Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 40

GMA NEWS

By Andrew Aho

GMA history, Part 2
GMA is dedicated to
our members' success.
GMA actively identifies,
assesses, analyzes
and acts upon market
growth opportunities
and issues that affect
its member companies.
The activities of
the association are
proactive in nature and
center on five areas:
»	 Engineering support
»	 Business development
»	Education
»	 Government relations
»	 Geosynthetics industry
recognition

Andrew Aho is vice president
of new business development
of IFAI. He was the managing
director of GMA from 2005
to 2012.

Division
Geosynthetics is the official
publication of the Geosynthetic
Materials Association.

40

D

uring the Geosynthetics CASE STUDIES Conference in March in North Charleston, S.C.,
a few of the past Geosynthetic Materials Association (GMA) leaders had an opportunity
to address the gathering and recall their personal experiences and achievements when they
chaired the GMA executive council. This is the second installment of the history of GMA.
Beginning in 2005, GMA transitioned from an organization embroiled in specification
writing to one of outreach to government agencies and Congress. GMA began an aggressive
government relations program under the leadership of its executive council, chaired by John
Henderson of TenCate Geosynthetics Americas. He led GMA from 2007 to 2011. During his
tenure, GMA's government relations program matured.
It started with a search for a lobbying firm that could help GMA affect government
policy to help preserve and grow the geosynthetic market in the United States. GMA hired
Kemp Partners and the Whitmer and Worrall lobbying firm to represent the industry in
Washington, D.C. The Kemp Partners firm was led by Jack Kemp, the former football star,
congressman and vice presidential candidate. The Whitmer and Worrall firm is led by Martin
Whitmer, a transportation expert and former deputy chief of staff at the Department of
Transportation, and Tom Worrall, legislative strategist and campaign finance expert, serving
in that capacity for three presidential campaigns. For the first time, the industry had full-time
representation in Washington, along with high-profile names associated with it.
GMA began Lobby Day visits to introduce the industry to members of Congress and
their staffs. Success began when GMA members, as one, became the voice of the industry.
Agency representatives and congressional staffers commented that finally they were hearing
one voice for the industry instead of individual messages regarding products.
Henderson had this to say about the process:
I can remember our early meetings with Secretary Kemp and his team where we developed the strategy to bring the story of geosynthetics to government leaders. It was an idea
that policy makers needed to know the value, both short- and long-term, of geosynthetics. Like many others in the room that day, I mistakenly thought this would be a simple
and quick process. It wasn't. It took time to build relationships and trust on Capitol Hill.
The successful efforts to get the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to complete
a study of geosynthetics as an innovative material in transportation applications began at
that time. The government relations activities were a very attractive recruiting tool and
GMA's membership doubled by 2007 and now boasts 80 member companies.
In addition, a major accomplishment during this time was the development of the
AASHTO/NTPEP audit program for manufacturers of geotextiles used by state departments
of transportation (DOTs). The program also requires that the principal manufacturer's name
or numerical I.D. be printed on the fabric.
Boyd Ramsey of GSE became chair when Henderson's terms ended. Ramsey took the lead
in fashioning GMA's position on coal ash waste, ensuring that geosynthetic liners in coal ash
disposal sites were included in the two regulatory options put forth by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA). GMA has been a strong supporter of the legislative solutions moving through Congress regarding coal ash waste.

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Geosynthetics June/July 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Geosynthetics June/July 2020

Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - Cover1
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - Cover2
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 1
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 2
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 3
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 4
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 5
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 6
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 7
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 8
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 9
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 10
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 11
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 12
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 13
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 14
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 15
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 16
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 17
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 18
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 19
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 20
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 21
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Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 23
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Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 25
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Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 27
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Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 29
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 30
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 31
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Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 34
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 35
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 36
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 37
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 38
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Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 40
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Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 46
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 47
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - 48
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - Cover3
Geosynthetics June/July 2020 - Cover4
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