The University of Tennessee, Knoxville


TTAP Newsletter: RoadTalk

From the Director

by Dave Clarke, P.E.

I guess itís a fact of getting older, but the time seems to pass faster and faster these days. Itís already deep into football season and the leaves are starting to turn here in East Tennessee. Fall 2012 seems like just a few days ago.

Iíd like to congratulate colleagues at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) who submitted a winning proposal for a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) funded University Transportation Center grant. The Southeastern Transportation Center (STC) will represent the states in USDOT Region 4, including Tennessee. The Centerís theme is ďComprehensive Transportation Safety,Ē and highway safety will be a key research focus area. TTAP will work with the center to support technology transfer and workforce development initiatives. Besides UTK, the STC consortium includes the University of Kentucky, the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, North Carolina A&T State University, Clemson University, the University of South Florida, the University of Central Florida, the University of Alabama, and the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

One other note, my best wishes go out to TTAP staff member Jonathan Watson, P.E., who moved on to new challenges at the end of August. Many of you have probably met Jonathan, as he did a lot of our field work across the state. Itís another mark of time passing, as Jonathan joined us as a new graduate, learned the TTAP ropes, and earned his P.E. Thatís taken a few years, and I and all the rest of the TTAP family wish Jonathan well. If you know of any talented engineers, we have a big hole to fill.

Weíre going to make a push over the next year to get out to visit as many city and county road agencies as time permits. With 95 counties and hundreds of towns, itís hard for us to get to know all the hard working people responsible for local roads in our lovely state. But, itís something I really hope to spend more time doing. If we can see firsthand what you all face, it will really help in both our workforce development and technology transfer focus areas. So, weíll see how much ground we can cover in the months to come. If thereís something on your mind, give us a call and weíll make it a priority to head your way.

Iíll conclude by relating an interesting talk I heard recently about project failures. The speaker defined a failed project as ďone that, when at its end, weíre sorry we ever started.Ē I got a big chuckle over that, but he was right. Of course, sometimes people donít want to admit theyíre sorry, and do their best to spin a tale of success, but deep down, they know. Anyway, may all your projects be truly successful.

Well, thatís about it for this issue. As always, if we can help, please donít hesitate to call or email. TTAP looks forward to assisting you. Be safe!