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Geosynthetic Materials Association news: GMA visits Tennessee and Mississippi

October 1st, 2017 / By: / GMA News, News

GMA at ERDC in Mississippi. Left to right: Mark Peterson (Tensar), Andy Durham (Owens Corning), Noah Nichols (Propex), Martin Whitmer (Whitmer & Worrall), Bryan Gee (Tensar), David Andrews (Propex), Jeff Rache (TenCate), Keith Gardner (Crown Resources), Steve Lothspeich (Thrace-LINQ), Angela Acampora (Whitmer & Worrall), Kathryn Grant (Propex), Jonathan Curry (GMA), Fred Chuck (HUESKER) and Keith Harris (Hanes Geocomponents)

On June 22, executive council members and I met in Nashville, Tenn., to discuss Tennessee’s infrastructure and the newly passed state IMPROVE Act, which is intended to help attract manufacturing jobs to Tennessee and deliver nearly 1,000 road and bridge projects across the state. Geosynthetics are being manufactured in the state (by Berry Global and Propex), and GMA is working with the state to review its specifications and promote best practices for the use of all types of geosynthetic products. During this state visit, GMA met with the state Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Quality, Gov. Bill Haslam’s office, Sen. Bob Corker’s staff and the Tennessee Road Builders Association.

Sen. Roger Wicker invited GMA to visit Mississippi and meet with the Mississippi Transportation Commission to discuss how geosynthetics are used in the state and the cost benefits they provide. On July 25 a GMA delegation met with the commission. That meeting was followed by a technical meeting with the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) to discuss specification and product application. After the MDOT meetings, GMA members traveled to the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) to tour geosynthetic test sites and learn about ERDC’s testing capabilities. The meetings were led by ERDC staff Jeb Tingle and Jeremy Robinson.

In addition to meeting with MDOT and ERDC, members also had the opportunity to meet with the Mississippi Road Builders Association, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, the office of Gov. Phil Bryant and Treasurer Lynn Fitch. 

State visits like these help pave the way for increased adoption of geosynthetic products. Mississippi and Tennessee proved to be leaders, and it is my hope that other states will follow suit. To date, GMA has visited 16 states as part of its state and local government relations program. Each visit proves more fruitful than the last, and states are very receptive to our collaborative industry message. As investment in infrastructure continues to be a priority in Washington, D.C., and across the country, it is my hope that GMA and its members will continue to be strong industry advocates, increasing the adoption rate for geosynthetic products nationwide.

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