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A Reflection on the Highway Engineer and ASHE
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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