Helping to shape the future of our transport infrastructure


Key members of the Asphalt Group management team, Stephen Cooke and Gerald Byrne have lent their experience and enthusiasm to inspire real change to the industry through their work in senior roles at The Charted Institute of Highways and Transport (CIHT) and Institute of Asphalt Technology (IAT).

Stephen Cooke, Asphalt Group’s Commercial and Operations Manager

Stephen, Asphalt Group’s Commercial and Operations Manager, became the Chair of CIHT’s Young Professionals Network in February after being elected by the current members.

‘The growth and strength of the young professional’s network within the institute must continue. It currently has great momentum and we need to continue to attract more and diverse members to strengthen not only our own young professionals’ network for networking and ideas, but also the future and longevity of the institute,’ Stephen said on his election.

Stephen is keen that young professionals help tackle the critical issues facing the industry, including climate change, embracing innovative technologies and emerging from the Coronavirus pandemic.

‘It is a real privilege to be voted in as the Young Professionals Network Chair particularly during a period of such change,’ he said. ‘ I intend to show I have something to give to the industry as well as CIHT. I want to become the bridge between the young professional and the full members by raising the voice of the younger members helping them to push their ideas forwards.’

Stephen has also just been re-elected as Treasurer for the IAT South East Branch for the second year running. He is the only member of the committee who isn’t in a director position in their everyday role.

Gerald Byrne, Asphalt Group’s National Specification Manager

Gerald is Asphalt Group’s National Specification Manager and, for the last four years, he has worked alongside seven other committee members chairing the West Midlands Branch of the Institute of Asphalt Technology.

‘I see this as very much a team role,’ said Gerald. ‘We have representation across all industry sectors, including senior consultants, clients and contractors, and we have put this unique blend of experience together to reinvigorate the branch.’

‘One of our key aims is to increase the membership of the IAT locally and in particular to attract younger members,’ he continues. ‘They could be at the point of choosing their career, and we want to inform them of the benefits of a career path in the asphalt industry.’ 

Here are some key initiatives that Gerald and the West Midlands Branch team are implementing.

  • Changed technical meetings venue to Birmingham University with speakers presenting topics around new technology and innovation, which resulted in doubling the number of attendees.
  • Introducing virtual technical evenings open centrally to other IAT branches.
  • Supporting the rewriting of the Asphalt Technology course offered by Derby University by sponsoring one of the new modules.  
  • Offering a £250 prize to the best dissertation written by a final year Birmingham University engineering student on an asphalt related subject.

Both Stephen and Gerald play an essential role in delivering the Asphalt Group’s mission to help improve the in-service performance of asphalt pavements from design to installation by extending pavement life and reducing the demand for reactive maintenance. And now they can use their knowledge and experience to help improve the opportunities, technical expertise and guide the industry for the future ahead as part of their appointments in the CIHT and IAT.