Finally! Thanks to the increase in vaccinations and the decrease in COVID-19 cases, VAA was able to have the first in-person event since 2020. Members turned out in record numbers for the 70th Annual Meeting at The Greenbrier, and everyone was so happy to see the faces of their peers (no masks needed).
Many opinions have been floated for the large attendance—time of year, need to see friends, and even the location (who doesn’t love The Greenbrier?). No matter the reason, attendees were able to enjoy fellowship, to be educated on legislative issues impacting the industry, to recreate by signing up for a VAA activity or ones on their own, and to return to a sense of normalcy.
For the educational portion of the meeting on June 17, delegates were provided an association update from VAA President Trenton Clark, a national perspective from National Asphalt Pavement Association President and CEO Dr. Audrey Copeland, and a workforce training initiative by VAA Past President Ed Dalrymple. Along with these presentations, Virginia Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine addressed the group, giving an overview of Virginia’s current and future transportation issues. Next, Virginia Department of Transportation Chief Deputy Commissioner Rob Cary spoke on the “new” VDOT and the next steps following COVID. Finally, VDOT Chief Engineer Bart Thrasher talked about the department’s construction and maintenance programs.
For the first time in VAA history, the association held a meeting in a previously classified location. The Governor’s Hall in the Greenbrier’s bunker would have been the location for the U.S. House of Representatives in case of a nuclear attack. VAA’s meeting on June 18 covered the environmental and general legislative actions for the 2020 and 2021
General Assembly Session. VAA member Andrea Wortzel of Troutman Pepper discussed issues such as environmental justice and permitting. Phil Abraham of Vectre Corporation covered project labor agreements, wages and other legislation regarding general contracting. An “Older Timers Panel” was held with Ron White, Ken Taylor, Dennis O’Connor and Mark Schiller to finish the morning session. These industry veterans shared their stories, lessons learned and perspectives on the industry’s future.
Plans are underway for the 71st Annual Meeting at Belmond Charleston Place in Charleston, SC. The golf tournament will be hosted on April 27, and the meeting sessions on April 28 and 29. VAA hopes to see you there!