Colorado Public Works Journal, Spring-Summer 2020

Summer 2020 59 CAPA NEWS & VIEWS We were all hit hard this spring when COVID 19 came marching through our State. The Governor and other elected officials responded and shut down the state to control the outbreak. This had a big effect on training, education, and certification programs and on our LabCAT program as we were in the process of preparing paving crews, techni- cians, and Inspectors for the upcoming paving season. At the Rocky Mountain Asphalt Education Center (RMAEC) we had a full program ready to go with certification and training sessions scheduled almost every week. We also had in person training scheduled with several producer’s paving crews and other paving crews from smaller laydown contractors to get their people back up to speed as the paving season ready to start. Everybody was looking at a robust paving season with many projects already on the books and many more still to be bid. The Covid-19 virus had an impact but construction (including paving) was consid- ered an essential industry, thus the paving projects could continue with health and safety restrictions. This, however, did not apply to the pro- grams being operated at the RMAEC. We were shut down and were in panic mode. Projects need certified technicians to sample and test the Asphalt Paving Materials (APM). They need qualified and certified Inspectors to make sure the plans are being followed, specifications are being adhered to and the projects are moving forward in the best possible manner. There were many people already possessing their required certification, but not enough for all the work to take place. Contractors and consultants began wondering what to do to staff projects. CDOT Chief Engineer Steve Harelson issued a memo that allowed for persons who had been qualified and certified and expired to extend their expiration dates to the end of June 2020. That was a great help, initially. The Training coordinator at the RMAEC Diane Hammond, worked tirelessly to contact all who were scheduled for sessions in March and April to inform them of the memo and to let them know our certification center would open as soon as it was deemed safe. In late April we were give the go ahead to open with major restrictions, only 10 people at a time and disinfecting everything several times per day. Even in this uncertain time, we continue to work with all of those entering our facilities to make them feel safe and secure. We have implemented a food policy for morning midday and afternoon snacks and lunches. We had nearly 100 or more people Tom Clayton who needed to be certified or re-certified immediately. Through scheduling and an Instructor, Cindy Rutkoski, who was willing to almost double her time and do what it took to get “caught up” we began the arduous task of running the LabCAT certification sessions. We were running 2 sessions some days and working every day possible. This only is possible with the help of our supplemental examiners (proctors) who with the approval of their employers also did yeoman’s duty. This continued for May and June. In early July we returned to sessions with up to 20 people which has eased the burden slightly. Chief Harelson extended the expiration date to August 31, 2020 which again proved to be substantial. The real questions are, are we in this for the long haul or will we see more normal operations in the future, only time will tell. CAPA, through the LabCAT Board of Directors and technical committee are committed to the program and keeping this as a model program in the nation. We are doing what we can for the safety of attendee’s and staff. The feedback we gather is received each session with almost all rating the program as good to excellent. We are all in this battle together! We are striving to serve our members, Local and State DOT’s and our other partners. If you have any questions specifically about what the RMAEC is currently offering for training or certification visit the CAPA web site and click on the RMAEC or LabCAT tabs. Education, Training and Certification during COVID 19 Tom Clayton Clayton is the Director of Training and Member Services for the Colorado Asphalt Pavement Association (CAPA) and manages the Rocky Mountain Asphalt Education Center (RMAEC) and can be contacted at Apologies to Mike Skinner for incorrectly titling his piece in our last issue. It should have read ‘Navigating and Adjusting to COVID-19’s Economic Impacts’