US Secretary of Transportation (ret) Norman Mineta to receive lifetime achievement award in Washington DC on January 9

Honor comes from the national Council of University Transportation Centers
January 7, 2016
San José, CA

US Secretary of Transportation (ret.) Norman Mineta will be honored with a lifetime achievement award from the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) at its awards banquet at the Marriott Marquis in Washington DC on January 9, 2016. The award will honor Secretary Mineta’s long and distinguished career, including two Cabinet positions, service in the US Congress, his role in transportation education and research, his achievements in transportation security, and his leadership in transportation workforce development. While serving in Congress, he also founded the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) at San Jose (Calif.) State University. For more information, go to

Nuria Fernandez, chair of the MTI Board of Trustees and CEO of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, said, “We all take great pride in having Secretary Mineta as our leader and the source of our inspiration to ensure that every American has access to safe and reliable mobility. The nation is fortunate to have had a visionary like Norm serving in so many leadership positions.”

Secretary Mineta has a distinguished public career

Rod Diridon, emeritus executive director of MTI, said, “Secretary Mineta founded MTI when he chaired the Surface Transportation Subcommittee of the US House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. During that time, he was a key author of the landmark Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA). This visionary legislation posed a major change to transportation planning and policy as the first US federal legislation on the subject in the post­-Interstate Highway System era. We are grateful to have him still actively involved with the Institute.”

Secretary Mineta’s leadership in the George W. Bush administration as longest serving secretary of transportation followed his service in the Bill Clinton administration as secretary of commerce. Most importantly, Secretary Mineta has shared his insight and leadership since the time he was elected to the San Jose, Calif. city council in 1969 and his subsequent roles as mayor and congress member.

As a young boy, he was interned along with more than 100,000 other Japanese­Americans during World War II. Following the war’s end, he joined the US military service during the Korean conflict before working in the family’s insurance business and later entering public life. Secretary Mineta acted decisively on September 11, 2001 when he directed all flights over US airspace to land immediately, and he secured the Canadian government’s cooperation in diverting incoming international flights to Canada. Subsequently, Secretary Mineta played the leading role in establishing the Transportation Security Administration. In 2002 the City of San Jose dedicated its airport as the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport.

Two SJSU/MTI students earn CUTC academic awards

CUTC will also honor an MTI Master of Science in Transportation Management (MSTM) student. Ben Lichty was selected as the MTI 2015 Student of the Year because of his 4.0 GPA and his 12­year career in transportation infrastructure planning and implementation. He is a senior transportation planner in the Division of Commercial Planning and Integration for the California High­-Speed Rail Authority.

The ​Neville A. Parker Award ​is given annually in a national competition for the outstanding non­thesis paper in policy and planning in transportation studies. This year’s recipient is Rebecca Walters, who recently completed the graduate program in Urban and Regional Planning at San Jose State University. Her paper is titled, “Walking and Cycling in San Francisco: Identifying Underserved Locations that are Particularly Receptive to Non­Motorized Transport via the Pedestrian and Bicycling Survey.” It pinpoints locations in San Francisco with demographic and environmental characteristics that are particularly well suited to active travel but which lack basic infrastructure or facilities. Ms. Walters is employed by the City of Sausalito, California in its Community Development Department.

MTI has a distinguished history of CUTC awards

MTI students and administrators have won numerous CUTC awards. The most recent winners include:

2014 Neville A. Parker Award for Policy and Planning: Ms. Deanna Smith received the award for her paper, "Establishing Citizen Advisory Committees to Enhance the Public Hearing Process and Increase the Social Capital of Small Urban Public Transit Operators".

2014 US DOT Outstanding Student of the Year for MTI/SJSU: Allie Scrivener, a Caltrans employee, was awarded for her MSTM academic performance. She later became class valedictorian.

2014 Outstanding Administrative Leadership Award: MTI Executive Director Karen Philbrick, PhD, won this award for her exemplary leadership of a member University Transportation Center.

2013 Lifetime Achievement in Transportation Research & Education Award: MTI Emeritus Executive Director Rod Diridon received this coveted award given only to those who have reached the pinnacle of excellence in transportation careers.

2013 US DOT Outstanding Student of the Year for MTI/SJSU: Naomi Armenta was awarded for her MSTM scholastic achievement and for her advocacy for people with disabilities. She later became class valedictorian.

2013 Neville A. Parker Award for Policy and Planning: Martin Barna won the honor for his paper, "Evaluation of Service Design Characteristics for Current BRT and Local Bus Service in Santa Clara County and Other Urban Corridors".


The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) conducts research, education, and information transfer programs regarding surface transportation policy and management issues, especially related to transit. Congress established MTI in 1991 as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act. MTI won national re­designation competitions in 2002, 2006, and 2012. The Institute is funded through the US Department of Transportation, the US Department of Homeland Security, the California Department of Transportation, and public and private grants. The internationally respected members of the MTI Board of Trustees represent all major surface transportation modes. MTI, the lead institute for the nine­university Mineta National Transit Research Consortium, is affiliated with San Jose (CA) State University’s College of Business. 


Donna Maurillo
MTI Communications Director
831­-234-­4009 (24 hours – Media only)