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Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute to Hold Awards Banquet October 7

Posted: Sep 9, 2010

The Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at NDSU will honor three transportation leaders at its 15th Annual Awards Banquet Oct. 7 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fargo.

Honorees include Dick Johnsen, long-time transportation advocate and president of Johnsen Trailer Sales in Fargo; Herman Schmitz, Williston area farmer and agricultural leader; and Keith Bjerke, NDSU vice-president of University Relations and former adjutant general of the North Dakota National Guard.

The banquet begins with a social at 5:15 with dinner at 6:45. Tickets may be purchased for $30 by calling the Transportation Institute at (701)231-7767.

Dick Johnsen will receive the Agrey Award. The award is the highest award presented by the institute and is named for John M. Agrey, a pioneer, innovator and advocate for transportation in North Dakota. Agrey worked for the North Dakota Public Service Commission for nearly 40 years and is remembered as an advocate for fair rail rates for North Dakota's farmers. The award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to the State of North Dakota through involvement in transportation. Johnsen is being recognized for his service to transportation at the legislative and business levels. He has been an advocate for transportation needs, working to attain a balance between business interests and the need to preserve and rebuild the state’s infrastructure.

Herman Schmitz will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award which recognizes an individual who has had a distinguished career in a transportation-related field. Schmitz's dedication to transportation was evident in his efforts to improve rail rates and service for North Dakota wheat producers. He was instrumental in seeking change in noncompetitive rail rates in the Northern Plains states and in the formation and maintenance of the North Dakota Wheat Commission's transportation portfolio during his time on the commission. He is considered a champion of North Dakota wheat producer interests and a significant figure in shaping the current successes of agricultural transportation.

Keith Bjerke will receive the Chairman's award. That award recognizes an individual for contributions to transportation research, education and research at NDSU as well as to the viability of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute. Bjerke has a long history of public service in North Dakota, serving as administrator of the Agricultural Stabilization and Conserviation Service, executive vice president of the Commodity Credit Corporation and adjutant general of the North Dakota National Guard. Since 2001 he has been the vice president of University Relations at NDSU, responsible for university relations, legislative affairs and community outreach. His leadership and support have lead to the expansion of the UGPTI's research and education programs, particularly the Masters in Managerial Logistics program.

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