On November 5, Montana State University hosted the 7th annual Milestones in Service celebration with a virtual awards ceremony to honor faculty and staff for their dedication and years of service to MSU. Awards are provided in 5-year increments based on cumulative years of service. This year’s ceremony recognized a number of faculty and staff who work closely with WTI or are part of our WTI “alumni” family.
Dr. Ahmed Al-Kaisy received an award for 15 years of service as a Transportation Professor in the Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering (NACOE). Over that same 15-year period, Ahmed has also served as a WTI Researcher and Program Manager for Safety and Operations Research.
Dr. Kari Finley was recognized for 5 years of service as a Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Health and Safety Culture. She has led and collaborated on numerous projects related to traffic safety culture, substance misuse, and child development.
Two MSU employees who
started their MSU careers at WTI were also honored. Jenni West, who
managed the Transit in Parks Technical Assistance Center (TRIPTAC) for WTI for
many years, received a 10-year award.
She now serves as the Associate Director of the Montana Manufacturing
Extension Center (MMEC) in the MSU College of Engineering (NACOE). Dr. Laura Stanley was also recognized
with a 10-year service award. She formerly served as a WTI researcher in
our human factors safety program and led many projects in the Driving
Simulation Laboratory. She now serves as
an Associate Professor of Computer Science in the MSU Gianforte School of
Finally, we congratulate several long-time NACOE employees who have provided invaluable support to WTI. Dr.Ernest Visser has served as the IT Manager for the NACOE Dean’s Office for 20 years, and during that time he helped create, maintain, and troubleshoot many of WTI’s key IT systems. Dr. Joel Cahoon, Civil Engineering (25 years), has been a frequent collaborator on fish passage and hydraulics projects. Kathy Osen, NACOE’s Director of Administration and Finance received her milestone award for an impressive 35 years of service to MSU. She has offered administrative guidance and assistance to WTI for many years. The Milestones in Service ceremony was hosted by Dr. Waded Cruzado, who received her own award for 10 years of service as the President of MSU. The recorded ceremony is available to view on the MSU website.
Here at Montana State University, the university just finished celebrating Homecoming Week. Actually – due to current health precautions – it was “Stay HOME-coming” Week. Nonetheless, the MSU Alumni Foundation showcased a full schedule of daily, virtual activities. One of the highlights was the video of the Homecoming Shoebox Parade, featuring creative miniature floats. Watch for the two transportation-themed floats created by our Andrea Hamre! (One float is at about 8:25 in the video, and the second one at about 17:45.)
At the end of September, Montana State University announced that research spending for the 2018-2019 fiscal year set a new record of $138 million. “MSU records yet another strong year for research” notes that research expenditures were up more than 9% over the previous year, and gave a shout out to high performing departments and centers, including WTI: “The Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering had research expenditures of $18.3 million, led by its Western Transportation Institute, Center for Biofilm Engineering and Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.” WTI Interim Executive Director David Kack added “We’re very proud that WTI ranked #4 of all organizations at MSU in terms of research expenditures. We had an increase in expenditures of 33.5% over FY 18, an increase of almost $2 million, which is due to the hard work of the entire WTI staff.”
In two news stories last week, WTI was one of the MSU departments noted for its strong annual research totals: “The Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering rounds out the top three colleges for research expenditures with $15 million, led by its Center for Biofilm Engineering, Department of Electrical Engineering and the Western Transportation Institute.”