Monday, October 12, 2015

Germanna, VDOT partnering to improve Virginia's roads

Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney announced the establishment of the Virginia Education Center for Asphalt Technology (VECAT) during a press conference on Monday, Oct. 5 at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond.

Germanna's Daniel Technology Center in Culpeper
 will be at the center of the new VECAT training  program.

The statewide effort involves a partnership of The Virginia Asphalt Association, the Virginia Department of Transportation, and the Virginia Community College System, led by Germanna Community College's Center for Workforce in Culpeper.
“Whether you’re in Abingdon or Arlington, students will now have the ability to further their careers in one of Virginia’s key industries,” Stoney said. “The efforts of this partnership will send a signal to all our competitors that we know what it takes to continue building the new Virginia economy."
VDOT, the VAA and Germanna are partnering on changes to the asphalt-related materials certification classes, the initiation of an asphalt technologist apprenticeship program and eventually an asphalt technologist associate’s degree. 
Germanna will offer training at its Joseph R. Daniel Technology Center in Culpeper beginning in 2017. Much of the training will be available via online classes, but students will be required to take part in labs on site. Several other VCCS schools will be involved in offering labs in order to make the training more accessible. The other VCCS sites have not been set yet.
VDOT's Charlie Kilpatrick with Germanna's Jeanne Wesley,
Martha Okeefe and Ben Sherman

The effort will be focused at Germanna with changes to the asphalt-related materials certification classes, the initiation of an asphalt technologist apprenticeship program and eventually asphalt technologist associate’s degree.

Germanna will offer training at its Joseph R. Daniel Technology Center in Culpeper beginning in 2017. Much of the training will be available via online classes, but students will be required to take part in labs on site. Several other VCCS schools will be involved in offering labs in order to make the training more accessible. The other VCCS sites have not been set yet.
The asphalt business is a key industry in Virginia.
  •   Virginia has the third largest state maintained highway system in the United States
  •    The Commonwealth spends billions of dollars each year on its highways
  •     Virginia’s asphalt industry has 50 different companies with more than 130 plants, employing over 10,000 people throughout the Commonwealth
  •    The industry contributes nearly $2 billion to the Virginia economy each year

Germanna President David A. Sam, (center) at VECAT launch.

The partnership will support business growth and jobs creation, increased competitiveness for Virginia’s asphalt industry, continuing education for changing materials and practices and create a supply chain to replace retiring workers. This will be accomplished through entry level to advanced training, stackable credentials, an apprenticeship program and the development of a pathway to an associate degree.

Virginia Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Kilpatrick said: “each year VDOT invests over $500 million in asphalt paving through new construction and maintenance. With this large investment, it is imperative the individuals involved with the design, production, placement and acceptance of asphalt materials are effectively trained to perform the monumental task of constructing and maintaining Virginia’s roads.” 

“New technologies, innovations in construction practices and changing materials usage are leading to increased sustainability and cost savings,” Richard Schreck, Executive Vice President of the Virginia Asphalt Association said. “But putting these innovations into practice requires the sort of focused training and education that VECAT will provide, deploying research, innovation and best practices to the benefit of taxpayers and the driving public.”

Amy Martin, National Director for the Asphalt Pavement Alliance, recognizes the pressing need for skilled labor in the road construction industry, both today and in the future. “With over 100,000 lane miles in the Commonwealth, having quality labor to support construction, maintenance and inspection of the roadway system is of vital importance. We hope this sets a precedent other states will follow.”

 “Germanna is pleased to partner with the Virginia Asphalt Association in developing these vital certifications and apprenticeships,” GCC President David A. Sam said. “The Commonwealth needs people with the skills to pave, inspect and repair our roadways. And citizens of Virginia need well-paid jobs that make a difference. Our work together in developing these programs helps to close that skills gap and make for a better Virginia.”

Training will be available for:
  •  Asphalt production facilities occupations: plant operators, plant technicians, laboratory technicians and asphalt mix designers
  •  Asphalt placement site occupations: asphalt paving foreman, asphalt paving crew, asphalt paving superintendent, and density technician
  •  Transportation agencies occupations: project manager, project engineer, project inspector, plant inspector, asphalt lab technician, asphalt mix designer/certifier
  •  Consulting industry occupations: project engineer, project inspector, asphalt lab technician, and asphalt mix designer/certifier.

