AASHTO re:source Q & A Podcast

Season 4 Recap

February 27, 2024 AASHTO resource Season 4 Episode 39
Show Notes Transcript

AASHTO re:source Q&A Podcast Transcript

Season 4, Episode 39: Season 4 Recap

Recorded:  February 20, 2024

Released:  February 27, 2024

Hosts: Brian Johnson, AASHTO Accreditation Program Director; Kim Swanson, Communications Manager, AASHTO re:source 

Note: Please reference AASHTO re:source and AASHTO Accreditation Program policies and procedures online for official guidance on this, and other topics. 

Transcription is auto-generated. 

[Theme music fades in.] 

00:00:02 ANNOUNCER: Welcome to AASHTO resource Q & A. We're taking time to discuss construction materials testing and inspection with people in the know.  From exploring testing problems and solutions to laboratory best practices and quality management, we're covering topics important to you. Now here’s our host, Brian Johnson.

00:00:22 BRIAN: Welcome to AASHTO Resource Q&A. I'm Brian Johnson.

00:00:25 KIM: And I'm Kim Swanson. And we are here with the last episode of season four. I can't believe it, Brian.

00:00:32 BRIAN: I can't either. We we did it again. This is Four Seasons that we made it through to 40 episodes, including some cheats.

00:00:41 BRIAN: Where you produced, well, cheats for me, not for you. You produced these episodes out of webinars or other content that we had.

00:00:52 BRIAN: Lying around. But anyway, we made it to 40 again.

00:00:56 KIM: I technically I think 39 if we're going to be honest, I think it's 39.

00:01:00 BRIAN: Ohh really. Ohh no, I think we're hitting I think this.

00:01:02 KIM: Is #40. No. It's been 40 weeks, but we.

00:01:04 BRIAN: No. Ohh you're right.

00:01:05 KIM: Took a break.

00:01:08 BRIAN: Let's do this again.

00:01:10 KIM: I mean, we I feel like 40 is a better number, but we took a break around.

00:01:13 BRIAN: Christmas. So yeah, we did. We did well, we we tried not to 40 means anything.

00:01:19 KIM: We tried.

00:01:21 KIM: No, it's a nice round Number though, 39.

00:01:22 BRIAN: Arbitrary 30 nines great, considering this is not our normal job, I think that's pretty.

00:01:28 KIM: Good. No. Yeah, this is not.

00:01:31 KIM: Why I get paid? Most of this is not the biggest part of my job so.

00:01:35 BRIAN: No, and and for me it's one of those things like, well, maybe you shouldn't be doing this.

00:01:43 KIM: Maybe you have other work.

00:01:45 BRIAN: To do maybe.

00:01:45 BRIAN: Do you have other more important things to do? But I'll tell you what, we've gotten a lot of good information out there to people and I.

00:01:51 BRIAN: I think it it get it's a unique opportunity to communicate in a different way to people who are in our program and are around the industry.

00:02:02 BRIAN: So I have no regrets.

00:02:04 KIM: Nor do I. So let's as we recap some of this, Steven.

00:02:11 KIM: What have been what has stuck out to you, Brian, is there is a highlight for you this season.

00:02:17 BRIAN: Well, it's been an interesting trajectory this this season because we started out with a a bunch of interviews with external people and and we had, I put a lot of effort into the first.

00:02:32 BRIAN: Few weeks in this paving with recycled plastic series with Hawaii dot, so there was a lot of communication with them, a lot of work trying to put this story together and we came out with four episodes that were pretty, pretty well downloaded as far as our episodes were concerned.

00:02:52 BRIAN: And then we also peppered in a story with Oklahoma dot on geotechnical investigations that has actually been our most popular.

00:03:03 BRIAN: Episode this season and another one with Colorado dot to talk about environmental product declarations and balanced mix design with Illinois dot. So we had a lot of stuff in the beginning of the season that was was pretty interesting. And then most of the rest of the season.

00:03:23 BRIAN: We ended up doing programmatic stuff, so a lot of proficiency samples, a lot of common assessment findings.

00:03:32 BRIAN: Some FAQs.

