The stately board room in the Texas Department of Transportation’s historic Dewitt Greer Building in Austin was an apt setting for the induction ceremony of three transportation visionaries into the Texas Transportation Hall of Honor on September 25. The class of 2007 includes J.C. Dingwall, Ernest E. Howard and Marcus L. Yancey, Jr.
Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) Director Dennis Christiansen presided over the event, which included reflections from family members and transportation colleagues.
Among the notable career achievements of Ernst Howard was being called upon by the governor in 1914 to design the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin. In his remarks, Howard Needles Tammen & Bergendoff (HNTB) Vice President Richard Ridings noted Howard’s extraordinary vision in “designing a bridge that was originally intended for carriages and Model T’s, but was so well built the original foundation was used when the bridge was refurbished in the 1980s.”
Former TxDOT State Highway Engineer J.C. Dingwall directed the construction of the Gulf Freeway, the first urban expressway built in Texas. Under Dingwall, the Department employed 20,500 people as it pushed to complete the interstate highway system. Don Dingwall, son of J.C. Dingwall, accepted the award on behalf of the Dingwall family. “I am grateful and humbled to know that my father’s contributions are being recognized, as the Texas Highway Department was his passion,” said Dingwall.
Marcus Yancey joined the Texas Highway Department in 1957, where he worked until his retirement in 1993. He was twice appointed as chairman of the State Agency Coordinating Council, and he was twice elected to the board of the State Employees Retirement System. In his acceptance speech, Yancey said that “the joy of my career was my participation in the creation of our roadway system and the close network of friends that continues today.”
Other speakers included TxDOT Interim Executive Director Steve Simmons, Executive Vice President of the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America Tom Johnson, Chairman of the Board of Williams Brothers Construction James Pitcock and Former Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration Ray Barnhart.
After the ceremony, AGC hosted a luncheon that included speakers David Laney, former chair of the Texas Transportation Commission, and Arnold Oliver, former executive director of TxDOT.
The Texas Transportation Hall of Honor, established in 2000 by TTI, was set up to recognize in a formal and permanent manner those visionary leaders who have helped to provide Texas with an outstanding transportation system.
The Hall of Honor is located in the main conference room in TTI’s Gibb Gilchrist Building at the Texas A&M Research Park in College Station. Each individual inductee is recognized by a plaque on permanent display.