2016 Greater Iowa Asphalt Conference Draws Record Crowds
The 2016 Greater Iowa Asphalt Conference (GIAC) drew record crowds for the sixth straight year at the Des Moines Airport Holiday Inn.
"The popularity of this event is amazing," said Bill Rosener, Executive Vice President of the Asphalt Paving Association of Iowa. "GIAC offers education, training, networking, new equipment and exposure to innovative ideas; sprinkled with a liberal dose of fun."
The event began on March 2 with three Pre-Conference Workshops: Iowa DOT Technicians Certification Update, FHWA Tack Best Practices Workshop and Asphalt 101. The exhibit hall opened that evening for the Working Man's Break featuring the Midwest's top equipment dealers, beverages and brats, and the Iowa contractors' famous camaraderie.
Thursday's general session was highlighted by a keynote address from Chicago Bears Hall of Fame Linebacker, Dick Butkus. He answered questions from the audience with anecdotes from his playing days and Hollywood career. Butkus was followed by the Director of Iowa's Economic Development Office, Debi Durham, speaking on the importance of transportation to Iowa's economy and Dr. Scott Raecker, Professor at Drake University and leader of the Character Counts initiative, speaking on ethics in leadership. The morning culminated with the APAI Awards Luncheon with nearly 500 attendees celebrating Iowa's state and national award winners presented by Mitch Dillavou and Scott Dockstader of the Iowa DOT. The Iowa DOT along with leaders and crews of Manatts Inc. and Norris Asphalt Paving were brought to the stage to recognize them as the runner-ups and winner of the Sheldon G Hayes Award presented for the best paving project in the nation last month at the National Asphalt Paving Association Annual Meeting in Palm Springs, California.
The afternoon breakout sessions included topics on sustainability, best paving practices, pavement rehabilitation, project management, innovative technologies, leadership, plant optimization, and safety presented by nationally-recognized and local leaders in the asphalt industry. The evening was capped off by a raucous night at Asphalt Vegas in the exhibition hall and the generous APAI members' hospitality.
Friday's opening session was an exposition on the leading asphalt research from across Iowa and the nation presented by Dr. Ashley Buss and Dr. Chris Williams of Iowa State University, Dr. Richard Willis of Auburn University, Richard Sanders of Polk Co., Minnesota, and Dr. David Lee of the University of Iowa. The show culminated with the crowd favorite, "The Most Interesting Projects in Iowa," featuring engineer and contractor presentations on crack and seat, high-performance thin overlays (HPTO), centerline realignment and perpetual pavements.
The Greater Iowa Asphalt Conference Committee Chairman, DeWayne Heintz, wishes to thank all the GIAC committee members for their hard work; the GIAC partners including: ISU, Iowa DOT, Local Technical Assistance Program, Institute of Transportation, and the University of Iowa College of Engineering; the GIAC exhibitors who sold out the new venue for the second year in a row; and the over 650-plus attendees who make this the best asphalt conference in the Midwest.