College of Engineering professor Shashi Nambisan has been elected president of the Council of University Transportation Centers.
Nambisan’s expertise led the governor of Nevada to proclaim “Shashi Nambisan Day” in recognition of his efforts to improve transportation safety in that state.
“To be elected by my peers is both a great honor and a great responsibility,” said Nambisan, who, along with DeAnna Flinchum, serves as co-director of education and workforce development for the Southeastern Transportation Center. “I’m excited to be in a position to help address education, research, and outreach in my field of transportation. To be the spokesperson for such a diverse, well-respected group is a privilege.”
The Council of University Transportation Centers—CUTC—is a leading proponent of safety, research, education, and development in relation to the upkeep and expansion of the nation’s transportation system.
While its beginnings can be traced to a 1971 federal mandate calling for the establishment of transportation-focused research centers, CUTC itself was founded in 1979 and now includes almost ninety public and private institutions.
“It started out as just a handful of large institutions, and it has grown in a number of ways,” said Nambisan. “Now the group represents a broad spectrum of institutions, small and large, public and private. There are even international members now.”
The growth of the group has led to collaboration between institutions that might not have otherwise had a chance to work together, and has led to an increase in the sharing of ideas. Along the way, the spectrum of topics the group can cover has increased as well.
“Having such a big base of perspectives is a great way to broaden horizons, to really tackle a lot of different ideas,” said Nambisan. “We now have a number of different member schools that can speak to areas like logistics, or planning, or finance, or design. Just in engineering terms alone, we have aspects of civil, mechanical, and even computer sciences.”
Another positive of having such a numerous and wide-ranging group of institutions is that it increases the weight of recommendations when a new idea is being pitched to industry or government leaders, and it also gives those leaders a place to turn for answers when considering a new proposal of their own.
“There’s a breadth of knowledge, but there is also an understanding that we know what we are talking about,” said Nambisan. “Our group is well-respected enough that past presidents have been called upon to testify before Congress. Plus, that strength in numbers also helps us achieve our overall common goals.”
Nambisan, who has been on the CUTC executive committee since 2010, will serve until June 2015. He has previously been director, treasurer, secretary, and vice president of the group.
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