By Mark S. Kuhar
After 35,000 miles, 39 states, and nine oil changes, the KPI-JCI Road Connection tour officially came to a close on Sept. 20 in Yankton, S.D. A celebratory rally, attended by Rock Products Editor Mark Kuhar and Sales Director Sean Carr, was held at Kolberg Pioneer Inc. headquarters to bring closure to this comprehensive issue-advocacy campaign.
Over the past year, the marketing team at KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens has taken an active role in advocating for stronger construction and transportation industries by urging the passage of a long-term transportation bill, commonly known as Map-21. Members of the organization identified a need for infrastructure funding, and subsequently created and sponsored The Road Connection – a campaign designed to bring awareness to the public about the condition of U.S. infrastructure.
“We have literally been taking our message to the streets for the past year,” said campaign director and marketing manager for KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens, Lisa Carson. “Wanting to practice what we preach, our team in the truck traveled over 35,000 miles of U.S. roads, and saw quite a few nasty stretches of asphalt and concrete,” Carson said.
The celebration to cap off The Road Connection tour was held in tandem with the KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens National Dealer Conference – an annual opportunity for equipment dealers to gather for networking, educational sessions and seminars. Politicians, local businesses, students, employees, press and the general public listened to speeches, enjoyed lunch, and networked in the KPI-JCI parking lot.
Keynote speakers included South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard; Rock Products Editor Mark Kuhar; Kim Phelan, director of programs at Associated Equipment Distributors; Kenyon Gleason, vice president of operations for The American Road and Transportation Builders Association; and many others throughout the day.
“It was a great way to celebrate all of the hard work that has been put into this initiative,” said Curt Peterka, one of the drivers of The Road Connection truck, and advertising manager for KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens. “Now, our job is to figure out what role The Road Connection can play as an advocate for our industry in the future.”
“We've said it before, but we will say it again – this would not have been possible without your help,” said Andrew Gillman, Peterka’s co-pilot for the Road Connection tour. “Because of our friends in the media and trade associations, we are confident in calling this initiative a huge success for our industry. Without the passage of Map-21, we would have seen construction sites come to a complete halt, and thousands of jobs would have been lost almost immediately. We're proud to say that The Road Connection and our supporters played a major role in keeping Americans working to improve our roads and bridges.”