The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials recognized 11 state department of transportation individuals, teams, and programs driving positive change in the transportation sector through its annual awards program at the organization’s 2023 Annual Meeting in Indianapolis.
[Above photo by AASHTO]
“These annual awards recognize individuals and teams that demonstrate an unwavering commitment to transportation,” said Jim Tymon, AASHTO executive director, in a statement.
“These award winners continue to make valuable contributions that both strengthen their state DOTs as well as the transportation community as a whole and we thank them for their incredible dedication,” he added.
Moe Jamshidi, deputy director of operations for the Nebraska Department of Transportation, won the Thomas H. MacDonald Memorial Award for his significant contributions to both AASHTO and his agency.
Jamshidi won the award in part for his “fusion” of technical expertise, stakeholder relationship comprehension, executive experience, and long-standing service, which renders him an invaluable asset in the transportation infrastructure landscape.
He made significant industry contributions as chair of the AASHTO Committee on Materials, a position he held from 2012 to 2023. In Nebraska, his contributions include leading transformative projects such as the Lincoln South Beltway, the Heartland Expressway, and the ongoing renovation of US-75.
In the early 2000s, he played a key role in establishing the Nebraska Transportation Center at the University of Nebraska, promoting transportation research, education, and technology dissemination statewide.
Raquelle Lewis, communications director for the Texas Department of Transportation, received the Alfred E. Johnson Achievement Award for her significant contributions in overseeing TxDOT’s communication efforts.
With nearly three decades of experience, she supports the Houston District and has emerged as a prominent figure in the field of transportation communications and public affairs.
Her key achievement involves the $9 billion I-45 North Houston Highway Improvement Project, where she leveraged her communication skills, transportation planning expertise, and community credibility.
Lewis also advocated for improvements addressing historical trauma in environmental justice communities along the project route and fostered dialogue through a Housing and Communities Focus Group, which engaged community leaders, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and other experts to ensure transparency and trust-building.
Finally, TxDOT’s “Houston ConnectSmart” project took home the Francis B. Francois Award for Innovation. TxDOT tackled a variety of transportation challenges with ConnectSmart, a “Mobility-as-a-Service” platform funded by a U.S Department of Transportation grant. The program integrates traffic and mobility data for improved safety and equity, providing real-time alerts for crashes, school zones, low clearance, and bike lanes.
Several state DOT individuals and teams received President’s Transportation Awards at AASHTO’s Annual Meeting as well; awards presented yearly to acknowledge excellence in transportation fields.
Paula Hammond, senior vice president, national transportation market leader at consulting firm WSP, received the President’s Special Award of Merit for her decades of leadership and contributions to the state DOT community. Established in 1979, this award recognizes outstanding and exemplary contributions to the work of AASHTO.
Prior to her time at WSP, Hammond spent 34 years with the Washington State Department of Transportation in various roles, including secretary.
The other President’s Award winners are:
- President’s Award for Administration and Organizational Excellence: North Dakota Department of Transportation’s Technician Training Academy Team;
- President’s Award for Environment and Planning: Maine Department of Transportation’s Family of Plans Development Team;
- President’s Award for Equity: Oregon Department of Transportation’s Social Equity Index Team;
- President’s Award for Mobility: North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Integrated Mobility Division;
- President’s Award for Partnerships: Mike Arellano and Lori Wagner with TxDOT;
- President’s Award for Research: Robert “Sam” Marshall with the Missouri Department of Transportation;
- President’s Award for Safety: California Department of Transportation’s Headquarters Division of Safety Programs.