A Reflection on the Highway Engineer
By John Coy, President, Western Reserve Section
This organization that we are part of is based on the integrity
of our work as professionals in the field of highway engineering.
It is important to remember this while working on the wide scope
of projects that we do in our daily lives. In a way, our job
consists of providing the means to connect people all across
the United States. Based on the events of September 11, this
holds more meaning than ever before-our highways are the lifelines
that keeps our country connected.
I recently suffered the loss of my mother and, because of the
highway system, people that I never knew were able to come pay
their respect to her. They came because they respected the work
she did for American veterans. They traveled on highways that
someone in the highway-engineering field worked on. Had these
highways not been available, I might never have known how much
my mother meant to so many people. As I thought about that,
I felt good knowing that what I do for a living actually has
a positive effect on so many people that I will never know.
Knowing this, it still amazes me to think that within a few
days I can go from the northern part of Ohio to southern California.
This is because of the modern highway engineer. The interstates,
state routes, and county roads all provide people access to
anywhere they need to go. These roadways are ever changing.
And, today, ASHE looks for ways to improve the methods used
to safely convey the increasing traffic on the highways.
This is what the highway engineer does-finds better ways to
move people from their point of origin to their final destination.
North, East, West and South (NEWS), we communicate via the highways
and bridges; they are the tools we use to convey to the American
public that we are here and we care. It is important with every
bridge calculation, horizontal curve, vertical curve or super
elevation designed to remember that what is created by that
design will impact people now and into the future.
That is why integrity is key when it comes to being a member
of ASHE. I have meet many people through my involvement with
ASHE. I am glad to say many of them are now my friends who I
look forward to seeing each year at meetings, social functions,
or the annual conference. It really has been a pleasure being
part of this organization, and I look forward to many years
to come. Remember, if it wasn't for the highways I would never
have learned so much about what my mother meant to people, and,
for that, I am truly grateful and proud to be a member of ASHE.
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