The 41st ASHE 2003 National Conference,
Paul Pfennig and Mary B. Elfers, TRIKO Valley
Section, Public Relations Committee
From May 29th through June 1st Akron, Ohio was the place to
be. The 2003 ASHE Highways of the Future National
Conference, held at the Hilton- Akron/Fairlawn and sponsored
by Region 1, lived up to Conference Chairman Michael Clearys
promise that an exciting event would be experienced by all attendees.
An itinerary that included a variety of meticulously planned
social events, informative technical sessions, distinguished
speakers and plenty of opportunity for networking, made this
a conference that will be hard to top!
conference started on Thursday morning with more than 200 golfers
participating in an 18-hole scramble at The Legends of Massillon,
a premier upscale 27-hole golf course located in the heart of
northeast Ohio. Designed by Canadian architect John Robinson,
The Legends of Massillon is recognized as the 4th best public
golf course in State of Ohio.
Options were not limited to the greens though, and those inclined
toward a more pampering experience were welcomed at Marios
International Spa for a day of selfindulgence, complete with
manicures, massages and whirlpools.
a relaxing opening day, membership and guests assembled at the
Hilton Grand Ballroom for the Icebreake Reception with fifty-five
highway industry exhibitors participating in this years
conference. An evening of excellent food, drink, and socializing
continued until 10:30 p.m. But the fun didnt stop there!
A live band, Trading Places, was waiting for the night owls
downstairs in the Hospitality Room.
and early Friday morning, there was standingroom-only at the
General Session and Annual Meeting. Honorary Chairman, Gordon
Procter, Director of the Ohio Department of Transportation discussed
Ohios $2.1 billion annual transportation program and its
impact on the states highway system - a topic of great
interest to all. Fridays itinerary offered ASHE members
a choice of 8 technical sessions showcasing concrete and asphalt
pavements, highway stormwater issues, geosynthetics/stabilization,
right-of-way acquisition topics and historic bridges and highway
projects. The concrete and asphalt pavements session was the
most popular session by far.
Congressman Steven LaTourette was a guest speaker at the opening
general session. Congressman LaTourette of Ohios 14th
District, serves on the House Committee on Transportation and
Infrastructure and on the Highways and Transit Subcommittee
in the 108th Congress. He discussed federal funding issues and
the reauthorization of TEA-21, the Surface Transportation Act.
The Past Presidents Luncheon was well attended and honored
fifteen (15) past National Presidents. The 2003 Robert E. Pearson
Person of the Year Award was also presented at the luncheon.
Honored was Michael H. Dufalla, P.E., P.S., District Engineer
of PENNDOT District 12-0. The luncheon wrapped up with a surprise
guest. Thomas Edison entertained and enlightened the group with
his wit and wisdom from the past.
nights reception was another event carefully planned to
surprise, amuse, and entertain. Guests were greeted at the door
by John, Paul, George and Ringo...the Beatles! Well, maybe not
the Beatles, but just as good. The Caverners, a talented and
professional Beatles Tribute Band provided a great night of
Beatles music from the early days through the Sergeant Pepper
era and beyond. The music had old and young on the dance floor
and everyone singing along to the old familiar tunes. A special
Karaoke Contest including all of our Diamond S p o n s o r s
provided unique entertainment renditions during the bands
breaks. Out To Lunch Events, specializing in The Business
of Fun, provided all the customized entertainment for
the conference. The Karaoke competition brought to life many
of the singing and performing talents found in Ohios transportation
and highway industries. All attendees enjoyed their harmony,
flair, and genius on stage.
More great activities were planned for Saturday. Musts on the
list were the Pro Football Hall of Fame, National Inventors
Hall of Fame, Great Lakes Science Center, and best of all, the
Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.
conference culminated at the Presidents reception and
Cocktail Party on Saturday evening with the installation of
National Officers and Off-Off Broadway Variety Show and Magical
Production. It was another evening of outstanding entertainment
that kept all riveted in their seats.
All of the conference committee members and members of Region
1 thank those who attended and made this conference informative,
exciting, and time well-spent with our peers. We deeply appreciate
the support of all our sponsors, advertisers, and exhibitors.
It is through their generosity and commitment to the highway
industry, that we were able to provide a first-class conference.
(Note: Check out www.ashe2003.org
for more convention photos!)
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