Volpe Center Year in Review 2010« Previous | Table of Contents | Next »
The Volpe Center remains committed to organizational excellence. The strength of the organization is its people — their knowledge, experience, enterprise, perspective, and commitment. In the last two years, the Volpe Center has recruited and hired over 125 highly qualified staff members and co-op students in a range of technical disciplines spanning economics, community planning, operations research analysis, information technology, and aerospace, civil, and mechanical engineering.
The Volpe Center has embraced the principles of open government — and has worked this year to make its transportation library collection accessible and transparent. At the same time, ensuring sound financial management, delivering innovative acquisition services, providing key resources to the small-business community, and standing out as an exemplary environmental steward have remained key objectives.
Worth noting — this year the Volpe Center received over $280 million in new obligation authority funding from its sponsors, representing the largest amount of annual new work in its 40-year history.
Two New Deputy Associate Administrators Named at the Volpe Center
Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) Administrator Peter H. Appel announced selections for two key posts at the Volpe Center this year: Deputy Associate Administrator for Research, Innovation and Technology and Deputy Associate Administrator for Operations. Both positions report to Robert Johns, Associate Administrator and Director of the Volpe Center.
Anne Aylward, Deputy Associate Administrator for Research, Innovation and Technology
“Anne brings over 30 years of experience in transportation planning, policy, and research management, and is a nationally recognized expert in intermodal transportation planning and operations issues. Her extensive credentials position her well to take on this new challenge and lead the Volpe Center's Centers of Innovation (COIs), which encompass all of the research, innovation, technology, and transportation program analysis functions performed by the Volpe Center for Federal, state, local, international, and other organizations with transportation-related missions,” said Administrator Appel.
“Anne has extensive multimodal, interdisciplinary, and multisector experience, with years of success in working across those boundaries,” said Volpe Center Director Robert Johns.
Most recently, Aylward served as director of the Multimodal Systems Research and Analysis COI and as Acting Director of the Advanced Vehicle and Information Network Systems COI.
At the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), Aylward served as port director for 10 years. She was also the first chairwoman of the American Association of Port Authorities. Since her initial Federal appointment at the Volpe Center in 2006, Aylward has developed a solid record of achievement in collaborating with colleagues inside and outside of the Center. Her work has consisted of hiring staff and helping them with professional development as well as facilitating transportation systems assessment and technology deployment.
Aylward has a master's degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a bachelor's degree in history from Radcliffe. She has served on several committees of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences and was named Woman of the Year by the national Women's Transportation Seminar.
David Ishihara, Deputy Associate Administrator for Operations
RITA Administrator Peter H. Appel recently announced the selection of David Ishihara as the Volpe Center's new Deputy Associate Administrator for Operations. “Dave's significant record of achievement in a number of senior management roles positions him well to lead the Volpe Center's internal business activities and programs, which encompass human resources, acquisition, information technology, and real property and facilities management. His in-depth knowledge of the transportation field combined with his operations management experience provide an ideal skill set for understanding the operations issues facing the Volpe Center,” said RITA Administrator Appel.
“Dave brings an enthusiasm for public service, a strong interest in learning and innovation, a focus on people and relationships, and an excitement about the unique role of the Volpe Center,” stated Mr. Johns. Ishihara has nearly 20 years of experience in airport management and transportation security, starting as Assistant Airport Manager of the Portland, Maine, International Jetport. Most recently, Ishihara was Director of Aviation Operations for Massport at Logan Airport, the nineteenth largest airport in the U.S. There, he was responsible for all landside, terminal, and airside operations and managed over 360 employees.
Prior to joining Massport, he spent five years with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Transportation Security Administration (TSA), where he was involved in the startup operations of this newly established agency. He received the Distinguished Federal Executive of the Year Award for his DHS work. Ishihara advanced to the position of Deputy Director in Boston, with more than 1,000 employees. Subsequently, he served as Director of the TSA in Hartford, Connecticut, with over 330 employees and an area of responsibility that included the entire State of Connecticut.
Ishihara also worked for three years as Civil Aviation Security Field Office Manager and Federal Security Manager with the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration in Boston. Ishihara holds a bachelor's degree in aviation management from the Florida Institute of Technology.
Volpe Center Ambassador Program Promotes Diversity Outreach
The Volpe Center launched the new Volpe Center Ambassador Program this year in order to promote diversity outreach and the hiring of veterans, people with disabilities, and individuals from underrepresented populations. As part of the program, the Volpe Center hosted a Careers in Transportation Diversity Fair in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month and Disability Awareness Month. The event included exhibits and presentations on student programs and the Federal job application process. Participants represented a diverse mix of professional and college organizations, including the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), the Society of Latino Engineers and Scientists (SOLES), the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), local university and career offices for Veterans Affairs and employment groups, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Rehabilitation Center.
The Volpe Center also hosted a Professional Society Reception, with participants from the Boston chapters of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES). Other participants included members of NSBE, SWE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Boston Society of Civil Engineers.
