Business Advisory Committee - Spring 2008 Meeting

Tuesday, April 9 2008: Patterson Lecture



7:30 PM

America's Transportation Challenge - Slides (PDF)

27th Annual William A. Patterson Lecture
Matthew K. Rose
Chairman & CEO, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad
Member, National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission

Mr. Rose reviewed the work of the commission in the context of BNSF's and the industry's growth projections. The commission's recommendations go well beyond the much publicized gas tax hike to include priorities for procedural reform and infrastructure rebuilding.

Video: High Quality | Fast Load (You may need to Install Quicktime to view the video)

Wednesday, April 10 2008: BAC Meeting



8:00 AM

Call to Order

BAC Chair Justin Zubrod presiding

8:10 AM


Julio Ottino, Dean of the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science

Dean Ottino shared the latest gains in national rankings by a great number of Northwestern programs. He also asked the BAC to help Northwestern by spreading the good news.

8:15 AM

Report from the Provost's Office

Ronald Braeutigam, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies

Long-time friend of the Transportation Center Prof. Braeutigam outlined a number of new interdisciplinary initiatives underway, including programs joining Kellogg, McCormick, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Law School.

8:30 AM

Transportation Center Report

Joseph Schofer, Interim Director, and
Hani Mahmassani, Patterson Chair in Transportation

Prof. Schofer reviewed our recent run in student awards and achievement, an Eno Transportation Fellowship for Kellogg student Mark Ahasic, an ASCE Illinois award for Zitao Zhang, an ITE Illinois scholarship for Emily Kushto, and the International Road Federation Executive Fellowship for Pat Sarutipand.

Prof. Mahmassani shared the floor with Aaron Gellman to briefly discuss their recent executive education offered at the Panama Canal Authority, and plans to revive the Transportation Center's Executive Education Programs.

9:00 AM

Introduction of New Faculty and their Research

David Dana, Professor and Associate Dean, Northwestern School of Law

Prof. Dana discussed his work on climate change regulation, including his efforts to convene an interdisciplinary working group--including engineers and lawyers--to study implementation issues at the federal, state and local levels.

Diego Klabjan, Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering and Management Science

Prof. Klabjan discussed his work on transportation business intelligence. His work revolves around making sense of data: data mining, analytics, and decision support systems. He discussed work for FedEx Express, Sabre Holdings, and NASA.

9:45 AM

Panel: Surface Transportation Revenue & Policy Commission Report

R. Leo Penne
Program Director for Intermodal and Industry Activities, AASHTO

Mr. Penne suggested that it is time to move beyond talk. The report is filled with detail, much of which will never make it into policy debates. But the thrust of the report, that there is a crisis in infrastructure funding and that there are numerous reasonable approaches to mitigate it, merits support now. He called for the creation of a "surface transportation infrastructure advocacy collective."

Thomas Hoback
CEO, Indiana Railroad
BAC Member

Beyond lauding the work of the commission, Mr. Hoback offered a cautionary tale of unintended consequences. He reminded the audience of the financial stress caused to the railroad industry by the massive public investment in the Eisenhower highway system.

William Millar
President, American Public Transit Association
BAC Member

Mr. Millar argued that, although he disagreed with some of the report, the commission got a lot of things right, for example:

  • long-term perspective

  • maintenance first

  • intermodalism

  • the need to accelerate investment

  • performance-based management

James Burnley

Partner, Venable LLP
Former Secretary of Transportation in the Reagan Administration
BAC Member

Referring to the March 20, 2008, issue from, Mr. Burnley observed that the Revenue & Policy report was one of two required by SAFETEA-LU, and is but one of a number of infrastructure initiatives such as the Dodd-Hagel bill to create a National Infrastructure Bank and the Building America's Future Coalition of state governors. Mr. Burnley considered the Revenue & Policy Commission Report a good catalog of options, but well short of revolutionary.

11:00 AM

Global Economic Perspectives

Adam Inselbuch
Managing Director, Credit Suisse Global Industrial and Services Group
BAC Member

Mr. Inselbuch elucidated the causes of the ongoing credit crunch, and shared economic projections from his own firm and others.

Justin Zubrod
Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton
BAC Chair

Justin reviewed the activities and progress at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos. He urged his fellow transportation professionals to participate in future WEFs.
Presentation (PDF)

12:15 PM

Introduction of Transportation Students

12:30 PM

Adjournment followed by a buffet lunch with Northwestern transportation students.