Published On: February 28th, 2024

By Doug Smith, P.E. Western District President

When I was in university (yes a very long time ago), we did not have an ITE Student Chapter at our school to learn more about transportation. I was enrolled in the college of Civil and Environmental Engineering with a focus on Ocean Engineering. I thought I wanted to work in marine and port construction but recognized it was a tough field to enter at the time. As a student, I worked my way through school driving for a bus company and primarily driving senior citizens and disabled adults. I got to see first-hand how poorly maintained our roads in Rhode Island were and how important transportation was to the public, especially those unable to own or drive a car.

When I graduated, I had a change of heart and accepted a job with a regional consulting firm in Providence RI in their Transportation Department, as an entry level traffic engineer. I knew very little about traffic and went back to take graduate classes in transportation to catch up. I was only exposed to ITE about four years into my career in transportation. I wish I learned more in university and had access to an ITE Student Chapter at my school.  This is why I get so excited to talk about the Western District Student Leadership Summit!

The Cal Poly San Luis Obispo ITE student chapter hosted the 2024 Western District Student Leadership Summit on the SLO campus from February 2-4th. It was a great opportunity to spend a weekend in SLO meeting our future transportation professionals and discussing important topics with professionals that attended. I would like to congratulate the student chapter leadership for pulling off a great student led event. We all play a key role in the development of a skilled workforce to address the immense backlog of infrastructure improvements across the district. The Western District does their part by providing incredible support and programs to the ITE Student Chapters in our region.

The Western District held its Winter Board Meeting on January 26th in Long Beach with our District officers, Committee Chairs, and Section Representatives. Prior to that meeting, we held a productive Section Representative orientation on January 18th.  I would like to take this opportunity to share some highlights from our meeting:

  • We reappointed Dalene Whitlock as our District Administrator for another two-year term.
  • The Executive Committee approved a new program focused on young member engagement and recognition, modeled off Girl/Boy Scout “Badges”. The Badge program encourages young professionals to participate in ITE activities by creating challenges to complete and rewarding active members. The goal of the program is to encourage young member participation throughout ITE.
  • Our LAC Committee continues to plan the 2024 Western District Annual Meeting. We expect this year’s technical program to be exciting and robust. We look forward to seeing you in Sacramento, CA from June 23rd – 26th.
  • Officer Nominations were solicited from all Section Representatives and Presidents along with an open call to the membership. Our call for Secretary-Treasurer candidates and the personal outreach to over 10 individuals on our list of potential candidates, gave us one great candidate by the December 1st deadline. The District has residency guidelines in place that rotates nominations between Region 1 (Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Northern California, and San Francisco Bay Area) and Region 2 (Central California, Central Coast, Southern California, Riverside-San Bernardino, and San Diego). If we do not have two nominations in one region, our policy states that the District Board can open nominations to both regions. The District Board voted to open the elections to seek a Secretary-Treasurer candidate regardless of residency. Additional outreach was conducted by the Board after this decision that yielded a few meetings between District Officers and potential candidates. As of the extended January 12th deadline, no other nominations were received. We will have elections for International Director this year. The pool for International Director is typically District Past Presidents from whom we have received two nominations.
  • The Executive Committee considered the slate of candidates and agreed to move forward with one candidate for Secretary-Treasurer and two for International Director. Cameron Shew has accepted the nomination for Secretary-Treasurer. Joe de la Garza and Kimberly Leung have accepted the nomination for International Director.

If you would like to talk about the ITE Western District, please reach out to me. I’m never too busy to make time to discuss ITE.

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