Maine Trails, February - March '09
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President’s Message
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Meet the Chairs
Future of excise tax in question
69 going on 70. MBTA nears 70th anniversary
Future leaders encouraged to apply
Member News


This spring the MBTA Educational Foundation kicks off the first call for applicants for two new scholarships: the MBTA Kenneth W. Burrill Scholarship; and the MBTA Transportation Trailblazer Scholarship.
The MBTA Transportation Trailblazer Schol-ar--ship is a $1,500 award that will go to a student studying in a transportation-related field, who has demonstrated an interest in transportation and shows promise as a future advocate for the industry in Maine. It is a departure from other scholarships funded by the foundation. Foundation members plan on actively recruiting students to apply. Currently the foundation’s other scholarships are publicized through the state’s university and community college system.
“We wanted to create a scholarship that would help us identify young people with an interest in transportation and encourage them to make it their passion,” said Deborah Dunlap Avasthi, chair of the MBTA Educational Foundation. “We know that kids who grow up around construction, trains, ports, engineering and with parents in other transportation-related fields have the potential of becoming the industry’s leaders of tomorrow.”
A ‘liberal’ approach
The MBTA Kenneth W. Burrill Scholarship is another new scholarship that represents a change for the organization. The scholarship fund was championed by MBTA member John Bridge, who was a close friend and one-time employer of Ken. The scholarship was funded by Bridge and many other MBTA members who wanted to remember their friend and colleague Ken Burrill, a former MBTA president and Maine Transportation Achievement Award winner. Ken was a rare liberal arts major in a profession filled with planners and engineers.
“Ken had a passion for construction and a passion for politics,” said Maria Fuentes, MBTA executive director. “He was very good at raising awareness of the need to improve Maine’s business climate through increased investment in our infrastructure.”
Burrill served in various capacities in the construction industry in Maine. He had a long history with H.E. Sargent and affiliated companies. His last construction job was as president of Bridgecorp. The final portion of his career was dedicated to owning and running his own consulting company, where he wove together his various talents, including strong technical skills, and exceptional communications skills.
 “The foundation is really looking at what it will take to not only encourage more young people to pursue transportation careers, but for the industry to thrive. You need talent and new ideas, and that’s what these new scholarships are all about,” said Dunlap Avasthi.
For more information about the two new scholarships and applications, visit or call 207-622-0526.
MBTA Kenneth W. Burrill Scholarship criteria
The Kenneth W. Burrill scholarship is available to any Maine resident accepted or already enrolled in a transportation-related program at any post-secondary institution in Maine. Preference will be given to students who have worked in the transportation or construction field, or who have shown other indications that construction is their career of choice.
Preference may be given to a student who meets one of the following criteria:
  • a liberal arts background, with an interest in a construction career;
  • is enrolled in an engineering or construction management program, and has demonstrated the express desire to work in the construction industry;
  • has volunteered or raised money for infrastructure issues in Maine.
MBTA Kenneth W. Burrill Scholarship applications will be available online: or by calling 207-622-0526. Deadline for applications is May 30, 2009 for the 2009-2010 academic year.
MBTA Transportation Trailblazer Scholarship criteria
The MBTA Transportation Trailblazer scholarship is open to any Maine student who meets the criteria, including students already enrolled in a degree program, or recently accepted to one, and with a demonstrated financial need. Preference may be given to students who have worked in the transportation or construction field, or who have shown other indications that construction or transportation is their career of choice.
Relevant fields of study include (but are not limited to): civil engineering, construction management, construction trades, marine, rail or aviation studies, heavy equipment operation, diesel mechanics or other such programs.
Students who are active MBTA members, or family members of active MBTA members may apply, as may students with an interest in advocating for increased investment in Maine’s transportation infrastructure.
MBTA Transportation Trailblazer Scholarship applications are available at or by calling 207-622-0526. The deadline for completed applications is May 30, 2009 for the 2009-2010 academic year.


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