August 2017

The Finest Southern Hospitality at the Alabama Annual Conference

 By Brian Keierleber, PE
       NACE President

I just returned from the Annual Conference of the Alabama Association of County Commissions (ACCA). This is a joint meeting in which the Association of County Engineers of Alabama (ACEA) also meets.

I truly experienced Southern Hospitality at its finest. And Orange Beach is really a wonderful spot. The variety of activities in the area is tremendous, so I took a couple extra days and went deep sea fishing with some of the Engineers and Commissioners.

We caught quite a few fish, but no Marlin or Bluefish, and we had to release the Red Snappers and Trigger Fish. I just listened to the crew as to which ones were keepers. I also went para-sailing for the first time. These are two activities that would be great to experience again when I’m in a coastal region. Recreation, of course, is not the purpose of NACE trips, but it can be a sideline benefit.

One of the key goals is the exchange of technical information, so I did speak on bridges. When I mentioned I was planning on galvanizing the H-pilings, and not encasing them in concrete, one of the Alabama engineers stated he had been doing this for years in an effort to produce a long lasting bridge at less costs. Wish I had met him sooner.



NACE President Brian Keierleber with the NACE leaders from Alabama.

L-R : Josh Harvill, NACE Membership Chair; Dennis McCall, Past Southeast VP; Brian Keierleber;
         Chris Champion, Southeast VP; and Richie Beyer, Past President and Representative
          on NACo Board of Directors.

We cannot continue to do the design and construction the same as we always have and produce different results. We must always seek better methods. Later this week, I’m travelling with two of my County Supervisors to review several Otta Seal Projects in Minnesota. Otta Seals appear to cost similar to chip seals but outlast them. Both these Supervisors live on rock roads, so they’re very interested in the possibilities. I have some routes that may be less costly to maintain as a surfaced road than as a rock road. We just need to figure out how snow removal can occur. 

This brings us to the flooding in Texas. The devastating impacts of the flooding will take a long time to overcome. When I worked in Oklahoma, I saw the effects from a hurricane. As you know, emergency response from the highway agencies became essential during the storm and after. And putting key roads and bridges back into service was the first step toward resuming normalcy. The Engineers there have a huge task. Our hearts and prayers go out to them, along with all residents down there.

As always Be Safe Out There.

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