InTrans / Dec 28, 2018
InTrans 30th Anniversary event celebrates history, staff
The InTrans 30th Anniversary Celebration was a reminder to take a step back, look at the big picture, and recognize the work that made the organization what it is today.
During a short presentation, speakers noted how rare it is that those reflections occur.
“It’s a great opportunity to step back and really celebrate,” said David Sanders, Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering department chair. “There’s a lot that’s worth celebrating, the amazing accomplishments that have been done over the last 30 years.”
Aside from Sanders, the speakers included ISU’s Vice President for Research Sarah Nusser, Iowa Department of Transportation Director Mark Lowe, Iowa DOT Office of Operations Director Scott Marler, and InTrans leaders.
The event in mid-December celebrated the 30th anniversary of InTrans, from its start with a single grant, and the 35th anniversary of its Local Technical Assistance Program, which formed from similarly humble beginnings.
Nusser welcomed the group and acknowledged the “amazing growth path InTrans has taken (40% growth over the last 10 years) which has led to being the largest research center at Iowa State University.”
From its single grant, InTrans has now grown to $20 million in expenditures. LTAP began by offering fewer than a dozen workshops as part of its $100,000 federal grant to now being a large part of the 100-plus events that InTrans held in 2017.
InTrans Director Shauna Hallmark welcomed the more than 200 guests to the event and recognized the many partners there that have worked with InTrans and its 15 centers and programs over the years.
The celebration didn’t just recognize the organization but also honored the people who made it possible.
InTrans Associate Director Neal Hawkins remembered the “colleagues forever” who were integral parts of the organization before they passed away, and also thanked those current employees who have been here between 5 years and more than 30.
“I want to thank the staff and also the students of InTrans. Everybody at the Institute works really hard every day. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the hard work of our staff and also our students,” said Omar Smadi, director of InTrans’ Center for Transportation Research and Education.
There was also a special recognition for the InTrans employee with the longest tenure with the organization, Sharon Prochnow. She’s been at the university for 31 years and at InTrans for nearly all its existence.
“Twenty-seven years ago, she joined the InTrans team and has been a core member of our group since that time. She’s gone through the different incarnations of what became InTrans,” Smadi said. “We really appreciate all that you do, and congratulate you on 31 years of service.”
Iowa DOT Director Mark Lowe noted the importance of reflection but also looking ahead, using the metaphor of a woven blanket.
“Congratulate yourselves for 30 years of work well done on that tapestry, and look forward to another 30 years continuing to weave it,” Lowe said.
Hawkins thought of the future through a different lens.
“We’re celebrating this 30-year milestone tonight, but we’ll wake up tomorrow with an eye on getting better.”