SWUTC Director Dock Burke Retires
After a 45-year career with TTI, Senior Research Scientist Dock Burke retired Aug. 31, 2013. Since 1988, Burke has served as director of a consortium of universities known as the Southwest Region University Transportation Center (SWUTC).
During his career, Burke served as principal or co-principal investigator on 55 individual research projects; authored or co-authored 88 technical reports, papers and articles; and conveyed research findings in 65 presentations. Much of this work has been directly for an agency or entity of the people of Texas and has involved the application of transportation economic analysis or transportation policy assessment.
In 2003, Burke was named a Regents Fellow by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents. In remarks posted on Burke’s retirement website, TTI Director Emeritus Herb Richardson noted, “Your most important legacy is your 25-year service as director of the SWUTC. You earned the respect and admiration of all involved. As a result, other centers looked to SWUTC as a model as they developed their own strategies and operational approaches.”
TTI Hosts Infrastructure Maintenance Symposium
TTI recently hosted DBi Services’ Ninth Annual Infrastructure Maintenance Symposium Aug. 27–28. The symposium showcased the latest developments and technologies in the fields of infrastructure maintenance, operations and management.
Participants spent an afternoon on field-inspection activities, which included evaluation of high-friction surfacing applications, high-speed braking demonstrations and vegetation management trial plots. At the end of the field trip, there was a demonstration showing the latest in attenuator safety technology through a live crash test performed on a SMART Cushion.
“Hosting the Infrastructure Maintenance Symposium at TTI provided many new and unique opportunities to demonstrate the latest technologies and innovations in the industry,” says TTI Senior Research Engineer Paul Carlson. “We were excited to host the event and showcase TTI‘s research facilities.”
Headquartered in Hazleton, Pa., DBi Services is a global provider of infrastructure maintenance, operations and management solutions for government transportation agencies, railways, utilities, industrial sites, private industries and retailers.
Briaud Presents Louis Menard Lecture in Paris, France
Jean-Louis Briaud, TTI‘s Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Program manager, presented the prestigious Louis Menard Lecture in Paris, France, Sept. 2. The annual lecture is part of the International Conference of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering and is named for the inventor of the pressuremeter, which allows engineers to design stable foundations based on actual soil conditions. Menard was at the height of his career when he died from cancer in 1978 at the age of 45.
In 1992, Briaud wrote a book, titled The Pressuremeter, about Menard’s invention, which was the topic of Briaud’s lecture before 2,300 geotechnical engineers from around the world.
“It was certainly an honor to be selected to present the Menard Lecture, in part because I was such a fan of his,” Briaud says.
Tooley Named ARTBA Vice Chairman at Large
Melissa Tooley, director of external initiatives at TTI, has been elected vice chairman at large for the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). Results of the nominating process were announced during ARTBA‘s National Convention in Milwaukee, Wis., Sept. 8–10. Tooley’s election represents the first time a TTI employee has been elected to ARTBA‘s executive committee.
“This is a significant position in a very powerful national organization,” states TTI Agency Director Dennis Christiansen.
Established in 1902, ARTBA is the nation’s oldest and largest transportation association whose mission is to “aggressively grow and protect transportation infrastructure investment to meet the public and business demand for safe and efficient travel.”
“This is a huge honor and responsibility,” Tooley notes. “ARTBA is known worldwide for its visionary leadership, and I look forward to the coming year.”
Based in Washington, D.C., ARTBA consists of 5,000 public- and private-sector members and is actively involved in all transportation-related issues. The executive committee consists of 15 transportation professionals from around the country, each of whom serves a one-year term. Six of the individuals, including Tooley, were elected to at-large positions and will help determine ARTBA‘s stance on issues impacting the association.
Young Professionals in Transportation Leading the Charge in Houston
This past year, young professionals from TTI and other local groups founded the Young Professionals in Transportation (YPT) chapter in the Greater Houston area. Initially begun in Washington, D.C., YPT helps develop the next generation of transportation professionals via regular leadership seminars, networking happy hours and business meetings. There are now over 5,000 members in 18 chapters around the United States. The Houston chapter currently has 130 members and holds monthly events on topics ranging from natural gas infrastructure to sustainable transportation initiatives.
“What sets us apart from the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers and other transportation professional organizations is our focus on bringing young transportation engineers, planners and public policy professionals together to talk about transportation as a holistic problem,” notes YPT Houston Acting Chair and TTI Assistant Research Scientist Nick Norboge.
87th Annual Transportation Short Course Highlights TTI–TxDOT Partnership
Every element of Texas transportation was discussed during the 87th Annual Transportation Short Course as nearly 2,000 transportation professionals gathered on the Texas A&M University campus Oct. 15–16. The Short Course is the annual gathering of Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) employees in a two-day forum co-hosted by TTI.
“The Short Course is an important and visible indication of the success of our partnership,” TTI Agency Director Dennis Christiansen told the crowd during the opening session. “This partnership — now more than 60 years old — remains a model for the rest of the country and has led to innumerable advances and innovations, not only for TxDOT, but implemented throughout the United States and around the world.”
“Safety is our first and top priority,” TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson told attendees, announcing that over the last year, TxDOT achieved the fewest-ever employee injuries in the department’s history.