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Construction Materials Testing - S.T.A.T.E. Testing, LLC

In 1999, we started this company with a plan to provide professional engineering and materials testing services to the highway construction industry and public construction agencies. Since that time, we have grown beyond my wildest dreams.

I credit our growth to our response to the economic and environmental needs of our clients, and to the priorities of the industry at large. Our industry is always changing, and we have changed with it. When we started, "green alleys" had grass growing through them, not water flowing through them. "Ground Tire Rubber" referred to skid marks on the road, not a component of the road. "FRAP" used to be a typo referring to RAP, not a new technology in asphalt design. Concrete mixture technology has evolved from cheap tap beer to a hand-crafted microbrew. All these things have become part of our industry, and we are proud to be a part of it. Again, a hearty "Thank You" to our clients for making our dreams come true.



About S.T.A.T.E. Testing

S.T.A.T.E. Testing would like to introduce you to our management staff. Each has extensive construction experience in private practice and/or public service. Our senior engineering and technical staff are multi-disciplined, with the highest levels of IDOT QC/QA certification.

Jay Behnke, P.E. - President

JayNewportfolio Jay founded S.T.A.T.E. Testing in 1999 and is responsible for the unique “quality assurance” focus of the firm, and its reputation for not shying from materials engineering challenges. He is recognized as one of the most knowledgeable Material Engineers in the Chicago area.

He has played a major role in the application of innovative concepts in materials engineering, most notably the advancement of “green” pavement technology. See the “Project Portfolio’ tab for more information about these green engineering projects.

  • Jay coordinated the engineering involved in the demonstration use of Ground Tire Rubber (GTR) asphalt by Cook County, DuPage County and the Illinois Tollway. This effort culminated in a Public Works Magazine Top Ten Award for Cook County and the Illinois Tollway in 2007.
  • He coordinated fractionated RAP (FRAP) research and demonstration projects with the IL Tollway and local contractors. This has allowed the IL Tollway to increase the amount of recyclable materials in their HMA pavements.
  • Jay led the engineering effort to develop pervious HMA and PCC mixes for CDOT’s highly-acclaimed Green Alley program.
  • Most recently, Jay coordinated the first demonstration projects introducing Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) for CDOT and the IL Tollway.

Jay’s innovative approach to materials engineering can be viewed on the deck of the new North Avenue Bridge. Jay “engineered” a mid-December bridge deck paving solution, allowing the City of Chicago and the General Contractor to fulfill their “finish-by-Christmas” commitments.

Jay has been personally involved in the materials management for a number of major projects, including Wacker Drive Reconstruction, Fermilab Deep Tunnel, and I-57 Reconstruction. He has overseen our successful Quality Assurance contracts with the Illinois Tollway, Cook County Highway, CDOT, and the O’Hare Modernization Program.

Jay and his staff use their experience to solve problems and teach others about materials technology. Jay is involved in all our forensic engineering work and is recognized as an expert in evaluating pavement and concrete structure problems.

Jay and S.T.A.T.E. Testing are industry leaders in offering formal classes and informal presentations on materials management. Jay has developed and taught classes in PCC and HMA mix designs, Superpave for Local Agencies, and Materials Management for Resident Engineers. He has given presentations at HMA conferences, IDOT seminars, and for numerous construction industry associations.

Prior to founding S.T.A.T.E. Testing, Jay worked for IDOT as the Area Mixture Control Supervisor for north Cook County. In this capacity, he was responsible for the quality of PCC and HMA mix from numerous plants. He accomplished this with the support of IDOT engineers, technicians and consultants. He oversaw over 150 bridge deck pours, many involving innovative mixes and placement techniques. He worked closely with the FHWA in developing new guidelines for interstate concrete bridge deck pours.

Jay is an active member of the Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association, serving on several committees. He is also active in several organizations, including Vice President of the Riley School District Board and the Board Directors of the Evangelical Family & Child Agency.

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Derek White, P.E. - Vice-President

photo.JPG Derek joined S.T.A.T.E. Testing as vice-president in 2003. Derek's primary responsibility is the management of large Quality Assurance projects. He also serves a dual role as the company’s Chief Financial Officer. His projects involve Quality Control, Quality Assurance, mix design, and prestressed beam inspection. Prior to joining S.T.A.T.E. Testing, he specialized in Quality Assurance Management, specifications, testing and inspection of materials for transportation and infrastructure projects for Burns & McDonnell Engineering. While there, he was the Materials Coordinator for significant Chicago-area projects, including the I-290 Circle Interchange Rehabilitation, I-294 Golf Road Reconstruction, I-90 and I-294 Resurfacing, and the I-55 Franklin Connector Reconstruction.

Derek started his materials engineering career at the Missouri Department of Transportation in the Central Materials Office. For MODOT, Derek performed materials research on freeze thaw of aggregates, monitored various SHRP projects, and assisted in the implementation of Superpave in Missouri.

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Hal Wakefield, P.E. - Senior Engineer


Hal is a Registered Professional Engineer in Illinois with over forty years’ experience in the design and construction of highways. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master’s in Business Administration. He had assignments with the US Department of Transportation in three states with the majority of time in the Midwest. He worked with the Illinois Department of Transportation, local public agencies, the hot mix asphalt industry, concrete pavement industry, academia and others to advance the state-of-the practice in pavement, materials engineering, and construction. His contributions have been recognized by industry and others in the highway community in Illinois, and by FHWA for national leadership in pavement and materials.

