Making a Difference, One IRF Fellow at a Time

66th Class of IRF Fellows Takes Part in Unique Leadership Course

30 IRF Fellows representing 22 countries as diverse as Haiti, Kenya and Indonesia took part in the International Road Federation’s Road Scholar Program in January 2015. Timed with the Transportation Research Board’s Annual Meeting, the program is an annual ten-day leadership and orientation course which brings together the new class of IRF Fellows in Washington, D.C. for a behind-the-scenes look at the transportation industry.

“Purdue is one of the partner universities of the IRF, and a number of people I work with have gone through the Fellowship Program and have had great experiences,” said Steven Lavrenz, one of the Fellows who took part in the program. “I’ve known for a while that I want to work with developing countries after I graduate, and I thought this would be a great way to push forward that career goal.”

The Program is designed to enhance Fellows’ leadership skills and provide valuable insight into the transport policy priorities and processes through visits to prominent international organizations and meetings with industry leaders, giving them the tools and networks to become more effective road professionals in their home countries.

Another incoming Fellow, Jose Ortega who studies pavement construction engineering at the University of Southern California gave indications on what he intends to do with the sum of knowledge accumulated in the program, “I am going to go back to my home country – Ecuador – and reach out to the universities to trigger a multiplier effect with my knowledge. I want to encourage more students to take part in this program so that global best practices are applied much faster than is the case today.”

For the community of IRF members, the road scholar program is the perfect opportunity to connect with the Fellows, many of whom have gone on to remarkable careers. Stressing the business value of the program, past IRF Chairman Brian Stearman noted, “IRF Fellows rank among the best hires we have made. These people are intelligent, are high caliber and excel at what they do.”

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