It is difficult to believe a year has passed, and this is my last message as your ITE International President. Time has no meaning during the COVID pandemic. March 2020 was simultaneously yesterday and a million years ago. Though this term isn’t exactly what I expected, I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve. I hope that I’ve had the opportunity to interact with each and every one of you, either through a virtual presentation or through an in-person speech.
Similarly, I’m grateful for the view into the inner workings of ITE. We are all fortunate to have a talented staff who not only contribute excellent technical content, but also keep all the cats herded. I know I drive them crazy with my procrastination, but I appreciate their professionalism and patience. Without the hours of volunteer work in the Committees, Task Forces, and Councils, ITE could not deliver the premier products and member support its reputation specifies.
Throughout this year, but particularly as I have been able to travel to Florida, Ohio, Missouri, and Texas in the last few months, I have been reminded of what makes ITE special. First, the ITE community—in both digital and philosophical form—is a reminder that we are not alone. When issuing a technical question, members from around the globe will respond. In the same vein, ITE leaders will share operational best practices and recommendations. For instance, geography and remote membership is an endemic concern. Not only have our members developed virtual programs to engage members within their Districts, but have also collaborated across District lines for enriched content.
Our members demonstrate a tireless passion for the transportation industry. At a recent Past Presidents’ meeting, one attendee remarked that since he was turning 90, it might be time to retire. In another forum, proposed changes to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices ignited ardent discourse. Further, ITE members are unselfishly willing to share information and experiences. Many meeting organizers discussed issuing a call for presentations at the last moment. However, based on the quality of the content, you would never realize it.
Perhaps most importantly, ITE is so much like a family. At each of the in-person meetings I’ve attended, friends and colleagues re-engaged with each other as if 2 years had not passed between their last encounters. The impromptu conversations had the same vigor, and the social events were just as enjoyable. Members will even graciously offer you a ride from Springfield to Kansas City, MO, USA when you need it.
Change is constant, so managing it while maintaining values shows internal character. As such, ITE has demonstrated resilience and integrity in the face of challenge. As I conclude my term, I issue a final challenge to all members: continue to evolve, and remember to reach out to others so they may appreciate the transportation profession camaraderie.
In her podcast The Happiness Lab, Yale University Professor Dr. Laurie Santos notes that humans often need a milestone in order to make a change. We experienced a big one
in 2020-2021, but we reach smaller ones every day: a newly reformed District or Section, a new year, a new month, an officer election, or a new meeting venue. Take those milestones as opportunities and continue to grow ITE.
This is the President's Message from the December issue of ITE Journal.