President's Blog

Commenting on recent awards

Gearoid Lohan, President, IAT

I was delighted to have been present with the Chairman of the Scottish IAT Branch, Stewart Scobie, to present an IAT Certificate of Merit to two highly respected professionals in our Industry for the contribution they have made to the Institute of Asphalt Technology (IAT). Both John Thompson and Michael McHale have given outstanding service to the IAT.
Michael McHale is a recognised Road Pavement specialist with 40 years of experience. He is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of both the Institute of Asphalt Technology and the Institution of Civil Engineers. His career captured the design, supervision and construction of roads and is an author of many seminal TRL reports, where he worked for many years as a research engineer before reaching the position of Head of Road Materials in that organisation.
In this time, he was first author and co-author of many seminal TRL reports. Along with Ian Carswell, Dougie Millar and Forbes Macgregor of Transport Scotland he formulated the TS2010 SMA specification as detailed in TRL670 “New surface course specification for Scotland”. This is now the main surfacing material used on Scotland’s Trunk roads.
In 2019 he joined WSP as a Technical Director in their Airfield and Pavement Engineering Group where he co-authored further important technical reports for Transport Scotland including the influential SRRB funded “Providing Appropriate Levels of Skid Resistance” in 2020 and more recently “An Approach to Cold Recycling of Bitumen and Tar Bound Roads” and “Development of an Automated Compaction Control Specification” with Michael Gordon. Both these documents are significantly shaping how maintenance works are done on Scotland’s Trunk Roads, making operations more efficient and carbon friendly.
We wish Michael a long and happy retirements following his distinguished and fruitful career.
Like Michael, John Thomson has left his mark on the world over the course of more than 40 accomplished years of experience in our industry. Over the years, John went on become a Chartered Civil Engineer, a Chartered Environmentalist, and a Fellow with both the Institution of Civil Engineers and, of course, the Institute of Asphalt Technology. He is now Past President of the International Federation of Municipal Engineering, a standing member of the ICE Municipal Expert Panel, Principal Developer of the National Roads Development Guide (SCOTS) and Technical Enabler of Designing Streets, and finally a part-time lecturer on Local Government Street Inspection Processes.
John’s relationship with the IAT itself is just as storied, joining up when he was a senior technician working in local authority road maintenance. From there, with his plainly evident passion for the field and his innate leadership skills, he went on to become a committee member of and in time chair the Scottish Branch. During that time, he conducted site research into the Deep Highway Institute’s recycling efforts, for which he eventually partnered with Heriot-Watt University. His work there, in coordination with his fellow IAT Scottish Branch members, would go on to become the standard for recycled material in the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges.
Then and since, John has dedicated his career toward building infrastructure for the future. Since 2016, he has guided the new generation of civil engineers in developing and managing roads and public urban infrastructure, as well as advising the development of Future Cities Standards within the Institution of Civil Engineers’ Municipal Expert Panel. John is now working to develop good practice in the delivery of sustainable public infrastructure as the Past President of the International Federation of Municipal Engineering.
John, through his own distinguished engineering career, has rightfully earned a series of accolades and acknowledgements, and it was our honour to give him one more on behalf of the whole Scottish Branch.
We wish the very best of futures to both John and Michael for following the values of the Institute of Asphalt Technology throughout their working lives. The no doubt serve as brilliant examples for IAT members for years to come.

©The Institute of Asphalt Technology, 2024.

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