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Third Annual TXAPA MAPS Conference Sees Record Attendance at Waco Convention Center

TXAPA recently hosted its third annual Managing Asphalt Pavements (MAPS) Conference March 8-9, 2022, at the Waco Convention Center. TXAPA designed the MAPS Conference to meet the specific needs of professionals working for Texas cities and counties who design, build, maintain, and otherwise manage an expansive portion of the state's transportation system. TXAPA did not hold a MAPS conference in 2021 due to ongoing restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the momentum created by successive conferences in 2019 and 2020 seemed to remain intact. After an exhaustive marketing campaign supported by members of TXAPA's MAPS planning committee and sub-committees, TXAPA is pleased to announce that MAPS 2022 exceeded expectations attracting over 400 attendees, exhibitors, and speakers.

TXAPA recently hosted its third annual Managing Asphalt Pavements (MAPS) Conference March 8-9, 2022, at the Waco Convention Center. TXAPA designed the MAPS Conference to meet the specific needs of professionals working for Texas cities and counties who design, build, maintain, and otherwise manage an expansive portion of the state's transportation system. TXAPA did not hold a MAPS conference in 2021 due to ongoing restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the momentum created by successive conferences in 2019 and 2020 seemed to remain intact. After an exhaustive marketing campaign supported by members of TXAPA's MAPS planning committee and sub-committees, TXAPA is pleased to announce that MAPS 2022 exceeded expectations attracting over 400 attendees, exhibitors, and speakers.

A CONFERENCE DESIGNED TO GROW

MAPS has continued to evolve since its 2019 debut in Grapevine, Texas. The first show attracted more than 300 people, but only five exhibitors. In 2020, TXAPA moved the show to San Marcos, where exhibitors increased to 20. In 2021, TXAPA Associate Member Advisory Chairman Ryan Brown (Ingevity) decided to delay MAPS for one year, taking time to explore ways to improve the experience for attendees and exhibitors. One idea with unanimous support was to find a location more geographically accessible to a more significant number of people. Waco topped the list of potential host cities, and in May of 2021, Brown and incoming Chair Barrett Reese (Arcosa) visited the Waco Convention Center. The spacious venue opened their eyes to the possibility of growing MAPS into a heavy equipment show. Everyone involved readily accepted the challenge to fill the 33,000 square-foot Chisholm Hall. In 2022, MAPS relaunched with four tracks consisting of 24 educational sessions and 37 exhibitors, including equipment shown by Closner Equipment, Holt CAT, Kirby-Smith Machinery, Niece Equipment, and Transline Industries.

MAPS 2022 RECAP

Day one kicked off with an orientation session covering fundamental terms and concepts to provide attendees with a baseline for understanding the “language” of asphalt pavement. The conference then broke into three tracks: Design and Planning, Materials, Construction, Maintenance, and a Technology Track presented by exhibiting companies. During lunch, TXAPA Executive Vice President Harold Mullen and Quality Paving and New Technology Committee Chair Robert Lee (CRH Americas) announced that the TXAPA Quality Asphalt Pavement Awards for non-TxDOT projects would be given at MAPS moving forward. City and county projects are eligible provided a TXAPA member is a contractor or supplier on the project. Day one concluded with a networking reception from 4-6, allowing attendees and vendors to get acquainted before dining with colleagues and customers. Industry legend Dr. Jon Epps (Texas A&M Transportation Institute) opened day two with an in-depth history of game-changing asphalt pavement innovations. Somewhat unusual for a crowd of its size, the room was almost silent as everyone remained seated and listened intently for the duration of Dr. Epps's presentation. The day was again filled with educational sessions, a lunch presentation on TXAPA and HMAC (training and certification) resources, and an impromptu auction of a basketball arcade game donated by Polyco and benefiting Women of Asphalt Texas to the tune of $2,400. The conference ended with an Engineering Ethics session led by Dr. Lance Kinney of the Texas Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors.

WHAT'S AHEAD?

TXAPA is already planning MAPS 2023. With input from attendees and vendors, the goal is to grow the conference from both an informational and experiential standpoint. That means even more vendors and equipment, demonstrations, contests, prizes, more educational sessions, and with that, dramatically increased attendance. TXAPA has hosted its Annual Meeting as a connection point for its members and TxDOT for more than 47 years. With the continued participation of TXAPA's finest member firms and leading experts in the field, MAPS is destined to become the connection for Texas cities and counties that want to access the best in asphalt pavement education. For updates on MAPS 2023 and other TXAPA events, go to texasasphalt.org/meetings.

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