Jack graduated from Texas A&M with a B.S. in highway engineering
in 1941. He then served in the U.S. Army from 1941 to 1945 advancing to
the rank of Captain. Jack worked as a Field Engineer with the Texas
Highway Department from 1945 to 1948 before returning to Texas A&M
to pursue his master’s degree. In 1952, he received the first
master’s degree in highway and traffic engineering from Texas A&M.
Jack worked as an Assistant Professor and Assistant
Research Engineer at Texas A&M from 1948 to 1953. He then worked as
a Traffic Engineer for the City of Midland from 1953 to 1955. After
returning to Texas A&M in 1955 as an Associate Professor of Highways
and Traffic Engineering (another first), he was promoted to Professor in
1958. Jack is generally credited with starting the traffic-engineering
graduate program at Texas A&M. He, and others, also worked from 1954
to 1969 to get traffic-engineering experience recognized as meeting
requirements for professional registration in Texas.
In 1956, Texas A&M developed the state’s First Annual School in
Traffic Engineering under Jack’s leadership. Over the next 15 years,
these schools acquainted city and state traffic engineers with the
latest concepts and technology in the field of traffic engineering. Jack
and Texas A&M also promoted a 1964 traffic-engineering course for 15
college professors from around the United States. Because of this
course, many participants began teaching traffic engineering to their
students and promoting it as a profession.
Jack had returned to Texas A&M in 1955 to teach and help establish
the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) as a university-based
transportation research center. TTI was founded in 1950, but it was
small and relatively unknown in 1955. One of Jack’s first assignments
in establishing a research program was recruitment and training of
outstanding staff, which initially yielded such people as Don Capelle,
Dick McCasland, Neil Rowan and Don Woods. By 1958, Jack was Head of
TTI’s Highway Design and Traffic Engineering Division, which was a
position he held until 1962.
From 1962 to 1976 when he had his first heart attack, Jack served as
Executive Officer/Director of TTI. Under his leadership, TTI became one
of the top transportation-engineering research centers in the United
States, growing to 200 employees and a $3.9 million budget by 1976.
Perhaps even more impressive was that TTI’s research program employed
120 students in 1976. This employment financed their education and
provided many well-trained students for the traffic-engineering
profession. These people contributed to the transportation profession
far beyond the boundaries of Texas.
tenure as Director, TTI researchers focused on basic research in highway
materials, highway safety and traffic engineering. Some of the
innovations developed in this period were breakaway sign supports, crash
cushions, median barriers, culvert grates, guardrail end treatments,
railroad-grade crossing inventories, freeway flow models, ramp metering
and motorist information systems. Although Jack did not participate in
each of these projects, his vision of transportation as an
interdisciplinary problem encouraged others to look beyond the
traditional solutions to safety and transportation-system problems. Jack
was quoted in a profile that appeared in the Highway Research Board News
as having said, “Research has no inventory value” and must be
applied as fast as the results are known.
Besides being an outstanding teacher and administrator, Jack was an
accomplished researcher. A 1960 paper co-authored by Jack, Charles
Pinnell and Dick McCasland won the Highway Research Board’s Award for
Outstanding Merit. A 1967 paper co-authored by Jack, Don Drew and Conrad
Dudek won the same award. Jack also received the National Safety
Council’s Award of Merit in 1962 and was recognized as one of 39
outstanding construction men in 1966 by Engineering
Jack joined ITE
in 1954 as one of the 20 founding members of the Texas Section. Over the
next 20 years, he served on many TexITE committees and as TexITE
Secretary-Treasurer, Vice President and President from 1961 to 1963. He
was honored as TexITE’s Traffic Engineer of the Year in 1975 (the
second person so honored). Now, more than 45 years later, Jack is still
a member of ITE.
Many transportation professionals and ITE members worked under Jack’s
supervision. Those individuals are continuing to train others. His
personal contributions to the transportation profession are numerous,
notable and certain to last beyond his lifetime.