For both events, Volpe Center operations and technical staff served as the Center's ambassadors.
The Center exhibited its technical work in many areas, including vehicle safety, traffic flow management, and information technology (IT). The Volpe Center's Human Resources recruitment team and the Equal Employment Opportunity manager coordinated this important effort.
Ensuring a Trusted Internet Connection
During Fiscal Year 2010, the Volpe Center's Information Technology Division participated in U.S. DOT's Trusted Internet Connection (TIC) implementation, mandated by the Office of Management and Budget. The installation and usage of TIC is part of an overall initiative to improve the Federal government's security posture and incident-response capability through the reduction and consolidation of external Internet connections, also known as employees' Internet points of presence to a target total of 50 throughout all Federal agencies.
Working with the DHS's National Cyber Security Division and the U.S. DOT's Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST), Volpe's Internet outbound and inbound data networking traffic is now sent through two high-capacity telephony circuits to a TIC access point.
These new connections allow for a centralized entity to manage Internet traffic, ingress and egress points, which include packet and data filtering, Intrusion Detection System/Intrusion Prevention System (IDS/IPS), and logging, auditing, and reporting capabilities. Volpe's in-house networking and information system security support personnel continue to monitor internal network traffic as well as bandwidth utilization statics on its IDS/IPS systems. Based on bandwidth utilization metrics, requests for additional bandwidth may be submitted to OST in the future.
Embracing New Efficiencies with U.S. DOT's SBIR Program
The Volpe Center manages U.S. DOT's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. SBIR is a highly competitive program that encourages small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides them with the incentive to profit from commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation's research and development (R&D) arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific R&D needs.
In 2010, the Volpe Center worked with U.S. DOT and the White House to help the Small Business Administration (SBA) meet its goals and objectives. In the summer, the Administration set a new direction for the Federal SBIR program, which impacted its pace and structure. New initiatives, such as SBA's SBIR 2.0, were introduced government-wide in an effort to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the overall program.
The SBIR program will implement three SBIR 2.0 initiatives. These initiatives will introduce new efficiencies in processing Phase II contract awards; leverage U.S. DOT research by using a proven SBIR technology-transfer approach to further innovation, established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology; and establish a Phase IIB bridge financing program, which will provide additional time and funding to further develop innovations geared toward commercial applications.
By the time that SBIR 2.0 was officially rolled out in September 2010, the SBIR program had been cited as a Shared Best Practice in making improvements that support innovative entrepreneurs.
In Fiscal Year 2010, the SBIR program solicited small-business proposals on 18 topics and made 17 Phase I and 9 Phase II awards totaling over $7.4 million. The topics were developed and funded by the Federal Highway Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, Federal Transit Administration, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, and Federal Aviation Administration.
Five New IT Support Contracts Awarded
The Volpe Center relies on contractor support to respond effectively to the constantly shifting transportation-related requirements of its sponsors and to augment its in-house IT expertise and staff. In early September 2010, the Volpe Center awarded five task-order contracts for Volpe-Transportation Information Project Support (V-TRIPS). The total estimated value of these contracts over the five-year award period is $234 million.
The five companies listed in the box below demonstrate capabilities and experience related to existing technologies and methodologies that address current transportation systems issues. Moreover, they address cutting-edge technologies and methodologies that show promise in transforming the future of the transportation systems enterprise. These contractors bring a strong knowledge of and experience in transportation systems and functions in the IT work-requirement areas of systems analysis, development, operations and maintenance, deployment, and field support; systems architecture and framework; facility and operations support; information systems security; and technology assessment and modernization. It is anticipated that the first task orders under the new V-TRIPS contracts will be issued in early 2011.
New Volpe Library Embraces Accessibility and Knowledge-Sharing
The Volpe Center's Technical Library and Information Center celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony this year. The new location officially opened in October during the 40th Anniversary Celebration in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The ceremony marked a new and improved library with a revamped website, emphasizing searchability and electronic delivery of resources as well as modernization of the library space.
A new partnership with the National Transportation Library (NTL) and the U.S. DOT Library further supports the Volpe Center's efforts to make the knowledge base more open to the greater transportation research community. A major feature is the library's new publications search engine. The Volpe Center's catalogue holdings will also be available through the U.S. DOT's Library catalogue, and full text of Volpe publications is being made accessible through NTL.
In addition to becoming more accessible to transportation stakeholders, the new library provides a modern space for seminars and meetings for staff and visitors. The library is now better positioned to serve as a vital knowledge-sharing hub for transportation professionals. Plans are currently underway to more prominently showcase the work of our technical experts through greater access to publications and increased dialogue with staff.
Visit the new Volpe Center Library website featuring a Spotlight where new reports and publications written by Volpe Center staff are highlighted. Subscribe to our RSS Feed to stay up-to-date on new Volpe Center publications.