Higbie and Jenkins Join the 2023-2024 LEAP Class 

Asphalt Material’s Sales Representative Nate Jenkins and Heritage Research Group’s Senior Asphalt Research Chemist Campbell Higbie have joined the 2023-2024 LEAP Class. Nate Jenkins is a member of the Asphalt Materials, Inc. (AMI) sales team and has worked with the company since January 2014. Campbell began his career at The Heritage Group (THG) when he joined the Heritage Research Group (HRG) in March 2016 as a lab technician for the asphalt emulsion lab. In 2018, Higbie moved into a research and innovation role with HRG. This has allowed him to help AMI develop novel approaches in asphalt applications, specifically with emulsions.  

Leadership Education for Asphalt Preservation (LEAP) is a program intended for members of the Asphalt Emulsion Manufacturers Association (AEMA). This program allows AEMA members to increase their knowledge of the asphalt emulsion industry. The program is designed to help those involved develop professionally.  

LEAP contains general education requirements through The University of Arkansas, opportunities to visit job sites and facility tours, and participants share a presentation during the AEMA Annual Meeting upon program graduation.  

This program begins at the AEMA Annual Meeting in February and concludes at the following year’s annual meeting, so Nate and Campbell will graduate in February 2024. Requirements, such as facility and job site tours, occur over specific dates, while other requirements may be completed by participants based on schedule and availability.  

The LEAP Experience

“My current LEAP experience is going very well! The networking opportunities with industry leaders have been amazing. I have enjoyed touring the Marathon refinery in Garyville, Louisiana, and the Vulcan quarry in Phoenix, Arizona. I am looking forward to the other site visits and tours we will attend during the rest of the year. This will be a great opportunity to see other aspects that go into asphalt production and modification.” – Campbell Higbie 

The leadership development course is aimed at developing participants in all aspects of the industry. Participants can learn about their fellow participants’ challenges and successes through exposure to parts of business that they may not be familiar with. The goal of this program is to engage participants and develop future leaders for the industry by building confidence and understanding in components that they may not otherwise see or experience.  

“I had multiple conversations with Andrew Eicher (a LEAP participant in last year’s class) before I decided to participate in the AEMA LEAP group. He explained that the networking would be great (and it has been) and that I would get to see the many different production areas where asphalt is involved. Andrew also mentioned that the classes required through the University of Arkansas would be a serious commitment, but it would be worth it. They should provide a strong baseline of knowledge in asphalt and asphalt preservation. So far this is something that I have found to be very true.” – Campbell Higbie 

Participants can interact with seasoned board members that serve as class mentors. During discussions with agencies about road resource success stories, participants will also learn project management skills. 

A Lesson Learned

Participants can expect to learn valuable lessons about asphalt and life throughout their LEAP program journey. The lessons enrich the current participants’ experiences and broaden their knowledge. Here are Nate’s and Campbell’s most valuable lessons they have learned through the program. 

“So far, the most valuable lesson has been knowing that throughout the asphalt industry, there are so many people who are willing to help and answer questions. This helps everyone ensure that the industry continues to grow in a positive way and that even as competitors, we are all working towards building better infrastructure and road networks for the traveling public.” – Campbell Higbie 

“One lesson that has stuck with me throughout my LEAP experience is that having industry partners is important and can lead to future successes.” – Nate Jenkins 

Favorite Memory

Throughout this program, participants can create memories like meeting with industry acquaintances, making new friends, getting to know each other, and meeting leaders. Here are some of Nate and Campbell’s favorite memories so far: 

“So far, my favorite memory has been getting to know the other members of my LEAP class in New Orleans before our tour of the Marathon facility. The industry has many excellent young leaders, and it has been a lot of fun getting to know them. Also, on that trip, it worked out that Nate Jenkins and I got to travel together, and I was able to get to know him better as a co-worker.” – Campbell Higbie 

“My favorite memory of the LEAP program as of now is spending time with past industry acquaintances during a refinery tour.” – Nate Jenkins 

Interested in Learning More About LEAP?

Whether you are an industry veteran interested in a particular area or new to the industry, this program may be of interest to you! There are no program prerequisites. 

Registration for 2024-2025 will open mid-late summer 2023 

Registration fees include University of Arkansas Asphalt Emulsion Training Certificates and Road Resource Network Bootcamp training. Note: these fees do not include registration fees for Regional PPP Conferences or AEMA’s Annual Meeting, travel, hotel stay, or food. 

If you are interested, you can connect with the AEMA team to learn more about this program by clicking this link: https://www.aema.org/page/Leap 

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