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John M. Agrey Award
2015 Recipient

Gene Griffin

Gene Griffin, former director of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute who served in that position for more than 30 years, will receive the Institute's highest Award Oct. 1 at its annual banquet in Fargo. The award recognizes individuals for major achievements in transportation in North Dakota.

During his tenure as director from 1980 to 2011, Griffin created an environment that encouraged creativity and broadened the focus of the UGPTI from transport of agricultural commodities to all forms of personal and freight mobility. As a result the annual budget of the UGPTI increased from $235,000 to more than $10 million annually and the staff grew from two to more than 50 including 35 academic research staff. Griffin provided leadership and oversight for the development of three graduate degrees and nine research/outreach programs. He also spearheaded efforts to establish two UGPTI satellite offices to address key opportunities. Those offices are in Bismarck and Denver, CO. Griffin was heavily involved in governmental affairs at both the state and federal level and provided expertise in mobility and transportation issues to legislators and members of congress, legislative and agency staffers, personnel within trade organizations and other non-governmental organizations.

Griffin also conducted scholarly work in economics, management, business logistics and public policy as it relates to rail, motor carrier, low-volume roads, economic development, rural transit and agricultural transportation. He published widely on these topics and served as a transportation consultant both nationally and internationally. He also mentored many young professionals who went on to successful careers.

He earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from NDSU with a minor in economics and then earned his master's degree in economics at NDSU. He served in the U.S. Navy before coming to NDSU. At NDSU he was a graduate research assistant and a resource economist with the Water Resources Institute. He joined UGPTI as a transportation economist in 1975 and served as acting director before being named director.

Since leaving NDSU he has served as a transportation consultant and is currently the project leader of the North Dakota Trade Office's North Dakota Intermodal Initiative. Griffin also pursues his passion for winemaking as co-owner and co-manager of Jeremiah Napa Valley Wines, a boutique wine business that produces cabernet sauvignon, merlot and chardonnay wines with grapes grown in Sonoma and the Napa Valley.

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