First Timers Look Forward to TRB’s Educational, Networking Opportunities

January 19, 2012

The Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting is big, attracting more than 11,000 transportation professionals from around the globe and sprawling across three hotels in the nation’s capital.

It’s encompassing, with thousands of presentations, many of which will focus on the meeting’s theme, “Transportation: Putting Innovation and People to Work.”

For attendees such as Adam Burghdoff, an engineer in Kittelson & Associates Inc.’s Orlando, Fla., office, this year’s TRB annual meeting will be his first, offering an abundance of networking and professional opportunities in a city he’s never before visited.

Burghdoff, who is interested in land development and transportation, pedestrian and bicycle safety and accessible routes, will attend TRB’s Transportation Land Development Committee meeting with “hopes of eventually becoming a friend of the committee and ultimately serving on it.”

I plan to introduce myself to as many people as I can. My ultimate goal is to forge some relationships and get involved in some committees that are related to areas I’m interested in.

This year’s TRB event will also be a first for Matt Ashby, a senior engineer in KAI’s Tucson office, and Katie Pincus, a transportation analyst with KAI in Boise. All three expressed excitement about the learning opportunities at an event with such a comprehensive agenda. Ashby noted his interest in presentations and committee meetings about geometric design and new research concerning treating contaminates such as oil before they enter storm water systems.

Ashby said he also looks forward to meeting and interacting with researchers and graduate students, along with visiting some of Washington, D.C.’s monuments and museums.

Pincus, who has a keen interest in transit operations, said she’s interested in hearing about research and case studies related to using social media to inform transit users. She’s also planning to attend sessions showcasing travel time reliability projects similar to the Strategic Highway Research Program 2 project on which she is working.

Burghdoff, who joined KAI about nine months ago, said TRB affords the chance to meet in person colleagues and teaming partners he’s interacted with by phone and electronically. He also looks forward to reconnecting with professors from his alma mater who are delivering presentations.

The large number of attendees and topics at the TRB meeting can be overwhelming for first-time participants. However, Pincus said, TRB offers a helpful webinar that provides some basic tips, such as going online to peruse the program and using shuttles to reach presentations and other events of interest.

“It seems like there’s so much going on that you really can’t go wrong no matter what sessions you end up in,” she said.

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