Tag Archive for 'Astec'

Astec Mobile Screens to Host The Road Connection

With some progress being made in Washington regarding a long-term highway bill, The Road Connection travels to the Midwest to stress the importance of this legislation for roads and bridges in the United States.

On April 13, 2012, Astec Mobile Screens will host an open house in conjunction with The Road Connection at its facility in Sterling, Illinois, to share that message.

The program will be held from 1–3:30 p.m., and will include video presentations, product demonstrations and various speakers. The schedule for the program is as follows:

1:00 – Welcome from Astec Mobile Screens

1:15 – Short video, presentation and speeches by The Road Connection

2:00 – Production presentation

2:30 – Networking and Discussions

3:15 – Final call for grand prize entries and drawing

Astec Mobile Screens is a supplier of screening solutions. The full line of products include mobile screening plants, portable and stationary screen structures and the PEP line of high frequency screens for the quarry, recycle, sand and gravel and other material processing industries. Astec Mobile Screens is a branding partner with Kolberg-Pioneer, Inc. and Johnson Crushers International, Inc. Collectively, the three companies make up KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens, a single-source solution for crushing, screening and material processing. KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens is a primary sponsor of The Road Connection.

The Road Connection is a grassroots, non-partisan campaign, traveling the country for a year to advocate for a long-term, federal highway bill. The campaign believes that by passing legislation for improving U.S. roadways, not only will there be a positive effect on the nation’s infrastructure, but will also boost the struggling U.S. economy.

For more information about The Road Connection, please visit www.theroadconnection.org. To follow The Road Connection’s progress, visit blog.theroadconnection.org or facebook.com/theroadconnection.

Daily Dirt

AEM Announces National Winners In Construction Challenge Student Competition

A high school team from the Dallas, TX area and a middle school team from Kansas City, MO are the top winners in the national Construction Challenge competition sponsored by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM). Runner-up honors went to high school teams from Perry, OK and Oley, PA and middle school teams from New Carlisle,OH and Graham, WA.

More than 40 finalist teams participated in three separate challenges during the competition, which took place May 20-23, 2009 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville during the Global Finals competition of Destination ImagiNation (DI). DI is a challenge partner.

The student teams had qualified for the finals at one of 15 regional rallies held earlier in the year across the United States and Toronto, Canada. Since then, they had been designing, building and preparing for the national competition.


The students competed in these three challenges:

  • Challenge 1: Infrastructure PR Campaign – Teams researched local infrastructure issues in their communities, proposed infrastructure improvements, and held live PR events to develop community support.
  • Challenge 2: Manufacturing Design: Free Flow – Teams designed remote-controlled equipment to move materials to guide 300 gallons of water down a 32-foot course into a specific tank.
  • Challenge 3: Service Tech: Piling it On! – Teams engineered a modular remote-control piece of equipment to move and stack boxes in a head-to-head Challenge. Teams had to make two repairs on their equipment, one of which required the technician of the opposing team.

AEM, along with DI, developed the Construction Challenge to engage students through a hands-on, educational experience that introduces them to construction careers such as engineers, equipment technicians and manufacturing professionals.

“The Challenge participants brought creative problem-solving skills to real industry issues,” stated Dennis Slater, AEM’s president.

This is the second year of the Challenge, which debuted in 2008. For 2009, AEM added a middle school competition level and held the finals in conjunction with DI’s global finals in Knoxville. These updates helped contribute to the continued success of the event, noted Slater.

“We increased the level of participation and visibility of both the Challenge and our industry to the younger teams and the 10,000-plus students at the impressive Global Finals events. These were important steps forward for our workforce development efforts,” Slater said.

The AEM Construction Challenge program offers an opportunity for students, teachers, parents and community leaders to learn more about rewarding industry career paths, and the important role of construction equipment in creating and maintaining the high quality of life enjoyed in North America and Europe as well as by increasing numbers in the developing world.

First place finishers from the regional rallies had competition expenses covered by a construction industry corporate sponsor. Second and third-place regional rally teams could also compete at the national finals, covering their own expenses.

