Getting an audience with the new Secretary of Transportation during the General Assembly session can be difficult. Besides getting up to speed on the duties and roles of the office, Virginia’s new Secretary, W. Sheppard Miller III, must oversee the Commonwealth Transportation Board and assist the Governor with transportation-related legislation during the session. Graciously, Secretary Miller and three staff members agreed to meet with VAA’s Executive Committee, President Trenton Clark, and Meade Spotts on Friday, February 18. Deputy Secretaries John Lawson and Jen Deci and Assistant Secretary Michael Sargent also joined the meeting.
Over the 90-minute meeting, the group got acquainted and explored topics relevant to the industry and the Commonwealth. Clark pointed out that each member of the Executive Committee represented a company in every part of the state—from Bristol to Fairfax to Hampton Roads. The committee members represent small asphalt operations, large companies and multi-state corporations. VAA members have over 10,000 employees and contribute billions of dollars to the state’s economy annually.
Specific issues covered during the meeting included workforce challenges—attracting, training and retaining employees; transportation funding in the face of inflation and efforts to reduce transportation’s environmental impact. Past VAA Chairman Ed Dalrymple noted VAA and other trade associations are working with the Virginia Community College System on the Virginia Infrastructure Academy. VAA Secretary David White pointed out the green attributes of asphalt pavements, and the fact that asphalt is the most recycled material in the U.S. Additionally, VAA Chairman David Horton discussed the sustainable and resilient practices undertaken by his company to reduce its carbon footprint.
At the end of the meeting, Clark reiterated that VAA is a resource for the Secretary’s office. It’s been in existence for more than 70 years and is primarily focused on technical assistance and training. VAA looks forward to aiding the Secretary and his staff over the next four years.