00:03:35 BRIAN: Actually, not too many and some accreditation episodes.

00:03:39 KIM: What was surprising to me, looking at the downloads for each one, because I mean, I see them, but I don't, you know, take note of them all the time. So in Prep for her today's recording, I was looking at some of them and I was surprised about how well some of the soft skill.

00:03:55 KIM: Episodes we did how well those were seemed to be received. So that kind of.

00:04:01 KIM: To me that it was. Let's see dealing with stress.

00:04:06 BRIAN: Yeah, dealing with stress did pretty well.

00:04:08 KIM: Yeah. And then the goal setting also did fairly well, parts one and two.

00:04:12 BRIAN: Yeah, I mean, you know, the interesting thing about the soft skills is they reach a different audience. So we often have different. We can see countries and cities.

00:04:21 BRIAN: Where the downloads occur and when we do the soft skills, we typically get more international.

00:04:28 BRIAN: Downloads and we also get just different cities that we don't typically see in our normal download groupings pairings. Uh, one other thing I noticed this year is that we had an uptick in downloads from Somalia on certain episodes.

00:04:46 KIM: We did. We did. Yeah. I'm actually looking at the locations of our downloads and now this is for all Four Seasons. I don't have it just for season 4, but US not surprisingly number.

00:04:59 KIM: One and then Germany and Ukraine were two and three, which I thought was quite interesting. Then, Canada, Somalia, India, France, Brazil.

00:05:10 KIM: Saudi Arabia and then Kenya, that was also a interesting one for me.

00:05:16 BRIAN: Yeah, we did. I remember we had.

00:05:19 BRIAN: Quite a bit of activity from Kenya in season one.

00:05:24 BRIAN: I remember then it kind of fizzled out. And so I guess whoever that is is back.

00:05:31 KIM: About one person, it's probably just one person. It's one person. Well, if you're listening to this, this one person in Kenya.

00:05:32 BRIAN: That one.

00:05:33 BRIAN: Is back.

00:05:38 KIM: Thank you also for the probably the one person in Saudi Arabia, Brazil, France and India who just listens to all of the episodes. Thank you as well.

00:05:48 BRIAN: Yeah, it it. And we'd love to hear from you if you. If there's anything in particular that is of interest to you or if you wanna be a guest even.

00:05:57 BRIAN: Oh yeah, be happy to make that happen.

00:05:58 KIM: We'd love that.

00:06:01 KIM: Yeah. No, it's interesting. One of the things that.

00:06:05 KIM: Kind of tapered off. So for the first part of the season, all the way up until about November, I also posted on YouTube of YouTube version a video version and it's not the actual video of the recording because nobody wants to see that.

00:06:25 KIM: But it was a video version of it and then, you know, life happened and I did not consistently post those. So if you are listening to this and you're like, I liked the YouTube.

00:06:37 KIM: And let me know so I know that I can keep doing it. You might see it since this is the last season on the in the episode or last episode of the season, you might see that I might go back and post some.

00:06:51 KIM: Videos on our YouTube channel from episodes during the hiatus. Well, I have more time to actually do that, but if you really enjoy the YouTube videos, let me know so I can make sure keep it a priority going into next season.

00:07:08 BRIAN: Now, now as far as what you got out of this season, has there been any, any lessons learned from you?

00:07:16 KIM: I think there's lesson. So one of the lessons I learned was that I can squeeze two episodes out of one recording pretty consistently, and then I will probably be doing that more going into season five, they might see more parts one and two and keep them a little shorter length.

00:07:36 BRIAN: Yeah, I noticed that this year there was a lot more of that, but we would get in these recording sessions and we'd get on A roll and then we'd end up with just too much content for one. I mean, you really don't want to have it go too long. So Kim, with her editing skills, was able to put together a nice.

00:07:56 BRIAN: Play it and and break those episodes up for you. So I hope people like that. I imagine that they did.

00:08:04 KIM: I I mean, I hope so. We'll see. I don't think many people want to listen to like an full hour of us talk, I know.

00:08:12 KIM: That's I don't want to listen to a full hour of us talking, so I'm assuming I may be just projecting that other people don't want to listen to a full hour of us talk, but I think going forward, I'm probably going to try to keep.

