Our experts share their thoughts on asphalt sustainability, innovation, safety and creating a culture of care.

Getting Hands-On with Asphalt at ATS

Our marketing team recently spent two exciting days digging deep into the science and testing behind asphalt mixtures at Asphalt Testing Solutions and Engineering (ATS) in Jacksonville, Florida. As a relative newcomer to the asphalt industry, I jumped at the opportunity to attend this immersive training course taught by the renowned Tanya Nash, P.E.

asphalt 101 with Tanya Nash

The course kicked off with a brief history of asphalt (Fun fact: Did you know that asphalt has been used to build roads since ancient Babylonian times more than 2000 years BC?!) and an overview of the present-day asphalt industry. We then did a deep dive into asphalt binders and mixtures — touching on testing methods, material specifications and mix design methodologies. We also went through a marketing exercise with ATS’ Molly Berry, which helped us think about our own strengths and weaknesses to identify areas of growth and market opportunities. We also got a crash course in asphalt terminologies, broadening my understanding of the industry.

hot mix binder with Crista Heckman

While the classroom instruction was invaluable, my favorite part was visiting ATS’ labs and getting hands-on experience with the asphalt itself! We tested asphalt binders, prepared sample asphalt cores and even created our own mix design by measuring raw aggregates (aka rocks) used in the mixes. While I love working as a marketing administrator for Polyco, I may have found my true calling working in the “Rock Room!” It was eye-opening to learn so much about the science underpinning high-performance modified asphalts like Polyco’s SigmaBond.

Beyond the technical knowledge, I was incredibly impressed by the ATS team’s passion and expertise. From the guys who handle hot asphalt and sort aggregate to the technicians and engineers who operate testing equipment and measure binder performance — everyone we met truly brought the course material to life. These folks live and breathe asphalt testing and engineering. By patiently answering our many, many questions, I really got to experience their love of the industry and the work they do.

Asphalt Testing Solutions

The ATS Asphalt Mixture Training was an amazingly immersive experience that let me dive feet-first into the world of asphalt science and testing. I came away with a much deeper understanding and appreciation for the work we do in manufacturing high-performance, sustainable asphalt products that enable the use of more recycled materials. I’m proud and honored to work in such an essential industry. I look forward to attending more trainings to expand my knowledge as we push the asphalt industry from black to green!