The future of the transportation profession depends upon a stable and continuing flow of students who are excited and passionate in the career opportunities afforded by transportation engineering and planning. In an ever-competitive environment to attract students with strong math, science and analytical capabilities, many transportation firms and agencies have had to look for employment candidates outside the region and the US. Over the past five years ITE Western District has greatly expanded student initiatives with the objective of attracting the best and brightest to the transportation profession in the west.
These initiatives have included:
- Waiving ITE dues and District Annual Meeting fees for faculty advisors
- Providing funds for reference books to new student chapters
- Waiving ITE Dues and subsidizing District Annual Meeting fees for students
- Funding travel to District Annual Meetings through student competitions, student papers, student projects, the Data Collection Fund
- Sponsoring special events for students and professionals
In the past, these programs were modestly funded utilizing existing annual operating and annual meeting budgets. This has limited the scope of the programs and resulted in the use of operating reserves. In an effort to avoid increasing dues and to assure continuous, stable funding for the current and future student initiatives, the Student Endowment Fund was established to provide a self-sustaining funding source for these programs. The Board projects that the Endowment Fund needs to reach $500,000 to be self-sustaining enough to generate enough annual revenue to support the District’s student initiatives.
The Student Endowment Fund was renamed the Richard T. Romer Student Endowment Fund in 2013. Richard T. Romer believed in right and wrong, in doing things the correct way without cutting corners, and that ethics were of the utmost importance for public safety and the integrity of any profession. Fittingly, Rich worked as a transportation engineer and had over 41 years of experience in the profession. During this time he served on numerous committees, held elected office at all levels including International President in 2006, and won numerous awards including the Burton W. Marsh Distinguished Service Award and the James L. Pline Award. In addition; Rich led generations of young engineers to continue along his path. He instilled the importance of balancing professional workload with contributions to the professional societies to further grow the transportation profession. There are many engineers who can trace their careers back to Rich and thank him for the path he started them on.
The purpose of the Western District Student Endowment Fund is to ensure a, “stable and continuing flow of students who are excited and passionate in the career opportunities afforded by transportation engineering and planning.” In the spirit of this mission, ITE recognizes Richard T. Romer by renaming the Student Endowment Fund after an engineer who left behind a legacy of well-trained, well-educated, and enthusiastic ITE professionals.