Tag Archive for 'infrastructure'

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‘Dirtiest Man on TV’ Mike Rowe Joins CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 Tech Talks Lineup

CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017 is pleased to announce that Executive Producer and Host Mike Rowe, best known as the “dirtiest man on TV” from the hit TV series Dirty Jobs, is a featured speaker at the show’s new Tech Talks forum.

Rowe will share the surprising lessons he learned as an apprentice traversing all 50 states and attempting 300 different jobs, during a special session, “Lessons from the Dirt.”

CONEXPO-CON/AGG, March 7- 11, 2017 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, is the international gathering place every three years for the construction industries.

The Tech Talks forum offers short content-rich presentations to inspire and inform. The Talks are an integral component of the show’s new Tech Experience, focused on emerging trends and solutions directly affecting the construction industries in key areas of the jobsite, workforce and infrastructure.

“We’re very excited to welcome Mike Rowe to the Tech Talks forum and CONEXPO-CON/AGG to connect with our attendees; he is a longtime industry supporter advocating for a skilled workforce, the manufacturing sector and infrastructure investment,” said Sara Truesdale Mooney, show director and vice president exhibitions and business development, Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).

In a new effort, Rowe is collaborating with the National Excavator Initiative, founded in October 2016 to reach excavators and contractors with safe-digging messages, especially the importance of contacting an 811-notification center before digging.

Most recently, Rowe launched The Way I Heard It, a weekly five-minute podcast of short mysteries for the curious mind with a short attention span. He also runs the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity that works hard to debunk myths about the skilled trades and help close the skills gap by giving scholarships to people getting trained for skilled jobs that are in demand.

40-Session Line-up Also Features Local Motors’ CEO

Also joining the Tech Talks forum lineup is John Rogers, President, CEO and co-founder of Local Motors, a next-generation car company changing the designing, building and ownership of cars.

In “The Future of Mobility,” John will discuss how the mobile landscape will look very different in the future, autonomous vehicles as well as projects and expectations for 2020 and beyond.

View the Tech Talks forum 40-session lineup online. For the latest show information and to register, visit www.conexpoconagg.com.

JWH Equipment Supports Team Rubicon on Operation Iron Bird

Team Rubicon uses trained heavy equipment operators to demolish 17 houses and clear an additional 13 properties of debris created by an EF3 tornado that hit the region in January    


Veteran-led disaster relief organization Team Rubicon deployed its heavy equipment operators to Hattiesburg, Mississippi February 2-10, 2017 to assist in demolishing damaged houses and

From left to right, Team Rubicon Heavy Equipment Operators Patrick Smith, Brian Foy, Emiliano Sanchez and Victor Civitillo

clearing debris caused by the EF3 tornado that hit the city on January 21, 2017. CASE dealer JWH Equipment (Jackson, Mississippi) supplied an excavator and compact track loader for Team Rubicon’s http://Operation Iron Bird, which demolished 17 houses and cleared an additional 13 properties of tornado debris for free.

“Our goal while we’re out here as volunteers is to help as many people as we can, to get them to the point where they can rebuild their properties,” says Victor Civitillo, a certified heavy equipment instructor and operator with Team Rubicon who managed the heavy equipment deployment. “Having the CASE heavy equipment here means we can accomplish in two hours what would normally take a full day for a crew working with hand tools. So together we can help families get back on their feet faster, and then the whole community and the local economy recover faster.”

Operation Iron Bird is the most extensive heavy equipment deployment conducted by Team Rubicon in a disaster zone. The heavy equipment competency within the organization was created with training support from The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and equipment and training support through an ongoing partnership between CASE Construction Equipment and its dealers.

“Helping real people and communities rebuild with nothing but determination and a sense of service was what drew us to Team Rubicon and the work they do – this was a perfect execution of what this partnership was intended to be,” says Scott Harris, vice president – North America, CASE Construction Equipment. “JWH Equipment stepped up and saw an opportunity to help people in their own community, and we’re proud of the work all partners accomplished in Mississippi.”

Team Rubicon and CASE continue to work on additional heavy equipment operator training sessions throughout the U.S. For more on Team Rubicon, and to volunteer or donate, visit TeamRubiconUSA.org.

CASE Construction Equipment sells and supports a full line of construction equipment around the world, including the No. 1 backhoe loaders, excavators, motor graders, wheel loaders, vibratory compaction rollers, crawler dozers, skid steers, compact track loaders and rough-terrain forklifts. Through CASE dealers, customers have access to a true professional partner with world-class equipment and aftermarket support, industry-leading warranties and flexible financing. More information is available at www.CaseCE.com.

About Team Rubicon

Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams. Team Rubicon is a nonprofit organization offering veterans a chance to continue their service by helping and empowering those afflicted by disasters, and also themselves. Programs and services are made possible by the support of individual donors, corporate partners, and the dedication of volunteers across the country. To join or support Team Rubicon’s mission, visit http://www.TeamRubiconUSA.org.

