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Staff Hired at Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute

Posted: May 24, 2022

During the past several months, the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at NDSU hired staff to fill vacant and new positions and several post-doctoral research positions.

Hamad Al Qublan joined UGPTI in November as a post-doctoral research specialist in UGPTI's Small Urban and Rural Center of Mobility in 2021. His research will focus on the role of public transportation in increasing food access and decreasing food insecurity, food access, and food deserts issues in rural and small urban areas of the United States as well as improving food access for Native Americans. Al Qublan earned a graduate degree certificate in statistics and a Ph.D. in Transportation and Logistics from NDSU. His dissertation focused on the logistics of the North Dakota local food system. He holds an MBA from the University of Dallas with dual concentrations in global business and marketing. He also earned a bachelor's degree in clinical medical laboratory sciences from the Applied Medical Sciences College, King Saud University, in Saudi Arabia. He worked for eight years in three different hospitals in Saudi Arabia before beginning his studies at NDSU.

Jianbang Du joined UGPTI in December as a post-doctoral research associate who will work with Dr. Pan Lu on research related to travel demand modeling. Du earned a Ph.D. in environmental toxicology from Texas Southern University, in Houston, Texas. He also holds master's degrees in environmental toxicology and industrial and systems engineering. His research interests include environmental management, eco-transportation, on-road transportation safety, and intelligent transportation systems. Du is a member of the Air & Waste Management Association Gulf Coast Chapter and Intelligent Transportation Society (ITS) Texas Chapter.

John Grinsteiner is UGPTI's State Judicial Outreach Liaison and serves as an educator, writer, community outreach advocate, consultant, and liaison with on impaired driving and other traffic issues in North Dakota. A native of Bismarck, Grinsteiner is a 1998 graduate of the UND School of Law. He was in private practice until 2003 and then served as a judicial referee and magistrate in the South Central Judicial District until 2015 when he was appointed him to the judgeship. He was elected to that position in 2018 and retired in August when he became State Judicial Outreach Liaison. In that position, he works closely with the ND Department of Transportation's Safety Division and collaborates with key stakeholders in the legal and highway safety fields to accomplish educational goals with the aim of reducing impaired driving and improving traffic safety.

Sharijad Hasan joined UGPTI in October as an Associate Research Fellow working in the Advanced Traffic Analysis Center. His primary concentration is in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). He has previous ITS-related experience developing work plans through system engineering and capacity-building activities. Within UGPTI, he will support the NDDOT and other transportation partner agencies in planning and preparing their ITS frameworks for regional integration. He is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at NDSU.

Prasanna Humagain is a recent Ph.D. graduate from Utah State University and joined UGPTI in March as a post-doctoral researcher. He will work with Dr. Alan Dybing to develop a comprehensive multistate, multimodal corridor planning model, focused on rail and intermodal freight, highway, and intercity rail passenger transportation. The model will help predict traffic and freight flow and assist in safety risk and economic analysis. Humagain's research interests include improving travel demand forecasting tools using machine learning, developing tools for health impact assessment of infrastructure projects and planning scenarios; and understanding the changes in multimodal traffic patterns due to vehicle automation.

Jody Jones joined UGPTI in February as an administrative assistant with the North Dakota Local Technical Assistance Program in UGPTI's Bismarck Office. She will be the first point of contact for NDLTAP clients and will assist with program development and delivery across the state. Jones has 18 years of experience in the concrete products industry which helped to hone her skills in logistics, marketing, engineering quotes, plan production, scheduling, transport coordination and dispatch. She also has skills in fostering relationships with colleagues and clients.

Kenneth Steiner became UGPTI Township Transportation Funding specialist in February. In that position he will work with townships across the state to develop proposals for NDDOT's Township Transportation Funding Program. As part of the effort, Steiner will help develop proposals to federal funding to match state funding for township transportation infrastructure projects. An emphasis in the program is on projects that repair routes between multiple townships with a connection to higher level county or state roads. Steiner has more than 28 years of senior administrative experience in a variety of settings, including private business ownership, state government, and nonprofit entities across North Dakota and Minnesota. He has worked on a variety of issues from children's mental health to medical research to transportation.

Joshua Teegarden became UGPTI's IT systems administrator in September. He previously served as a senior IT help desk consultant at NDSU. Teegarden served within NDSU's IT division for more than 13 years, beginning as a student employee at the help desk. He received his bachelor's degree in management information systems with a minor in computer science from NDSU in 2013. Teegarden is originally from Hunter, ND.

Fangzheng (Johnny) Yuan joined UGPTI in October as a post-doctoral research specialist. He is originally from China and earned a Ph.D. in transportation and logistics from NDSU. Yuan will work with Dr. Alan Dybing to conduct research in travel demand modeling. As a former student researcher at UGPTI, he is familiar several key software packages that are key components of travel demand modeling. Yuan's research interests include public transportation, health care appointments, energy supply chain, and performance evaluation.

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