September 2019

NACE Update from President Tim Hens

Welcome to football season! I know not everyone is a fan, but I think it is safe to say most folks have a team they are rooting for. Whether it’s your local high school, college, an SEC powerhouse or the NFL, there always seems to be plenty of excitement. As a die-hard Buffalo Bills fan and season ticket holder, Sundays are spent with family enjoying the tailgating and the game. No, you won’t see me body-slamming anyone through a flaming folding table on YouTube, but you will definitely see me sporting the Buffalo red, white and blue at the NACE Tailgate Event at the Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama next spring! I really hope everyone can make our annual conference next April. The Alabama County Engineers have some great events lined up for us!!  

 

Speaking of Alabama, I just returned from a visit to Orange Beach where I attended the Alabama County Commissioners Association (ACCA) conference and made a presentation to the Alabama County Engineers Association (ACEA), who is our NACE State Affiliate. The venue for their conference is the very same location we will be hosting NACE next spring. The resort is amazing, and it is literally right on the white sand beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. Aside from the location, the conference offered a great exhibit hall, technical sessions, and it was impressive to hear the County Engineers and Commissioners recount and reflect on the recent passage of their Rebuild Alabama legislation. Rebuild Alabama is a gas tax increase that will drive much-needed infrastructure funds toward county roads and bridges. ACEA has done an amazing job developing the “nuts and bolts” as to how the funding will be distributed, monitored and accounted for.They literally created every step of the way… from building the public trust, to an easy and fair bidding process, to educating their elected officials. While a gas tax increase in my home state of New York is not likely, I was thrilled to soak up their experience and gain the knowledge.

 

As always, ACEA played great host to me, my son, and NACE Staff who were also in Orange Beach lining up arrangements for next spring. On the lighter side of the convention, we were able to visit and enjoy the local flavor at the Flora-Bama Yacht Club and the infamous “locals only” Pirate’s Cove. The seafood was phenomenal. Walking on the beach with Green Sea Turtles hatching close by was a cool experience as well. I really can’t encourage you enough to come to NACE 2020 in Orange Beach!!

 

Prior to Alabama, NACE Executive Director Kevan Stone and I made a visit to Stowe, Vermont for the annual 2019 National LTAP-TTAP-NTTD Conference. For those that aren’t familiar, LTAP stands for Local Technical Assistance Program. Each state has an LTAP Center, usually housed at a state agricultural college. LTAPs were born in 1982 as a federally-funded “Rural Technical Assistance Program” in recognition of the need to meet the growing demands placed on rural roads, resulting from increased urban sprawl and the increased size and weight of trucks carrying goods from farm to market. LTAPs have become the lynchpin in providing technical training to counties, townships and local governments all across the country. NACE and NLTAPA have maintained an extremely close partnership over the years, with LTAP representatives often providing the technical topics at our Annual Meetings. NACE and LTAP work hand-in-hand with FHWA on many topics ranging from Pavement Preservation to Safety. It is important we maintain this critical relationship, and I look forward to working with our peers at NLTAPA to ensure it remains steadfast.

 

Enjoy the transition to Fall, and from the Bills Mafia—Let’s Go Buff-a-lo!!!