ORITE to host meeting with Ohio county engineers, other transportation leaders
Ohio University’s Russ College of Engineering and Technology is collaborating with county engineers from across the state to discuss how the college can support infrastructure research and deployment through the Ohio Research Institute for Transportation and the Environment (ORITE).
Dr. Shad Sargand, Russ professor and vice director for Business Development of ORITE, and Dr. Issam Khoury, associate professor and director of ORITE, are planning an event to bring together county engineers with other transportation leaders including the Ohio Department of Transportation, DriveOhio, and consultants and private sector representatives to discuss a statewide strategy that will inform the future research of ORITE.
The planning and introductory session to launch the meeting was hosted on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. The meeting was attended by 15 OHIO engineering alumni and their colleagues who currently work and live in Southeast Ohio. Industry leaders and personnel from the Ohio Department of Transportation and DriveOhio joined the meeting as well.
“The partnership of Ohio County Engineers and Ohio University on solving industry issues through research partnership opportunities has been of great value to county engineers,” attendee Brett Boothe (BSCE ‘07), Gallia County engineer and OHIO alumnus, said. “Past research projects by Ohio University have changed practices in the field.”
Dick Dickerson, CEO of Utility Technologies International, chair of the Russ College’s Board of visitors and an alumnus of OHIO’s Civil Engineering program (BSCE ‘80), gave opening remarks at the meeting and expressed that he is looking forward to the future of this collaboration.
“The conference hosted by Ohio University was great for relationship enhancement,” Dickerson said. “This meeting was a great example of Ohio working for Ohio.”
Fairfield County Engineer Jeremiah Upp (BSCE ‘97) added, “We need partners, like Ohio University, that have facilities in place to provide research and real-world options that can be utilized for value engineering.”
Russ College of Engineering and Technology Dean Mei Wei welcomed the group over lunch and drew specific attention to the value of Russ College alumni. She said that alumni not only know what Russ graduates need to succeed in the field, but they are also vital in creating successful partnerships with key leaders in the public and private sectors.
“I am looking forward to seeing what transpires as a result of this meeting with our regional county engineers who also happen to be Russ College alumni,” Wei said. “ORITE is one of the top research centers within the Russ College. We are proud of our track record in assisting ODOT and our regional partners with high-quality research and teaching and look forward to tackling new challenges as they come forward.”
This initial meeting welcomed stakeholders from around the region who are invested in the success of ORITE and its research. As a result, several county engineers and OHIO alumni will join the planning committee for the statewide meeting which will be held in the coming months.
“As a Washington County engineer, forming a partnership with Ohio University to provide research on infrastructure issues is very beneficial to our department,” Washington County Engineer Roger Wright (BSCE ’99) said. “With research determining the most appropriate way to perform repairs to failing infrastructure, our limited county budget can be focused on solutions. I appreciate Ohio University coordinating and providing an environment in which local infrastructure issues can be discussed and future research projects developed.”