New England Chronicle Blog

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4/18/2022
Profile photo of Rachel Dooley, PE, PTOE

A Message from the New England Section President
Rachel Dooley, PE, PTOE
Project Engineer, VHB

Dear NEITE Members:

The New England Section is starting off 2022 strong thanks to the members of the Board and their continued efforts. I would like to take a moment to thank our immediate Past President Jennifer Conley for all of her work in 2021. Last year was another unprecedented and difficult year as we navigated the ebbs and flows of COVID-19. Throughout it all, Jenn remain dedicated to providing resources to our membership and keeping the Board moving towards the goals of our Strategic Plan. NEITE held many successful virtual events and continued to add value to our members under her guidance. 

The new year brings new board members, Kevin Burnham, PE of Connecticut and Benjamin Tietze, PE of Vermont and I am joined on the leadership team by Justin Curewitz, PE PTOE as Vice President, Jeffrey Santacruce, PE PTOE as Secretary, and Derek Hug, PE PTOE as Treasurer. The NEITE Board has extensive energy and is working to make the organization the place for Transportation Professionals of all kinds. 

NEITE’s first Board meeting of the year has traditionally been held in conjunction with the January Vermont ITE event and this year was no exception. We were very excited to return to Vermont in-person and have a great day of skiing, technical programs, and a social hour. Vermont hosted a well-attended hybrid event that discussed VTrans ITS Plan, the IIJA Infrastructure Bill, and the NH 119/VT 119 Bridge Construction Project. The hybrid option of the meeting allowed for New Hampshire DOT staff to be in attendance to discuss the project with their Vermont counterparts.

Maine ITE has also hosted their first event of the year on March 16th. They were also able to meet in-person with a technical program about new TMP rules and the 11th edition of the ITE Trip Generation Manual. This program was followed with a lively cribbage social hour.

NEITE Past President Jennifer Conley and I have been very busy meeting with the individual State Chapters as well as the Northeastern District Board, International Director, and Executive Director and CEO of ITE to discuss the reorganization of the New England Section. Thank you to those who attended the listening sessions we hosted in January. I hope you found them both helpful and informative. As this process is evolving, Jenn has graciously drafted an article to discuss all of the talking points of the reorganization, including reviewing how this discussion started, what steps have been taken so far, and what the next steps are for the Section. Please take a moment to read through the article. If you have any further questions, please reach out to Jenn or me. We want the membership informed of every decision in this process.

While there are many potential changes coming to the New England Section, I want everyone to be aware that one of our main goals this year is to return to in-person meetings, doing so safely, and in accordance with local guidelines. Many states may continue to offer a hybrid option so that our entire membership may participate in events they may have previously deemed “too far away.” We look forward to seeing you in-person soon!

The next NEITE Board meeting is scheduled in conjunction with the CT ITE event on April 27th. Stay tuned for the Board meeting agenda along with the CT ITE technical program.  

Enjoy the upcoming Spring weather. I can’t wait to see what else NEITE has in store for the rest of the year!

Rachel


The ITE New England Section Reorganization

When the question of whether the New England Section leadership should reorganize was raised in early 2021, the immediate reactions included “No!” and “Why?” ITE International approached us and explained why reorganizing could be beneficial for our Section. As we learned more, the idea began to make more sense, so we approached the entire New England Section Board and the Boards of each of the State Chapters to discuss. 

Throughout the ITE footprint, most Chapters have been elevated to Sections. This eliminates one layer between the member and the international organization. As a Section, New England has more members than some Districts. Likewise, many New England State Chapters are larger than, and operate similarly to, Sections with full Boards with multiple committees and events each year.

The purpose of a Section is to be the primary affiliation for ITE members at the local level, and Chapters are intended to operate as an extension of an ITE Section. I know that my early ITE experience, and that of many others, was primarily associated with my local Chapter and not with the Section. The intention is for Chapters to form and gain the momentum to become Sections.  The role of the Section is to be the host of the local meetings (sometimes by local arrangement committees in different geographies around the Section) and to be the entity that handles finances rather than the local Chapter.

