Zaki flew in this past Wednesday and attended our North Cental ITE section breakfast meeting on Thursday. I had the please of picking him up at the airport and having dinner with him.
It turns out Zaki and I are kindred spirits. He got in trouble during his campaign for having a Facebook account, even though he wasn't campaigning on it!
Zaki also believes ITE needs major changes. Here are a few things he mentioned -
- Campaigning for International VP – he intends to change the rules to allow electronic communication.
- Winter Technical Conference – it's being scrapped (the 2013 one is being held and 2014 may need to be held because of contracts).
- ITE Journal – Needs to be majorly revamped to be relevant.
- Hard Copies – Wants to have publications go much more electronic.
- Institute of Transportation Engineers – We need to change our name to reflect being a group of transportation professionals, not just engineers (I thought this didn't matter, but our speaker at the NCITE meeting is a planner from MnDOT and he didn't think he could be a member of ITE – the Engineers part does really matter).
- Reduce Travel – Use GoToMeeting, webinars and other tools to connect people while eliminating travel costs. Apparently ITE staff have done a fair amount of international travelling in the past, with very little results.
He got me pretty excited about ITE (his enthusiasm is contagious), but it's going to take several years of progressive leadership to get ITE to evolve into the organization I think it should be. This includes succession planning for the staff leadership since the top three staff members are all near retirement age.
I'll keep writing about ITE because I do still care about the Institute (even though the legal reaction by staff to the online petition was ridiculous). I'm also considering going through the process to be an official candidate for the international vice-president next year. To quote Zaki's catchphrase, "Together we are the Best!" Stay tuned….