1990 - 1995: Mike began his asphalt pavements career path as a Civil Engineering undergraduate student at Auburn University, located in Auburn, Alabama. While attending Auburn as a full-time student, he also worked simultaneously for both the National Center for Asphalt Technology (NCAT), located at Auburn University, and the Alabama Department of Transportation.
While enrolled in classes, Mike worked for NCAT as an Undergraduate Student Technician. In this role as a lab technician he was responsible for performing various aggregate, asphalt cement and hot mix asphalt test procedures for numerous research studies. He also performed testing on AMRL accreditation samples to verify and ensure laboratory testing methods were being followed. Mike also assisted both Laboratory Engineers and Technicians in carrying out research study work plans.
While on breaks between semesters, Mike worked with the Alabama Department of Transportation as a Professional Civil Engineer Trainee. This trainee program gave him a variety of on-the-job experiences ranging from division-wide survey to serving as an inspector on both roadway and bridge construction projects. With the survey crew, tasks included performing profile, cross-section and topographical surveys for future construction projects. As a construction inspector, responsibilities included verifying construction techniques, calculating asphalt spread rates and determining concrete mixture properties. He also assisted in determination of both sub-grade and pavement density measurements, and even had the opportunity to work with both division and state-wide bridge inspectors to determine the degree of structural damage caused by flooding.
1995 - 2002: After receiving his bachelor's degree in civil engineering, Mike accepted a full-time position with the National Center for Asphalt Technology as a Laboratory Engineer. Over the next seven years he also served in other roles as both Laboratory Manager and Research Engineer. During this time, Mike earned his Master's degree, focusing on pavement materials.
As a Lab Engineer, he was responsible for carrying out research project work plans which entailed both management of technicians as well as hands-on work. He was also responsible for maintenance and calibration of various laboratory equipment, and trained both laboratory personnel as well as various training course attendees in laboratory testing standards.
As Lab Manager, Mike managed laboratory personnel responsible for carrying out research study work plans on a daily basis. He assisted Research Engineers in laying out work plans for various research studies and managed time-lines for research work to keep on track and meet deadlines. He was also responsible for hiring laboratory personnel and purchasing equipment to meet research needs.
As a Research Engineer, Mike prepared research proposals, developed research work plans, managed research, and wrote technical reports. His primary areas of research included: coarse and fine aggregate properties, mineral filler properties, mix design of Marshall, Superpave, Stone Matrix Asphalt and Open-Graded Friction Course mixtures, development of bulk specific gravity device, re-heating of HMA mixtures, rutting of HMA mixtures and 100% aggregate screenings HMA mixtures. Mike also served as an instructor in various mix design and asphalt technology courses.
2002 - 2007: After earning his Master's degree, Mike left NCAT and accepted a position with the Asphalt Institute as a Regional Field Engineer in the Southeast. As a field engineer, Mike was actively involved with promoting the benefits and effective/quality use of asphalt materials and mixtures through engineering service and education. His overall objective was to help both maintain and grow the asphalt market.
To reach this objective, he offered targeted technical support and marketing efforts towards the large user agencies and specifiers in the region, such as state highway departments, counties, cities and consultants. Mike also provided technical service to the Asphalt Institute Member Companies through consulting, training, and gathering of information.
He provided engineering assistance to support national efforts as requested by the Director of Field Engineering Services. Some of those national efforts included: developing and teaching training seminars, making technical presentations at key conferences, updating and writing technical publications, participating on select committees, executing technical Asphalt Institute programs, and developing both marketing and technical tools for the national Asphalt Pavement Alliance (APA).
Also in this role, when possible, Mike worked alongside the State Asphalt Pavement Association Executives (SAPAE’s) to develop and maintain individual State APA’s, consisting of the AI Regional Engineer, the local SAPAE, AI Members, and local asphalt contractors. The individual State APA’s mission was to develop and execute a collective plan that would be effective in promoting the use of asphalt for that particular state.
