The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials seeks nominations for its annual awards, including its “President’s Awards,” which honor individuals or teams at state departments of transportation that have performed exemplary service during the year.
[Above photo: WSDOT’s Tony Allen (center) receives the Thomas H. MacDonald Memorial Award at the AASHTO 2021 annual meeting. Photo by AASHTO.]
AASHTO is accepting nomination several national awards, including
- The Thomas H. MacDonald Award, which recognizes a state transportation professional who has provided outstanding service over an extended period or has made an exceptional contribution to the art and science of highway engineering.
- The Alfred E. Johnson Achievement Award, which recognizes an outstanding contribution in highway engineering or management.
- The Francis B. Francois Award for Innovation – named Francis Francois, who served as AASHTO’s executive director from 1980 to 1999 – bestowed annually to state departments of transportation that have developed innovative projects.
AASHTO member chief executive officers or the chairs of AASHTO committees or councils submit nominations for those awards as well as seven different President’s Awards:
- The President’s Award for Administration and Organizational Excellence honors individuals and teams who have provided their state exemplary support in meeting its goals and/or fulfilling its mission.
- The President’s Award for Environment and Planning honors individuals and teams who have had success in implementing a robust planning process within their agencies that is multimodal, multidisciplinary, innovative, and consensus-oriented while also promoting environmental stewardship.
- The President’s Award for Safety recognizes individuals and teams who have dedicated themselves to improving transportation safety within their states or for the nation overall. Safety is a priority in every aspect of transportation – planning, project development, program management, operations, maintenance, administration, etc. – so nominees can be advocates for safety excellence in any area.
- The President’s Award for Research highlights efforts of individuals and teams to champion research for their state DOT and the transportation field overall. These individuals and teams have supported/contributed high-quality transportation research and innovation to improve the movement of people and goods.
- The President’s Award for Equity – a new award category – seeks to honor individuals and teams that work to advance principles of equity, plus produce and foster a culture that empowers individuals in underrepresented populations such as by age, gender, ethnicity, race, etc., through intentionally expanding opportunities within a community or a state DOT.
- The President’s Award for Partnerships – another new award category – recognizes individuals and teams who have engaged with other organizations and embraced the richness of other perspectives represented in the broader transportation community, all in the name of delivering a stronger and better transportation system.
- The President’s Award for Mobility honors individuals and teams who have improved mobility for the communities they serve. Honorees focus on opening up transportation access and expanding mobility options within their states.
Dr. Shawn Wilson, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation Development and AASHTO 2021-2022 president, highlighted the importance of expanding the President’s Awards categories at the AASHTO 2022 Spring Meeting in New Orleans.
“We’ve revamped the President’s Awards to better reflect the work that state DOTs do today,” he said. “The two new awards include a President’s Award for Equity and a President’s Award for Partnerships [because we] want to honor those who have gone above and beyond to further these causes within their state DOTs.”
Wilson added that the expanded award categories are a reflection of how AASHTO has “opened up its meetings” to include non-traditional partners, giving them a seat at the table.
“We are a stronger organization when we hear from everyone, even those that we haven’t always had a strong partnership with,” he explained. “Transportation does not operate in a vacuum – it touches everyone. We need to hear all perspectives in planning, building, maintaining, and operating our transportation systems.”