I guess it is a sign of getting older that time just seems to move faster and faster. It is hard to believe that I am celebrating the end of my third year with ITE. It seems like just yesterday that I was still at the Federal Highway Administration thinking about whether to stay put or to retire and move to a new challenge. Fortunately for me the ITE Executive Director and CEO opportunity came along at just the right time. It has been a fast-paced three years with lots of activity and changes within our organization and within our industry, but I have truly enjoyed this experience.
Throughout my career I have always liked the opportunity to be part of change. Change is both challenging and invigorating. Having spent my career with an organization with an even longer history than ITE, I saw firsthand the importance moving in new directions and the difficulty of getting past “the way we have always done it.” I have come to recognize that the need for change does not mean that past leaders or decisions were wrong. ITE has an almost 90-year history of success and has been fortunate to have been led by outstanding volunteer leaders and supported by strong and dedicated staff throughout its history. It just means that we are in a new place and time with different conditions and influences. Today’s leaders need to make decisions that are in the best interest of the organization, just as their predecessors did.
Since I joined the ITE staff I have been pleased to work with a strong and thoughtful set of ITE International; Presidents in John Kennedy, Paula Flores, Shawn Leight, and now Michael Sanderson. Each has had their own initiatives and their own style, but they all have been committed to moving ITE in new directions to ensure our long-term viability and continued success. They along with the other members of the ITE Board of Direction have worked together as a team to take on a number of long-standing issues. I have heard many stories from my association peers about the challenges in working with volunteer boards and the difficulty in reaching consensus. On the contrary I have seen our Board members working together on challenging problems—not always agreeing, but always able to come to consensus on decisions that are in the best interest of ITE.
When I was interviewing for the position of ITE Executive Director and CEO I laid out four areas where I hoped to be able to help ITE be better—relevant, recognized, connected, and value-added. With the support of volunteer leadership from across the organization and a strong ITE staff, I believe we have been able to make progress in each of these areas. While we have more work to do, I am hopeful that you have seen ITE move in directions that put us at the forefront of our profession, that we are more visible in our industry, that we are more connected across the various layers of our organization and with you as a member, and that there is increased value for your membership in ITE.
Thanks to all that have made my first three years at ITE such an enjoyable and fulfilling experience. I look forward to the next three years and working with our leadership to take ITE in new directions that make us even more successful. As always, I welcome your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org, through ITE Community, and on Twitter at @JeffPaniatiITE.This Blog post is from the Director's Message in the November 2018 issue of the ITE Journal