Open House Celebrates 30 Years of NCAT

It’s a milestone not all partnerships reach, so when over 90 attendees gathered at NCAT’s open house in April, their faces echoed a sense of accomplishment and enthusiasm for an optimistic future. NCAT welcomed both newcomers and longstanding colleagues to the two-day event celebrating 30 years of research, development, and outreach to the asphalt paving industry.

The open house began with a golf tournament on Tuesday, April 25, where six teams of golfers spent a beautiful day at the award-winning Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Grand National. The festivities then moved to the Auburn Marriott Opelika Hotel & Conference Center at Grand National for a reception sponsored by state asphalt pavement associations. Attendees reflected on NCAT’s development and evolution, and it was mentioned repeatedly throughout the evening that NCAT’s success is directly related to its strong collaboration with a multitude of partners.

The reception was followed by a dinner and program, which began with a video showing NCAT’s mission in action: to provide innovative, relevant and implementable research, technology development, and education that advances safe, durable, and sustainable asphalt pavements.

The presentation portion of the evening included speeches by individuals who have helped shape NCAT’s success: Randy West, NCAT Director; Mike Acott, President of the National Asphalt Pavement Association; Ray Brown, NCAT Director Emeritus; Christopher B. Roberts, Dean of the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering at Auburn University; George Conner, Deputy Director for Operations at the Alabama Department of Transportation; Tom Harman, Director of the Center for Accelerating Innovation at FHWA; and Ron Sines, 2017 NCAT Board of Directors Chairman and Oldcastle Materials Vice President of Asphalt Performance.

Guided tours of NCAT’s main facility and Test Track on Wednesday featured demonstrations that gave visitors a sense of the center’s approach to providing practical research and development to the asphalt pavement industry. The successful event concluded with a fish fry at the track followed by closing remarks from Randy West.