Germanna launching drone training for commercial applications

Michael Zitz
Director of Media & Community Relations
Germanna Community College

Ben Sherman
Business & Career Coordinator
Germanna Community College
540/937-2901 (office)
540/661-8291 (cell)


Business drone use is a trend that isn’t likely to fade away. Current commercial uses for unmanned aerial vehicles include the monitoring of agricultural crops, photographing real estate and managing wildlife. Among those in the works are Amazon’s plans to use drones for deliveries. There has also been discussion of using solar-powered drones capable of remaining aloft indefinitely to beam WiFi signals to the ground to provide sparsely populated areas with Internet access.

A drone in flight during a demonstration outside
 Germanna's Daniel Technology Center in  Culpeper.

According to Fortune magazine, by July of 2015, there were over 500 businesses in the U.S. cleared by the FAA to operate drones for commercial purposes.

An industry study recently predicted that by the year 2025, the commercial use of drones could add $82 billion and 100,000 jobs to the U.S. economy.

Locally, Germanna Community College will begin using drone flyovers to help Cedar Mountain Stone monitor progress at its Mitchells Quarry. The first flyover, on a date yet to be determined in late October, will take place during a blast at the quarry.

According to Ben Sherman, a Germanna Center for Workforce Business & Career Coordinator based at the GCC Daniel Technology Center in Culpeper, the drones will be doing aerial photography for photogrammetry and using two-dimensional photos to make a 3D point cloud to model progress at the quarry. The goal will be to determine the amount of stone removed. This will allow Cedar Mountain Corporation to more closely monitor the amount of material being extracted from and ultimately sold by the quarry.

This will be part of a new Germanna Community College Center for Workforce program at the Daniel Technology Center in Culpeper focusing on drone training for commercial applications.

Students will learn how to maintain drones and how the actual programming works—how to download information and process it, as well as the necessary flying skills, Sherman said.

The FAA is expected to require increasing levels of training and certification for those who fly drones for commercial use to earn certification, due to safety concerns.

Germanna had already been providing classes primarily for drone hobbyists, including basic flight training and even teaching middle school children to build their own drones using a 3D printer.

“Now we’re going into business and construction applications,” Sherman said.

He said Germanna’s Center for Workforce is prepared to help local businesses navigate evolving  federal and state drone regulations.


GCC accepting applications for All-USA Academic Team

Dear Students,

Germanna Community College is seeking outstanding student leaders from our college to apply for the All-USA Community College Academic Team and the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Programs sponsored by USA TODAY, Follett Higher Education Group, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, The Coca-Cola Foundation, AACC and Phi Theta Kappa. Recipients will be awarded nearly $400,000 in scholarships, will be featured in USA TODAY, and will be recognized at AACC’s Convention in Chicago, IL in April. We have the opportunity to nominate up to two students per campus to participate in this competition, and our college has the opportunity to receive national press recognition should one of our nominees be identified as a scholar.
In addition to recognition by USA TODAY, Follett, and Coca-Cola, nominees to these programs are recognized in All-State Academic Team programs held in 38 states. All-State Team programs may offer students academic scholarships, stipends, newspaper coverage, medallions and/or certificates. By nominating students to the All-USA Community College Academic Team national program, we are able to provide additional scholarship opportunities for nominees to which they would otherwise not have access.
At this time, we are seeking qualified applications. In selecting nominees to represent our institution, we ask you to consider the eligibility criteria to determine if you might be a good fit for the scholarship. The scholarships look to award students with outstanding academic rigor and grade point averages; participation in honors programs; awards, honors, and recognition for academic achievement, and service to the college and community.
In addition, the focal point of the application is the essay. This should center around one endeavor undertaken by the student that utilized their community college education to improve their respective community or college. Judges look for innovative, creative, original and lasting achievements or undertakings.
For more information about the scholarships available, or to apply, please visit
Preliminary applications (with at least the first 6 tabs completed) must be submitted no later than Monday, November 2, 2015. After all applications have been received, applicants selected as one of the four Germanna nominees will be notified.
Completed final applications (all tabs completed including Essays and Recommender Assessments) by the selected nominees must be completed and submitted to PTK by Monday November 30, 2015.


Rebecca Morris