Top asphalt innovation: AAPA member profile

In each magazine issue Roads & Infrastructure profiles a member of the Australian Asphalt Pavement Association we talk to Rod McArthur, Technical Manager of Topcoat Asphalt.

Q: Why did you decide to become an AAPA member?

A: TopCoat Asphalt became a producer member of AAPA 17 years ago in October 2002. Andrew Young, General Manager at the time, understood it would provide a consistent overview and enable us to contribute more broadly to the asphalt industry.

Q: How did you start your career in the road construction industry?

A: I started my career in 1989 with Bitumax, part of Boral, as a laboratory technician. I was studying an Associate Diploma in Civil Engineering at the South Australian Institute of Technology, now the University of South Australia. Work was difficult to come by and I took the role not really knowing where it would take me. It has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Q: What is your biggest achievement in the industry?

A: In 2017, I was honoured to be recognised by my peers with the AAPA South Australia Industry Leadership award. My biggest achievement currently is the trialling of crumbed rubber modified binder in standard dense-graded asphalt and being able to demonstrate that the advantages shown in our laboratory trials are replicable on site.

Q: What is your current role and what does it involve?

A: My current role is State Technical Manager for Victoria and South Australia for VSA Roads. This involves having an understanding of market trends, new materials, differing design criteria across different markets and understanding the influence of different materials on performance outcomes.

Q: What is the best thing about your role?

A: Developing products new to our market. Some of these are through the transfer of technologies from overseas and some are greenfield ideas. I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity and resources to work with new and interesting materials and concepts.

Q: How has being a member of AAPA benefitted you in the industry?

A: AAPA has benefitted us by giving us access to resources that may not have been available to us otherwise, in particular with training. It has allowed us a voice when talking to statutory bodies and an understanding of reasons for change. AAPA has allowed us to understand the safety risks associated with our business by sharing safety issues and learnings through our state executive meetings.

Q: What is a recent change you have seen in the industry and how have you prepared for that?

A: Two current positive changes that are having a profound impact on the way we design and produce our mixes are performance-based mix design, in addition to the traditional volumetric, and also recycled materials. This means asphalt producers will have to have a greater understanding of all the constituents of a final product and what impact these have on the field performance. TopCoat prides itself on presenting all the performance data at its disposal to its clients, allowing them to make an informed decision on the treatment that best suits their purpose.

Q: What are your goals?

A: In the future, I hope to ensure that we continue to be an early adopter and an industry leader in the ever-changing road industry. As a member of the Colas group we are committed to safer sustainable solutions.

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