Home Skip to main content

UGPTI Annual Awards Banquet Set

Posted: Sep 26, 2007

The Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute (UGPTI) at North Dakota State University will hold its annual awards banquet Thursday, Oct. 11 at the Fargo Holiday Inn.

Tickets for the banquet are $30 and should be ordered by Oct. 5 by calling (701)231-7767. Awards at the banquet will recognize Jon Mielke, UGPTI researcher and former executive secretary of the North Dakota Public Service Commission; Dennis W. McLeod, former UGPTI board member and retired railroad executive; and former North Dakota Governor George Sinner. Four NDSU students will also be awarded scholarships at the banquet.

Picture of Jon MielkeJon Mielke will receive the Agrey Award, the UGPTI's highest honor. The award is named for John M. Agrey, a transportation pioneer and advocate for transportation in North Dakota. The award recognizes Mielke's leadership and service to transportation in North Dakota.

Mielke earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and a master's degree in public administration from the University of North Dakota. In 1980, Mielke began a 23-year career with the North Dakota Public Service Commission. He has served in a number of positions with the commission including assistant director of traffic division, director of traffic division, assistant director of transportation division, director of licensing division, administrative hearing officer and finally as executive secretary and director of licensing division.

In 2004, Mielke left the commission to become an associate research fellow for the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute. He primarily focuses on personal mobility issues related to small urban and rural areas. Mielke and his wife Carol have been married for 28 years and have two children. The Mielkes are licensed foster parents and were honored in 2006 as North Dakota's outstanding foster parents.

Picture of Dennis McLeodDennis W. McLeod will receive the UGPTI's Lifetime Achievement Award. The award recognizes his leadership in the railroad industry and his service as a member of the UGPTI's advisory board. McLeod is a native of Richland County, ND, and earned bachelor's and master's degrees in agricultural economics from NDSU. From 1968 to 1987, McLeod served as director of grain marketing, government affairs and government and consumer products for the Great Northern Railway and Burlington Northern Railroad. From 1987 to 2001, McLeod served as executive vice president, president and consultant for the Red River Valley and Western Railroad. During his time there, revenue carloads increased from 19,000 to 35,000 and the railroad was recognized as the Outstanding Regional Railroad in the United States in 1997. McLeod was a member of the UGPTI advisory board of directors for 10 years, serving as chairman for five years. He is married and has two children and five granddaughters. He retired in 2001 to Ottertail Lake, Minn. and Surprise, Ariz.

Picture of George SinnerGeorge Sinner will receive the UGPTI Chairman's Award. The award recognizes Sinners efforts on behalf of the UGPTI and transportation in the region, particularly during his time as governor but also through his involvement in transportation and public policy throughout his career.

Sinner is a native of Casselton and earned a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn. Following two years in the U.S. Air Force, Sinner returned to Casselton to become involved in the family farm. Sinner served the 10th District in the North Dakota State Senate from 1962-1966. He won a seat in the North Dakota House of Representatives in 1982, and was elected governor in 1984 and served for two terms. During his tenure, he was an active member of the National Governors' Association. He chaired the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, and was co-chair of the United States-Canada Task Force from 1986-1987. He also became the first North Dakota Governor to chair the 29 state Interstate Oil Compact Commission.

Following his second term, Sinner served as Vice President of Public and Government Relations for the Crystal Sugar Company in Moorhead, Minnesota. Throughout his career, he remained active in his farming operation near Casselton. Sinner has been active in a number of professional, educational, and civic groups. He served as the first President for the Red River Valley Sugarbeet Growers Association. He was also a founder and the first chairman of the Northern Crops Institute, a four state international marketing and educational organization headquartered at NDSU. Sinner and his wife, Elizabeth, have 10 children.

Daniel Leek Geu, a senior in agricultural economics from Fargo, will be awarded the Paul E.R. Abrahamson Scholarship. The scholarship is named for Paul Abrahamson a champion for North Dakota agriculture who served as the first administrator of the North Dakota Wheat Commission. Transportation Engineering Scholarships will be awarded to David Bruins, a senior in civil engineering from Watford City, N.D.; Michael Grundman, a senior in civil engineering from Osakis, Minn. and Joshual Loegering, a senior in civil engineering from Milaca, Minn.

All of the $1,500 scholarships are funded by the Mountain-Plains Consortium through a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation's University Transportation Centers program.

Published in NDSU's staff newsletter
It's Happening at State
Sept. 26, 2007

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