On June 15, I had the privilege of hosting my bosses from The Texas A&M University System, other dignitaries from around the state, and more than 200 TTI employees as we kicked off construction on the new TTI Headquarters Building.
Located at The Texas A&M University System’s new RELLIS Campus, our headquarters and other facilities will house all the Institute’s employees in College Station, Texas, on one campus for the first time in decades.
Where a person works — the location of an office — may not matter to some. But sometimes physical walls (or physical distance) can, indirectly, discourage collaboration. These days, the walls don’t even have to be real. We live much of our lives in a virtual world, where it’s more likely you’ll email or text someone (even if they’re just a few feet away in another office) than actually talk to them. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer walking down the hall and speaking personally with my colleagues. Once we’ve moved into our new TTI HQ at RELLIS, making that personal connection will be a whole lot easier. I have no doubt that camaraderie will grow and teamwork will flourish. Better, more innovative research solutions can’t help but be the result, right?
And it’s not just the headquarters building that will make that happen. Most of TTI’s other major research facilities — from our certified Roadside Safety Proving Ground to our award-winning Sediment and Erosion Control Laboratory to our new infrastructure laboratories in the Center for Infrastructure Renewal (CIR) — are also housed at RELLIS, just a short bike ride or vigorous stroll away from HQ. Even CIR itself is a symbol of synergy across Texas A&M agencies since TTI and the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station co-manage the facility. The collaborative possibilities are endless.
Like most great ideas, A&M System Chancellor John Sharp’s vision for RELLIS is really very simple: the campus will act as a proving ground (pun intended) for creating new partnering opportunities between the Texas A&M System and other academic institutions, government and industry. TTI’s role in making that happen will involve — as it always has — evaluating advanced transportation technologies, pioneering first-of-their-kind research methods, and providing professional development opportunities for students and practitioners.
Working more closely together at RELLIS, the folks at TTI will continue discovering smarter solutions for our sponsors and improving safety, mobility and travel reliability for the public. Sometimes we call those folks “the people of our nation” or “our fellow Texans,” but really, they’re just you and me — just folks trying to get from one place to another and get there safely. The fact is, we’re all headed toward the same future. And now, at RELLIS, the TTI family will have one headquarters to call home, where we’ll be doing the best work we’ve ever done, together, for the benefit of all.