When we talk about leaders – those who have been and those yet to be – what’s important is whether our achievements make a difference for our families, our communities and our world
By Thomas A. Martin, Jr.
This is the time of the year that we look ahead and make resolutions. We also do a lot of crystal ball gazing. Will this be the year we begin to tackle that backlog of paving and highway and bridge reconstruction projects that has plagued Maine for decades? Will we begin to better realize the potential for world trade that our three deepwater ports hold? Will we finally say that it is time to really invest in better roads, highways, bridges, airports and rail - because they make life better for our communities and our families?
In this issue of Maine Trails, looking for answers about what the future holds really begins by looking at the extraordinary individuals profiled on these pages. From Bud Cianchette and John Dority to the 16 scholarship recipients recognized by the MBTA and Maine Section, ASCE – I am reminded of just how much difference one person can make.
Bud Cianchette not only helped build a lot of bridges, he touched a lot of lives across the nation, in Maine and within our organization. MBTA Executive Director Maria Fuentes looks at Bud’s enormous legacy in our cover story (“A fruitful life,” page 14). We all remember Bud as a natural leader, someone who didn’t mince words when he felt something needed to be done. She writes about how Bud and his brothers built a company from the ground up – Cianbro Corp. – never forgetting the values they learned from their parents.
Writer Douglas Rooks profiles John Dority (“A big footprint,” page 22), the recently retired MaineDOT chief engineer who over more than four decades helped build many of Maine’s great highways and bridges. Friends and co-workers know him as a problem-solver who could always find opportunity, even in a crisis. John has influenced generations of engineers and planners at MaineDOT, teaching by example – and he managed to have lots of fun along the way.
We also have the chance to read about some very inspiring young people in this issue – 16 scholarship winners who by all accounts are well on their way to making their mark on the world ( “A good crop,” page 32). Two of the scholarship winners are particularly noteworthy. Bo Li, a junior enrolled in the engineering program at UMaine, is the MBTA’s first ever Transportation Trailblazer Scholarship recipient. He is a student who has a deep commitment to serving the community through engineering and education. Amie Chiasson, another third-year UMaine engineering major, is the first recipient of the Kenneth W. Burrill Scholarship. Like Ken, a former MBTA president and Maine Transportation Achievement Award winner, she is someone who “thinks outside of the box” and is interested in using her talents and interest in land use planning and highway safety to make the world a better place.
Make no mistake about it: this is a very good time to be thinking about making a difference. In transportation, we need big thinkers like Bud, John, Ken, Bo and Amie to shake things up. We need leaders – whether they are entrepreneurs, engineers or politicians – who are willing to roll up their sleeves and find solutions to our biggest problems.
In transportation, one of our biggest challenges will be finding a way to make our highways and bridges safer, how to conserve energy and how to modernize our aging transportation network so that it can help our communities grow.
That won’t be easy. Maine Highway Fund revenues are continuing to decrease (see article on page 30), and there is a reluctance to address the really difficult issues of funding on either the local or national level. Nevertheless, it is a critical task, and one that we need everyone in the MBTA working on.
We won’t be working alone. I feel lucky to serve as president of an organization of more than 600 community and business leaders, each one with the talent and potential to make a difference.
I look forward to working with you in the coming months as we urge our fellow Mainers to invest in safer, more efficient highways, bridges, ports, rail and airports – because that is how we will make our economy stronger, attract new businesses and make this state a better place to do business and to raise a family.