Construction Challenge 2009 Results

High School Overall Winners

1st Place Overall: Dallas, TX area high school students, sponsored by Kobelco Cranes North America, Inc. The students attend the following schools: Martin High School (Arlington), Richardson High School (Richardson), Pearce High School (Richardson) and Parkhill Jr. High School (Richardson).

2nd Place Overall: Perry High School, Perry, OK sponsored by Ditch Witch.

3rd Place Overall: Berks Career and Technical Center, Oley, PA, sponsored by Volvo Construction Equipment.

Middle School Overall Winners

1st Place Overall: St. Therese Catholic School (Team 2), Kansas City, MO. (The school sent two teams to the finals.)

2nd Place Overall: Tecumseh Middle School, New Carlisle, OH, sponsored by Astec Industries.

3rd Place Overall: Frontier Junior High School, Graham, WA sponsored by Atlas Copco Construction Tools LLC.

Congratulations to all the winners! Good Job!

Greg Sitek

Construction Challenge National Finals Competition

The Construction Challenge is one of the most important events the construction industry sponsors because it makes the whole country aware of the opportunities available in construction. The program offers an opportunity for students, teachers, parents and community leaders to learn more about rewarding industry career paths, and the important role of construction equipment in creating and maintaining the high quality of life we enjoy. The focus of the Stimulus Package on rebuilding the infrastructure dramatically illustrates this importance.

When you look around and personally see just how bad our bridges, roads, waterways, water and sewer systems and the rest of the infrastructure have become you simply can’t ignore it. You can’t pretend it isn’t in bad shape. It is. I don’t know about you but the realization hits home every time we experience a power failure, and over the years they have become more frequent and take longer to fix.

When you drive over pavement that shakes the fillings in your teeth loose, or you hit an unavoidable pothole, or the pavement joints sound and feel more like rumble strips than the road, you have to accept the fact that we as a country need help and that help can only come from the construction industry. Let’s face it, the construction industry is the medical profession that attends to our infrastructure needs.

It’s a tough and challenging industry, demanding, but also rewarding. Look around. Every single structure you see, every mile of road you travel, every airport you fly into or out of, every building you enter, every hospital you visit, every church you attend, every phone you answer, every light you switch on, every stair you climb, every path you walk, every home you occupy, all of this and everything else that gives us the quality of life we enjoy is because contractors and construction workers breathed life into the dreams and fantasies of architects, engineers and designers and gave us all that we desperately need to support our families and jobs. When you think about it, wasn’t it the greatest contractor of all who created, built and gave us this universe?

The industry needs to attract students so that it can continue to deliver the fulfillment of our dreams. The Construction Challenge, sponsored by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), is a giant step in that direction. It is a career education initiative that helps develop the workforce of the future with teen participants competing and solving infrastructure, design, and service tech challenges using teamwork, creativity and problem solving.

The national finals of AEM’s Construction Challenge will be held for the first time ever during the Destination ImagiNation Global Finals 2009, May 20-23 in Knoxville, TN, on the campus of the University of Tennessee. Construction Challenge participants will join thousands of other students on campus for the Destination Imagination Global Finals, the world’s largest creative problem solving program for kids.

Global Finals is a culmination of the creativity competition year. It brings team winners representing their state, their province, or their country to compete together at the annual international creative problem solving tournament. Destination ImagiNation Global Finals creates a place where creativity is not only accepted, but it is expected, and the results transcends language. Students in over 40 countries and the United States participate in Destination ImagiNation (DI). Its main program is an unconventional team learning experience where student teams everywhere solve mind-bending challenges.

AEM initiated Construction Challenge to spur interest in construction careers and the need to rebuild our infrastructure. In February 2009, more than 300 teams competed in 15 simultaneous qualifying rallies across the U.S. and in Toronto to secure their spot in the finals.

There are 46 teams from from 21 states/provinces that will compete with and against each other in the finals for scholarships and prizes, as well as learn new skills and network with construction industry leaders.

