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Transportation Secretary Slater Salutes Contributions of Engineers To America’s Transportation System

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Rodney E. Slater

Transportation Secretary Slater Salutes Contributions of Engineers To America’s Transportation System

Federal Highway Administration
February 19, 1999

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, February 19, 1999
Contact: Lori Irving
Telephone: 202-366-0660
FHWA 26-99

Prompted by the celebration of National Engineers Week Feb. 21-27, U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today saluted the nation’s engineers for their contribution to making the U.S. transportation system the safest and best in the world.

"In his State of the Union address, President Clinton said that now is not a time to rest but to build," Secretary Slater said. "This message rings especially true for the nation’s engineers, who did so much to build America’s transportation system and understand so well the need for continuous, creative improvement so that we can continue to enjoy safe, efficient transportation that helps improve our communities by taking people and goods where they need to go."

Led by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the department on Feb. 22 formally will celebrate National Engineers Week during events at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., and in field offices around the country. The department employs about 7,000 engineers, among them aeronautical, automotive, civil, computer, electrical and mechanical engineers working in all transportation modes—air, land and maritime.

"We especially recognize the Federal Highway Administration’s engineers and the contributions they have made to building the roads, highways and bridges almost everyone in the United States uses every day," FHWA Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle said. "Professional engineers are critical to the success of the FHWA and to the safety and mobility of American travelers."

During National Engineers Week, the department will highlight its Garrett A. Morgan Technology and Transportation Futures Program, which seeks to interest students in math and science and then pursue transportation-related careers in science and engineering. The Garrett A. Morgan program, established by Secretary Slater on May 30, 1997, has four objectives: improving students’ math, science and technological skills; strengthening the links between the transportation sector and community colleges, junior colleges, and technical schools; expanding transportation programs at undergraduate and graduate institutions; and easing the transition from school to work in the transportation field.

The Garrett A. Morgan Program is named in honor of an African-American entrepreneur and son of slaves who invented the three-phased automated traffic signal and the safety hood, later known as the gas mask.

Over time, agencies of the department have formed partnerships with many organizations associated with engineering, including the American Public Works Association (APWA), National Association of County Engineers (NACE), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). The partnerships offer the department’s employees the opportunity to share their knowledge and professional experience with students.

Participation in National Engineers Week and National Transportation Week in May also enables DOT engineers to tell the story of transportation. The following web sites provide information on becoming involved in activities outlined in partnership agreements with engineer-related groups: Future Cities Program, http://futurecity.org; MATHCOUNTS, http://mathcounts.org; American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) TRAC, http://www.aashto.org/prog_svcs/a_ps.html; National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), http://www.eweek.org; American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), http://www.asce.org; Society of Military Engineers (SAME), http://www.same.org; and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), http://www.sae.org.

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