RAC Task Force on Administration
July 15, 2013
Governor Room, Hilton Capitol Center
Attendees: Steve Pepin (co-chair), Allison Hardt (co-chair), Clint Adler, Michael Bonini, Michael Bufalino, Cynthia Gerst, Chris Hedges, Rick Kreider, Chris Jolly, Jim McDonnell, Skip Paul, Dale Peabody, Amy Schutzbach, Dawn Vanlandingham, James Watkins.
Meeting notes from June 25, 2013 Conference Call
A MOTION (Clint Adler/Amy Schutzbach) to accept the previous meeting notes was APPROVED.
RAC Winter Meeting Survey – Allison Hardt.
At the last January meeting of RAC, a number of members expressed dissatisfaction with various aspects of the meeting, including the time, format, and content. As a result, Skip Paul asked the Task Force to survey RAC members regarding their satisfaction with the typical January meeting and their interest in possible alternatives.
While there was no overwhelming dissatisfaction with the current format, a majority of the survey recipients were favorable to trying a different approach. In summary, RAC members expressed an interest in more meaningful discussion and interaction, presentations on high-priority topics, and more time for regional and task force breakouts. The lateness of the meeting is also a key concern.
A suggestion was made to encourage SCOR members to participate in the January RAC meeting. Since it takes place during the TRB annual meeting, the January RAC meeting presents a real opportunity to bring together research managers, CEOs, and Chief Engineers for useful dialog. One suggestion was that RAC members prepare a list of issues and questions around which a panel discussion could be organized. If specific recommendations can be developed by mid-October, they could be raised at the upcoming December SCOR.
The January meeting could also be a good venue for SCOR and RAC members to discuss research needs in the next highway reauthorization bill.
It was also suggested to investigate whether rooms were available for Task Force and Regional meetingsat times other than the Sunday evening slot.
The task force will develop recommendations for the January meeting in time for discussion at the August RAC Officers call. A decision by the RAC Officers would need to be made in the October-November time frame.
SCOR/RAC Website Working Group - Cynthia Gerst
Ms. Gerst reported that much progress has been made in the past six months. The working group has a clear mission and is making some valuable changes to the website. Using a web conference format for the monthly calls has been very helpful. Breakfast meetings will be held from 7:00 – 8:00 am on Wednesday and Thursday this week.
The new member from Oregon – Michael Bufalino – asked how many new RAC members tended to accept the mentoring. Initially, he found he was too busy learning his own job to focus on RAC activities and responsibilities.
A suggestion was made to develop a RAC 101 webinar that could be give new members and posted on the website for future reference.
It was agreed to develop a checklist of mentoring activities to help mentors ensure that all topics were covered. Chris Hedges agreed to develop a first draft of the checklist for review by Cynthia Gerst and Allison Hardt. The checklist will be reviewed by the full task force during it’s conference call on August 27th.
It was agreed to make sure that the link in Chris Jenks’ new member welcome letter goes to the new member handbook, not just the home page.
RAC 101 Debriefing – comments and suggestions
- More time should be provided for questions and interaction.
- Should all presenters be RAC members?
- Different room setups will facilitate more discussion and interaction.
- Presenters should give brief (no more than five minute) overviews of their topics to leave plenty of time for questions and discussion.
- Consider reducing the number of presentations.
- An abbreviated PowerPoint presentation will help keep the speakers to a shorter time limit.
- Questions could be taken in the full group or presenters could move to different parts of the room for “mini-breakouts”.
- Consider asking for questions in advance from new RAC members.
- Consider asking the mentor to sit with their mentoree during RAC 101.
- Consider holding a RAC 101 Webinar before the annual meeting and using the time at the annual meeting for a Q&A session or a “mixer”.
It was agreed that the Steve Pepin and Allison Hardt would lead an effort to re-structure RAC 101 for next year’s meeting in Madison, WI.
Research Fact Sheets
It was agreed that a link to their research office will be provided for states that have not yet submitted a fact sheet.
Sequence for Transportation Research, Analytics, and Implementation
Given Ron Curb’s absence, this topic was tabled for a future meeting.
The Task Force will be recruiting new members over the coming weeks.
There was discussion on which task force meetings were held concurrently and whether this should be alternated in future years. It would be helpful to poll RAC members to see which two task force meetings they would prefer to attend.
Next conference call
July 30th, 2013 at 1:30 pm.