry.”
Bill Haverland – Asphalt Sales & Marketing Manager
“I believe the dedication and creativity of our Asphalt Institute member companies will ensure that asphalt continues to be the premier and preferred road building material in the future. However our industry is not without challenge. Potential variations in asphalt quality and supply resulting from Canadian Tar Sand production and refinery kit changes will impact our traditional models and methods to market at all points in the supply chain. And we will have to continually monitor and address environmental issues and concerns to ensure our product is accurately regulated.
The primary focus of AI in the future will be to monitor and coordinate an industry response to environmental issues and challenges. Additionally, AI will continue to have a role in coordinating product specification changes at a national level. This activity could be further heightened as asphalt producing crude sources change.”
Bob Dohmen – Performance, Sales and Marketing Manager
BP North American Asphalt