Purdue astronaut to speak at Road School

February 28, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University alumnus and astronaut Mark N. Brown will be the keynote speaker for the annual Purdue Road School.

The 2013 Road School, designed for Indiana local and state transportation officials, will be March 5-7. Brown will discuss teamwork and leadership lessons during a luncheon on March 6.

Brown, who earned a bachelor's degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering in 1973, has had a career as a U.S. Air Force fighter pilot and engineer, a NASA astronaut and manager, and a corporate manager. He now is an aerospace consultant.

"Building and maintaining Indiana's transportation system takes teamwork from a variety of local, county and state government officials, as well as contractors, engineers and suppliers," said Darcy M. Bullock, Road School co-chairman and a professor of civil engineering. "The space program has a similar portfolio of diverse stakeholders that must collaborate on large, multiyear projects. Mark's willingness to share his expertise in this area will be invaluable to Road School participants."

More than 2,000 transportation officials from throughout Indiana will participate in the Purdue Road School, which is sponsored by the Joint Transportation Research Program and the Indiana Local Technical Assistance Program, both housed at Purdue; the Purdue School of Civil Engineering; and the Indiana Department of Transportation.

Speaking at the Road School opening session will be Karen Bobo, acting Federal Highway Administration Indiana Division administrator; Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke; Jerry Wray, Ohio Department of Transportation director; and Michael Cline, Indiana Department of Transportation commissioner.

Road School will offer 138 technical sessions on topics ranging from pavements to urban forestry to ethics.

"We bring in experts from around the country to provide Indiana's transportation officials at all levels with information on the latest technology and innovations," said John Haddock, Road School co-chairman and an associate professor of civil engineering.

Among the sessions:

* Aimee Bennett of INDOT and David Buck of the city of West Lafayette will discuss outreach efforts connected to recently installed roundabouts.

* Sam Sarvis and Sandra Flum of INDOT will give an update on the I-69 development process.

* Monica Prezzi and Rodrigo Salgado of Purdue will give an overview of research into the use of tire shreds for embankment fill. Over the last three years, INDOT has recycled nearly 1 million tires.

* Jay Wasson of INDOT and David Holt of Conexus will provide a session describing a new partnership between the Indiana Railroad Company and the Canadian National Railway to develop an intermodal facility in downtown Indianapolis that will allow shippers to easily move cargo by container to and from central Indiana instead of trucking it first to Chicago.

* Randy West from the National Center for Asphalt Technology will discuss warm mix asphalt, which is being encouraged by Federal Highway Administration because it is more sustainable and requires lower production temperatures that consume less energy.

More information on Road School is available online at http://www.purdue.edu/jtrp

The conference registration is $50 for private-sector employees. Public-sector employees and private citizens can attend for free, although registration is required. All sessions will be held in Stewart Center. The luncheon is $20, and a ticket is required. To register online, go to http://www.conf.purdue.edu/roadschool

Purdue's Road School traces its origin to January 1913, when W.K. Hatt, head of Purdue's School of Civil Engineering, initiated a civil engineering conference to help county surveyors and city engineers develop and maintain Indiana's roads and streets. At the second conference in 1914, a resolution was passed calling for a yearly school for county road superintendents. In 1915 the conference officially became the Purdue Road School.

Writer: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, jbaustin@purdue.edu

Sources: Darcy Bullock, 765-494-2226, darcy@purdue.edu

John Haddock, 765-496-3996, jhaddock@purdue.edu

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