A Farewell from Melissa Walden

The Texas motorcycle safety program has made some great strides over the last few years and I believe that we are poised to continue that trend into 2016 and beyond. It has been a great experience working with each of you as motorcycle safety advocates have made such a difference in the safety of fellow riders as well as educating motorists to share the road with vulnerable users such as riders.

That being said, it is with both a heavy heart and a sense of excitement that I write to you today. I have been offered a new position with the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) as the Director of Professional and Continuing Education. This position was created to develop a comprehensive engineering continuing education program that taps into the expertise and technical resources that exist in the College of Engineering as well as engineering centers, system components, partner institutions, and agencies.

It is important for my friends, customers and sponsors to know that I was not seeking another position.  This opportunity completely fell into my lap. For me, this position provides a unique opportunity to integrate my professional experience and education to build a engineering continuing education program from scratch.

I am committed to make this change as smoothly as possible. The work we do is important and my staff and project sponsors deserve to feel that each of their projects will continue with the same quality that is expected from TTI. I will work with the TTI and Center for Transportation Safety staff to ensure a positive transition. Even after my transfer to TEES is official in September, I will work with TTI staff to ensure that deliverables and commitments are met and those relationships with stakeholders, partners and sponsors continue to be strong.

It has taken a while to solidify who will be the main contacts for the motorcycle initiatives that TTI has undertaken on behalf of TxDOT and the motorcycle safety community. Dr. Michael Manser will be spearheading the gear project and the outreach activities that include the coalition, forum and outreach events. He has a high level of commitment to motorcycle safety and is very interested in advancing safety in Texas. Dr. Troy Walden will be managing a project to analyze crashes in the state that will provide insight to riders, instructors, motorists, and traffic safety professionals. Troy is a rider and has been involved with the coalition early in its creation. You will find both of these gentlemen to be knowledgeable and dedicated to the cause of motorcycle safety. The other staff who have supported the motorcycle efforts at TTI, Sam Haynes, Paige Ericson, Christie Havemann, Debbie Murillo, Sam Atchison, and Marcie Perez, will continue to do so under Mike and Troy’s leadership. TTI continues to be committed to the motorcycle community and their safety on our roadways.

I have loved working with each you to build the transportation safety programs that exist today. I have learned so much from you and other members of the motorcycle community so I will continue to be your advocate. I value each relationship I have formed through the riding community and will miss the joking and comradery greatly. Please do not hesitate to ask if there is anything I can do for your personally or as part of the motorcycle community. Thank you in advance for your support and patience during this transition.

Hopefully I will be able to see you in October at the Coalition meeting.

Best regards and the happiest of riding to you,