Roadtec Reviews Its 2016 Performance and Looks At 2017 Possibilities

Roadtec, Inc., an Astec Industries company finished 2016 exceeding its sales performance goals and is expecting 2017 to be even better. Founded in 1981, Roadtec is an asphalt milling and paving equipment manufacturer based in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

2016 Performance

The asphalt paving market benefited from the passage of the 6-year FAST-ACT Highway Bill on December 4, 2015. Astec Industries and Roadtec were instrumental in an industry-wide campaign that resulted in 200,000 emails, letters, and calls to legislators urging them to pass the bill.

“Through these efforts and many others in our industry, jobs were created, optimism returned, new roads began the design cycle, and our customers started buying new equipment again,” stated John J. Irvine III, president of Roadtec. “Roadtec experienced a 10% growth in sales for the year, right from the beginning of the year.”

The passing of the FAST-ACT Highway Bill was considered the catalyst in 2016. In that year, the company hired and trained more than 100 new factory employees and signed nine new equipment dealers. The dealers represent Roadtec in 15 states, where they have been trained in service and sales support. The dealers are fully stocked with parts and components, and carry inventories of machines to facilitate timely deliveries.

“We feel the market in 2016 had a real wait and see attitude up until the election,” Irvine said. “With the current administration’s plans for a $1 trillion infrastructure program over 10 years, we are very optimistic about our industry.”

A significant contributor to the company’s success in 2016 was its Guardian™ Telematics System for Roadtec e-series milling machines or cold planers, pavers, and shuttle buggy material transfer vehicles. The Guardian Telematics System is designed to diagnose service issues and provide production reports. With the software, a contractor can log into the machine from any computer and the equipment operator can view the information on the machine’s display screen in the operator’s compartment. The same information is available to the Roadtec service center remotely where technicians are available on a 24/7 basis to troubleshoot problems and reset fault codes. Circuits and systems are displayed as live schematics to help identify and solve issues quickly.

The Roadtec Guardian software received significant refinements and enhancements in 2016. The telematics system can now monitor the equipment for possible electrical or hydraulic failures before they occur, sends emails to the Roadtec service center and the customer when systems are outside preset parameters.

“In a sense, we are developing the ‘Holy Grail’ on how to maintain and prevent failures in the field,” Irvine said. “Roadtec can service a machine in the field and fix many items over the internet, update programming, and even locate lost machines via GPS tracking.”

“We were not expecting a big year because the two previous years we had bet on a new highway program and lost,” said Irvine. “Ending 2015, we were carrying too much inventory. We liquidated most of our finished goods inventory by year’s end and, of course, a bill was passed in December. We had a small amount of component inventory coming in first quarter 2016. We rallied and turned it up, hiring people, training, pulling component purchases up in our schedule and finished with our best year ever.”

2017 Expectations

A core element of the Roadtec business model has changed, which the company management expects will have a positive impact on its 2017 performance. From the beginning, Roadtec has sold directly to its customers and provided start-up and service technicians from its Chattanooga base of operations.

“We have shifted our model from selling and servicing direct to the customers because they were telling us, ‘we love your company, we love your equipment, but we need local parts and service support,’” Irvine said. “Our sales had plateaued and to grow we needed that local presence, thus our decision to add qualified, quality dealers who can service and sell our products to the level we provide.”

A challenge for Roadtec has been reaching customers in the less populated areas. Plus, there just weren’t enough service staff to start-up every machine sold in the Spring-season crunch each year.

“With the addition of dealers to our business model, we have not cut one head at Roadtec,” stated Irvine. “We plan to keep all the good people our customers have leaned on in the past to help them be successful. These people will also be training dealer personnel so we can multiply ourselves to service and better support our customers in the field wherever they are located.”

Roadtec continues to look for dealers “that are financially sound, have experience in our industry, and most importantly align with our core principles of ‘taking care of customers, honesty and integrity in all we do, and respecting all individuals,’ Irvine added. “These are critical values that our employees, suppliers, and dealers must adhere to. We have signed four additional dealers since the first of the year covering 10 more states. These are experienced roadbuilding dealers that know the business.”

For 2017, the company will be pursing markets west of the Mississippi which will be easier to target through its newly established dealer network.

Roadtec is expecting growth in all the states that have passed new gas taxes that will allow them to get FAST-ACT Highway Bill matching federal funds to build new and repair existing roads in their respective states.

New products or product line expansions for 2017 include the Guardian Telematics System which is now available on the Shuttle Buggy SB2500, a new Tier 4 Final SX-6 Soil Stabilizer, and a new MTV1100e Material Transfer Vehicle. The company is entering its second year of production for the new RP170e and RP175e Tier 4 final asphalt pavers and they are in production of the CB100 Conveyor Broom. Various ancillary options are being added to all other equipment as part of the company’s on-going product improvement program.

Additionally, Roadtec has three goals for 2017 according to John J. Irvine III:

We want to have the safest year we have ever had at Roadtec and wish the same for our customers. Our employees know we care about them and place a premium on their safety.

