My favorite graduate school professor, Marshall Thompson, PhD, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois, had a folksy way of boiling down engineering concepts to the basics. “Pavements keeps us out of the mud.”
During a typical lunchtime, I would sit in the reception area of Talbot Laboratory, reading the Wall Street Journal and drinking coffee. I would overhear Dr. Thompson talk to county engineers and others wanting to mine his deep knowledge of asphalt concrete construction. A true consultant at heart, he wished for a meter on his phone to charge a nickel a call. His “don’t build a road where the cattails grow” is a gem. This is not to minimize the vast knowledge imparted by Drs. Barenberg, Carpenter, Darter, Dempsey, and Herrin. All of whom were essential to my pavement engineering and consulting education at the U of I.
Per Dr. Thompson, keeping us out of the mud is the purpose of installing pavements. The engineering part is how to improve on pavements to keep us effectively and efficiently, clean, and dry. Zimmer Consultants has worked every day for the past 30 years to continue to improve pavements and move engineering forward. We will share our experiences in this space.
Toronto Star staff car stuck in the mud, 1934, from “Getting There, the Old Way” by Maude Gonne.