State DOT Personnel Win Two National ATSSA Awards

The American Traffic Safety Services Association presented personnel from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Utah Department of Transportation with two awards as part of the 51stth Annual Convention & Traffic Expo.

[John Leonard at left and David Kuniega at right in photo above. Photos courtesy of ATSSA.]

John Leonard

In a statement, the group said John Leonard, the Utah DOT’s traffic management division operations engineer, received ATSSA’s national safety award in recognition of his efforts to improve roadway safety via the deployment of solutions within the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

Jay Ruegner, regional sales manager at Wanco Inc. of Arvida, CO, nominated Leonard for the award for his work on a wrong way driving prevention initiative in Utah, incident management efforts, and driver awareness education.

David Kuniega, PennDOT’s chief chemist, received ATSSA’s “Mark of Excellence” award for his contributions to the advancement of roadway safety infrastructure through improved pavement markings.

David Kuniega

Kuniega is a longtime chair of both the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Subcommittee on Materials and its National Transportation Product Evaluation Program or NTPEP Pavement Marking Committee. He also participates in ATSSA Pavement Marking Committee meetings where he provides detailed reports from his work at AASHTO and NTPEP.

Kuniega, who retired this month, is a decade-long “recognized leader” in the pavement marking industry known for his leadership and integrity within the state DOT community, which enabled industry input into the development and maintenance of national material specifications and testing protocols, said in nominating him.

“It is well known within the pavement marking industry that David has single-handedly opened doors to allow industry input to improve the AASHTO specifications as well as the NTPEP testing protocols,” noted Paul Carlson, chief technology officer at Road Infrastructure Inc., who nominated Kuniega for the award.

“His national leadership is felt within every state DOT as well as by every striping contractor and material manufacture,” Carlson said. “The nation’s highways are safer than ever, partly because of dedicated leaders like David.”

Carlson himself received ATSSA’s Industry Achievement Award – the association’s highest honor and given to an ATSSA member who achieves distinction deemed worthy of special recognition and who has made significant contributions to the roadway safety infrastructure industry.

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