2009 Inter Mountain Meeting Highlights

From May 14-16, 2009 the Intermountain Section of ITE hosted its 49th Annual Meeting in Jackson, Wyoming.  With attendance approaching 130 members, the Section was pleased with the turnout considering the tough economic climate.  A strong technical program provided the foundation for the meeting and covered varying topics including: sustainability, public participation and buy-in, and design/operational analysis. In addition, 20 vendors attended the meeting which added a strong marketplace component to the event.

The Thursday afternoon session is a relatively new addition to the Intermountain Section Meeting format and is generally dedicated to a single topic.  This year, the Federal Highway Administration, in partnership with Vannase Brustlin Hangen, Inc., presented a course on Non-Traditional Intersection and Interchange design.  The course provided design considerations, cost and right-of-way information, and introduction to a new tool for identifying potential site specific nontraditional applications.

Notably, students from six of the seven student chapters within the section attended the meeting, bringing the total student attendance to 33.  Following the new District model, the Intermountain Section recently appointed Joey Markuson (Las Vegas, NV) as the Section’s Professional Liaison to the student chapters.  One of Ms. Markuson’s first duties was to organize a student social following the Thursday night technical session.  Free pizza was provided and students were encouraged to mingle through a modified poker challenge.  Each attendee was provided a playing card at the door and then challenged to find four others with cards creating the best poker hand;  the winners received iTunes gift cards.

During the Friday business meeting, the Section received reports from the four member Chapters: Montana, Idaho, Nevada and Utah.  Each of the student chapters also provided reports.  Over $1,500 dollars in scholarship funds were donated from the Chapters, and the Section plans to add over $6,000 to the scholarship fund as a result of the donations and dues collection.  Alf Guebert, International Past President, and Tom Brahms, ITE Executive Director, provided insight into International ITE’s current operations and focus areas.  The Western District President, Monica Suter, was also in attendance and  in addition to providing a District update Ms. Suter presented two special awards.  Western District Proclamations were presented to Doyt Bolling and Tim Harpst for their service to the Utah Chapter and Intermountain Section, respectively.  The Intermountain Section was also pleased to have International Vice President Candidates Robert Wunderlich and Hibbett Neel attend the meeting.  The business meeting finale was the announcement of the election results.  The Section is pleased to announce the new Board members:

Joseph Tate, III – President (Boise, ID)

Danielle Scharf – 1st Vice President (Bozeman, MT)

Jay Nelson – 2nd Vice President (Sandy, UT)

Molly O’Brien – Secretary/Treasurer (Las Vegas, NV)

The section would also like to recognize the following individuals for their contributions to the section:

Terry Smith (Billings, MT) – Registration and records

Pamela Pyle (Logan, UT) – Vendor registration and Friday social

Phil Rust (Boise, ID) – Webmaster

Joey Markuson (Las Vegas, NV) – Professional Liaison

The Friday afternoon Vendor Social was very well attended, as usual. This event allows attendees to mingle with each other while investigating the latest products available to the industry, and  a prize give-away marks the end of the Social.  Congratulations to the winners of the coveted Intermountain Section ski jackets!

Prior to heading to the golf course for the Montana State University Annual golf tournament, conference attendees converge for the Annual Luncheon and Awards Ceremony.  This year’s guest speaker was a volunteer from the Jackson Hole Historical Society whose presentation covered the history of the valley, and set the tone for next year’s Annual Meeting.  Awards were presented to the following:

Scholarships

Joseph Staszcuk – Montana State University

Scott Shea – Brigham Young University

Student Paper Award

Xuan Wang – University of Nevada, Reno

Peifeng (Patrick) Hu – University of Nevada, Reno

Engineering Project of the Year

Winner: Shiloh Road Corridor, Sanderson Stewart (Billings, MT)

Runner-up: Casino Center Bus Rapid Transit Project, Kimley-Horn and Associates (Las Vegas, NV)

Outstanding Technical Paper

A Fiscally Constrained Comparison of Roundabout        Benefits and Costs

Ryan Lancaster and Phil Rust (Boise, ID)

The Section also presented the infamous “Missing In Action Award”,  but since what happens in Jackson stays in Jackson, we will keep that one to ourselves.

Next year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Intermountain Section.  The Section has formed a distinguished committee of long-time members to organize several special celebratory events.  Presentations will highlight the history of the Section, transportation history within the Section over the last 50 years, and distinguished members spotlights. We’ll also be offering the Jim Pline registration special: register 49 times, get the 50th free.

For those who have never been able to attend an Intermountain Section meeting, the event provides an excellent technical program, magnificent scenery and recreation opportunities, networking opportunities with some of the founders and leaders of our industry, and a laid-back western attitude.  Next year will be a fantastic event that you will not want to miss.  Leave your ties at home and join us for a 50-year celebration.