AASHTO presented special-recognition awards Sept. 27, during its annual meeting in Phoenix, to former U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary Victor Mendez and 10 other individuals, teams and programs for outstanding achievement in the field of transportation.
“Every year it is AASHTO’s privilege to recognize the extraordinary people, projects and programs that are making transportation safer and more reliable for everyone,” said AASHTO Executive Director Bud Wright.
“These honorees are truly remarkable innovators who demonstrate the kind of can-do spirit America will need to keep up with the transformational technologies emerging in transportation today,” Wright added.
AASHTO, along with the American Road & Transportation Builders Association and the Transportation Research Board, gave this year’s George S. Bartlett Award to Mendez. That award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to highway progress.
Mendez held the second-highest position at the U.S. Department of Transportation from July 2014 to January 2017, and earlier headed the Federal Highway Administration starting in 2009. He was director of the Arizona DOT from 2001 to 2009, and AASHTO’s 2006-2007 president. While FHWA administrator he approved the launch of its “Every Day Counts” initiative in cooperation with AASHTO to speed the delivery of highway projects and address challenges posed by limited budgets for infrastructure investment.
AASHTO presented John Njord, former Utah DOT executive director, with its Thomas H. MacDonald Award that recognizes a state transportation professional who has rendered continuous outstanding service over an extended period or has made an exceptional contribution to the art and science of highway engineering.
Under Njord’s leadership, AASHTO said, UDOT became nationally recognized as one of the nation’s most innovative and best-run state DOTs. He also worked with the Salt Lake Olympic Committee as director of transportation planning for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
AASHTO said it presented Susan Shaw of the Virginia DOT with the Alfred E. Johnson Achievement Award for outstanding contribution in the field of highway engineering or management. Since joining VDOT in 1997, it said, Shaw has been leading projects that depend on innovation and collaboration, and as director of VDOT’s Megaprojects Office in northern Virginia, Shaw oversees projects worth more than $3 billion.
The Utah DOT’s “Moab Peer-to-Peer Adaptive Signal Control System” received the Francis B. Francois Award for Innovation, AASHTO said. UDOT signal engineers developed that traffic control system using the latest technology, it said, to allow for the most efficient signal timing in the heavily congested center of Moab – a city located near the Arches National Park that sees more than 450,000 visitors annually.
In addition, AASHTO announced the following winners of its annual “President’s Transportation Awards,” by category:
-Administration: Missouri DOT, the Citizen’s Guide to Transportation Funding Project Team.
-Administration: Michigan DOT, the For-Hire Passenger Transportation Project Team.
-Environment: Michigan DOT, the Interstate 75 Corridor Conservation Plan Core Team.
-Highways: Michigan DOT, Jack Rick, the University Region design squad and the I-96/US-23 Interchange Reconstruction Project Team.
-Highway Traffic Safety: Idaho Transportation Department, the US 20 Thornton Interchange Saves Lives Project.
-Performance Excellence: Pennsylvania DOT, the Highly Automated Vehicle (H-A-V) Senior Leadership Team.
-Public Transportation: Michigan DOT, Jonathan Loree, manager for the M-1 Rail (Q Line) Street Car Project.