Don Gallagher Named to Asphalt Pavement Hall of Fame

Gallagher has been active in the industry for more than four decades

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The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) announced that Don Gallagher, retired president of Gallagher Asphalt Corporation of Thornton, Ill., has been named to the Asphalt Pavement Hall of Fame. Gallagher was honored at a special ceremony during the association’s 57th Annual Meeting in Palm Desert, Calif.

The Asphalt Pavement Hall of Fame was established to recognize and honor those individualswho have made significant and lasting contributions of regional and/or national importance to the asphalt industry and whose work has led to innovations in the production and placement of asphalt, the usage of asphalt as a paving material, and/or the general advancement and recognition of the industry.

“The Asphalt Pavement Hall of Fame is pleased to recognize Don Gallagher for his outstanding leadership and for his many contributions to the asphalt industry,” said Kim Snyder, 2011 Chairman of the NAPA Board of Directors. “He has been an ambassador for the asphalt industry within his own community and on the national level for more than four decades.”

During his years working at Gallagher Asphalt Corporation, a family-owned business, Gallagher frequently took a leadership role in developing or validating new equipment and procedures for producing, placing, and compacting asphalt pavements. He was a national pioneer in innovations for asphalt recycling, trucking practices, and silo storage of asphalt pavement materials.

In 1977, under Gallagher’s leadership, Gallagher Asphalt became the first company in Illinois to produce reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) mixtures. He and other industry leaders developed a plant for warming RAP prior to blending it with other materials, helping improve the mixture’s overall quality. Gallagher himself became known as “Mr. Recycling” in the Chicago area.

Gallagher’s system of color-coding trucks significantly reduced trucking costs, and his early evaluation of asphalt storage silos helped simplify asphalt production and paving operations.

Gallagher was an active member of NAPA, serving on its board of directors for 15 years and on the board’s executive committee as well. He chaired NAPA’s Quality Improvement Committee for five years, leading the association’s efforts toward national implementation of Superpave mixes and rubblization.

A passionate supporter of the National Center for Asphalt Technology, Gallagher served on the NCAT board for six years, including four years as its chair from 1998 to 2002. Under his leadership, NCAT designed and constructed the Pavement Test Track and moved into a dedicated office and laboratory, and its budget grew from $2 million to $5 million a year.

Gallagher also served on a committee convened by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the 1990s to research public/private bidding partnerships.

Gallagher got his start in asphalt at an early age, working in the family business while growing up. After graduating from Purdue University with a degree in mechanical engineering, he went to work for a steel company but was soon drafted into the U.S. Army. He spent two years working in NASA’s space program in Huntsville, Ala., then returned to Gallagher Asphalt. He remained there for more than 40 years, retiring as president in 1999. 

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