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Traynor, Fisher and Weisz to be Honored with UGPTI Awards

Posted: Sep 2, 2022

UGPTI will honor three long-time champions of transportation in North Dakota with awards this fall.

Terry Traynor, who retired earlier this year after serving for more than 30 years with the ND Association of Counties, will receive the Agrey Award. Jay Fisher, state representative and former director of the NDSU North Central Research Extension Center, will be recognized for his leadership in bringing multi-modal transportation to Minot with the Chairman's Award. Robin Weisz, long-time state representative and member of the ND House Transportation Committee, is known in the legislature as a "transportation champion." He will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. The awards will be presented at the UGPTI Annual Awards Banquet scheduled for October 6 at the Fargo Holiday Inn.

UGPTI will also present scholarships to five NDSU students who are considering possible careers related to transportation. Laura Cameron and Abigail Turner, seniors in civil engineering, will receive the Transportation Engineering Scholarship. Cameron is from Stanchfield, MN, and Turner is from Jackson, MN. Hannah Mueller, a senior in civil engineering from Cummings, ND, will receive the Charles E. Herman Scholarship. Hunter Frederick, a senior in ag systems management from Flasher, ND, will receive the Paul E.R. Abrahamson Transportation Scholarship. Justin Beck, a senior in civil engineering from Lake Park, MN, will receive the Tribal Transportation Scholarship.

Terry Traynor will receive the Agrey Award in recognition of his tireless and long-term leadership in promoting funding needs for North Dakota's political subdivisions. Advocacy for road and bridge infrastructure funding and policy improvement was a consistent priority during Traynor's 30-plus years with the North Dakota Association of Counties. While focusing primarily on county infrastructure, he was dedicated to improving the entire state and local highway system. Traynor worked closely with NDDOT, legislative and industry partners in the reformulation of the State Highway Distribution Fund, the development of the "Prairie Dog" funding mechanism, as well as the improvement of right-of-way and procurement policies. Traynor's interest in these issues led him to becoming the county representative on the UGPTI Advisory Council in 2018 and is the council's immediate past chair.

Traynor retired as executive director of the North Dakota Association of Counties earlier this year, having served in that capacity since 2018. As executive director, he led 22 staff members dedicated to assisting counties and county officials in the areas of legislative advocacy, member programs, communications, and professional development. Prior to serving as executive director, Traynor served in various roles at NDACo for more than 30 years. Before joining NDACo, Traynor served as an engineering assistant to the Morton County Engineer and was a senior partner in a western North Dakota consulting firm. He is a 1977 graduate of the University of North Dakota with a B.S. degree in geology.

The Agrey Award is UGPTI's highest award and 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.

Jay Fisher will receive the Chairman's Award to recognize his decades-long effort in promoting multimodal transportation in Minot. Fisher served as president of Minot Area Development Corporation in 2011 and as a long-time board member of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce. He was chair of the Minot Mayor's Intermodal Task Force beginning in 2000.

Fisher has served in the North Dakota House of Representatives, representing District 5, Minot, since 2019. He served as director of NDSU's North Central Research Extension Center for 22 years, retiring in 2015. He previously served as area agronomist and Northwest ND District Extension director. Upon his retirement from NDSU, he founded Fisher Research LLC, a consulting and value-added agriculture company. In 2021, he became a shareholder in L&Q International, Inc. and president of L&Q Great Plains. L&Q produces ROAD-HARD, a natural biopolymer soil hardener, water repellent, and dust control agent.

Fisher grew up on a farm and ranch between Tappen and Pettibone and earned two degrees in agronomy from NDSU. Immediately after completing his master's degree, he participated in an agricultural exchange in New Zealand, living and working with 15 different families in 1977-78. There he experienced the importance of intermodal shipping to agricultural and other commodities. The potential of marketing containerized, identity preserved, North Dakota crops eventually became a passion for him. Fisher's other areas of interest in transportation have been alternative fuels and unmanned vehicles for precision analysis and application. Hydrogen, sunflower, and canola biofuels, and cellulosic and energy beets for ethanol were all topics of research during his tenure at the North Central Research Extension Center.

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

Robin Weisz will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for his vision and efforts to promote the need for significant transportation investment beyond federal funding. His efforts were responsible, at least in part, for the historic funding investments made by the ND Legislature in the 2011 and subsequent sessions.

Weisz, a fourth-generation farmer from Hurdsfield, has owned and managed a grain elevator for 15 years. Serving in the ND House of Representatives since 1996, he is chair of the Human Services Committee and is a member of the Rules Committee and the Transportation Committee. Weisz served as chair of the Transportation Committee from 2001 to 2007. He was named Township Legislator of the Year twice by the North Dakota Township Officers Association and was named EMS Legislator of the Year twice by the North Dakota Emergency Medical Services Association. Weisz received a fellowship to the Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development in 1999 and a Henry Toll Fellowship from the Council of State Governments in 2006. He has served as a township supervisor for many years and is currently chair of the Lynn Township Board. Weisz is also past chair of the Multistate Highway Agreement Organization, which encourages coordination among states regarding the allowable size of vehicles and vehicle loads on highways.

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