On April 26 in room HC8 beneath the United States Capitol, the Geosynthetics Materials Association (GMA) executive council presented Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., with GMA’s 2017 Friend of the Industry award. A longtime supporter of the geosynthetics industry, Rep. Graves appreciates the benefits of geosynthetics and the engineering challenges facing the infrastructure system in the United States. After GMA chair Keith Gardner presented the congressman with the award, Rep. Graves addressed the executive council, thanking those in attendance for the honor and encouraging GMA to keep advocating for a strong national infrastructure.
Rep. Graves’ work first came to the attention of GMA post–Hurricane Katrina (August 2005) when GMA members were supporting efforts to repair damage to the Gulf States. After taking office in 2008, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ramped up efforts to rebuild after Katrina; the governor’s office pointed GMA in the direction of Graves, then chair of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA). Both offices looked favorably on geosynthetics as part of the solution to rebuild. Since Katrina, GMA has visited the state of Louisiana and stayed in contact with CPRA, the Army Corp of Engineers, and state agencies to continue our support of rebuilding efforts and of strengthening infrastructure along the Gulf Coast to protect against harm from another hurricane.
In November 2015, the congressman’s office invited GMA to attend a congressional round-table discussion in New Orleans, La., that focused on “issues related to the next Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), legislation that authorizes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to carry out navigation, flood control, shoreline protection, hydropower, dam safety, water supply, recreation, environmental restoration and protection, and disaster response and recovery activities throughout the nation.” Invites to events such as the round table hosted by Rep. Graves and the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) committee allow GMA to stay abreast of critical infrastructure issues and identify areas where GMA member products can best be used to benefit the country’s infrastructure.
GMA appreciates the congressman’s contributions to the House T&I committee, his willingness to listen to our members’ message, and the meaningful guidance he has provided on how the geosynthetics industry can best take part in rebuilding in the Gulf States and strengthening the country’s infrastructure. Congressman Graves is a deserving recipient of this award, and GMA looks forward to continuing to work with his office in the future.