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UGPTI Awards Honor Transportation Leaders

Posted: Oct 8, 2019

The Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University honored several transportation leaders at its annual awards banquet Thursday, Oct. 3, in Fargo.

Honorees include State Senator Rich Wardner of Dickinson, Don Andersen, retired long-time professor of civil engineering at NDSU, and Tim Horner of Bismarck, a former deputy director of the North Dakota Department of Transportation and current director of the Transportation Learning Network, a multi-state technology transfer initiative within the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute (UGPTI) aimed at state and local transportation workers.

Picture of Senator Rich WardnerRich Wardner received the John M. Agrey Award, the highest award presented by the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute. Wardner has served in the North Dakota Senate since 1999 representing district 37 in the Dickinson area. The award recognizes his visionary leadership and commitment to transportation. Most recently, he championed HB 1066 (Operation Prairie Dog) which provides a legacy of funding for political subdivisions in North Dakota appropriating certainty into the funding process for many years. Historically, Wardner was a key supporter of transportation funding efforts during the oil boom years. He has been Senate majority leader since 2013. He served in the N.D. House from 1991 to 1998. He was a member of the Finance and Tax, Government and Veterans Affairs and Senate Appropriations committees. During the current interim, he is serving as chair of the Energy Development and Transmission Committee.

Wardner is a retired educator and coach and formerly served as the executive director of the Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce. He earned a bachelor's degree from Dickinson State University and a master's degree from Northern State University. Wardner and his wife, Kayleen, have two children and five grandchildren.

The Agrey Award recognizes and honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the state of North Dakota, its citizens and its business community through involvement in transportation. The award is named for John M. Agrey, a pioneer, innovator and advocate for transportation in North Dakota. In his nearly 40-year career with the North Dakota Public Service Commission, Agrey advocated for farmers with untiring dedication toward fair freight rates.

Picture of Don AndersenDon Andersen, professor emeritus of civil engineering at NDSU, received the Chairman's Award. The award recognizes Andersen's long-term commitment to transportation education, research and outreach. He was engineering advisor to many students who went on to successful careers in North Dakota transportation and has served on the selection committee for UGPTI scholarships. Andersen began his teaching career at NDSU in the Department of Civil Engineering in 1977 and retired in 2012. Over the years he taught a variety of courses including land surveying, pavement design, geometric highway design and traffic engineering. He was the director of the ND Local Technical Assistance Program from its inception in 1986 until 2006. Known for his ability to make training and outreach fun, Andersen's quick wit and humor melded with his in-depth technical knowledge proved to be a formula for success and formed the foundation for today's program within UGPTI. Andersen also conducted research with the North Dakota Department of Transportation and was awarded Teacher of the Year in the College of Engineering.

Andersen was a Registered Professional Engineer in North Dakota and Texas. He is a past president of the North Dakota Society of Professional Engineers and the North Dakota Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. In 2012, he received the Elwyn F. Chandler award from the North Dakota Society of Professional Engineers. At various times in his career he served as faculty advisor for the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers student chapters at NDSU.

Andersen grew up on a small farm near Ada, MN. He earned a B.S. in civil engineering from NDSU and a master of engineering degree from Pennsylvania State University. His first engineering position was with the Nebraska Department of Roads in Lincoln, NE. He then worked as a research engineer with the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University and later received a doctor of engineering degree there. He and his wife, Sandra, live in Fargo and have one son, Jeffrey.

The Chairman's Award recognizes individuals for contributions to transportation research, education, and outreach at NDSU, and/or contributions to the viability of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute.

Picture of Tim HornerTim Horner received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Horner joined UGPTI in 2010 and has managed the four-state Transportation Learning Network and coordinated numerous legislative and NDDOT statewide infrastructure and truck studies. The award recognizes Horner's long-term leadership and excellence in service to transportation in North Dakota.

Before joining UGPTI, Horner worked for the North Dakota Department of Transportation for 32 years, serving in various divisions including bridge, design, and planning. He held the position of state bridge engineer from 1998 to 1999. He was assistant chief engineer for transportation programs from 1999 to 2007 and was deputy director for business support from 1997 to 2010. During his time at NDDOT, he initiated the first pavement asset management system and acquired and implemented the first pavement ride and distress van produced by Pathway Services, which has since become a standard across the nation. He conceived and budgeted for the first statewide wetland mitigation bank to speed up highway project delivery. He jointly advanced a NDDOT's bonding effort for accelerating the expansion of U.S. Highway 2 to four lanes and the construction of the Bismarck Memorial Bridge.

Horner grew up on a farm in Logan County, ND, near Napoleon. He attended Bismarck Junior College where he received his associates degree in pre-engineering. He holds a B.S. in civil engineering from NDSU and a master's degree in in public administration from the University of North Dakota. Horner and his wife, Gail, live in Bismarck and have three children.

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual who has had a distinguished career in a transportation-related field. The award is based on long-term professional excellence in the field of transportation and nominees are recognized for their example in upholding professional standards, mentoring other professionals or contributing to day-to-day excellence in their chosen field within transportation.

NDSU Dept 2880P.O. Box 6050Fargo, ND 58108-6050