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Our History

The Asphalt Institute Turns 100
The Asphalt Institute celebrates 100 years serving the Asphalt Industry.
Basic Roofing Technician Training

The Asphalt Institute Laboratory developed a new course for the asphalt industry “Basic Roofing Technician Training“.

Basic Emulsion Technician Training

AI’s newest multi-day course offering is Basic Emulsion Technician Training.

The Asphalt Institute Foundation Established

The Asphalt Institute Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit public foundation was established with the mission to conduct strategic research and educational activities that are designed to advance and improve the liquid asphalt industry.

A New HSE Training Video

HSE produced a 13 minute training video covering first aid for occupational injury, thermal burns, resulting from contact with liquid asphalt.

Bitumen Monograph Review

Bitumen Monograph review takes place at IARC headquarters in Lyon, France.

AI Sponsors “Observer Academy”

AI sponsors “Observer Academy” as final step in preparation of industry representatives invited to participate in the IARC monograph proceeding.

Monograph 103

The International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France announced that monograph 103, scheduled for October of 2011, would focus on a review of the carcinogenicity potential of bitumen and bitumen fume.

Global Trade Association Alliance Formed

The Asphalt Institute and Eurobitume forge a Global Trade Association Alliance.

AI Launches the EPIC Program

AI Launches EPIC (Experiential Participatory Image-Driven Connective), a program designed to foster future leaders within AI and develop Institute member for further industry leadership.

Declaration of Commitment Signed

2009 Executive Committee members sign the Asphalt Institute Declaration of Commitment in Williamsburg, VA.

Magazine Anniversary

The Asphalt magazine turns 60 Years old.

IARC Review

Preparations for the expected IARC review of the health effects of asphalt fumes on workers reached an important benchmark. Enabled by the formation of the IARC Preparation Steering Committee, representing not less than ten associations from around the world, there was unprecedented coordination for this signature industry event.

HSE Initiative

A major initiative of the Health Safety and Environment Committee produced a Safe Handling of Hot Asphalt training package.

Partnership with APA

The Asphalt Institute and the National Asphalt Pavement Association partner to form the Asphalt Pavement Alliance (APA).

National Asphalt Training Center

The Asphalt Institute launches the National Asphalt Training Center (NATC). The NATC was funded by the FHWA and functioned as the primary facility for training agency and industry personnel in Superpave technology.

Promoting the Benefits of New Asphalt Applications

The Asphalt Institute worked to promote the benefits of new asphalt applications, including fish hatcheries, water reservoirs, landfill liners and caps and environmental holding ponds.

Lexington, Kentucky

The Asphalt Institute moved to it’s new Executive Offices and Research Center in Lexington, KY.

University of Kentucky at Lexington

Wallace G. Wilkinson, Governor of the Commonwealth of KY and Gerald S. Triplett, President of the Asphalt Institute jointly announced that the Board of Directors of the Asphalt Institute, at their meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, selected the University of Kentucky at Lexington as its new headquarters site.

Search for New Headquarters Begins

An active search is underway for the future AI headquarters. The Asphalt Institute Board of Directors receive presentations by University representatives from the University of Kentucky, University of Texas-Austin, Purdue University, Texas A&M and the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Strategic Highway Research Program

The Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) was established by the U.S. Congress to improve the performance and durability of roads. SuperPave (Superior Performing Asphalt Pavements) was a $50 million product of the SHRP effort.

Gerald S. Triplett

Gerald S. Triplett, former Southeastern Regional Managing Engineer with the Asphalt Institute, is appointed Institute President.

Asphalt Emulsion Workshops

Forty-five workshops dealing with Asphalt Emulsion were held. Demand for the subject continued and was met with publications and the Institute’s 1980 Motion Picture, Asphalt Emulsion Spray Applications.

The beginning of a series of Regional Technology Transfer Conferences

A series of regional technology transfer conferences dealing with compaction and various uses of asphalt were held – sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration, The National Asphalt Pavement Association, the American Public Works Association and the Asphalt Institute.

Joseph R. Coupal, Jr.

Joseph R. Coupal, Jr., former Deputy Federal Highway Administration Administrator, becomes the President of the Asphalt Institute.

Clean Air Act Passed

After the Clean Air Act was passed, the Asphalt Institute along with the Federal Highway Administration and the Asphalt Emulsion Manufacturers Association developed the Basic Asphalt Emulsion Manual and a series of regional workshops designed to train state and county road personnel in the proper use of asphalt emulsions.

Resurfacing, Restoration and Rehabilitation

The institute teamed with Northwestern University’s Traffic Institute to develop and present week-long workshops on the 3-R program – resurfacing, restoration and rehabilitation.

Comprehensive Recycling Manual

The institute’s Pacific Coast division developed a comprehensive recycling manual and the field engineers began to promote recycling.

Asphalt Technology and Construction Practices

Developed by Asphalt Institute’s Director of Education Duane Edge, this Asphalt Technology and Construction Practices – Instructor’s Guide was used to train engineering technicians at colleges, universities, state highway departments and more.

Viscosity Grading System

The Asphalt Institute develops the viscosity grading system that changed the specification system from traditional penetration grading to one based on a more fundamental property – viscosity. Leading this change were V.P. Puzinauskas, principal research and chemical engineer for the institute and Luke Corbett of Exxon Corporation’s research division.

Eugene M. Johnson

Eugene M. Johnson was named President of the Asphalt Institute.

Full-Depth Paving

Field engineers from the Asphalt Institute are supporting the full-depth method of paving.

Financial Problems for the Interstate System

With the recession came financial problems for the Interstate System, but the institute field engineers took the opportunity to tell state highway departments about the cost advantages and ease of constructing asphalt pavements, which paid off almost doubling sales from 1950 to 1959.

