Marking the end of era, WTI’s two most senior leaders retired this month. We bid a fond farewell to our Executive Director Steve Albert and our Assistant Director for Administration and Finance, Jeralyn Brodowy.
On July 17, Montana State University College of Engineering Dean Brett Gunnink hosted a retirement reception for Steve Albert, which was well attended by WTI staff, past and present. Special guests included retired MSU Civil Engineering professors Joe Armijo, a WTI founder, and Ralph Zimmer. Former WTI staff who surprised Steve for the occasion included Kate (Heidkamp) Laughery, Eli Cuelho, and Carol Diffendaffer.
Steve retires after leading WTI for 23 years, transforming a tiny organization with only two staff people and two engineers into a large, nationally and internationally recognized transportation institute, with a multi-million dollar research portfolio. He will always be highly regarded not only for his leadership at WTI, but also for his contributions to the fields of rural transportation and advanced transportation technologies.
WTI gathered for Jeralyn’s retirement party on July 3, honoring her 20 years of service to our organization. After starting as Business Manager in 1999, she quickly advanced to the position of Assistant Director. She has not only been instrumental in the long-term growth of WTI, she has also served as a mentor to other research centers around the country through her leadership in the Council of University Transportation Centers.
Both Steve and Jeralyn will be greatly missed at WTI, but we wish them all the best as they embark on the next chapters of their lives!
Congratulations to Jeralyn Brodowy, WTI’s Director of Administration and Finance, who was selected by the MSU Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering (NACOE) for the 2019 Professional Employee Award for Excellence. A 20-year veteran of WTI, Jeralyn has been instrumental in the long-term growth of WTI’s research portfolio, facilities, and staff. The award honored her administrative leadership within WTI, her mentorship of staff, and her service to the university at large and to national organizations like the Council of University Transportation Centers. Many WTI staff members attended the Awards Luncheon on April 30 to cheer her on as she received the award from NACOE Dean, Brett Gunnink.
When the Citizen Times in North Carolina wants to know about wildlife crossings, its reporters call on WTI Road Ecologist Marcel Huijser. Columnist Bill McGoun interviewed Marcel about the installation costs of wildlife crossings and fencing for an opinion piece last week, entitled “In rural WNC, human must progress in harmony with wildlife.” As part of an ongoing series in the Times about wildlife corridors, Marcel’s expertise has already been included in three articles since the start of 2019! Read about the previous articles on the WTI News page.
The October issue of Current Biology will feature an article entitled “Roads threaten Asiatic cheetahs in Iran,” about the impacts of wildlife vehicle collisions on the endangered species (there are fewer than 50 free roaming cheetahs in the country). The authors reached out to WTI Research Ecologist Marcel Huijser to provide input and assistance on the road ecology components, and they recently contacted WTI to acknowledge Marcel’s “invaluable comments.” The final article is available online.
Congratulations to the WTI staff members who were recognized last week for their years of service to Montana State University. Many of them were able to attend the Milestones in Service ceremony on October 2, during which they received congratulations and service awards from MSU President Waded Cruzado. Thanks to all of you for your (combined) 75 years of dedication and contributions to WTI and MSU!
Graduate students who are interested in the emerging field of traffic safety culture are finding intriguing research opportunities at the Center for Health and Safety Culture (CHSC). Recently, Jubaer Ahmed joined CHSC as a Graduate Student Research Assistant, where he is helping with a project to understand driver beliefs regarding impaired driving for the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission. With his advisor (and CHSC Director) Nic Ward, Jubaer is also developing a dissertation topic on the relationship between emotional intelligence and traffic safety culture.
Currently working toward a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering, Jubaer holds a Master’s Degree in Logistics, Trade, and Transportation from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. He previously worked for Chevron in Bangladesh as a Health and Safety Specialist, which inspired his interest in safety research that will protect people from serious injuries and fatalities.
Jubaer has a packed schedule with his research at CHSC, his position as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, and his Ph.D. studies. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking and exploring the national parks with his wife and three children. After seeing snow for the first time last winter, he hopes to add skiing to his future activities!
When WTI hires and mentors great students, it is a win-win for the organization and for aspiring young professionals. WTI’s two most recent hires both started as part-time student employees while pursuing their undergraduate degrees at Montana State University.
Kelley Hall has been part of the WTI family since 2014. She started as a Student Administrative Assistant, staffing the front desk and helping out in the Business Office. She progressively added more responsibilities, including assistance on various projects. After graduating from MSU with a B.A. in Political Science, she joined WTI as a Research Assistant. She currently serves as a Project Assistant in the Road Ecology program, focusing on the Wildlife-Vehicle Collision Data Coordination project for the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In addition, she serves as a Research Associate for the Center for Health and Safety Culture (CHSC), managing technology transfer activities and providing support to several projects on traffic safety culture, seat belt use, and underage drinking.
A native of Sheridan, Wyoming, Kelley moved to Bozeman in 2012 as an MSU freshman. In addition to juggling her many responsibilities at WTI, she loves outdoor sports (both summer and winter) and photography. Somehow, she has even found time to begin classes toward a Master’s in Public Administration!
Danielle (Dani) Hess was recently named a Project Assistant for mobility projects with the Small Urban and Rural Livability Center and the Small Urban, Rural and Tribal Center on Mobility. Dani first joined WTI in February 2016 as a student assistant in the Mobility program, helping with community outreach for the Bozeman Commuter project and other local initiatives. In early May, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Community Health (with Highest Honors!) from MSU and was promoted to a full-time WTI employee. She will now be able to continue her work on the Transportation Demand Management project with the City of Bozeman and the “pop-up” traffic calming projects on local roads.
Dani grew up in Helena, Montana, and has lived in Bozeman for the last five years. When she is not encouraging people to walk, bike, or take the bus to work, you will probably find her enjoying the outdoors, most likely on her mountain bike. This summer, she is looking forward to coaching kids with Bozeman Youth Cycling’s summer mountain biking program.
Congratulations to WTI’s own David Kack, who was honored with a Big Sky Chamber of Commerce Award at the Chamber’s Annual Dinner last week. David was selected for the “Business Person of the Year” Award, in recognition of his 15 years of work to establish and grow the Skyline bus service, as well as his more recent leadership efforts in partnership with the Chamber and other stakeholders to successfully secure a $10 million federal TIGER grant for improvements to the transportation network in the Big Sky region. The Awards dinner was also featured in today’s issue of Explore Big Sky.
On Monday, October 23, Montana State University honored professional and classified staff reaching significant milestones in their tenure of service to the university. Honorees were recognized at a campus reception, at which Provost Robert Mokwa presented individual certificates and MSU gifts.
Seven WTI employees have achieved the 5, 10, 15 or 20-year milestone in 2017:
Steve Albert, 20 years
David Kack, 15 years
Neil Hetherington, 15 years
Carla Little, 15 years
Rebecca Gleason, 10 years
Genevieve Houska (LTAP), 10 years
Annmarie McMahill (CHSC), 5 years
Congratulations, everyone! All combined, that’s 90 years of service to WTI and MSU by these seven employees alone!
Rebecca Gleason, Carla Little, Steve Albert, and David Kack at the Milestones in Service Ceremony.