00:08:24 KIM: Episode length.

00:08:26 KIM: Under 30 is what I'm thinking, 30 around 30 minutes.

00:08:31 BRIAN: I think that's about right. I think 20 to 30 is is really good. OK. So we are coming up on the end of the season and we're going into hiatus. And so the reason why we do this is because we have something that takes up a lot of our time coming up very soon and it has already consumed.

00:08:50 BRIAN: Quite a bit of our time. Yeah. For some reason, I don't know. I don't know what's going on. I feel like it's consumed more time and there's been more uncertainty regarding what is going on with planning than there has been in the past. But this is all related to our technical exchange.

00:09:09 KIM: Yes, I will say I feel like this year it took up more of our time sooner.

00:09:16 KIM: If that makes sense, where I give it feels like this has been taking and that is one of the reasons why the YouTube versions of the podcast has stopped. That was right about when things kicked off for me for the technical exchange, but the Astro Resource technical exchange in 2024.

00:09:17 BRIAN: It feels like.

00:09:36 KIM: Is going to be in Boston, MA, and that is March 18th through the 21st and we have some of the guest speakers and panelists that are going to be.

00:09:51 KIM: At the technical exchange in March, I have been guests in this season or previous season, so I thought that was pretty cool. Guests on the podcast.

00:10:00 BRIAN: Yeah, that's right. And and I was talking about the Oklahoma geotechnical one episode and and SIV.

00:10:07 BRIAN: Who was one of the guests on that episode is actually going to be one of the.

00:10:12 BRIAN: Panelists at the technical exchange, so that would be cool. So if you liked hearing that one, you can.

00:10:17 BRIAN: Ask some follow up questions. Maybe if you see you're at the technical exchange.

00:10:22 KIM: Oh yeah, I'm sure she would love to chat about chat about that. And I think we didn't have him on this season, but I know in past seasons we had Gary Pascarella and he is going to be presenting on concrete.

00:10:37 KIM: Something at the technical exchange. Concrete placement I think, is what it is, and so you can see him in person there. If you want to put a name to a voice.

00:10:50 BRIAN: Yeah, and and Gary is quite an experience in his own right to meet him and and chat with him is always fun. So I hope he will come to the technical exchange and and.

00:11:03 BRIAN: Take some time to get to know Gary a little bit if you can.

00:11:07 KIM: Yes. And then we will also have a bunch of the Asha resource staff at the technical exchange that have been guests on our podcast. So if you want to attend the event and meet some of the staff who've been guests like Brian, he's going to be there.

00:11:25 BRIAN: I will be there and then I'm excited about this technical exchange because I don't have as many sessions, so I'll actually I might have time to talk to people in between in between sessions this time. But yeah. So Amy Reid is going to be covering some of the topics that I normally would cover. So that'll be nice.

00:11:45 BRIAN: And should get some more experience and and people get to.

00:11:48 BRIAN: To attend her sessions instead of mine.

00:11:51 KIM: Yes, yes. And she, I believe was a guest on one of our FAQ episodes earlier this year. So you can chat with her about that if you want. And then we have a bunch of staff from the Laboratory assessment program that's also attending. So you can meet them.

00:12:10 KIM: At the technical exchange, so it's going to be a good time for everybody.

00:12:15 BRIAN: Yeah. And the and the real value of the technical exchange is not just coming in, hearing us talk about a lot of things I do want.

00:12:21 BRIAN: To mention.

00:12:21 BRIAN: That the technical exchange is all about you. It's all about people coming together in the industry to talk about issues, talk about their problems, talk about ways that they've solved problems, and to just kind of share knowledge.

00:12:37 BRIAN: Quite a few of the sessions, even though they're.

00:12:40 BRIAN: We have we have panel discussions.

00:12:43 BRIAN: We have round tables and and we have kind of lecture.

00:12:48 BRIAN: Sessions. But even the lecture ones, the objective is to try to get the audience engaged in the discussion. So it's really intended to be a true exchange of ideas, and it is highly unusual opportunity to do that in our industry. So if you're able to get yourself to.