From the New England Section Board’s point of view, the primary benefit to this reorganization would be to eliminate the duplicate levels of leadership.  This would provide relief from the burnout that many ITE leaders of Chapters feel after serving for 8 to 10 years on local Boards which leads to their not going on to serve at the Section level, or, if they do go on to the Section, not going on to serve at the District level.  Many spoke of that burnout that exists in the current situation where our Chapters are operating similar to Sections.   

A brainstorming session was held to discuss how the Section could be reformed considering the models followed in other areas. Some areas, like the NY Met Section, are formed around a metropolitan area and host events throughout that tri-state metropolitan area. Others follow State lines.  Meeting with the ITE Chapter Boards of each State, a strong preference was revealed for the three States of northern New England to join together in a Section.  In southern New England, both Massachusetts and Connecticut are each large enough to operate as independent Sections. Rhode Island is not large enough to operate as an independent Section and expressed an interest in joining Massachusetts, who welcomed the idea of a joint Section. 

After meeting with the Boards of each State Chapter and reporting back to the Section Board, the New England Section leadership opened these discussions to the membership in early 2022.  Three sessions were held at varying times of the day and days of the week to engage the highest number of members.

We discussed the advantages of elevating Chapters to Sections; what our options are for organization; how we could transition existing Section and Chapter Boards into the future Section Boards; and answered questions.  These sessions were well attended (especially by past leadership) and many good comments and input were received and questions were asked.

After the listening sessions were completed, meetings were held with the Section Board, the District Board, and International staff to discuss the concerns raised and questions asked.  Those questions and answers are summarized by topic area below:

Past leadership was very concerned about the ability for Northern New England to be able to operate as a Section and questions were asked regarding how the District would work in the future with five Sections instead of three.  Specifically, hosting the District Annual Meeting, with its high demand for volunteers, would be a concern for a smaller Section. Would it now rotate around every five years (one year for each Section) instead of every three years?  In addition, the point was made that the District Board, with only four positions, would not have representation from all Sections if there were now five Sections.

At the District Board meeting, these concerns were discussed in detail with the District Board as well as with input from New England, Metro NY, and Upstate Section leadership. There was agreement that the District Board would need to be modified to accommodate five Sections. Significant discussion was held on the role of Districts in other locations and that other Districts tend to be more active and offer more value to the Sections and individual members. 

Representatives from the Upstate Section, which is similar in size to the potential northern New England Section and currently hosts the Annual Meeting every three years, indicated that planning is a large effort and there tends to be a core group that volunteers each time. Upstate leadership and Metro leadership indicated that they would be happy to switch to a five-year rotation if each Section wanted to host the meeting in turn. Another idea would be to rotate more frequently but with the smaller Sections alternating hosting.  The discussion ended with the impression that the rotation of the meeting could be developed as it would suit the new Sections. 

Another question that was referred to International was what changes could be expected if the reorganization were not to happen. The response was that with or without the reorganization, the intention is for all Chapters to operate consistently across the ITE International footprint. Typically, a Chapter does not have its own Board, does not host its own annual meetings, or generate revenue on their own. These are functions of a Section. 

Based on the feedback received, Section leadership returned to the State Boards for follow-up presentations regarding questions asked and answered and to confirm that they continued to be supportive of this type of change. Each State Board continued to be supportive. 

At a special March meeting, the New England Section Board held a discussion regarding the future of the New England Section. A motion was made, seconded, discussed, amended, and ultimately voted on unanimously. The motion reads as follows:

To dissolve the New England Section on 1/1/23 with the intent of reorganizing the Section into three Sections (1. CT; 2. RI and MA; and 3. ME, NH and VT) requesting that state Chapter Boards hold a vote within 45 days (April 25, 2022) to indicate their support for this reorganization, the majority of which will make this vote binding. 

