There is little or no question that education is a key to success. As the responsibilities of transportation professionals broaden, there is needed education in all areas: the suites of disciplines in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) but also digital technologies and their various disciplines and off-shoots, social sciences, human resources management, public relations/communications, organization development and change, project and program management, business, finance, accounting, project controls (scope, schedule, budget), audit, English/editing/writing, planning, project development, design, construction, operations, maintenance, engineering and its disciplines, architecture, systems engineering/management, biological/environmental/climate sciences, geology, hydrology, political science and government, law, economics and economic development, jobs sustained and created, analytics, quality assurance and control, history, leadership, and many others. These are needed along with the skills, talents, and innovations to address the spectrum of transportation and mobility and associated challenges. It is difficult to find comparable data on countries’ STEM graduates. However, it appears while the U. S. produces the most Ph.D.s and 40 percent of India STEM graduates are women, India and perhaps China produce more STEM graduates than the U. S. (Buchholz, 2020; Sindwani, 2020; Gray, 2017). Regardless, the United States needs to keep focused on the importance of STEM programs and adjust to increasing technology and automation (Långstedt, 2021; Dilven, 2021). The competition for talent and skills will only continue in the future. A recently announced leadership development program is a partnership between Kiewit Corporation and University of Nebraska called the Kiewit Scholars Program (Crouch and Reed, 2021).
Marcia McNutt, President of the National Academy of Sciences, provided an excellent overview as the 2021 Transportation Research Board (TRB) Key Note Speaker on where we have been, where we are, and where we’re headed in her presentation: “Delivering science in a crisis: our critical role in helping society build back and forge a more resilient, sustainable future” (https://youtu.be/wuMOSM8BEoA). The TRB celebrated its 100th anniversary November 11, 2020, and as part of the National Academies, signed into law by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.
It is also important to remember that leadership is about people (Bock, 2021).
Strong generalist, systems and servant leadership are essential to bring this all together, setting the vision, mission, strategy, goals and objectives, priorities, policies, and standards through the people to overcome the many challenges—social, environmental, economic—we face (Smith, 2020; Renjen, 2020; Baldoni, 2020; Renjen, 2019; Moore, 2019; Bruce, 2020). (Some of these topics are also discussed in other articles on this website www.leadershipintransportation.com). In addition to the many talents leaders have needed in the past and present, they must continue to learn, adjust, and understand digital technology, at least at a conceptual and conversational level about what it can and cannot do (Joy, 2021; Cheng, et al, 2021). These are in addition to the many characteristics and intangibles that make good leaders—providing vision and direction, listening, asking questions, being responsible and accountable, giving credit, taking blame, being open, transparent and honest, doing outreach, building trust and strong relationships, and many more.
Some good transportation leadership articles written in a plain and direct manner are worth reading (McClain, 2013; Russell Reynolds Associates, 2015; Fohr, 2020). There is also the greening of transportation career fields (National Center for Sustainable Transportation, n.d.).
Top leaders must also develop a strategy that is simple, disciplined, and based on a clear value proposition on which customers, employees, suppliers, partners and stakeholders can mobilize (Oberholzer-Gee, 2021).
Regarding leadership, the Biden Administration has proposed a vast $2 trillion infrastructure package while the Nobel Foundation is hosting a “Nobel Prize Summit: Our Planet, Our Future” in April 2021 in efforts to address the many social, economic, and environmental needs (Tankersley, 2021; Renshaw and Holland, 2021; Schlesinger, 2021; Schapker, 2021; The National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine, 2021; Wehrman, 2021). Some are even promoting a $10 trillion infrastructure package over 10 years (Anderson, 2021; Winck, 2021.)
It is likely that we will see more changes in the transportation and mobility space in the next 10 years than in the previous 100, and education and leadership are more important than ever. It is no understatement that the race to the future will require skilled leadership and a well educated and skilled workforce. With the dramatic pace of change, perhaps there is nothing more important than to be life long learners. This writer has learned this lesson many times.
It has perhaps never been more important and necessary to step back and look at the world anew, think anew, and act anew, as a whole, not just its parts and sum of its parts, but as more than the sum of its parts—the built-natural environment we call earth—our home. This, leadership, and education, will continue to help us find a better path forward.
