President’s Message: 2016 in Review

As the year 2016 came to an end, everyone seemed relieved and  happy to put what had been a tumultuous year behind them, and to cross their fingers for better things to come.

But as I reflect on this past year and the state of NCSITE, I cannot help but be proud and honored that our professional organization experienced quite the opposite type of year in 2016.  With the solid groundwork laid by past Board leadership, NCSITE stands as strong as it has ever been.  2016 was a time period marked by successful programming, financial strength, and organizational stability.  While I would love to take credit for this prosperity, the truth is that is it the direct result of a cumulative effort from your Board of Directors.  The level of energy, time, and coordination that the eleven voting members, two district reps, and half dozen committee chairs devote to NCSITE every month, every year, is tremendous.  It helps sustain a member base that now stands at over 550, including students.  Thank you to all the officers who give of their time to NCSITE, and who helped contribute to our accomplishments listed below.

 

>> Successful Programming: 2016 provided NCSITE members one of the strongest technical programs in its history.   A total of over 120 attendees took part in the SIMCAP User Group and Joint NCSITE/ITS Carolinas meetings early in the year, both hosted at the amazing NCSU James Hunt Library.  The Section hosted three separate Transmodeler Training sessions throughout the year in partnership with NCDOT, and helped educate 40 professionals from all over the State on the software.  As always, the Transportation Planning Council and the Annual Meeting Program Committee provided informative programs covering diverse topics at the respective Midyear and Annual Meetings.   The Section as co-host has also helped develop what will be an exciting and fulfilling schedule for this May’s TRB Urban Streets Symposium in Raleigh.

>> Financial Strength:  With responsible budgeting and the development of new annual sponsorships, NCSITE continues to be able to support our students with generous scholarships while providing services and meetings to its Members and Affiliates at incredibly reasonable prices.  Thanks to our annual and meeting sponsors and vendors for helping make this possible.  Our financial standing this year also allowed us to hire professional meeting planners to assist with the Annual Meeting, lessening the heavy burden that organizing committee members have taken on in years past at the expense of time at work and with their family.

> Organizational Stability:  With the new Board structure approved in last year’s Bylaw changes, the duties and responsibilities of leading NCSITE have been shared more equally across all Board members.   There are now more positions for both Members and Affiliates to serve in, presenting great opportunities for service and leadership development.  The stability and strength of our leadership has cemented our Section as one of the strongest in the District, and as a model to other Sections.

 

The ongoing stability and coordination on the Board will be important to the continued development of our organization.  We still have room for improvement when it comes to recruiting members, enhancing Section communications, and providing better fellowship events.  But hope springs eternal, because in the past year we have made strides towards a better NCSITE, with the graduation of nine members from the Mentor Program, the creation of the Young Members Committee, further discussions towards adding a student chapter at UNC, and efforts towards the creation of the Legacy Scholarship Fund.  These accomplishments will help frame this year’s discussions at the Strategic Initiatives Council as they work to develop a new Strategic Plan that sets the course for our Section for the next five years.  I hope all our Members and Affiliates will take some time to volunteer and take part in these new programs and initiatives, because their success depends on participation and input.

In closing, I say “thank you”–the Members and Affiliates of NCSITE–for giving me the opportunity to humbly serve you and be at the helm over what proved to be a a great year.  Best of luck to President Mike Surasky as he takes the wheel , and here’s to another prosperous and successful year in 2017.