This year’s three challenges include:

1. Manufacturing Design – Free Flow: designing, manufacturing and testing an operating scale model of construction equipment that moves 600 gallons of free-flowing water down a course – with team-erected barriers directing the water into various holes
2. Service Tech – Piling it On: designing and building one piece of industrial “equipment” that will transport and stack building materials, with a twist: repair technicians from a different team must be trained to fix the team’s equipment, and two repairs must be made during competition
3. Infrastructure – PR Campaign: developing a public event to educate communities about local infrastructure issues – and solutions. Look for dazzling multimedia presentations about the need for roads, bridges, water and sewage infrastructure in local communities across the U.S. and Canada

2009 AEM Construction Challenge Finals Teams And Sponsors

Desert Wind Middle School
, Maricopa (Sponsored by New Holland/Kobelco Construction)
Gilbert High School, Gilbert (Sponsored by JCB)
Desert Ridge High School, Mesa

School of Engineering and Sciences, Sacramento (Sponsored by Kobleco Cranes North America)
Granite Hills High School
, El Cajon (Sponsored by Multiquip Inc.)
School of Engineering and Sciences, Sacramento (Two additional un-sponsored teams)

Overland Trail Middle School
, Brighton (Sponsored by John Deere Construction & Forestry Company)

Carson Middle School
, Greensboro (Sponsored by Sandvik Mining and Construction)

Perspectives IIT/Math & Science
, Chicago (Sponsored by Metso Minerals)
Bartlett High School, Bartlett (Sponsored by WackerNeuson Corporation)
New Trier High School, Winnetka

Lawrence High School
, Lawrence (Sponsored by Case Construction Equipment)

Southeastern Regional Vocational High School
, S. Easton
Elizabeth Hastings Middle School, Fairhaven (Sponsored by Liebherr Mining Equipment Company)
Stoughton High School, Stoughton

Cloquet Senior High School
, Cloquet

St. Therese Catholic School (Middle School)
, Kansas City
(Two teams competing, one team sponsored by American Rental Association)
Antioch Middle School, Gladstone

Manhattan Christian School
, Manhattan (Sponsored by Stone Construction Equipment, Inc.)

New Hampshire
Monadnock Regional High School
, Swanzey (Sponsored by Terex Corporation)

North Dakota
Northern Cass School (High School)
, Hunter (Sponsored by Trimble)

Whitmer High School
, Toledo (Sponsored by LBX Company – Link Belt Excavators)
Centerville High School, Centerville
Lorain Co. JVS (High School), Oberlin
Tecumseh Middle School, New Carlisle (Sponsored by Astec Industries)

Perry High School
, Perry (Sponsored by Ditch Witch)
West Middle School, Ponca City (Sponsored by AED)

Berks Career and Technical Center (High School)
, Onley (Sponsored by Volvo Construction Equipment)

Martin Luther King, Jr. Magnet School
, Nashville (Sponsored by Volvo Construction Equipment)

Cleburne High School
, Cleburne
Wylie High School, Abilene
Dallas Area Team – with students from Martin High School (Arlington), Richardson High School (Richardson), Pearce High School (Richardson) and Parkhill Jr High School (Richardson) (Sponsored by Kobleco Cranes North America)
Wylie Jr. High School, Abilene (Sponsored by Mahindra)

New Horizons Regional Education Center (High School)
, Hampton (Sponsored by Liebherr Construction Equipment Company)

Meridian High School
, Bellingham (Sponsored by Cygnus Business Media)
Puget Sound Skills Center (High School), Burien
Frontier Jr. High School, Graham (Sponsored by Atlas Copco Construction Tools LLC)

Little Chute High School
, Little Chute
Hartford Union High School, Hartford (Sponsored by Metso Minerals)
Hamilton High School, Milwaukee
Kenosha School of Enhanced Technology Curriculum (Middle School), Kenosha (Sponsored by Astec Industries)

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Fisherville Junior High School
, Toronto (Sponsored by Manitowoc)
Lakeshore Collegiate Institute, Toronto
Father John Redmond Catholic Secondary School, Toronto (Sponsored by International Truck)

The Construction Challenge Finals schedule can be found here. We will post the results as soon as they are available.

Greg Sitek

Daily Dirt

Idaho Governor Releases Stimulus Spending Plan

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter (R) said Thursday that he decided not to reject the federal government’s economic stimulus money, but to accept it “reluctantly and cautiously” to help Idaho residents get through the recession.

