What do you need to do today for a brighter tomorrow?
Tom Brahms, Executive Director of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), says he anticipates a future transportation system that is capable of incredible things. From his vantage point at ITE, Brahms has witnessed tremendous advances made by transportation engineers, accompanied by the exciting questions and challenges that are raised by new technologies.
ITE offers a venue for transportation professionals to communicate innovative research and transportation solutions that are currently changing the world’s approach to transportation issues. Members of ITE form a global community where they can learn from one another and promote groundbreaking applications of new and existing technology.
According to Brahms, technology has dramatically shifted our perceptions of what is possible and achievable for the future. For students, this means there is the potential to use technology to make amazing advances in the transportation system. As students pursue their careers, it is important they keep in mind that technology, math, and science - while being fundamental to transportation - are just elements of a diverse set of skills that are necessary for success in the transportation profession. For instance, communication skills and a good grasp of economics are of particular importance in transportation careers. Transportation professionals need to be able to recognize a need or demand, to explain to stakeholders what it is they want to accomplish, to rally people (for example, taxpayers) behind that idea, and to follow a structured and budgeted plan for carrying out the work.
Brahms also notes that it is important to find joy and inspiration in what you do. Successful people tend to enjoy their careers and want to go to work. After 40 years at ITE, Brahms says he is still excited about going to work every day. This excitement motivates him to succeed.
“If I felt I was at the pinnacle [of my career] then I would not come into work tomorrow,” Brahms said. “I believe that we have the opportunity of always doing more ... of contributing each day.”
“What do I need to learn today so that I will be better prepared to meet tomorrow’s challenges? And how can I be better equipped to listen and process what the public and public policymakers are expecting of transportation system and its context in our environment?”
Brahms says that students who are planning to succeed in the future should continually ask themselves the following questions: