At the core of the NTPEP program: A conversation with Katheryn Malusky and Derrick Castle – PART 1

Katheryn Malusky

Author: Lorella Angelini, Angelini Consulting Services, LLC

Perspective of: Katheryn Malusky and Derrick Castle

I have had a long, interesting conversation with two people who are at the center of the action with the National Transportation Product Evaluation Program (NTPEP), Katheryn Malusky and Derrick Castle.

Katheryn is the Associate Program Manager for AASHTO’s NTPEP. She manages and oversees the operations of the NTPEP program and works closely with several of the NTPEP Technical and Executive Committees. Derrick is the Chemical and Corrosion Laboratory Specialist at KYTC Division of Material. He chairs NTPEP-Technical Committee on Coatings.

The conversation has been so rich with information that I decided to split it in two parts. Here is the first part. Next Tuesday the second part will be published.

1. Why was NTPEP created?

Katheryn – NTPEP was established within AASHTO in 1994, as a technical service program reporting to the Standing Committee on Highways (SCOH).

It combines the professional and physical resources of the AASHTO member departments with the objective to evaluate materials, products and devices of common interest for use in highway and bridge construction.

2. Is NTPEP an evaluation or a testing program?

Derrick– NTPEP is an organization that tests and evaluates products.

NTPEP should not be confused with an approval process.  It is the responsibility of state DOTs to establish acceptance criteria for test data received from NTPEP in order to accept or reject a product for use in that state.

3. How has NTPEP evolved over time, in terms of size, type of products, concept?

Katheryn – The program has grown from initial 5 product categories to include over 23 categories.  In 2008 a manufacturing audit plan was added to the program. This has helped NTPEP provide broader service to the member departments for both product evaluation and manufacturing review.

Product evaluations and manufacturing audits by NTPEP provide a central, unbiased source of data for our member departments.  Members can evaluate products that meet their specification requirements on a preliminary basis and have confidence in the data they are utilizing.

NTPEP also provides the manufacturers with a way to move their products for use by state transportation agencies, and know they will have a fair and level playing field for evaluation.

In 2013, we completed a survey of member departments regarding usage of data for all product categories.  There has been substantial growth over the past 4 years in state participation and data usage. Manufacturers have also become more involved with NTPEP technical committees in the past few years.

4. Should the NTPEP program be accepted by a larger number of states? For the four categories that entail bridge preservation, the acceptance of the program is not widespread.

Katheryn – We get this question very often from product manufacturers. Why 30 state DOTs are not looking at this data? Why are only 15 states looking at it? The fact is that NTPEP cannot tell states what to do.

NTPEP is an AASHTO technical service program and its adoption is voluntary, just like every other technical service program within the AASHTO engineering department. State DOTs can use the NTPEP program or they can do something different for product evaluation. For example, some states utilize the NTPEP program but elect to ask manufacturers for additional testing.

In order to make states better understand the NTPEP program, we organize a series of activities, such as peer exchange and face-to-face meetings. At the end though, it is a state’s prerogative to decide what to use and what not to use.

Derrick– Let me underline that state DOT membership in NTPEP is completely voluntary.

To reinforce what Katheryn said, it is a state’s prerogative to accept or qualify a certain material for usage. NTPEP makes great efforts to communicate with all 50 states at each level. AASHTO staff has done an excellent job of making inroads with each state, and also trying to keep up with the turnover of personnel in the states.

5. In your opinion, what are the benefits that NTPEP brings to DOT Agencies?

Katheryn – I can summarize the benefits in four points: savings of costs and time, assurance of high quality testing program, predictable testing schedule, and a large testing data base.

6. And what are the benefits to product manufacturers?

Katheryn – The program allows for a “one-stop” shop for manufacturers in order to have their products tested and evaluated. Manufacturers are also able to receive real time data.

7. What does it mean? 

Katheryn – NTPEP should be thought of as a data collection / distribution warehouse.  Manufacturers have the capability to review the data and approve it for release to the states for evaluation.

8. Can a manufacturer decide whether to release test data or not?

Katheryn – Only to an extent. In the past some data was not released. With our new software system this is no more an option. If a manufacturer is not satisfied with NTPEP test data, the manufacturer has two options: either to withdraw a product from the program or to contact the test facility for re-testing. If a manufacturer withdraws a product, it cannot be retested unless the formulation is significantly changed. The bottom line is that test data will not be left in a limbo.

Communicating the Value of Bridge Preservation

Author: Ed Welch, NCPP-Bridge Preservation Engineerjm

Perspective of: Jim Moulthrop, Executive Director FP2

Jim has had considerable experience with the marketing of the Preservation Perspective for pavements thru the Foundation for Pavement Preservation (FP2), a nonprofit trade association compiled of Industry members. They have three Major Objectives: To Advocate for Preservation at all levels of government, To Support Research Funding, and To Communicate the value of Preservation.