Most of Idaho’s legislators never wanted it, but the stimulus money is there. So, now, Division of Financial Management Administrator Wayne Hammon, wants the governor’s recommendations for spending Idaho’s stimulus to be crystal clear.

Gov. Otter discussed what his recommendations are for the $1.24 billion geared for Idaho from the federal Stimulus Package. He mentioned that a little more than $200 million is dedicated to highway infrastructure with another $60 million headed to other infrastructure.

“The quickest way we can get shovels in the dirt, get people using their shovels is giving back to the infrastructure needs that have already been underlined,” Otter said.

Gov. Otter wasn’t able to give an exact number for the amount of jobs his stimulus recommendations would create, but early forecasts stated that 3,000 jobs would be created in transportation alone, if only $120 million was spent on highway and bridge projects. Since Otter proposes to set aside over $200 million, it’s likely even more construction jobs will be created.

Hammon spent over an hour Thursday explaining the plan and answering questions during a meeting of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee.

“Our first priority is to create and protect jobs. And that is something that is stated in the very front of the stimulus bill itself, but also when it comes to the governor’s philosophy,” explained Hammon.

When it comes to job creation, 16 percent of the money would go to fund transportation, creating highway, bridge and public transit projects.

One of the eight transportation projects statewide receiving money includes the US 93 Twin Falls Alternate Route. This route heads south to connect with the existing highway 93/30 junction.

Pam Lowe, director of the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) says, “You’ve got a very, very nice state highway out there dumping into a largely insufficient local road system and we have worked with the local jurisdictions and spent a lot of time, effort and money holding the local road system together.

Lowe says it will help with traffic and remove ongoing maintenance.

In addition to that, many small town drinking water and waste water facilities would see improvements, priorities most committee members seemed to agree with.

“Obviously infrastructure and transportation is very important and so are the clean water, and waste water treatment facilities, and the construction projects that will occur there,” said Sen. Dean Cameron, (R-Rupert).

Rep. John Rusche, (D) House Minority Leader said, “We are pleased he accepted the stimulus money to help Idahoans and not just in transportation, but in other areas.”

“If you don’t have that infrastructure in place then how do you expect to grow the economy,” stated Rep. Darrell Bolz, (R-Caldwell).

Many committee members expect to make some changes to the governor’s plan, but say it’s a good place to start.

Otter will hold the $29.8 million for transportation for up to 90 days to see what the Legislature does with his transportation funding plans. Otter said he has been pushing for transportation improvement since he first became governor in 2006.

“I hope that suggests the urgency of our infrastructure (needs) in Idaho,” Otter said.

Stimulus Plan Paving Way For Tennessee Manufacturers

While Astec Industries, the Chattanooga, TN-based road-building equipment maker, could profit significantly from the $787 billion federal stimulus, it won’t be as much or as soon as most people think, company officials say.

“The industry is very aware, the infrastructure portion of this stimulus bill is relatively small,” Dr. J. Don Brock, chairman and CEO of Astec said. “Highways and bridges are less than 4 percent, but yet there is a whole lot of press talk about stimulus infrastructure helping it. I think the highway departments are really aware and on point that they better spend this quickly and show that it will stimulate the economy, which I believe it will.” Dr. Brock said Astec, which builds asphalt plants and road construction equipment, likely will benefit from the Stimulus Package, but the company isn’t counting the big dollars yet.

His view is similar to that of other Chattanooga companies that are set to gain business from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Construction equipment manufacturer Komatsu and Aerisyn, the wind turbine tower manufacturer, may benefit from the Stimulus Package, but it’s a wait-and-see proposition, officials said.

Dr. Brock admitted that he already is seeing an increase in the number of orders for asphalt plants, but it likely won’t have the desired financial benefit until later in the year. Astec was recently named one of the top companies to benefit from the stimulus plan by the financial column, The Motley Fool.

“I think you’ll see a benefit in the second quarter, and you’ll see a stronger third and fourth quarter than we normally have on an annual basis,” he said.

Like other manufacturers, Astec’s business has slowed in the past year. The company’s fourth quarter sales were down 13 percent from the same period the year before. In total, Astec Industries has made layoffs at seven of its 14 companies, a workforce reduction of 17 percent.

