Making a Difference

By Mr. Jeffrey Paniati P.E posted 16 days ago

One of the great things about being part of ITE are the opportunities we have to make a difference in the lives of young people. This happens in many different ways at all levels of the organization. Providing career advice, getting them engaged in ITE, or sharing positive feedback on a project or presentation can go a long way in helping a younger professional find the right path to a career in transportation and to grow in that career and with ITE.

This engagement was certainly evident at our most recent ITE Annual Meeting and Exhibit. From high school student Peter Yu joining us on the program for the second year, to our Traffic Bowl Grand Championship and National Operations Center of Excellence Technology Tournament, to our graduating LeadershipITE class, to our GenX panel, to our STEM Activity Day, our meeting was filled with opportunities for students and young professionals. This is just the tip of the iceberg as our Districts, Sections, and Chapters engage with their local ITE student chapters, fund scholarships, provide mentoring, and carry out STEM programs in their communities. Our student and younger member engagement is something that ITE is known for and can be proud of.

In 2017 the ITE International Board of Direction established the ITE Legacy Fund to help expand our efforts and to provide a vehicle for ITE members to provide financial support, big and small. Over the last three years, with your generous support we have touched the lives of hundreds of young people. The ITE Legacy Fund has provided seed money for Student Leadership Summits, supported LeadershipITE scholarships, funded the creation of the Matson and Hammond Mentoring Program, supported ITE’s STEM efforts and, most recently, supported the initiation of the new Diversity Scholars Program. 

I hope you took the time to read the stories of Jouselyn Lopez and Sebastian Velazquez in last month’s ITE Journal. These first two ITE Diversity Scholars have overcome significant hardships to be in the position to go to college and pursue a career in transportation. ITE is clearly making a difference in their lives through the financial and personal support that will be provided through the Diversity Scholars Program.

This month we begin our annual dues renewal. With your dues renewal invoice you will find more information on the Legacy Program and you will have an opportunity to donate to the Legacy Fund. I hope you will consider doing so. Donations of any size are appreciated. Even small amounts of money, when pooled from across the ITE membership, can allow us to do amazing things. Thanks to all of those who have contributed in the past and to those who will do so this year.

If you are fortunate enough to have an employer who pays your membership dues, I encourage you to consider making your own donation to the ITE Legacy Fund. You can find information on how to do so at All donations are tax deductible, and the money goes directly to supporting students and younger members.

Thank you to all who contribute in so many different ways to ITE’s efforts to support the next generation of transportation professionals and ITE members. You are making a difference. If you want to share an idea about more ways to help young people, reach out to me at or on Twitter @JeffPaniatiITE. 

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