Explore Big Sky recently published a feature article on regional traffic congestion and described some of the current efforts to alleviate growing traffic on the major roads in the region. David Kack was interviewed for the article, in which he discusses the forthcoming TIGER Grant improvements, the Skyline bus system, and other initiatives to expand alternatives to solo commuting.
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!
Jamie DuHoux – 20 years
Susan Gallagher – 15 years
Marcel Huijser – 15 years
Leann Koon – 10 years
Jamie Arpin – 5 years
Karalyn Clouser – 5 years
Kathy Rich – 5 years
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.
WTI’s Craig Shankwitz has been appointed to serve as a Special Government Employee on the Motorcyclist Advisory Council (MAC) to the Federal Highway Administration. His service will enhance the U. S. Department of Transportation’s efforts to address infrastructure issues of concern to motorcyclists. Throughout this two-year appointment, Shankwitz will share expertise on the research and application of intelligent transportation systems, especially related to motorcycle improvement safety. In February of 2017, Shankwitz was selected by the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center to serve on the Motorcycle Safety Research Consortium. Shankwitz oversee WTI’s Automated and Connected Vehicle efforts.
Another Montana Commuter Challenge is in the books, and WTI made a solid showing in this year’s standings. Logging 781 miles over 98 trips, we just barely missed the top ten, falling in line behind Bangtail Bikes with 101 trips. Together we saved 765.38 lbs of CO2 emissions and burned 38,269 calories. That’s approximately 163 tacos, for something easier to wrap your head around. 😊
Sixty teams participated in the Bozeman Commuter Challenge this year, making up a significant portion of the 171 teams statewide. We’re looking forward to an even bigger crowd next year as we work with businesses and employers around Bozeman to encourage active transportation and sustainable commutes!