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I have had a lot of dreams in my life. Many of them have been within my engineering profession, but it all started with sports. My mother always encouraged me to do the “pretty” things like baton and ballet and modeling. But I never seemed to fit into that little box – I struggled with being graceful and preferred my hair in a ponytail and out of my face. Luckily, I found a local sports league and found my “home”. I was only in first grade and wanted to play softball, but the league didn’t have softball for young girls at that time. So I played baseball with the boys. At school and home, I was super shy. Being on a boys’ team scared me ...
I am lucky to be a transportation engineer because it has made me appreciate all that happens in our world behind the scenes. It is not uncommon to hear something similar to the following when I explain my work: “Wow, I didn’t even know that was a job.” While this response may have stung at first, I’ve grown to wear it as a badge of pride. Few other professions have the wide-ranging impact that we do. Think of this morning. How did you get to work or school? How did you get the groceries that comprised your breakfast? How did the clothes you are wearing make it into your closet? How are you planning to run your errands this evening? We all depend on transportation ...
On this National Engineers Week, we should reflect on how Engineering has shaped humanity's past and is shaping humanity's present and future. Engineering is derived from the Latin words "ingenium" meaning "cleverness" and "ingeniare" meaning "to devise". Engineering is essentially a clever way to solve problems. Engineering as a discipline has existed since the dawn of civilization and will exist for eternity. Throughout history, the knowledge of engineering has been responsible for some of the most impressive human achievements. Egyptians used their engineering knowledge to build the pyramids, the Greeks built aqueducts or bridges, and the Romans ...
This year’s National Engineers Week will be the 27 th that I have experienced since beginning my professional career as a transportation engineer. However, the start of my journey to becoming an engineer began many years earlier than my first paycheck. As a child growing up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, I was fascinated with the traffic signals, signs, and markings that I would see as I traveled through the city with my parents. During the many road trips that I took, I marveled at the highways that allowed us to travel to the ocean, drive through the mountains, and to visit that famous mouse in Florida. I spent years using crayons, markers, and ...
I remember when I was growing up, people asked “What do you want to do?” At the time, I did not truly know. What I did know was I was good at math and science and loved playing with Legos. I loved understanding how things worked (lost a few good toys this way), and I knew my thought process was different than others. My parents suggested something in STEM, so I had chosen to take drafting and design, and Introduction to Engineering. Between the two classes, I found myself loving the drafting aspects of engineering and the need to think outside the box to achieve the objective set by the teachers. My fondest memories were drafting a 2-foot-long crank shaft by ...
It’s easy to look at this from an altruistic perspective – transportation planners and engineers have an important role in our everyday life. The provision of transportation – moving people and goods – is essential to our ability to work and live. But beyond the social impacts and opportunities that exist, I’ve enjoyed being a transportation engineer because of the great diversity of projects and programs. Throughout my 35+ year career I’ve had the pleasure of doing some diverse things: · Designing controls and displays on cars. · Developing an ITS program for a State DOT. · Launching a travel information ...
Early-on in my career in the transportation field, I met a few professionals who believed that transportation planning and engineering could be done “cookbook style.” Follow the formulas, lean heavily on prior experience, and in general, do all of this without a lot of input from other sources. It didn’t take me long to discover that this approach was riddled with potential problems. Thankfully, we as a profession have evolved significantly over the past few decades, and we recognize that through public engagement, thoughtful planning strategies, and context-sensitive engineering, we have an opportunity to help communities more properly envision future growth ...
I hope that you are doing well as we celebrate February and Heart Month to encourage heart-healthy lifestyles. Back in December, I viewed an excellent ITE webinar, “Safe System Approach: Working Across Disciplines to Improve Safety and Health Equity Outcomes.” The perspectives by Tiffany Smith from the Vision Zero Network, Dr. David Ederer (M) from the CDC, Meghan Mitman (M) of Fehr & Peers, and moderator, Kelly Rodgers (M) of Streetsmart Planning LLC resonated deeply, particularly Dr. Ederer’s insightful comments about the pivotal role of transportation professionals in impacting public health through the built environment. As transportation engineers and ...
I hope this message finds you well and in high spirits from the festive season. As we step into 2024, I’m honored to serve as International President of ITE—A Community of Transportation Professionals. I deeply appreciate the dedication and expertise each member brings to our vibrant community, transforming ITE into a powerful force for positive change in transportation. With more than 18,000 members, we stand as a dynamic force, and together, we can achieve even greater heights. My gratitude extends to the International Board of Direction and the dedicated ITE staff for their support. Allow me to share a bit about my background. My fascination with transportation ...
Happy New Year and welcome to 2024! Another January is in front of us; the opportunity to come back from the holidays recharged, take on new and exciting projects, and of course make some New Year’s Resolutions. For many of us, those resolutions often include taking better care of our health, making a concerted effort to reduce procrastination, and maybe even trying to improve your work-life balance. As I begin my first full year as Executive Director, one of my resolutions is to jump right in to implementing some of the elements of our new Strategic Plan (highlighted in our November ITEJ issue). That includes a continued emphasis on supporting and engaging ...
