Al Palmer

Technical Sales Director

What does a typical day look like for you at Polyco?

My primary goal is to get state DOTs familiar with our Rapid Digestion Process — introducing rubber into asphalt. I spend a lot of time explaining how I believe our product could benefit their roadways in terms of longevity, safety enhancements and working with DOTs on developing specifications. 

Once we have a specification, I work with contractors on getting trial projects down or making sure they know how to use the product and answer any questions. During these trials, it’s important to grab samples of materials and do additional testing so we know that the samples are meeting the specifications.

What did you do before joining Polyco?

I’ve always been an asphalt guy. After graduating from North Dakota State University in 1981, I worked on drilling rigs, extracting petroleum from the ground, for an oil field services company. From there, I worked for a county highway department in Minnesota, where I designed roads and used asphalt. That’s when I learned how to make asphalt hot mix — working with and combining aggregates and asphalt — and check specifications, making sure things were done properly. Then, I worked for a hot mix contractor and a private testing laboratory for a while, where I ran two mix design laboratories and did field quality control testing for contractors. Then, I joined the Asphalt Institute as a Regional Engineer. After that, I worked for several companies, including the largest asphalt supplier in the U.S., before joining Polyco.

What are you most excited about at Polyco?

Working with innovative products that are engineered well and people who are motivated to try. Our industry knows that there are benefits to using ground tire rubber, so the fact that we have engineered out a lot of the problems that previous iterations have had makes for an awesome conversation.

Why is sustainability at Polyco important?

I think sustainability is the message that is taking over our industry right now. It’s more important to the younger generation and Polyco fits right into that. I think Polyco is in a very good position to take advantage of that as long as we can continue to innovate and bring sustainable products to market.

What does the future look like for Polyco? 

Our Rapid Digestion Process is going to usher in new opportunities. For agencies, they’re going to like the benefits of RDP products, like Sigmabond. For contractors, they’re going to like the fact that our products are very easy to use. On the asphalt supplier blenders side, again, it’s an easy product to use, easy to meet specifications. 

What do you love to do outside of work?

I really enjoy playing golf, but I’m not very good at it. And, spending time with my family; my wife of 40 years, Sue, our adult children and grandkids.

“I think sustainability is the message that is taking over our industry right now. Polyco is in a very good position to take advantage of that as long as we can continue to innovate and bring sustainable products to market.”

Insights

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

Harmonizing the Hallmarks of Sustainable Pavements

In many sectors, including the asphalt pavement industry, sustainable materials are coming into play and are at the top of everyone’s agenda. Recycled asphalt pavement and shingles (RAP/RAS), waste tire rubber (WTR), plastics, glass – many scrap products find viable end uses in pavements. But focusing on materials alone is not enough to achieve truly …

Answering the Call: Where Roofing and Sustainability Meet

It’s what’s inside that counts. The quality of a shingle is only as good as the materials it’s composed of — and shingle manufacturers have been put on notice. More accountability is being demanded of the roofing industry, with an emphasis on expanding sustainability measures. For more than two decades, our roofing partners have relied …

The Evolution of Waste Tire Rubber in the Greening of the Asphalt Industry

The greatest innovations often have the most humble beginnings. So is the story of the use of waste tire rubber in asphalt pavements. Charlie McDonald – dubbed the father of asphalt rubber – pioneered this concept more than 70 years ago.  McDonald’s camping trailer was leaking, and he needed a flexible material to effectively patch …

From Black to Green: Polyco’s Sustainability Journey

To me, building a sustainable infrastructure is a moral obligation. For the foreseeable future, humans will need roofs for shelter and roads for transportation. Asphalt is a core (albeit overlooked) ingredient in both instances. However, the general public has a narrow view of what asphalt is, how it’s used, and what goes in it. I …