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The National Center for Asphalt Technology, or NCAT, is strengthening its team through several staff promotions and a new addition to enhance its research, training and technical services capabilities aimed at advancing asphalt pavement technologies.

“I’m pleased to announce the promotion of three NCAT staff members and the addition of one new member to our team,” said NCAT Director Randy West. “Their valuable experience will enable NCAT to build on the progress we’ve made and help us maintain our prominence as a world leader in asphalt pavement technology.”

NCAT’s key personnel changes include:

  • Raquel Moraes, a materials scientist and chemist with nine years of research experience, joined NCAT as a postdoctoral researcher. She obtained master’s and doctoral degrees in civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and worked at their Modified Asphalt Research Center for six years before joining the NCAT team last August. She is working on asphalt rejuvenators, modifiers and aging of asphalt materials.

  • Jason Nelson has been appointed to test track manager. He will support Assistant Director Buzz Powell and have the primary responsibility for day-to-day operations and safety at the NCAT Test Track. Nelson has been a member of NCAT’s team for the past 11 years.

  • Nam Tran has been promoted to assistant director. He will be primarily responsible for leading research and outreach programs, developing proposals and fostering client relationships while guiding the definition and demonstration of NCAT’s vision. Tran joined the NCAT team in 2007.

  • Fan Yin has been appointed to assistant research professor. He will lead NCAT’s research efforts in Balanced Mix Design and porous asphalt pavements. Yin received master’s and doctoral degrees at Texas A&M University and worked as a graduate research assistant and postdoctoral researcher at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute before joining NCAT as a postdoctoral researcher in 2016.

The National Center for Asphalt Technology at Auburn University was established in 1986 to provide practical research and development to meet the needs of maintaining America's highway infrastructure. NCAT works with state highway agencies, the Federal Highway Administration and the highway construction industry to develop and evaluate new products, design technologies and construction methods that quickly lead to pavement improvements. The NCAT Test Track is the only accelerated pavement testing facility that combines real-world pavement construction with live, heavy truck trafficking for rapid testing and analysis of pavements. The 1.7-mile oval is located 30 minutes from Auburn's campus and is composed of 46 different 200-ft. test sections sponsored on three-year cycles.