Pictured, ARTBA President & CEO Pete Ruane with Dave Gehr, the 2015 recipient of the George S. Bartlett Award and senior vice president/highway market leader at WSP I Parsons Brinckerhoff.

By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

Dave Gehr, senior vice president/highway market leader at WSP I Parsons Brinckerhoff and a member of ARTBA’s executive committee, is the 2015 recipient of the George S. Bartlett Award. He received the honor May 10 at the ARTBA Foundation Awards Luncheon in Washington, D.C., a highlight of the association’s annual Federal Issues Program.

Gehr has “a distinguished record of leadership in the highway industry—in both the public and private sectors, and with a number of our state and national associations—for almost four decades,” ARTBA President and CEO Pete Ruane said in presenting the award.

After earning a Civil Engineering degree at the Virginia Military Institute, Gehr began a three decade career with the Virginia Department of Transportation. In March 1994 he was appointed by the governor as CEO of the 10,000 person agency, a position he held until 1999. Next, Gehr joined Parsons Brinckerhoff, holding several key posts before advancing to his current position.

Gehr was president of the ARTBA Planning and Design Division and serves as the Northeastern Region vice chairman today.

In brief acceptance remarks, Gehr encouraged ARTBA members to get involved and stay involved with the association’s work. He quoted Francis Bacon, reminding members they are “debtors to their profession.”

Gehr vowed to stay involved as an industry advocate and mentor, though his career is “winding down.”

Established in 1931, and co-sponsored by ARTBA, the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, the Bartlett Award recognizes an individual who “has made an outstanding contribution to highway progress.”

The award is named for the man regarded as the greatest single influence on the use of concrete roads in the United States. During his career, Bartlett was lauded by contemporaries in the concrete and highway industry for his energetic and innovative promotion of concrete roads.

Other winners over the past 85 years have included Thomas MacDonald, who led the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads from 1919 until 1953; Robert Moses, the “Master Builder” of New York City; William Randolph Hearst, the legendary newspaper publisher who advocated for a national roadbuilding program; Frank Turner, who helped President Eisenhower lay the foundation for the Interstate Highway construction program; plus seven members of Congress, numerous U.S. secretaries of transportation, federal highway administrators, state highway chief executives, and private sector leaders.