At the core of NTPEP program: a conversation with Katheryn Malusky and Derrick Castle – PART 2

Katheryn Malusky

Author: Lorella Angelini, Angelini Consulting Services, LLC

Perspective of: Katheryn Malusky and Derrick Castle

Here is the second part of my conversation with Katheryn Malusky and Derrick Castle about the National Transportation Product Evaluation Program (NTPEP).  In this conversation we speak about mission and goals for NTPEP as well as its programs for the future.

Katheryn is the Associate Program Manager for AASHTO’s National Transportation Product Evaluation Program (NTPEP). She manages and oversees the operations of the NTPEP program and also works closely with several of the NTPEP technical committees and the NTPEP Executive Committee.

Derrick is the Chemical and Corrosion Laboratory Specialist at KYTC Division of Materials. He chairs NTPEP-Technical Committee on Coatings

1. Could you speak about NTPEP’s mission?

Katheryn – The mission of the National Transportation Product Evaluation Program is to provide cost-effective evaluations for state DOTs, focusing on product testing and manufacturing audit.

2. What are the goals of NTPEP?

Katheryn – Simplify the product evaluation process and make it more cost-effective for both the manufacturers and the states, reduce duplication of effort by state DOTs, serve as a “one stop shop” for manufacturers.

3. Do you think NTPEP has reached its goals?

Katheryn – Yes, I do believe NTPEP has reached its goals. This is supported by the fact that states continue to ask NTPEP to evaluate additional products or audit manufacturing plants. Representatives from several manufacturers regularly ask NTPEP to evaluate their products. This increases their visibility and product credibility.

4. In your opinion, what are the challenges that NTPEP has to address in the near term?

Katheryn – A major challenge is created by the approaching retirements of chair/vice-chairs of technical committees and also the personnel at test facilities. NTPEP needs to have a succession plan in place; otherwise we will lose valuable knowledge.

We need to find volunteers between state DOT s and industry members in order to assist in putting together the next version of DataMine, which is a big undertaking.

With NTPEP growing at a rapid rate, AASHTO needs to make sure we have the right amount of resources so we can continue to deliver the “wants and needs” of all AASHTO member departments.

5. Does NTPEP take advantage of the work done by construction industry associations, such as ICRI, ACI and NACE? 

Katheryn – We do have association representation in a lot of technical committees. If there is an association that is not included in a committee and wants to be included, representatives of the association could reach out to myself or the chair of a specific committee or attend the annual meeting. We welcome the participation of industry associations at our meetings.

On the other hand, if these associations want to know what NTPEP is doing, either AASHTO NTPEP members or chairs of technical committees can attend the association meetings, give a report and have an open discussion with the association members.

NTPEP deals with a lot of different products and technologies. It is hard for us to reach out to every association, but if there are associations that want to be more involved with NTPEP, we are open to establishing a relationship.

Derrick – There are a number of technical committees that do interact with industry associations on a regular basis, providing feedback on the work plans. As an example, the polymer concrete overlay technical committee communicated with ICRI on the topic of surface preparation. The concrete coating committee also got feedback from ICRI. On the corrosion side, we are very intertwined with SSPC.

6. How do you envision NTPEP moving forward?

Katheryn – Within the next 5 years NTPEP plans to focus on a number of areas with the purpose of promoting the growth of product approval and assessment program services offered to the members.

We are going to implement five new plant manufacturing audit programs:

1. Guardrail (AASHTO M180)/Guiderail (AASHTO M30)
2. Elastomeric Bridge Bearing Pads (AASHTO M251)
3. Erosion Control Products
4. Metal Pipe (AASHTO M36)
5. Reinforced Polyethylene Pipe (AASHTO MP20)

And four new product evaluation programs:

1. Warm Mix Additives
2. Timber Products
3. Portland Cement
4. Manhole Covers

7. What about joints, which is such an important element of bridge preservation?

Derrick – Over the last two years there has been an effort to move forward with a NCHRP (National Cooperative Highway Research Program) research proposal to determine an appropriate performance base evaluation of bridge joint materials. As soon as we get enough backing through the NCHRP process, we will be able to do some research and make evaluations about this industry practice.  An established protocol for bridge joint materials could be conveyed into an NTPEP process and a technical committee could be potentially added.

NTPEP is not a perfect fit for everything. Products and processes for local and / or niche applications do not fit NTPEP because there is not enough volume for a NTPEP technical committee to be established.

8. What about new emerging technologies?

Derrick – Emerging technologies are part of the AASHTO Product Evaluation List (APEL) process. This process exists for products that do not have a big market segment or a lot of competition. APEL is our tool to branch out to emerging technologies.


Thank you Katheryn and Derrick!

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