Anderson, C. (2021, March 31). Progressives push Biden to include $10 trillion climate plan in infrastructure package. The Washington Free Beacon. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://freebeacon.com/policy/progressives-push-biden-to-include-10-trillion-climate-plan-in-infrastructure-package/
Baldoni, J. (2020, April 24). Looking for talent to lead a post-crisis world. SmartBrief. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.smartbrief.com/original/2020/04/looking-talent-lead-post-crisis-world
Bock, W. (2021, March 18). 10 things leaders should remember about people. Three Star Leadership. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.threestarleadership.com/leadership/10-things-leaders-should-remember-about-people
Bruce. J. (2020, January 7). The future of work is now: embrace the uncertainty. Forbes. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/janbruce/2020/01/07/the-future-of-work-is-now-embrace-the-uncertainty
Buchholz, K. (2020, September 16). Where most students choose STEM degrees. Statista. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.statista.com/chart/22927/share-and-total-number-of-stem-graduates-by-country/
Cheng, J.Y., C. Frangos, B. Groysberg. (2021, March 12). Is your c-suite equipped to lead a digital transformation? Harvard Business Review. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://hbr.org/amp/2021/03/is-your-c-suite-equipped-to-lead-a-digital-transformation
Crouch, R. and L. Reed. (2021, January 28). Kiewit launches full-tuition scholarship, leadership program at Nebraska Engineering. University of Nebraska-Lincoln News. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://news.unl.edu/newsrooms/today/article/kiewit-launches-full-tuition-scholarship-leadership-program-at-nebraska/
Dilven, M. (2021, March 2). The mindblowing Amazon work from home policy that rivals all other companies. Ladders. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/the-mindblowing-amazon-work-from-home-policy-that-rivals-all-other-companies
Fohr, M.C. (2020, December 3). Rethinking transportation and logistics leadership in an age of digital transformation. Spencer Stuart. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.spencerstuart.com/leadership-matters/2020/december/rethinking-transportation-and-logistics-leadership-in-an-age-of-digital-transformation
Gray, A. (2017, February 27). These countries have the most doctoral graduates. World Economic Forum. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/02/countries-with-most-doctoral-graduates/
Joy, E. (2021, March 11). The future of leadership: skills to look for in business leaders post-COVID-19. Talent Management: Chief Learning Officer. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.chieflearningofficer.com/2021/03/11/the-future-of-leadership-skills-to-look-for-in-business-leaders-post-covid-19/
Långstedt, J. (2021, February 14). How will our values fit future work? An empirical exploration of basic values and susceptibility to automation. Routledge. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10301763.2021.1886624?needAccess=true
McClain, W. (2013, October 9. Strategic thinking for transportation leaders. U.S. Army. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.army.mil/article/112374/strategic_thinking_for_transportation_leaders
Moore, G. (2019, January 3). 3 ways to be a good leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. World Economic Forum. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/the-fourth-industrial-revolution-needs-new-forms-of-leadership/
National Center for Sustainable Transportation. (n.d.). The greening of career pathways and leadership in transportation. University of California Davis. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://ncst.ucdavis.edu/project/greening-career-pathways-and-leadership-transportation
Oberholzer-Gee, F. (2021). Eliminate strategic overload. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://hbr.org/2021/05/eliminate-strategic-overload
Renjen, P. (2019, January 23). The 4 types of leader who will thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. World Economic Forum. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/these-four-leadership-styles-are-key-to-success-in-the-fourth-industrial-revolution/
Renjen, P. (2020, October 8). The value of resilient leadership: renewing our investment in trust. Deloitte. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/economy/covid-19/trust-in-leadership-organization.html
Renshaw, J. and S. Holland. (2021, April 2). Biden says $2 trillion jobs plan rivals the space race in its ambition. Reuters. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/biden-kicks-off-effort-reshape-us-economy-with-infrastructure-package-2021-03-31/
Russell Reynolds Associates. (2015, July 1). Transport and logistics: five leadership issues worthy of board and executive attention. Russell Reynolds Associates. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.russellreynolds.com/insights/thought-leadership/five-transportation-and-logistics-leadership-issues-worthy-of-board-and-executive-attention
Schapker, L. (2021, March 31). White House proposed 8-year, $2 trillion infrastructure plan. Washington Newsline. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://newsline.artba.org/2021/03/31/white-house-proposes-8-year-2-trillion-infrastructure-plan
Schlesinger, J.M. (2021, April 1). Biden’s infrastructure plan: which sectors would benefit? The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.wsj.com/articles/bidens-infrastructure-plan-which-sectors-would-benefit-11617278854
Sindwani, P. (2020, February 28). India tops the world in producing female graduates in STEM but ranks 19th in employing them. Business Insider India. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.businessinsider.in/careers/news/india-tops-the-world-in-producing-female-graduates-in-stem-but-ranks-19th-in-employing-them/articleshow/74117413.cms
Smith, C. (2020, May 14). Mindset shift needed to view infrastructure as a system that serves society. New Civil Engineer. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.newcivilengineer.com/latest/mindset-shift-needed-to-view-infrastructure-as-a-system-that-serves-society-14-05-2020/
Tankersley, J. (2021, April 5). Biden team prepares $3 trillion in new spending for the economy. The New York Times. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/22/business/biden-infrastructure-spending.html
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine. (2021, March 17). Nobel Prize Summit ‘Our Planet, Our Future’ to be held April 26-28; registration now open. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.nationalacademies.org/news/2021/03/nobel-prize-summit-our-planet-our-future-to-be-held-april-26-28-registration-now-open
Wehrman, J. (2021, April 8). DOT lists transport projects in $2 trillion plan to woo Congress. Roll Call. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.rollcall.com/2021/04/08/dot-lists-transport-projects-in-2-trillion-plan-to-woo-congress/
Winck, B. (2021, April 1). AOC says Biden’s infrastructure plan is way too small — she wants a $10 trillion package. Business Insider. Retrieved April 17, 2021, from https://www.businessinsider.com/aoc-biden-infrastructure-spending-plan-trillions-housing-health-care-recovery-2021-4