2007 - 2009: In an effort to stay a little closer to home and his family, Mike left the Asphalt Institute and accepted a position with SemMaterials, LP, as a Systems Field Engineer for the states of Tennessee and Arkansas. In this position, Mike served as an “on-the-grade” technical resource for both the contractor and the user agency when either hot-mix asphalt or emulsion based company products were being utilized.
His technical resource responsibilities included; pre-job screening of both in-situ roadway materials and available virgin materials, coordinated with and assisted design lab with development of job mix formula, worked with both contractor and user agency representatives to ensure that all applicable parties were familiarized with both the mixture and job specifics, was on-site during production and placement of the mixture, and carried out post-construction follow up with both the contractor and the user agency to ensure that mixture placement met their expectations.
Mike assisted the Marketing/Sales Team from a technical standpoint when user agencies were interested in pavement maintenance/rehabilitation alternatives. His responsibilities included; meeting with the user agency to gain their perspective on the pavement problem, causes, and possible solutions, visiting the potential job site to evaluate pavement distresses, traffic conditions, and potential construction limitations, working with Engineering staff to determine the best alternative solution, and presenting the most cost-effective solution to the agency while ensuring that they both understand and are comfortable with the proposed plan.
He also worked with the Research & Development Team to develop either improvements upon existing pavement solutions or new solutions to better meet the user agency’s needs. His involvement included meeting with the user agency to better understand pavement needs and/or current available solutions’ deficiencies, relaying agency needs and concerns to R&D staff, working with both R&D staff and agency to evaluate potential of developing an improved solution, and coordinating possible field trials of the new or improved product to evaluate its potential to meet the agency’s needs.
2009 - 2014: SemMaterials filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and left Mike without a job. What at first seemed like "bad news" actually led Mike to his next professional experience opportunity. At this same time, the asphalt paving members of the Tennessee Road Builders Association were looking to hire a Technical Director to work specifically for the Asphalt Division. By accepting this position, Mike became the technical expert and point person representing the Asphalt Division to both TDOT as well as the City and County agencies across the state, in all issues related to asphalt pavements.
As the Technical Director, Mike provided asphalt division member support in all grass roots issues at the City, County, and State levels. His overall goal was to represent the asphalt membership and speak with "one voice" on their concerns and issues, especially as they related to technical aspects of their everyday asphalt paving business.
This position also required him to take on the leadership role for the planning and coordination of the annual state asphalt conference, the Tennessee Quality Asphalt Initiative. This annual event was the sole opportunity for the asphalt paving industry of Tennessee to come together as agencies, contractors, material and equipment suppliers, and consultants, to both learn more about technical advancements in the industry as well as network together.
This position also allowed Mike to serve as the Tennessee representative to the State Asphalt Pavement Association Executives, the National Asphalt Pavement Association, the Asphalt Institute, and the Asphalt Pavement Alliance. In this role, Mike had the opportunity to represent the Tennessee asphalt pavement industry at national meetings, conferences, and events, in order to keep the Tennessee asphalt industry up-to-date on national efforts.
2014 - Present: After working for nearly 20 years in various aspects of the asphalt industry, Mike decided to venture out on his own and pursue his passions as an engineering consultant, specializing in asphalt pavements. With his experiences at arguably the asphalt industry's premier research center (NCAT), an internationally recognized and industry-leading trade association (AI), the private market with a materials company (SemMaterials), and a local state asphalt association representative (TRBA), Mike brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to his consulting practice.
As an engineering consultant to the asphalt pavement industry, one of Mike's primary focuses is to offer consulting services ranging from on-site construction support, to pavement investigations regarding design, maintenance and/or rehabilitation, to mix design troubleshooting, and specification development and review.
His vast experience as a technical training instructor, combined with his education and professional knowledge, he also develops and offers technical training seminars and workshops to both large and small user agencies, contractors, material suppliers, consulting firms, and other asphalt industry related partners.
Mike has become a sought after technical presenter for industry meetings, conferences and events. His background combined with hands-on training, education, professional experiences, and training instructor background, he has the unique ability to speak on a wide variety of asphalt pavement related topics.