Herb Richardson inducted into Texas Transportation Hall of Honor

February 25, 2014
| By: Aubrey Bloom

Herb Richardson, director emeritus of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) was inducted as the 39th member of the Texas Transportation Hall of Honor during a Feb. 19 ceremony at TTI.

Established in 2000 to recognize those individuals who played significant roles in the development and advancement of Texas transportation, the Hall of Honor is located in the main conference room of TTI's Gibb Gilchrist Building on the campus of Texas A&M University. Each inductee is represented by a plaque that bears his or her likeness.

"We have a state that has been blessed to have an outstanding transportation system, a system that has served the state well," TTI Agency Director Dennis Christiansen said during the ceremony. "It's attracted economic growth to Texas and provided Texans with a high quality of life. It's widely recognized that the development and sustainment of that kind of system is the result of visionary leadership by a relatively small group of individuals."

Richardson became director of TTI in 1993 and oversaw a vast expansion of its mission to include all modes of transportation. During his 13-year tenure, numerous centers of excellence were established and research expenditures grew significantly, which solidified TTI's reputation for expert transportation research around the world.

Transportation is the prominent thread that has run throughout Richardson's stellar career, which included three degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and his appointment as the nation's first chief scientist of the U.S. Department of Transportation. At the Texas A&M System and Texas A&M, Richardson held leadership roles including vice chancellor and dean of engineering and director of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station. Prior to being named director of TTI, Richardson was chancellor of the Texas A&M System.

"Herb is truly a remarkable person. Innately bright, very well educated, remarkably intuitive, dedicated, personable, explicitly honest and honorable," said Erle Nye, chairman emeritus of both TXU Corp. and the Texas A&M System Board of Regents. "He is one of the most accomplished persons I have ever met or been around. It is hard to imagine anyone in the field of transportation that has made more comprehensive and positive impacts than Dr. Herb Richardson. And it is equally as hard to separate his accomplishments from the man. His intellect, integrity, good humor and endearing personal manner have contributed mightily to his success."

Several other colleagues spoke at Richardson's induction into the Hall of Honor, including: David Cain, chair of the TTI Advisory Council and president of David Cain Consulting; John Junkins, distinguished professor of aerospace engineering and director of the Texas A&M Institute for Advanced Study; and Penny Beaumont, TTI associate director emerita.

Richardson received a standing ovation before addressing the crowd. In his acceptance remarks, he credited others for his accomplishments.

"As I accept this place in the Hall of Honor with great humility, I do so on behalf of all those at TTI and elsewhere who worked tirelessly with exceptional competence to make Texas transportation more efficient, safer and more accessible for everyone," he said. "Looking to the future, TTI is in good hands under Dennis Christiansen's clearly effective leadership."

Richardson joins other Hall of Honor inductees that include Raymond Stotzer, Dolph Briscoe, H.B. Zachry and Lady Bird Johnson.

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