College of Engineering News Room

Bob Hartnett Inducted into FL Transportation Hall of Fame

Bob Hartnett

L. to R.: Dr. Robert Bertini, CUTR director, Bob Hartnett, and CUTR Advisory Board members Sonny Holtzman and Thornton J. Williams.

Transportation awards event honors the past and looks to the future.

 By Brad Stager

Celebrating the career of a transportation industry advocate and recognizing the achievements of USF students were on the agenda of the 16th annual Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) Transportation Achievement Awards, Nov. 1, at the University of South Florida Embassy Suites Hotel.

The awards presentations and dinner also provided a festive occasion to a quarterly meeting of Transportation & Expressway Authority Membership Florida (TEAMFL), of which this year’s Florida Transportation Hall of Fame inductee, Bob Hartnett, is the President and CEO.

The work of USF students was highlighted with a research poster competition and the presentation of scholarships and awards. This year is the beginning of a new honor, the New Voice in Transportation Award, which recognizes an emerging transportation leader.

Since 1988, CUTR has been conducting and promoting transportation education and research. This year’s awards dinner provided an opportunity to mark the 30th year of the center’s existence, and Director Robert Bertini says it was a chance for people in Florida’s transportation industry to reflect on what has been accomplished and to consider the possibilities ahead.

“Those students who are going to be graduating soon, and will be going into the field, have a chance to learn by talking with the professionals in attendance and also be inspired by the stories of the award winners.”

When Bob Hartnett was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1966, one of the Sunshine State’s biggest transportation concerns was moving tourists between beaches and theme parks.

His tenure in the Florida Legislature, and following career with several state and regional transportation agencies, involved facilitating the financing and development of roads and other transportation infrastructure, that serve residents as well as visitors.

Hartnett expressed his appreciation for the recognition.  “This is a great honor for me, and a great thrill to be inducted into the Florida Transportation Hall of Fame.”

Some of the roadway innovations that Hartnett helped develop for use in Florida include red light cameras and modern roundabouts in lieu of traffic light-controlled intersections.

Academic achievements by CUTR students were recognized with the awarding of three Georgia Brosch Memorial Transportation Scholarships. MD (Mokaddesul) Hoque, Dayna Lazarus and Tyler Roessler are this year’s scholarship recipients.

The Georgia Brosch Memorial Transportation Scholarship is named in memory of the infant daughter of former CUTR Director Gary Brosch and his wife Barbara. The scholarship is funded from donations by individuals and corporations, as well as part of the proceeds from the CUTR Transportation Achievement Awards event.

Also recognized was the overall work of Nicole Tremblay, who was named the 2018 Student of the Year by the National Center for Transit Research. The Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree-seeking student spoke of her academic focus in an acceptance video.

“My primary interests in planning are equity, health and wellness, and food systems.”

The annual awards event has become a CUTR tradition and this year’s edition featured a new award to reflect industry changes.

The New Voice in Transportation Award recognizes people in the early stages of their careers, according to Bertini. He says it is intended to be a way, “To celebrate the diversity in our field and inspire the younger professionals who are out there every day, trying to make an impact on transportation here in Florida.”

Reshawn Fields, a senior transportation planner with the engineering and design firm Atkins, is the inaugural New Voice of Transportation awardee.

“I’ve always been passionate about community development,” she says in her acceptance video.

“And I feel like the transportation factor, specifically providing access for a community to key resources like education and jobs, is key to a healthy and sustainable community.”

Research conducted by CUTR graduate students was showcased in a poster competition, with projects ranging from analyzing how street lighting affects traffic safety to a sinkhole early warning system for roadways. Winners of this year’s competition are MD (Mokaddesul) Hoque (first place), Saeid Soleimaniamiri (second place) and Rakesh Rangaswamy (third place).