00:13:09 BRIAN: Boston, MA, that week of March 18.

00:13:14 BRIAN: Please try to attend the technical exchange. You won't regret it. People who like people who have gone have really enjoyed it. The feedback has consistently been very positive and and it's mostly because they just love the opportunity that provides them to have those discussions.

00:13:32 KIM: Yeah, the in session, networking and knowledge sharing is awesome, but then there is the event.

00:13:41 KIM: You know, and opportunities to network and expand. You know the people who are talking to and your you know your professional network outside of the sessions is amazing too. So there's a lot of stuff planned. You can go to AASHTOresource.org/events and there's a link there. I'll put that in the show.

00:14:01 KIM: Notes as well.

00:14:04 KIM: It is again just a great opportunity. This is, I think the 7th year that we've done it and we had one virtual and we missed 2020. So we've been doing it since 2017 though. So it's been an ongoing event. Unfortunately I will not be there. You will not get to see me, but I think I mentioned this in the past.

00:14:25 KIM: Episode. Please ask Brian for his autograph when you're at the event, because that I want to hear those stories when he comes back.

00:14:34 BRIAN: Yeah, and my autograph looks a.

00:14:35 BRIAN: Lot like Kim Swanson.

00:14:41 KIM: Oh goodness. So is there anything else that we want to talk about either about this season? Did we miss anything about a recap this season or?

00:14:52 BRIAN: I don't, I don't think so. I I I think that's that's pretty good recap. I I do want to mention about another thing I'd like to do next season is cover more of the other AASHTO programs. So a lot of people don't realize this and I've had questions come up here and there about what AASHTO does.

00:15:10 BRIAN: Because we have been going through this whole.

00:15:13 BRIAN: Review of how laboratories are advertising their AASHTO accreditation or publicizing their actual accreditation, and we've had quite a few discussions with people about why can't I just use the AASHTO logo, just the general ash toe logo and they don't have any idea what ash toe does.

00:15:28 KIM: And then.

00:15:32 BRIAN: You know, they just associate with the standards and us, but AASHTO really has a lot of other programs. Technical, uh.

00:15:40 BRIAN: Technical services, policy related activities and and other things going on. So I think we'd like to highlight some of those next season as well. So people can find out what else AASHTO is up to. And and I also want to .1 other thing out about what AASHTO does is they have a podcast. So there is a podcast hosted by Bernie Wagon.

00:16:01 BRIAN: Us that has been rebranded recently, used to be called the ETAP podcast. Now it's called the stream the stream.

00:16:09 BRIAN: By ash toe so the the latest episode of that podcast is a conversation with AASHTO President Craig Thompson about what his priorities are for this year as the AASHTO President. So if you get a chance, check out the stream by ash Toe, another podcast hosted by Ash Toe.

00:16:31 KIM: Yes. Well, I will put a link to that in the show notes as well. Now Speaking of season five, we weren't really Speaking of season 5, but I'm going to speak.

00:16:40 KIM: Of season 5 transitioning.

00:16:42 KIM: To season five, you can expect that where our hiatus is going to be until May.

00:16:51 KIM: Sometime in May. Don't know if it's.

00:16:52 KIM: The beginning of.

00:16:53 KIM: May or the end of May. So we're just say we start sometime in May and until then you can be.

00:17:02 KIM: The e-mail us at podcast@asherresource.org. Any ideas of topics that you'd want? We still haven't gotten a real e-mail at that address yet, so be the first on this hiatus to send us a topic, a suggestion, or anything like that. We would love to hear from you anything else.

00:17:22 KIM: Before we say goodbye to our listeners for the next few months.

00:17:26 BRIAN: No, not really. Just thanks for listening and I hope to see you at the technical exchange in March in Boston.

[Theme music fades in.]   

00:00:00 ANNOUNCER: Thanks for listening to AASHTO re: source Q & A. If you'd like to be a guest or just submit a question, send us an email at podcast@aashtoresource.org or call Brian at 240-436-4820. For other news and related content, check out AASHTO re:source's social media accounts or go to aashtoresource.org.