Since that meeting, a number of State Boards have met and discussed this topic to decide how/when to make their decisions. As stated above, if the majority of State Chapter Boards do not vote in favor of this reorganization, the New England Section will continue to exist as it does currently. However, the State Chapters as we know them will be phased out and become local arrangement committees of the New England Section. 

If you have any questions on the reorganization, please contact Jennifer Conley, the New England Board, or your State Chapter Board who would be happy to discuss this further. 

Frequently asked questions:

How will this affect the typical member experience?  Many members do not interact with their Section as they attend only local events in their State. There should be no change to that experience. It is anticipated that local events will continue to be organized and held in each State. Many States have talked about developing a calendar to make sure that their yearly events are documented for this process.  

Can I continue to attend events in other States which will now be other Sections?  Yes, you will continue to be a member of ITE International and will continue to be able to attend events at a member rate in the different Sections, just as you could attend a meeting in the Upstate NY Section today as a member. 

If we are not one Section, how will we know about events in other Sections?  This is a topic we have discussed with the District. The District will have a master email list for all District Members that will be used by the District or by the Sections to share meeting announcements. In addition, the District will keep an up-to-date calendar on their website so that all meetings for the Sections within the District are posted, similarly to what the New England Section currently does for the Chapter events and meetings.


Vermont ITE / NEITE Winter Meeting

The Vermont Chapter and New England Section reunited in person for their annual winter meeting at Killington in late January. A brisk but beautiful morning of skiing and snowboarding was enjoyed followed by the NE Section board meeting and VT Chapter technical program. The program consisted of presentations on the VTrans ITS Plan, Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and Hinsdale-Brattleboro bridge project across the Connecticut River. The day was capped off with some networking at the resort restaurant and bar. We look forward to seeing everyone next year! of the state chapters to discuss. 


New Member Welcome Packets: Best Tips and Tricks - MemberClicks

New Membership

The NEITE section currently stands at 622 members. Please welcome the following new members as of this year 2022!

MemberCompany
Cory BeldenAltus Engineering
Kellon RonspiesFederal Highway Administration
Tracy Fogarty, P.E.CT Department of Transportation
Erika Lindeberg, P.E.CT Department of Transportation
Mark Makuch, P.E.CT Department of Transportation
Anna Mermelstein, P.E.CT Department of Transportation
Kenneth LussierCT Department of Transportation
Khadiza JannatCT Department of Transportation
Julia Pang, E.I.T.CT Department of Transportation
Christopher Lockhart, E.I.T.CT Department of Transportation
Craig BabowiczCT Department of Transportation
Patrick ZapatkaCT Department of Transportation
Matthew Vail, P.E.CT Department of Transportation
Michael Cherpak, P.E.CT Department of Transportation
Marissa Pfaffinger, P.E.CT Department of Transportation
Mark Rolfe, P.E.CT Department of Transportation
Ashleigh RobbCHA Consulting, Inc
Brendan LombardUniversity of Vermont
Evelyn DensmoreThe University of Vermont
Liza McLatchyUniversity of Vermont
Daniel HeilO’Leary-Burke Civil Associates, PLC
Thomas Reese, Jr.City of Norwalk
Riley DethUniversity of Vermont
Nate HeilUniversity of Vermont
Amanda KornutiakUniversity of Vermont
Benjamin KidderUniversity of Vermont
Brandon LoeschUniversity of Massachusetts Lowell
Adri RuggieroUniversity of Vermont
Lauren SnowUniversity of Vermont
Alexandra GreerUniversity of Vermont
Ethan LapointeNortheastern University
Schyler SavageGreenman-Pedersen, Inc.
Ann GammellVermont Agency of Transportation
Nathan ClaessensUniversity of Vermont
Robert BickmoreHaley Ward, Inc.
Randy Dunton, P.E., PTOEGorrill Palmer
Michael HattershideCoastal Traffic Inc
Emily BoltCity of Portland