Highway Act of 1956

With the Highway Act of 1956 that launched the Interstate System, the Asphalt Institute worked diligently to promote the use of asphalt over concrete. The national advertising campaign portraying the advantages of asphalt pavement were placed in publications including Engineering News Record, The Saturday Evening Post, Life, Good Housekeeping and The Wall Street Journal to educate the American public.

Maryland Headquarter’s Grand Opening

The Asphalt Institute new Headquarters grand opening and building dedication.

Asphalt in Hydraulics

The first western conference on Asphalt in Hydraulics was held in Salt Lake City, sponsored by the University of Utah, the Asphalt Institute and the Utah Water Users Association. This helped open the market for other uses including parking lots, recreational facilities, test tracks and speedways.

Headquarters Moved to Maryland

The Asphalt Institute moved its headquarters from New York City to the University of Maryland campus in College Park.

Jess E. Buchanan

Asphalt Quarterly

The first issue of Asphalt Quarterly magazine is published.

New President Elected

Bernard Gray becomes President of the Asphalt Institute.

Construction of Maine’s First Turnpike

Consulting engineers for the first-ever turnpike turned to the Asphalt Institute and E.M. Howard, District Engineer in Boston, to garner the expertise on materials and sound engineering practices to construct the turnpike in Maine completely with asphalt.

Canal Water Loss Prevention Research

The Bureau of Reclamation asked the institute to research using asphalt liners to prevent water loss in canals. This research resulted in liner and seepage containers as well as reservoir linings and dam facings on the Pacific Coast.

New Divisions Formed

The Asphalt Institute Board of Directors consolidated the field engineers and districts under five divisions – the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states; the Ohio Valley; the Great Lakes and Midwest; the Southwest; and the Pacific Coast, Alaska and Hawaii.

Twelve New Members

Fourteen non-member companies were invited to a meeting in Kansas and twelve joined the institute.

New President Named

With Asphalt Institute membership consisting of 22 producers, Herbert Spencer, Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, was named President of the Institute. Membership rose 56 percent and several district offices were opened. He served in this role to 1947.

Heavy-duty Pavements

The Corp of Engineers asked the Asphalt Institute to provide expertise about rock and asphalt for heavy-duty pavements. O.J. Porter proposed the design that would allow the new B-29 bomber to properly operate.

Washington National Airport

Through W.R. Macatee’s promotional efforts, the Washington National Airport was newly constructed with one million square yards of asphalt.

Washington, D.C. Offices Open

The Asphalt Institute opens an office in Washington, D.C.

Stabilization Projects Begin

The Corps of Engineers asked the Asphalt Institute to develop an asphalt mix with local sand and filler to stabilize large voids in the Galveston, Texas jetty and make it permeable. This process resulted in numerous stabilization projects with asphalt including a sea wall in Holland.

Promotion and Distribution of Institute Materials

Low cost road construction increased significantly with the continued promotion and distribution of specification booklets written by Prevost Hubbard with the Asphalt Institute. State highway engineers benefited from this information to learn the proper technical methods for their road construction.

Pacific Coast Companies Join the Institute

At the Board of Directors meeting, J.E. Pennybacker announced that five Pacific Coast companies had joined the institute, which called for a new Pacific Coast office to open in San Francisco in early 1932.

Airfield Construction Training

With the establishment of the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA), the Asphalt Institute was asked to conduct training on asphalt paving for the construction of airfields.

State Engineer Open Forum

The Asphalt Institute provided an open forum where state highway engineers could discuss techniques and find information about the proper uses of asphalt. Between 1930 and 1937, the institute published 155 booklets and pamphlets on asphalt.


The Asphalt Association closed its doors on December 31, 1929 and dissolved all membership except the asphalt producers. It re-opened the next day as the Asphalt Institute to carry the mission of providing sound technical, engineering, educational and scientific information to state and local engineers building the roads.

A New Partnership is Formed

The Asphalt Association partnered with the American Farm Bureau Federation and contributed $100,000 for a campaign to inform the American people about benefits of upgrading the nation’s secondary road system. Thousands of miles of secondary all-weather roads were constructed through this partnership.

Grade Simplification Approved

The Asphalt Association engineers proposed the extensive number of asphalt grades (102) be simplified down to 9 grades. This proposal was approved by the Board.

The first Asphalt Handbook

Wallace Craig, an Asphalt Association District Engineer in the Chicago office, prepared a handbook for his personal use on the proper use of asphalt which later was used as a model for the first Asphalt Handbook.

Many important industry groups were formed during this time due to the expansive need for road improvements including:

  • the Highway Research Board
  • the American Road and Transportation Builders Association
  • the American Association of State Highway Officials

Membership Levels Established

Three classes of membership were created:

  • Sustaining Members: Those who produced asphalt
  • Contributing Members: Those who manufactured equipment or were processors of proprietary mixes
  • Contractors

New Executives and Office
  • J.R. Draney was elected President of the Asphalt Association
  • W.W. McFarland was elected Vice President of the Asphalt Association
  • Office space was secured at 14 Maiden Lane in NYC
  • J.E. Pennybacker accepted the position of Secretary and managing director until 1941
  • Prevost Hubbard was named Chief Chemical Engineer from 1919 to 1947

Asphalt Association Formed

On this date the Asphalt Association was formed at the Union League Club in NYC with eleven founding members:

  • U.S. Asphalt Refining Company
  • Warner-Quinlan Company
  • Freeport Mexican Fuel Oil Corporation
  • Atlantic Refining Company
  • Standard Oil Company of New York
  • Prudential Oil Corporation
  • Standard Oil Company of New Jersey
  • Imperial Oil Company
  • Standard Oil Company of Louisiana
  • Sun Oil Company
  • Island Oil and Transport Corporation