OHMPA awards Roads Scholars at its annual spring operations seminar

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Ontario Construction Report staff writer

The Ontario Hot Mix Producers Association (OHMPA) presented its annual spring operations seminar at the National Heavy Equipment Show at the International Centre in Toronto on April 18. More than 100 people attended, including six students from local colleges who participated in OHMPA’s first annual Roads Scholars program.

Students Ryan Wilbee and James Hill of Fleming College, Jonathan Shuster and Travis Charters of Conestoga College, and Scott Hoddy and Darren Ellis of Georgian College were recipients of the first annual Roads Scholars award. Colleges selected students who displayed exemplary leadership in their respective programs and who expressed interest in the asphalt paving industry. The students attended the spring operations seminar and the National Heavy Equipment Show for free.

“The Roads Scholar program was developed through OHMPA’s plant and paving committee and is an initiative that we hope will help to better engage and educate young people about the industry as they are making career choices,” said committee chair Mike Deckert, vice-president of FLO Components. “We are extremely pleased at the number of colleges and students that were interested in the program. This is an excellent opportunity for the students to learn more about the industry and to network with industry leaders.”

Highlights from the 2013 spring operations seminar agenda included the following presentations:

  • How to achieve smoothness at the milling level – Daulta O’Hanlon, paving specialist, Toromont;
  • Reduce plant operation costs with proper preventative maintenance—Dennis Hunt, senior vice-president, Gencor;
  • How to handle the new asphalt cement mixes—Sandy Brown, OHMPA technical director, Asphalt Institute, regional engineer Canada;
  • Dust control —Tim Roussy, regional sales manager eastern Canada, Astec Inc;
  • Ministry of Labour plans for safety enforcement in 2013 and promoting longer-term safety Strategies for construction projects – Michael Chappell, provincial co-ordinator, construction health and safety program, occupational health and safety branch, Ministry of Labour;
  • OHMPA 2012 safety awards – Mike Deckert, vice-president of FLO Components.

“I really learned a lot from the seminar and especially enjoyed learning about what needs to be done in the beginning of the paving process, in regards to milling, to ensure a smooth surface,” student Jonathan Shuster said.

Other students, including Ryan Wilbee, commented on the unique networking opportunity the seminar provided. “I’m getting into the construction sector as a second career, and I’m impressed with the caliber of speakers and industry leaders I’ve gotten to talk with,” he said. “Attending the seminar has helped me to know what to expect when I enter the job market.”

Preparing young people with the right skills and opportunities is vital in keeping the industry strong according to Colin Burpee, OHMPA president and general manager at Aecon Construction and Materials Ltd.

“OHMPA is very proud to partner with the Ontario colleges to help promote our industry to the new graduates. Attracting young talented individuals to our industry is vital to insuring a strong future,” Burpee said. “One such example that hits close to home for me is Darren Ellis who proved himself on a co-op term at Aecon and has since been hired full time because of his strong performance. That is just one example about what can happen when these partnerships are formed and the opportunities created for both student and employer.”

All 2013 spring operations seminar presentations are available for download on OHMPA’s website www.ohmpa.org



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