All Member Forum

ITE Professional Development – We Share

By Mr. Ransford McCourt P.E., PTOE posted 10-01-2020 02:25 PM


Professional development (noun): the process of obtaining skills, qualifications, and experience that allow you to make progress in your career, including reviewing case studies,

consultation, coaching, mentoring and technical assistance.

It’s October 2, 1930, and ITE was just formed. Fast forward to October 8, 1976, when I joined ITE. It’s now October 2020, and ITE is celebrating 90 years of serving its members and the transportation profession. One thing that has not changed in 90 years is ITE’s commitment to the career advancement of each of its members through professional development.

I can personally speak to my experience that spans nearly half of ITE’s existence. From the day Dr. Robert Layton introduced me to ITE at Oregon State to today, ITE was a central aspect of my professional development. It took on various forms as my career evolved. When I received my master’s degree from UC-Berkeley, ITE was a resource for finding a job and building a network. In those days, the professional directory was the source of employers that I reached out to for interviews. Today when I meet with students, I commonly hear, “I got my first job by coming to ITE meetings.” Things haven’t changed much.

As a young professional, I quickly learned I needed technical training and a greater understanding of project development. ITE has a Career Center, Learning Hub, LeadershipITE, ITE Talks Transportation Podcast, Councils, Committees, meetings presentations, certifications, PDH record keeping, and awards to help you explore your passion in transportation in various ways, and has adapted them to fit in with today’s virtual world. I was able to grow my knowledge of trip and parking generation, the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, traffic calming, speed management, and traffic signals through handbooks, seminars, presentations and, most importantly, technical committee participation. These groups provided a non-work space to explore issues (like parking generation, neighborhood traffic management, or this year, the use of big data during the pandemic and western fires). These topics were changing, but not commonly scoped on projects I was working on. Professional development allowed me to build competence
and knowledge that I could later incorporate into projects. 

As my career needs progressed, my experience with ITE leadership provided a safe harbor for learning as a committee chair and officer. I was able to quickly identify emerging topics and work in teams and serve on committees. Opportunities to present and share technical topics in a less risky setting allowed me to learn how to present effectively to communities, clients, and staff.

For employers, professional development helps build and maintain staff morale and can be used to attract higher quality talent to an organization. It fulfills an interest in lifelong learning and a sense of moral obligation to maintain and improve professional competence, keep abreast of new technology and practices, and comply with professional regulatory requirements.

ITE helps us shape our community in changing times. In the next 10 years we will see more change in transportation funding, technology, and innovation than in the 90 before. Taking advantage of ITE’s professional development offerings will help you keep apace with these changes. I know this because my career trajectory was guided and mentored through 40 years of change with ITE and its devotion to me as a professional.

This is the President's Message from the October 2020 issue of ITE Journal.