Wilson to Keynote AASHTO Agency Meeting

Dr. Shawn Wilson (seen above) – secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development – will be the keynote speaker at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Agency Administration Managing Committee annual conference August 22-25 in Charleston, SC. To register for this conference, click here.

[Above photo by AASHTO]

Wilson – AASHTO’s 2021-2022 president – will discuss “Pathways to Equity” in his keynote address at that meeting; one of the emphasis areas of his one-year term as the organization’s president.

Shawn Wilson. Photo by AASHTO.

To that end, Wilson has advocated for a “new normal” among state departments of transportation to identify and sustain “pathways to equity” throughout the transportation industry.

A “new normal” ensures hiring and promotions will be reflective of the communities state DOTs all serve, enriching the quality of state DOT workplaces while minimizing bias and challenging “unacceptable norms,” he explained.

Wilson added that it also means expanding project development and delivery benefits while ensuring that the negative effects of infrastructure are not concentrated in the communities that look differently than those of project decision makers.

AASHTO’s Agency Administration Conference provides a unique opportunity for participants to collaborate on pressing matters and challenges affecting state departments of transportation and other agencies, while also providing dedicated tracks and sessions for each of the disciplines involved.

Image by AASHTO

The yearly meeting also involves participation by three other AASHTO committees: The Committee on Civil Rights, Committee on Knowledge Management, and Committee on Human Resources, as well as the Agency Administration Equity Task Force and the Agency Administration Subcommittee on Transportation Workforce Management

In addition to Wilson’s keynote speech, the Agency Administration Annual meeting will feature sessions that examine ways to collaborate and build diverse and inclusive transportation organizations and workforces in both the public and private sectors, along with a session on using equity and environmental justice as ‘decision factors’ rather than as a procedural requirements to meet.

That includes a knowledge session sponsored by WSP entitled “From Symbolic to Institutionalized: Using Equity and Environmental Justice as a Decision Factor Rather than a Procedural Requirement,” which features Irene Marion, director of the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Transportation, who will provide an overview of the “Justice 40” initiative.

That session will also feature a slate of state DOT representatives speaking on the topic from various points of view, including equity, civil rights, human resources and knowledge management.

AASHTO Executive Director Jim Tymon will also discuss implementation of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA – enacted in November 2021 – including implementation-related actions taken by AASHTO thus far, as well as addressing IIJA priorities of the near future.

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