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Transportation Institute Co-sponsors Multiple Events

During the summer and fall, the Connecticut Transportation Institute (CTI) sponsored and coordinated several major educational programs, the Eastern Winter Maintenance Symposium and the Construction Career Days 2005. CTI is a research and educational unit associated with the School of Engineering that serves as a hub for faculty conducting research in transportation-related areas. Dr. Lisa Aultman-Hall, an associate professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE), is CTI’s Director.

Eastern Winter Maintenance Symposium

In September, CTI co-sponsored the 10th Eastern Winter Maintenance Symposium, an annual event that affords local and state highway agencies a forum where they may learn strategies for improving their response to winter weather transportation problems. The event took place at the newly opened, elegantly appointed Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford and attracted 800 participants from throughout the nation.

CTI co-sponsored the event with the Connecticut Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Symposium tracks centered on safety, environmental issues and operations, and specific session topics included advances in road weather information systems; alternative applications for winter operations and their environmental implications; sensing devices and environmental management; simple solutions to improve operations; and operator safety-safe handling of snow plows. The program also afforded participants an opportunity to network with winter maintenance specialists from other East Coast states and to examine the latest equipment and techniques available to help in snow and ice control.

Donna Shea, CTI Associate Director and program director of the Institute’s Technology Transfer Center, participated in organizing and planning the symposium. She also served on the Technical Session Development Team and as a technical session moderator. Stephanie Merrall and Mary McCarthy, employees of the Technology Transfer Center, participated on the planning committee. CTI also hosted two memorials in conjunction with the symposium: the National Work Zone Safety Memorial- honoring workers, drivers, children and others killed in work zones on highways-and the Connecticut Work Zone Safety Memorial.

Construction Career Days 2005

Demand for skilled construction workers nationwide is expected to grow by about 185,000 new laborers yearly for the next decade, according to a report published by the Construction Labor Research Council. Yet interest in construction careers has waned in recent years, producing a gap between demand and supply. To bridge the gap, the construction industry has taken proactive measures to promote construction careers. In Connecticut, the annual Connecticut Construction Career Days offers students an opportunity to explore, in an exciting hands-on fashion, a diverse array of careers associated with the commercial construction industry in Connecticut and throughout the nation.

For the fourth consecutive year, CTI hosted, organized and co-sponsored the event. The program took place October 4 and 5, 2005 at Mountainside in Wallingford and attracted nearly 1,200 Connecticut high school juniors and seniors.

As in previous years, the event included various interactive exhibits, trade industry displays and demonstration projects, and it afforded students an opportunity to participate in hands-on, supervised activities such as operation of bulldozers, excavators and rollers. Skilled trades people conducted demonstrations of bricklaying, concrete finishing, welding, plumbing, materials testing, pipe laying and electrical installation, and students were invited to try their hands at various small-scale construction activities. Architectural, engineering, estimating and surveying careers were also represented. More than 30 exhibitors participated in the event, including utilities, various Connecticut equipment manufacturers, construction companies, state and federal transportation departments and public works agencies, apprenticeship programs and trade unions.

Responding in a unique and thoughtful manner to the Gulf Coast devastation wrought by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, event organizers deviated from their historic practice of storing leftover safety kits of hard hats, gloves, and glasses for the ensuing year’s event- choosing instead to ship these items to the contractors and workers rebuilding the Gulf areas. In October, 200 kits were packed by members of the Construction Careers Day Committee and voluntarily delivered by UPS to the Associated General Contractors of Mississippi, where they were distributed to contractors and workers in Gulfport and Biloxi.

CTI Associate Director Donna Shea- joined by CTI employees Jim Mahoney, Scott Zinke, Stephanie Merrall, Mary McCarthy, Carolyn Ward, Deb Barrett and professor emeritus Dr. Jack Stephens- assisted in organizing the event. Dr. Aultman- Hall was also on hand for the event, interacting with school counselors and students. Kevin McLaughlin, Director of the Engineering Diversity Program, also represented the School of Engineering and its 12 undergraduate programs.