For Astec and Komatsu, however, the really big money may be coming later from a highway construction bill now making its way through Congress. The stimulus plan earmarks $29 billion for modernizing roads and bridges, but Dr. Brock said the Federal Highway Trust Fund bill expected later this year will be a bigger boost to Astec and the economy.

“There seems to be probably the best opportunity in my lifetime to see a major rebuilding of our highways and our bridges and our infrastructure coming up in this next bill,” he said. “There’s talk of it being as much as 80 percent to 100 percent larger than the past one — in the $450 billion to $550 billion range.”

Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, met recently with mayors from across the nation and called the Stimulus Package a “dress rehearsal” for a new six-year highway bill that likely will include about $450 billion for roads, bridges and transit projects.

“The stimulus bill is very nice, but if we don’t get the highway bill the money we get on the stimulus will be a one-shot deal that will not keep employment high,” Brock said. “So whatever we do now we will be giving back nex
t year unless we get a pretty good highway bill.”

In 2005, former President George W. Bush signed a $286 billion transportation bill that is set to expire this year.

Many have suggested that Komatsu also may benefit from the road and bridge improvement portion of the stimulus plan, but company officials said they are not sure the company will feel any effects.

Dennis Riddell, general manager of Komatsu’s Chattanooga facility, said the company isn’t likely to see any boost right away.

“We are not expecting any short-term benefit, especially here at the local facility,” he said. “We believe there will be some positive benefit, but it is probably 18 months away.”

The stagnant economy forced Komatsu to halt production at the end of 2008, but the company continued to pay its full-time employees while they performed community service in the area.

Company officials said they’d like to see the stimulus plan kick-start their business, but they are aware the road improvement portion of the stimulus plan is focused on improving existing roads, while much of Komatsu’s equipment is designed for new road construction or housing development.

“We’re not expecting an immediate turnaround,” Mr. Riddell said. “What we need is a recovery in the housing market.”

Equipment from Komatsu can cost from $200,000 to $400,000 for a single piece, he said, and “people don’t make those types of decisions on a whim.”

Mike Hohl, president and chief executive for Aerisyn, said the wind turbine tower manufacturer likely won’t benefit directly from the stimulus either, but extending the production tax credit, which gives energy production companies tax credits once they begin producing energy, should give the entire renewable energy sector a boost. President Obama wants to extend the credit to 2012.

“Renewable energy is real high on the president’s agenda,” Mr. Hohl said. “This will be helpful to our industry.”

Randall Swisher, executive director of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), said 116,000 jobs and $19 billion in investments are at risk if the federal government hedges on its commitment to wind energy.

According to information provided by the AWEA, the industry suffered steep drops in production during 2000, 2002 and 2004, declines that the AWEA attributes to a tax credit that expired in the preceding years.

“The credits are a critical element of a long-term federal policy to support this vibrant, fast-growing industry,” Mr. Swisher said.

Aerisyn, like the rest of the wind energy industry, had been growing, but Mr. Hohl said the company took a big hit in the fourth quarter of 2008 when customers began to pull back orders by about 50 percent. Aerisyn was forced to cut production and lay off more than 50 employees, he said.

“We’ve already started bringing some of them back,” Mr. Hohl said.

He is hopeful the production credit will give the entire industry a boost, but he knows 2009 still will be a difficult year, he said.

“The biggest obstacle to our industry is banking and credit. Wind power projects still require financing,” Mr. Hohl said. “We still believe renewable energy is the right field to be in. We believe that especially after the change in administration.”

Ben Fischer, president of Signal Wind, and Rick Ector, president of Tennessee Valley Infrastructure Group, two Chattanooga-based construction companies that build wind farms, said the Stimulus Package should boost their businesses, also.

“It can have a huge impact on the future of our company,” Mr. Fischer said.

Mr. Ector said the package includes some provisions that may provide grants for wind power projects. He said the Tennessee Valley Infrastructure Group had a record year in 2008, but the industry came to a “screeching halt” during the credit crunch when financing for wind energy dried up.

“We think and certainly hope it is going to (increase business),” Mr. Ector said of the recovery plan. “We keep hearing it will free up some projects, but we haven’t seen it yet.”

Greg Sitek