ITE honors TTI with awards, positions
After 18 years as a member of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), Gary Thomas, director of the Center for Professional Development and Fellow of ITE, has been elected to the ITE Board of Directors, representing the Texas District (TexITE). Thomas joins 15 other board members who will help set policy and “chart a path for ITE and its many programs and activities.”
Thomas’ three-year term begins January 1, 2009. He began his affiliation with ITE as a student chapter president while attending Arizona State University. He’s held numerous positions with the organization, including chair of the Education Council, officer of the Arizona and Missouri Valley Sections, faculty advisor at Iowa State University, and student chapter liaison and
During TexITE’s summer meeting in San Antonio, Assistant Research Engineer Marcus Brewer was named the TexITE Younger Member of the Year. The award recognizes an individual member (35 years old or younger) for leadership, commitment to excellence, and activism within TexITE and other professional groups.
Also during the summer meeting, Graduate Student Jon Re received the Outstanding Student Paper Award in the Texas District and was named the Outstanding Student by the Texas A&M University student chapter. In addition, the ITE student chapter at Texas A&M was named the Outstanding Chapter of the Year in the Texas District.
High Five Video, TDS earn Tellys for TTI Communications
The High Five construction project video and the Teens in the Driver Seat (TDS) public service announcement (PSA) campaign have been awarded prestigious Telly Awards. Tellys are the most coveted recognition in video production. TTI Communications’ video group, headed by Coordinator of Electronic Media David Dennis, produced the segments.
“The Dallas High Five—Engineering Marvel/Transportation Masterpiece” is a 16-minute video chronicling the five-year Dallas High Five construction project from groundbreaking to completion. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) uses the video to show how a major road project can be completed ahead of schedule and on budget.
screen capture from TDS public service announcement
The TDS PSA campaign consists of two 30-second videos describing the dangers associated with teen driving. The PSAs were produced in both English and Spanish and are aired on Texas Association of Broadcasters-affiliated stations across the state. You can view the PSAs by visiting t-driver.com, clicking on the TV screen icon on the top right of the page and browsing through the videos.
The High Five construction project and Teens in the Driver Seat are both TxDOT-sponsored initiatives,” says Communications Director Richard Cole. “Both of these projects were very much cooperative efforts on the part of Texas Transportation Institute and TxDOT. We couldn’t ask for a better sponsor than the department.”
Drive Clean Across Texas campaign recognized by EPA
A partnership between the Texas Department of Transportation and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Drive Clean Across Texas (DCAT) campaign has been honored with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Air Excellence Award in the education/outreach category. The public education aspect of the campaign is managed by TTI.
DCAT is the nation’s first statewide public outreach and education campaign designed to motivate drivers to take steps to reduce their personal vehicle emissions.
The EPA’s Clean Air Excellence Awards Program, established at the recommendation of the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee, annually recognizes and honors outstanding, innovative efforts that help to make progress in achieving cleaner air.
Employees responsible for TTI’s role in the DCAT campaign are Brian Bochner, Kelly West, Michelle Hoelscher and Laura Higgins.
Texas landscape highlighted in Schutt retirement party
TTI Director Dennis Christiansen presents a retirement clock to Jim Schutt. Schutt retired after 20 years with TTI.
Crediting him with making Texas roadsides look good, friends and colleagues within TTI and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) honored Assistant Research Scientist Jim Schutt after 20 years with the Institute. During the reception, a slide show demonstrated the importance of Schutt’s work over the years.
“The roadsides of Texas would not look the same if it weren’t for Jim Schutt,” said Beverly Storey, TTI Environmental Management Program manager and a coworker of Jim’s. “You’ve made us all look good, and we appreciate that.”
Schutt’s retirement party included humorous stories from the people who worked with him for two decades. Agency Director Dennis Christiansen presented Schutt with a clock, saying, “The contributions from Jim Schutt have been significant. This is a bittersweet occasion for us.”
“All of a sudden, you turn around and 20 years have gone by,” Schutt told the crowd. “I wouldn’t have traded a day of it. I worked with a great group of people. Thanks for everything.” Schutt officially retired from TTI in June.
Successful interactive certification program runs its course
TTI Communications’ most successful interactive course has been retired by its sponsor, the International Right of Way Association (IRWA), as it adapts its curriculum to a changing work force.
Since the course’s delivery in October 2000, IRWA has distributed more than 800 sets to right-of-way agents worldwide. The course taught right-of-way agents the nuts and bolts of right-of-way acquisition, with a focus on effective research strategies and successful negotiations with property owners.
“In many ways this has been the flagship interactive educational product for TTI Communications,” says Communications Director Richard Cole, who co-designed the architecture and programmed much of the course’s interactivity.
The CD-ROM course featured video-based property negotiations, QuickTime virtual reality property walkabouts, land-plotting and description-testing mechanisms, and a web-based certification procedure. Original course materials were adapted to create the interactive manual contained on a second CD-ROM.
“When this course was completed and for the next several years, it was a key education initiative that allowed students the opportunity to obtain right-of-way education at their own pace,” explains David W. Sinclair, vice president for Wilbanks Resources Corporation. Sinclair served as IRWA’s technical expert during project development. “I’ll always appreciate the creativity and professionalism exhibited by the TTI team when the course was created.”
Childers becomes assistant agency director
The former deputy city manager for the City of College Station, Terry L. Childers, accepted the position of assistant agency director for Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) effective May 19. Terry Childers joins the Institute with a distinguished career in municipal government and private-sector management.
“Terry brings a unique set of skills and experiences that will provide TTI with strategic, objective insight into many of the challenges faced by all levels of government,” says Associate Agency Director Bill Stockton. “Furthermore, Terry has a long history of innovative organizational development that will benefit our professional development and research development goals.”
Childers received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Abilene Christian University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of North Texas. He held city management positions in Austin, Tyler and Oklahoma City before starting his own business and serving as its president for seven years. He accepted the position of deputy city manager of College Station in 2006.
According to Agency Director Dennis Christiansen, “TTI needs to be devoting more time and effort to strategic initiatives—sorting out where we want to be in three to five years and how we are going to get there. Terry brings an outstanding set of skills to help move us forward.”
Childers is a long-term board member for Abilene Christian University and is currently serving on the board of directors for the Brazos Food Bank and Bryan College Station Family Promise.