Jim’s Key Points.  What he has learned working with Pavement side of Preservation:

  1. There was a great need to get Preservation in ”The Law” (MAP-21). FP2 spent extensive time and resources to promote the inclusion of the Pavement Preservation in MAP-21, and they were successful in having it included, and consequently are seeing a positive outcome.
  2. The Pavement Preservation quarterly magazine “Pavement Preservation Journal” is a great way to tell the story. With over a 5,000 circulation, it also generates revenue of $10,000.00/Yr.  thru advertising.
  3. LTAP buy in takes a long time. Local Agencies have few resources and without being exposed to the Value of Preservation they will probably not consider it. A continued effort in Local training eventually pays off.
  4. Use simple analogies to make the public understand. Make comparisons of Maintaining & Preserving Homes, Cars, teeth, etc.
  5. “Money is always an issue”, but FP2 Members have found that Research and Lobbying, that are costly, are effective. Jim’s biggest frustration is that FP2 is “never fully funded” to accomplish all the needs that they have defined, but they only have 30 contributors. There is always more to do, so it should be carefully prioritized.
  6. Once organized, Jim has found that you need to have top level people on the board (Executives, Directors & Owners). These are the individuals whose support is most effective with networking and funding development

Please post a comment on “Communicating the Value of Bridge Preservation”. Hopefully, Jim Moulthrop’ s perspective on the Pavement side of the same issue will be food for thought and help us move forward as we promote the stewardship of our nations bridges.

TRB News Profiles – Larry Galehouse, National Center for Pavement Preservation (NCPP)

TR News, January – February 2015, Number 296

“Our highway infrastructure took decades and generations of Americans to build and is simply too valuable to be left to languish.”

An early champion for infrastructure preservation, Larry Galehouse managed maintenance programs at the Michigan Department of Transportation (DOT) long before starting the National Center for Pavement Preservation (NCPP).  In the 1990s he developed guidelines, specifications, and new processes for Michigan DOT’s Capital Preventive Maintenance Program, a model used for similar programs nationwide to extend highway pavement life.  He also worked on the original Lead States Team for Pavement Preservation designed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). “Every team member was personally committed to the success of pavement preservation and felt that we were blazing a new trail,” Galehouse comments.

“Our highway infrastructure took decades and generations of Americans to build and is simply too valuable to be left to languish,” Galehouse observes. “As with any valuable asset, we must work hard to preserve it by judicious and timely proactive maintenance.”

In 2003, Galehouse founded NCPP, a collaborative agreement between Michigan State University and FP2, Inc., to advance preservation through outreach, teaching, and research.  “Starting any new venture takes perseverance, but with the help of many people, we were successful,” he notes.

NCPP manages the Transportation System Preservation–Technical Services Program (TSP-2), created to disseminate information to AASHTO member agencies for preserving their highway infrastructure, particularly pavements and bridges. The program serves as a clearinghouse of comprehensive, up-to-date information on efficient and effective preservation measures.  NCPP also administers the AASHTO Equipment Management Technical Services Program (EMTSP), which supports successful governmental highway equipment fleet management. Under these programs, separate regional partnerships have been created for pavement preservation, bridge preservation, and equipment management, drawing professionals from federal, state, and local agencies; private industry; consulting firms; and academia.

“When you think about it, three of the largest assets of any highway agency are its pavements, bridges, and equipment fleet,” Galehouse observes. NCPP, TSP-2, and EMTSP each host an extensive website with a freely accessible library of technical and policy resources.

“Understanding the theory and practice of pavement and bridge preservation and equipment fleet management is critical for successful program implementation within highway agencies,” Galehouse notes, adding that these programs have helped coordinate and expand resource management efforts among agencies. “Many highway agency personnel now realize the positive benefits of these programs.”

For many years Galehouse and his staff have collected and reviewed baseline information for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) on the pavement preservation activities of federal, state, and local agencies. This data collection has involved on-site appraisals with the agencies to discuss their programs and obstacles to implementing a preservation program. More than 40 agencies—state DOTs, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the FHWA Federal Lands Division, and several county highway departments—have been evaluated. The resulting information has helped develop national guidance on preservation and now resides in an accessible online database to help agencies set their own preservation benchmarks.

Galehouse also has facilitated pavement preservation technical transfers to highway agencies in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Caribbean Islands, and China, and he has negotiated and helped arrange engineering student exchanges between Michigan State University and the South China University of Technology in Guangzhou, China.

“I am keenly aware of the necessity to train ever-changing highway agency and contract personnel in the application of new materials and the operation of sophisticated equipment,” Galehouse shares. “Training and certification can help ensure reliable and high-quality preservation.”

Galehouse affirms the value of both basic and applied research, which are vital to assessing innovative practices in the real world. “Basic research is needed to develop new materials and techniques; applied research is needed to incorporate advances and improvements into day-to-day operations,” he comments. “To do this successfully, we must recognize opportunities and make the case for innovation with officials who may have natural tendencies to resist change.”

Galehouse helped champion the formation of a TRB Standing Committee for Pavement Preservation. He became the first chair of the committee and worked to increase awareness of preserving the nation’s highway investment. Galehouse received bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering from Michigan State University and in surveying from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan. He served in the U.S. Navy Seabees during the Vietnam War.