Guest Blog on Site-k Construction Zone: Left Side – Right Side and Rock Stars

Blair Barnhardt, APM

Before I begin my first diatribe for the Site-K readership, let me first say hello and proclaim how delighted I am that you are taking time out of your busy schedule to read this column. I promise never to put anyone to sleep, though I may provoke some interesting thoughts from you from time to time.

Often strangers stop me in the street or on planes and ask me what I do for a living. Often when I feel that we have a little time together to kibitz, I chuckle and state emphatically that I never sleep as I have an engineering and creative mind vying for attention at all times. Certainly, I reason, it is not easy for me having grown up playing the electric guitar for two score or more, coupled with an engineering mind for as long as I can remember, and this situation is clearly a curse for me. So there you have it, for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year the left side of my brain and the right side are constantly fighting for their piece of the action so to speak.

If you happen to have this same curse then you can empathize with me and know that while I am trying to play a simple game of golf whilst listening to my favorite MP3 blaring in my earphones, wondering if that was reverb on the snare drum, and did they use a click track in the studio, and can they play that live as well as the recording, I am also simultaneously trying to get a grasp on is that breeze I feel a two club wind, is the grass on the greens growing toward the mountains, or the water, is my lie level, with the ball hook because I am playing to an uphill green, will I be able to stick my wedge in there for birdie, what if the collars are thick grass and I short side myself??????

Ok, for those of you who have this same dilemma, I want to hear from you. And for those who don’t, count yourself lucky! So where are you going with this Blair you ask? Perhaps you already know me and if you did, you would know that I only speak in broken sentences while my brain over-processes facts and sound bites literally nonstop.

Well, during my former years as a band guy, aka: Rock Star, not only did I lug gear across the floor of every club in the ATL, I also spent the better part of my waking hours (21 per day) teaching rock guitar to countless budding musicians. As part of my curriculum, I would attempt to overwhelm the would-be future teenage rock stars with the first session in an effort to weed out those who did not have the drive and determination to persevere and succeed. In fact, one of the phrases that I put into the student’s textbook for the first night of shenanigans was the quote “amateurs practice until they get it right, and professionals practice until they can’t play it wrong.”

This simple phrase had mountains of meaning back then I thought, not just for little rock guitarists, but also for anyone who has ever tried to be the best at what they do. Well almost everyone I suppose. What I found from experience was that the young musicians wanted to learn how to play the guitar, to get into bands, to get famous, get rich… all that stuff and more because these in fact were the incentives, the very reasons why they would practice for hours on end, often until their fingertips bled. In fact, it is clear that those who try to get better at anything, whether it is race car driving, golf, tennis, or even an MBA, have a clear goal in mind, with some sort of an incentive as the pay off.

In closing, I have one thought-provoking question: If are you are an agency pavement manager entrusted with millions of dollars in roadways to take care of (even the smallest of cities have several millions of paved assets), do you have an incentive to get better at what you do? Or, can you just keep doing the same old same old; because that is the way it has always been done? Are you implementing the latest in eco-efficient pavement preservation techniques coupled with cost saving and faster in-place asphalt recycling? Are you constantly honing your craft through continuing education to find more effective ways to manage your pavements?

If you can answer yes to all of the above, then you are already a Pavement Management ROCK STAR, and I personally commend you for that! If you are not able to answer yes to the above questions, then Houston we have a problem!

If you would like to take part in a comprehensive online and instructor led pavement management program and receive your APM™ Accredited Pavement Manager Certification, or join the International Pavement Management Association I have listed the link below.  Note that enrollment for IPMA™ Academy is only open July 1-14th and December 1-14th. IPMA™ membership is open all year round. IPMA™ Membership is open to equipment suppliers, manufacturers, consultants, contractors, agencies, students and academia.  One of the coolest things we have going on at HQ is the IPMA™ Bid Share where agencies will upload all RFPs and Bids for all things Pavement Management and the Member Consulting Firms and Contractors can download them as part of their membership.  This will save countless hours for chief estimators who often spend days seeking the perfect project to bid on.  The site is loaded with videos about all of this so be sure to check it out at   Pleasure meeting everyone and please feel free to email me if you would like to jam sometime! Thanks for reading.

See how six small letters can save billions for agencies across the globe…

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