We have an internal goal of 20% sales growth. We can accomplish this aggressive goal with the help of our new dealer partners.

We want to turn our inventory 4-5 times this year with more seasonal forecasting of parts. Our parent, Astec Industries, is making an investment in Roadtec’s shop so we can turn completed machines quicker and supply parts in a timelier manner.

As Irvine reflected on the company accomplishments in 2016 and the expectations for 2017, he concluded: “Traditionally, the second year of a highway bill is the great year. The first year, states and specifying agencies are designing new projects and securing funding. The second year, they let the projects and optimism abounds. This is that year. We are going to enjoy it!”

About Roadtec

Roadtec, Inc., Chattanooga, Tenn., is a part of ASTEC Industries. Founded in 1981, the company engineers, designs, and manufactures road construction equipment that includes asphalt pavers, asphalt milling machines, asphalt screeds, stabilizers / reclaimers, material transfer vehicles, broom machines, and cold-in-place recycling trailers.

Wells Fargo Reports: Small Business Confidence Remains Strong in January

After surging 7.5 points in December, the NFIB’s Small Business Optimism index rose another 0.1 percentage point in January. Five of the indices 10 series rose during the month and five fell, all by a small amount.

Small Business Owners Remain Optimistic

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index rose 0.1 percentage point in January to 105.9. Small business confidence has risen 11.6 percent over the past three months and is currently at its highest level since December 2004. The improvement has been driven by the resurgence in the proportion of business owners that feel the next three months will be a good time to expand, which has more than doubled since October to an expansion high of net 25 percent.

Small business owners are much more optimistic about future conditions than they are about the current business environment. The percentage of firms reporting higher sales over the past three months rose 5 points in January but remain at a historically low level at -2. That means that slightly more business owners reported sales were lower over the past three months than during the preceding three months. By contrast, expectations for sales have improved dramatically, although they did dip slightly in January. Expectations for sales over the next three months fell 2 points in January to 29, after surging 20 points in December and rising 10 points in November.

Sluggish sales growth has been a persistent challenge for business owners throughout this expansion. Real GDP growth has averaged just a 2.1 percent pace since the Great Recession ended more than seven and a half years ago. With little pricing pressure, overall revenue growth in the economy has struggled to reach 4 percent each year, which has simply been too slow to cover the rising operating and regulatory costs.

Compensation costs continue to accelerate. The net proportion of firms reporting that compensation cost increased during the past three months rose 4 points in January to 30 percent and is now at its highest level of this expansion. The increase comes at a time that many states and localities have raised the minimum wage and also coincides with reports of unusually large hikes in healthcare premiums. By contrast, the net proportion of firms planning to boost compensation costs fell 2 points in January to 18 percent. The contrast between expectations for sales and actual sales and expectations for compensation costs and actual compensation costs is striking. Sales are not growing as fast as business owners expect while compensation cost have consistently outpaced expectations.

Despite the squeeze on operating margins, more business owners report they plan to boost hiring in the next three months. Hiring plans rose 2 points in January to 18 and are up a cumulative 8 points since October. While more businesses plan to add staff, a rising proportion of firms also report they are having difficulty filling open positions. Attracting skilled workers has persistently ranked as one of the most pressing issues problems facing small business owners, following taxes and regulation.

ARTBA Tells Senate Panel Endangered Species Act Needs Targeted Reforms 

 The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Feb. 15 told a U.S. Senate panel the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) “critical habitat” provision should be replaced with a “less expansive habitat preservation system that focuses on preserving essential species habitat without imposing unnecessary and excessive restrictions on development.”

The ESA was originally passed in 1973 and hasn’t been amended for nearly 30 years. In a statement submitted to a Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee oversight hearing entitled, “Modernization of the Endangered Species Act,” ARTBA noted the proper “determination of critical habitat is a very important issue for state and local governments, as well as businesses located in areas impacted by ESA activity. A determination of critical habitat can literally remove hundreds of miles from the possibility of any type of development.”

ARTBA pointed to the impacts of the law on infrastructure projects. “The ESA is a valuable tool in helping to deliver transportation projects in a manner that is most beneficial to both the environment and the communities served by those projects,” ARTBA said. In its current state, however, the ESA has achieved less than a 1 percent rate of success for species recovery. At the same time, it has resulted in multi-year delays for transportation construction projects.”

In other recommendations, the association said Congress should:

Establish a standard to define the “best available” scientific data in decisions concerning endangered or threatened species. This standard should provide for independent peer review of all ESA determinations.

Reform the species listing process to discourage listing of species not actually threatened. Specifically, species should not be able to be listed based on potential threats, only actual impacts. Also, the de-listing process should be streamlined to allow for easier removal of species once they are no longer threatened.

Curb unnecessary ESA litigation by disallowing litigation based on possible development occurring as the result of a proposed transportation project. Only disputes involving the effects of the potential project itself should be considered.

Established in 1902, ARTBA represents the U.S. transportation construction industry before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, courts, news media and the general public.