2016, Hawaii, People

Meet the State Exec: Jon M. Young


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HAPI’s Executive Director Jon Young had the opportunity to visit with the Zhongda Road & Bridge Group of Harbin, China, on their way to World of Asphalt in March. They stopped to take a tour of the Grace Pacific Kalaeloa Asphalt Plant.

The AsphaltPro staff continues its series to introduce you to the state asphalt pavement association (SAPA) executive directors. This month we share ideas and information from Jon M. Young, who has served at the helm of the Hawaii Asphalt Paving Industry (HAPI) for nearly four years. He brings a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Hawaii at Manoa to the post, giving him a unique insight to the use of asphalt as the paving material of choice.

State Association: Hawaii Asphalt Paving Industry (HAPI), Honolulu

In what year was your state association formed? 1989

How many producer and/or contractor members are in your state association?
Young shared that six out of seven Hawaiian asphalt producers have joined the association as well as three laydown contractors and about 50 percent of the pavement treatment market, including SealMaster Hawaii. “In total, we have just over 40 member companies. I work on behalf of more than 2,100 asphalt pavement producers, laydown contractors, pavement treatment suppliers and consultants of HAPI members in Hawaii, plus members based on the mainland.”

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HAPI Executive Director Jon Young and his wife Lynn enjoyed an evening event at the 2014 SAPA summer meeting in Louisville.

What are the top two or three ways you have increased membership in the association?
“The top method we have used for recruiting members is for me or one of our members to approach a company and let them know about our organization. If they’re open to it, I often give a presentation about HAPI and the benefits of being a member.” Young shared that other state associations who do not already practice this may want to develop a standard presentation about their association and the benefits it offers. “Another method we use, mainly directed at the consulting or engineering members, is to offer a discount on the registration fee of our training courses to all members.”

What is your favorite method for recruiting new asphalt professionals to the industry in general?
“I am from the consulting engineering world, where I didn’t receive very much information about the paving industry. Due to that, one of my goals as the executive director of HAPI was to change that situation. I made the change by starting a simple monthly newsletter that features a member and one of their projects with the goal of demonstrating the diversity of our project types and clients. Several of my fellow consultant colleagues have let me know that they have never been so informed about our industry. Seeing that they could participate in such an exciting industry has helped to recruit new members from that segment of the industry.”

In what month do you hold your annual meeting?
Young shared that HAPI does its “annual meetings” a little differently than some of the other SAPAs. “We have two member lunch meetings per year—one in January and one in July. Starting this July, we’re going to open the meeting to non-members in an effort to promote our industry. We typically invite guests from government agencies or people that the guest speaker would like to bring. On average, 30 to 40 members attend along with 5 to 10 guests.”

Young is responsible for reserving the room for the meetings, securing a guest speaker, attendee registrations, etc. Starting this year, he’s enlisted the help of his wife Lynn as photographer at the events.

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At a members’ lunch meeting, Jon Young leads the HAPI attendees in a group discussion.

About how many member asphalt projects do you visit per year?
12. The goal is one per month.

About how many member asphalt plant tours do you assist per year?
“It used to be two or three, but now it is probably closer to one time a year.”

About how many additional industry meetings do you attend per year?
Young attends several types of meetings throughout the year to represent the asphalt industry in his state. There are monthly government and private utility task force meetings where city and state agencies discuss coordination issues; Young provides a paving presentation to these audiences at least once a year. Once or twice a year the various government agencies meet to “talk story.” For these meetings, HAPI provides lunch for groups of about 10 officials and Young is able to share what the asphalt industry is working on in general and how those projects relate to their agencies. Young also attends the monthly prebid meetings and project meetings between members and agencies. “By attending these meetings, I gain a better insight into the agency’s perspective, which helps me formulate possible solutions to resolve our industry’s concerns.”

On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being none at all; 5 being very much), how much of a threat to your members’ market share/livelihood is the concrete industry in your state?

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During a tour of Asphalt Hawaii’s Kalaeloa Asphalt Terminal, the company’s president, Richard Levins, pictured here in the center in the yellow plaid shirt, pointed out specific items to the tour participants. Levins is also the president of HAPI.

Could you share an example of a time when the concrete industry encroached on the asphalt marketplace in your state?
“There is a state road on Kauai that is under construction using concrete, but in the past would have been paved using asphalt. The same situation occurred on Hawaii Island. A county road was constructed using concrete that would typically have been an asphalt pavement. The geotechnical report recommended a road cross-section topped with asphalt, but the agency unilaterally decided to use concrete.

“In the future, precast concrete panels may also encroach on the asphalt marketplace. Special federal highway funding–$3 million in grants under the 2013 Highways for Life program—provided the State DOT the means to use a precast concrete panel design for a Middle Street Reconstruction project that has been awarded for construction.”

On a scale of 1 to 5, how much difficulty are your members having in finding qualified workers for their asphalt paving or production crews?

On a scale of 1 to 5, how involved are your state elected officials in transportation issues such as funding and infrastructure improvements?

How involved are your asphalt members in transportation issues such as funding and infrastructure improvements?
“Our main focus is providing information about the benefits of asphalt pavements to government agencies. We only ask that agencies make informed decisions, which we believe will result in the specifying of asphalt as the material for their paving needs. HAPI participates in and encourages agency officials to participate in TRIP reports and updates. This at times brings the spotlight on funding needs.”

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HAPI Executive Director Jon Young and Robert Kroning, the Director of the City and County of Honolulu, Department of Design and Construction have a final check before Kroning’s presentation at the general meeting January 2015. Young states they are one of the industry’s largest clients, bidding out about $130 million per year.

Get-to-Know Jon Young

Why (or how) did you join the asphalt industry?
“I was aware of the asphalt industry from my previous work experiences as a design consultant and construction manager. The opportunity and challenge of leading the industry’s growth and visibility was extremely attractive. I am thankful that the industry has given me the opportunity to be their executive director.”

What do you see as the most important part of your job as an executive director of a SAPA?
“The most important part of my job is ensuring that agencies and consultants have the knowledge of our products and services that will enable them to make informed decisions about pavements. We believe that having this information will result in them understanding the benefits of specifying an asphalt pavement.”

What is the most challenging part of your job, and why do you think it’s a challenge?
“The most challenging part of my job is changing the perception that concrete pavements are more durable than asphalt pavements. We can now produce modified asphalts locally, which are used to provide more durable pavements such as Stone Matrix Asphalt (SMA) that was used on the recently completed H-1 Freeway resurfacing project. Asphalt pavements are durable. We need to continue to get that message to the government agencies and others that are responsible for the selection of the pavement material.”

What do you find most enjoyable about your job as an executive director of a SAPA?
“I enjoy working with people—our members, government agencies and consultants—to gain an understanding of their concerns and then developing solutions that are workable for all parties involved.”

What has been the most rewarding experience for you during your time as the executive director?
“The most rewarding experience has been raising awareness of our asphalt paving industry via our monthly newsletters and Facebook page, as well as just chatting with people I meet. Everything that has happened has helped us to go forward in a positive direction.”