Ben Brock, President and CEO, Astec Industries, Inc.
Ben Brock, President and CEO, Astec Industries, Inc.

In December 2014, we started our “Don’t Let America Dead End” (DLADE) campaign. Our DLADE campaign was designed to solely encourage our employees, customers, vendors, and friends to write letters to their elected officials in Washington, D.C., that encouraged the officials to support and pass a long-term federal highway bill with increased funding. One year after we started the DLADE effort, our elected officials passed a long-term federal highway bill with increased funding!

The DLADE campaign included mailers, a website, trade-magazine advertisements, videos, elected official visits to our manufacturing facilities, a “Highway Bill” mascot, and multiple trips to Washington D.C., by our management teams, our customers, and our friends.

Everyone’s efforts resulted in what we all have worked toward for over 10 years … a long-term federal highway bill with increased funding. While we are proud to be a part of the process that led to this bill passing, we are thankful for everyone that contacted their elected officials to push them to action. In all, we estimate that over 500,000 communications with elected officials and their staffs happened as a result of DLADE.

We are also thankful for all of the trade associations that worked to get this bill passed. There are many of them in the Transportation Construction Coalition. Some that we worked with during our DLADE campaign were the American Road Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Having direct experience with what these national associations do for our industries, all I can say is that if your company is not a member of at least one national association, or more than one, then your company absolutely needs to be a member of one. Having someone in Washington, D.C., looking out for both your industry’s and your company’s best interest is a blessing, but it does require a financial investment, and your company should financially support at least one, but more like two or three, national associations related to what your company does for its business purpose. I can tell you from personal experience that it is just good for your business and your employees over the long term. And we all want to take care of both!

The new highway bill is a great start, but there is still work to be done after the next President of the United States takes office. Not long after that tax reform may be on the table. And tax reform gives our industry our next best chance at increasing our funding through new mechanisms. Keep your eyes and ears open. If the opportunity for this comes about, we will bring DLADE back up and help our associations push our elected officials to do the right thing again! And don’t forget the state level efforts to increase funding for infrastructure, too. Be involved and help the efforts!

What's New?

We often get the question at Astec: “What’s New?”

In this issue of Mix Equipment, there are plenty of answers to that question, but we are also continuing to focus on the future of equipment and we are excited for the new products we will announce in the future. We have over 100 R&D projects in process across our 18 subsidiaries and we have over 100 patents pending, too.

Innovation remains a core value of Astec Industries. I’m happy to report that our teams are focused on it. What’s new? Read this magazine for some of it. Keep an eye on Astec Industries for the future of it.

One Year Later

One person that would have been happy to see our focus on innovation would have been our founder, Dr. J. Don Brock. He passed away about a year ago after a hard fight against cancer. Here’s an excerpt from my annual report letter regarding the man that we all called, “The Good Doctor:”

“Changing subjects, many of you know that our company’s founder, and my father, J. Don Brock passed away on March 10, 2015. It is no secret how much our company meant to him and how much he meant to our company. We miss him. Many people have commented to me that I have big shoes to fill. My reply was that there are no size “Don” shoes, and that we are going to fill his shoes together as a team going ahead.

I am pleased to report that we, the team, are filling his shoes in a way that we think would make him proud. We are moving ahead with a focus on the future. The future is bright.”

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter, and thank you for your interest in our company.