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John Lavallee, P.E. - Professional Engineer

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John is a Licensed Professional Engineer with 19 years of experience in construction materials, mostly with asphalt construction. He received his BS in Civil Engineering from Southern Illinois University. His first experience with materials began while he was in college. During his summers he worked for IDOT under the expert tutelage of first Mel Kirchler and later Jay Behnke. He saw opportunity and future growth in the materials field and decided to make it his career. John took a job with Curran Contracting when QC/QA was in its infancy, built a department and staff and eventually oversaw all quality operations for 5 HMA plants. He has worked extensively with both commercial and public owners on everything from parking lots to major expressways. He has gained a reputation within Illinois as someone who will do whatever it takes to ensure the quality within a project. He was presented with the IAPA QC Manager of the year in 2012. John believes that his knowledge and experience from his time as a contractor will greatly benefit his new position at S.T.A.T.E. Testing.

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Michelle Beecher - Quality Assurance ManagerMichelle 2

Michelle joined S.T.A.T.E. Testing in 2000. Michelle has had many responsibilities, including Technical Director of our laboratories. She coordinates our O'Hare lab accreditation process with AASHTO Material Research Laboratory (AMRL) and the Cement and Concrete Reference Laboratory (CCRL), as well as the Illinois Department of Transportation. Since, 2006 Michelle has been our Project Manager for the O’Hare Modernization Project. She manages our on-site O'Hare laboratory, which is AMRL and CCRL accredited in HMA, PCC, soils, and aggregate testing.

Prior to joining S.T.A.T.E. Testing Michelle had over 15 years experience at various material testing laboratories in Chicago.

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Gordon Reed - Bituminous Laboratory Manager

Gordon Reed.JPG Gordon joined S.T.A.T.E. Testing in 1999. He supervises our main HMA lab in East Dundee and also serves as our Radiation Safety Officer. He is a lead HMA mix designer for private clients and public projects, including FAA airport mix designs. Gordon is experienced in the design of Superpave and Marshall Mixes, as well as specialty mixes such as Stone Matrix Asphalt (SMA) and Sand Mix Layer (SML) Mixtures.

Prior to joining S.T.A.T.E. Testing Gordon had over ten years experience with various contractors and materials testing companies in Northern Illinois.

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Greg Rohlf - Lead Concrete Technician

Greg Greg joined S.T.A.T.E. Testing in 1999. Greg’s major responsibilities include management of our three concrete labs, oversight of concrete field technicians, and IDOT/CCRL accreditation for our labs. Greg serves as Quality Control Manager for contractors requesting PCC Quality Control services, acting as their liaison with the Illinois Department of Transportation. He has worked in the field as a lead QA inspector on behalf of IDOT and ISTHA for major concrete placements. Greg's PCC mix design experience involves Latex-modified concrete (LMC), quick-setting cement, pervious concrete, and HPC. He has experience in obtaining IDOT approval for PCC designs. He has worked closely with CDOT in developing their Green Alleys program, as well as assisting with specialty concretes, HPC and LMC. Greg has assisted in the development and teaching of the Illinois Department of Transportation PCC Level III Course currently offered through Lake Land College, as well as the ACI Level 1 class.

Prior to joining S.T.A.T.E. Testing Greg spent over 10 years in the Quality Control Department of Allied Asphalt Paving Co.

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Ryan Sylla-Civil Engineer

ryan syllla

Ryan recently joined the S.T.A.T.E. team in June of 2015. He recently graduated from University of Wisconsin- Madison with a master’s degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering with emphasis in Asphalt Engineering. Along with his degree, he was a Research Assistant and Lab Manager at the Modified Asphalt Research Center at UW-Madison. Ryan is a critical component of the Illinois Tollway Independent Assurance team. He manages performance testing and data analysis for the massive I-90 project. In addition, he is a major part of developing S.T.A.T.E. Testing’s new Asphalt Binder Testing Lab.

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Brandy Long - Lead Soils Technician

Brandy Long -  Lead Soils Technician Brandy joined S.T.A.T.E. Testing in 2002. Brandy is our lead Quality Assurance Technician for the Cook County Highway Department. In this position, she coordinates QC/QA field HMA comparison testing, all HMA plant verification testing, and is the liaison between the CCHD and S.T.A.T.E. Testing.

As our Lead Soils Technician, Brandy performs various tests on sub-grade and soils. These tests include, but are not limited to, Standard Proctor, Modified Proctor, Soil Density by means of Nuclear Density Gauge, Gradation, Plasticity Index, Liquid Limit, Sand Equivalency, PH of soils, and Organic Content.

Prior to joining us, Brandy worked for IDOT as an Aggregate Supervisor. She inspected aggregate for over 20 various quarries, sand and gravel pits, and recycled concrete operations in Cook, DuPage, and Will counties, including Vulcan-McCook.

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Matt Galloy - Lead HMA Technician

Matt Galloy.JPG Matt joined S.T.A.T.E. Testing in 2000 as our lead HMA technician. He has been involved in many bituminous projects ranging from airport runway resurfacing and interstate highways to local roads. His specialties include troubleshooting HMA plant and production issues, HMA mix design, and field density. Matt has served as lead technician on various major research demonstration projects including GTR, FRAP, Warm Mix, and Pervious HMA Pavements. During the winter, Matt is a lead designer for HMA mix designs for various Chicago contractors. Matt also served as the Project Engineer for the CDOT In-House Paving Program in 2006.

Prior to joining S.T.A.T.E. Testing, Matt had over eight years experience in materials Quality Control inspection and management.

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