Happy New Year to the ITE Family! As we start afresh having turned the calendar page, I have high hopes that this year will be one filled with new initiatives and opportunities to promote our vision as the organization of choice for transportation professionals. That vision, I believe, starts with each of us. Think back to what motivated you to become a member of ITE. Was it the excitement of being in college and the camaraderie of the student chapter? Was it the desire to learn more about the profession? Was it a colleague who invited you to a meeting? Was it the networking opportunities? Job prospects? Technical resources? All of these? For someone in our organization, THAT was their reason. It is personal.
My story is like many of yours. I first joined ITE as a student when I recognized the organization would be an integral part of my transportation future. After transitioning to a professional member, my involvement in ITE expanded in numerous ways. I helped organize one of the first chapters in Texas in the early ’90’s and have served ITE for nearly three decades as a section officer, technical committee member and chair, and chair of the Traffic Engineering Council and the Coordinating Council (now the Council Leadership Team). My decision to join ITE has not steered me wrong. Over the years, I have found ITE to be one of the best investments I have ever made in my career. My decision to run for ITE President was a logical progression in my personal growth as an active member and leader in ITE. I wanted to have the opportunity to serve our profession and advance our mission to provide our members with the tools they need to serve their communities and shape the future of transportation in a meaningful way.
Over the next year, I will be working with other members of the International Board of Direction to invest in our future by establishing the framework to help grow and diversify our membership at both the student and professional levels.
The differences in our backgrounds enrich our experiences as members of ITE and the communities in which we live and serve. Expanding the diversity of our profession as well as our membership begins with our student members. The earlier we introduce students to transportation as a career path, the better the chances they will join us. To that end, I have started reaching out to several professional engineering organizations whose membership centers on communities of color: the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, and the National Society of Black Engineers. As part of this outreach, I am working with their leadership to understand their structure and governance and to identify synergistic opportunities for collaboration to increase our visibility and engagement with their student members. This year, we will also begin to more directly engage with the transportation planning community to understand what would attract them to ITE and how we can provide value to their membership. Look for town hall events and other engagement opportunities in the coming months.
I look forward to serving you over what I am sure will be a very productive and energizing year . . . in person! I am always available to hear from you and welcome your ideas about how we can make ITE the organization of choice for those looking to transform the world!
Beverly Thompson Kuhn, Ph.D., P.E., PMP
2022 ITE International President