Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)… I anticipate that many of you reading this had no idea that you would be reading an ITS newsletter or even care about ITS when you were in school. Many of you had probably never heard of the industry, or even thought about applying technology to our roads before you had a career in ITS. For those of you that did, we have evolved and I am excited that you have thrived in a career that hasn’t existed for centuries. Our industry has such an amazing impact on saving lives, time, money and improving the quality of life that we owe a lot to those that came before us, forged the territory and mentored us. Even more importantly I personally feel we owe something to the future of ITS.
As ITS practitioners, I feel we have a responsibility to the future ITS leaders and practitioners. There is so much we have learned, approaches and standards we have developed and great things we have done that we need to share how rewarding a career can be in ITS. We need to share our knowledge, projects and experience with the future, we need to recruit and mentor at all opportunities.
There is an opportunity our industry is missing... the University of Minnesota Capstone Program. Each semester the University of Minnesota Civil Engineering program requests project to include in their Senior Capstone Program, the purpose is to provide students with a real world engineering experience. Intelligent Transportation Systems and Transportation, in general, is underrepresented. We can change that.
If you are working on an interesting ITS project, consider submitting it as a Capstone program. It not only benefits our industry and the student, it can also benefit you in a variety of ways:
Potential future staffing –it is difficult to hire quality staff. The Capstone Program allows you to work with the future work force before the hiring process.
Minimized project costs – you can delegate tasks to the students and it will minimize your projects costs while teaching them critical career skills.
Developing relationships with future professionals – most of us partner, work with or work for someone else at some point in our career, the Capstone program allows you to start developing those relationships early.
Investing in Future Leaders - my hope would be that students we mentor will be our future clients, partners and leaders.
We are not the be-all, end-all of our industry, most of us enjoy what we do and want to make sure that our industry thrives in the future. We want it to continually get better than what we have created today. We can help to make that happen. Invest in the students, invest in our future leaders, and invest in our future quality of life. Participate in Capstone.
For more information on my personal experience or how to get involved, please feel free to contact me:
Janelle Borgen, PE, PTOE
Director, ITS MN
2005 President, ITS MN
ITS Manager, WSB & Associates