As we race toward the conclusion of 2023, I can’t help but look back at the past 12 months with a sense of awe. ITE members helped stage a number of fantastic meetings, cranked out a record number of publications, our membership is at its highest level ever, young professional and student engagements are on fire, we’ve had almost 40 highly attended webinars, our transportation planners are getting involved—the list goes on and on. It’s been an amazing year! Just 1 month into my new role as Executive Director, I have already been asked several times what excites me about the new role. And my answer has been easy—interacting with members! We have a great diversity ...
It is hard to believe a year has passed, and this is my last message as your ITE International President. It’s been a great experience serving you in this significant way. I was fortunate to travel to each of the Districts in the United Staes and Canada. It was fascinating to learn more about how the cities and states are incorporating projects to enhance safety for all users, learning from their history and culture as well. I enjoyed engaging with our members at all the District meetings and participating in social events that make each District unique. The highlight of it all has been the engagement with our younger members. Along with members of the ...
To say I’m excited to begin my journey as ITE’s next Executive Director would be an understatement. The opportunity to lead this storied institution after having been a member for so many years has me chomping at the bit, ready to come out of the gate at full speed. I look forward to meeting many of you in the coming weeks, months, and years—and making sure your expectations and vision for ITE are being met. I’m fortunate to be entering this race with a new ITE Strategic Plan being released (see article on page 40). And I would be remiss if I didn’t start my tenure as Executive Director without first thanking the previous holder of this title—Jeff Paniati, ...
The ITE Board of Direction approved a draft of the ITE Strategic Plan for 2024-2026 during the August Board Meeting in Portland, OR, USA, and the final version during the October Board Meeting in Washington, DC, USA. I would like to thank ITE Past President Alyssa Rodriguez, P.E, PTOE (F) for leading the Steering Committee on this important effort and the many ITE leaders and ITE staff that were part of the Committee. The Committee started by evaluating ITE’s Mission, Vision, and Value Statements which provide a clear direction of ITE’s future goals and direction. The Mission statement was shortened, and Equity was added to the Value Statement of Diversity ...
This is my final column as ITE Executive Director and CEO. I want to start by congratulating Steve Kuciemba (F) on his selection as the next ITE Executive Director and CEO. I have known Steve for many years. He brings great energy, skills, and relationships to the position. In closing out my time, I wanted to try to sum up some of the key accomplishments of the 8 eight years and share a few parting thoughts. When I came to ITE in 2015, I was the first new Executive Director and CEO in more than 30 years. ITE has a long and proud history of making key contributions to the quality of the transportation system. Our leaders and members have helped grow our profession ...
With more than 1,600 attendees, 80+ vendors/exhibitors, more than 130 students, 500+ first time attendees, the most technical tours ever, and the largest Leadership ITE alumni group, the energy and enthusiasm of the Joint ITE International and Western District Annual Meeting in Portland, OR, USA last month were contagious. I want to extend a wholehearted thank you to the Western District for partnering with us to put together a great conference. Thanks for organizing a student track filled with career guidance, networking, and fun. Also, thanks for the great technical tours, including Multnomah Falls, which I was able to participate in. During the Monday ...
This is my next to last Executive Director column, and I want to use it to thank those that have provided me with so much support and guidance over the past 8 years. First, I want to acknowledge the important role that John Kennedy, P.E. (H) played in bringing me to ITE. John was ITE International President and head of the search committee for the first new ITE Executive Director and CEO in more than three decades. John strongly encouraged me to consider applying for the position. I am so glad that I did. Over the next 8 years, I have been privileged to work with ITE International Presidents—Paula Flores (F), Shawn Leight, P.E., PTOE, PTP (F), Michael Sanderson, ...
Active transportation means walking, bicycle, or using devices such as scooters, segways, and even wheelchairs to go from home to work, school, groceries shopping, restaurants, healthcare, and other destinations. But for people to walk and bike safely from origin to destination, they need a safe infrastructure to do so. Providing an infrastructure of connected sidewalks, overpasses, bike paths, and trails will not only provide a safer and efficient way for people to commute, but would also create healthier communities. Having an active transportation infrastructure will enable people to improve their quality of life, but most importantly it allows transportation ...
One of the keys to success in life is continuous improvement—finding a way to keep getting a little better every day. Sometimes, improvement plateaus for a bit, or you might even have to take a step sideways or backwards to go forward again, but viewed with a little distance and perspective, you should see a continuous upward trajectory. The same is true for ITE. Over the past 8 years, ITE has sought ways to continually get better. Some improvements might take longer than others or are behind the scenes, while others are more significant and widely evident. It is with this philosophy in mind that we approached the results from our recent All-Member Survey. ...
This month we will be having the ITE Annual Meeting and Exhibition jointly with the Western District in Portland, OR, USA, August 13-16. This year’s theme is Connecting People and Communities. Transportation professionals play an important role in creating a transportation network that connects people to their communities and provides quality and safe options for all users to access economic and social opportunities, essential services, and recreational facilities for health benefits. ITE, as a Community of Transportation Professionals, can help provide those options in a meaningful way through thoughtful context sensitive planning and designs, establishing partnerships, ...