Francis B. Francois began his career in 1956 as a Patent Examiner in the U.S. Patent Office upon graduating in engineering from Iowa State University, and enrolled in night law school at The George Washington University. He moved on to become a patent advisor for the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in 1959, was admitted to the Maryland bar in 1960, and practiced patent and trademark law with the firm of Bacon and Thomas from 1962–1980.
Frank entered politics in Prince George’s County, MD, in 1962, serving first as an Orphan’s Court Judge, then a County Commissioner and finally 10 years as a member of the City Council where he represented the county on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority boards, among many other posts. He chaired the Joint Policy Steering Committee on the Metrorail Alternatives Analysis Project. Nationally, he was twice elected President of the National Association of Regional Councils and in 1979–1980 was President of the National Association of Counties. In 1980, Frank resigned from the County Council to become Executive Director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) where he remained until his retirement in 1999.
In addition to his leadership of AASHTO, Frank supported the transportation profession in myriad ways, including serving on the Executive Committee of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and on many TRB committees, including the Task Force on Critical Transportation Infrastructure and the Committee for Study of a Future Strategic Highway Research Program. He was instrumental in establishing the original Strategic Highway Research Program and was one of the incorporators of ITS America where he served a term as its Chair and is now an honorary life member of its Board. He is currently Chair of the National Steering Committee on Transportation Operations and serves on the Board of Directors of Cambridge Systematics Inc. He has also served on the Board of Directors for such renowned transportation organizations as the International Road Federation, the World Road Association and is a member of the Board of Advisors for the Center for Advanced Transportation Technology at the University of Maryland and the Editorial Board for the Public Works Management and Policy Magazine. In 1989 he received TRB’s W.N. Carey Jr. Award for his leadership in supporting transportation research and in 1993, he received the prestigious Theodore M. Matson Memorial Award. He was also elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1999.
Frank’s ability to see both sides of an issue—and to issue a verdict that withstands scrutiny—has made him a treasured leader.