So Long, Austin

By Mr. Jeffrey Paniati P.E posted 8 days ago

Wow! That is the only word I can use to describe our recently completed Joint ITE International and Texas District Annual Meeting and Exhibit. Everything is a little bigger in Texas, including the ITE Annual Meeting and Exhibit. We had more than 1,500 participants, 200 presenters, 75 exhibitors, and 29 sponsors—making this the largest ITE Annual Meeting and Exhibit in at least the last 15 years!

The theme of this year’s meeting was Transportation Transformed, and all facets of this transformation were on full display at the Annual Meeting. From the Opening Session where Austin Mayor Steven Adler talked about how transportation is transforming his city, to our Power Plenary on Mobility as a Service/Mobility on Demand to our Closing Plenary where Insurance Institute of Highway Safety President and CEO David Harkey shared realistic views of the timeline for automated vehicles—this transformation was evident. In the sessions, exhibit hall, committee meetings, workshops, and everywhere in between, people were talking about the demographics, policies, technologies, and money behind this transformation.

The transformation taking place within ITE was also clear. From the International Board of Direction meeting when new bylaws were approved for our Districts including the Mountain District, the first wholly new District in 30 years, to the Coordinating Council meeting where the development of the next Emerging Trends report was planned, to our Past Presidents breakfast discussion about the future direction of ITE, to our District, Section, and Chapter leadership session where ITE headquarters staff presented new ideas for better serving our volunteer leaders and members, the transformation taking place was both wide and deep. Driven by the ONE ITE initiative and the Institute Initiatives, ITE has positioned itself at the forefront of our industry.

Our exhibit hall was full of new innovations and ideas as members took advantage of this unique gathering of solution providers. Our new Industry Council made its presence known by sponsoring our Opening Plenary Session and through its engagement with the Pubic Agency and Consultants Councils as they identified opportunities to better educate members on new products and services in the marketplace.

The presence of our students and younger members was also strong. Our sixth LeadershipITE class graduated 21 new leaders, bringing the total LeadershipITE alumni to nearly 150. The University of Texas at Austin outpaced their competitors to win the ITE Collegiate Traffic Bowl Grand Championship. The University of Michigan won the second annual National Operations Center of Excellence Technology Tournament. And our first ITE STEM Activity Day brought in 40 students and their parents from the local Austin community to learn about careers in transportation.

If you were in Austin I’m sure you felt the energy and engagement present throughout the meeting. If you weren’t able to be there we hope to give you a glimpse of what it was like in this issue of ITE Journal and through the Best of #ITEAustin2019 professional development opportunities coming later this year. I can’t wait for New Orleans and #ITENOLA2020. If you have ideas on how we can make the ITE Annual Meeting and Exhibit even better email me at or connect with me on Twitter @JeffPaniatiITE.

This blog post is from the Director's Message in the September 2019 issue of ITE Journal