In the past, the biggest concern with holding an event in December was snow. Not this year! Competing with sunny days and temperatures in the ’70s, more than 600 people still chose to attend the Mid-Atlantic Asphalt Expo and Conference (MAAE) in Richmond on December 15, 16 and 17. Attendees from across the state and around the Mid-Atlantic region gathered in-person to learn and reconnect. Additionally, over 50 people took advantage of the MAAE broadcast to watch the general and technical/training sessions.
MAAE kicked off with a “Thank-You” exhibitor reception on Wednesday evening. A small reception was planned in anticipation of a small crowd consisting of primarily exhibitors. Quickly, conference attendees flooded the expo hall, and soon the line for beverages was long. This informal gathering to thank exhibitors turned into a marketing and networking event for vendors. Needless to say, a bigger reception will be planned for 2022!
The opening general session on Thursday was a tremendous success. With an eye toward safety and social distancing, not only could attendees sit in the main room, but the talks were broadcast to an adjacent room at the convention center. On a post-conference survey, attendees ranked all three presentations very high: I-81 Perpetual Pavement Award Winner, The Use of Rubblization on Arkansas Highways and Keynote Speaker Jack McCall. Following the general session, in-person attendees were treated to lunch in the exhibit hall. At the same time, Women of Asphalt (WofA) Virginia Branch leaders Alicia Brooks (Luck Stone), Blair Williamson (SL Williamson) and Tigre Hammond (VAA) hosted a luncheon for WofA Virginia Branch members and other ladies attending the conference.
Following lunch, two blocks of training and technical sessions were held. Sessions ranged from Balanced Mix Design and E-Technology to Field Operations and Sustainable Materials and Pavements. The sessions were well attended, and several extended into the breaks. Speakers ranged from local experts to nationally recognized individuals from the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT) and the transportation industry. The day ended with a large reception in the expo hall and a hospitality suite in the convention center.
The last day started with a general breakfast for attendees and a “Winner’s Circle” breakfast. The “Winner’s Circle” breakfast celebrated those project teams (contractors, owners and inspectors) who took home one of the seven 2020 paving awards. After breakfast, two more technical and training breakout sessions were held. These sessions covered new specifications and research as well as field operations. After the final break of the conference, National Asphalt Pavement Association Chairman Jay Winford spoke about engineered asphalt and how we (contractors and owners) must continue to improve a great product. Next, NCAT Associate Director Buzz Powell reflected on the recently completed test track cycle and the new track cycle underway. He pointed out the past efforts at the track for VDOT and the latest research being conducted. The day’s final presentation was the 2020 VAA and VDOT Paving Awards (see Allan Myers Wins 2020 Golden Lute Award). Five different companies took home one of the seven awards. Virginia Paving Company and Branscome, Inc. took two awards each, along with Superior Paving, S.L. Williamson and Allan Myers, each winning an award.
Planning efforts are underway for MAAE 2022. Over 80% of the exhibitors have already commented to returning for the next event, and an expanded expo hall is in the works. Mark your calendars now for December 6–8 to attend or exhibit at MAAE 2022.
To access all of the presentations from MAAE 2021, just click on this link.