Transportation Improvement Conference Agenda

Session Descriptions, Speakers and More

Please use this page to learn more about the sessions at the 2021 Transportation Improvement Conference. Each session has a title, description and speaker. Click here to download a full conference agenda. Full attendance is eligible for 13 PDHs if attending all sessions on-demand (available up to three months after the event).

Opening Session (8:30 - 10:00 a.m.)

Speakers: Chris Klein, ACEC WI; Glenn Fulkerson, FHWA; Joe Nestler & Secretary Craig Thompson, WisDOT (invited)

Join us for the exciting kickoff ofthe 2021 Transportation Improvement Conference! You will hear from critical transportation decision-makers on upcoming projects, policy changes and much more. Attendees will also hear from WisDOT on their plans for the 2021-23 state biennial budget.

Breakout Sessions A (10:15 - 11:15 a.m.)

A1. Field Safety Training
Speaker: Kyle Kinney, GSP, WisDOT

It's important to be safe in the field. Join the department's safety specialists for a review and update on best practices for safety in the field.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review best practices for field safety.
  • Learn about recent incidents and how to avoid them in the future.
  • Understand the importance of being aware and careful while on job sites.

A2. Bureau of Structures Updates
Speakers: Aaron Bonk, PE & Danielle DeTennis, PE, WisDOT

Bridge designers that are involved on state and/or local structures projects should consider attending this session.  While the main focus of this presentation will center on the new local bridge replacement program Standard Plans initiative, there will also be discussions related to other structures policy updates that have recently gone into effect or will be in the near future.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the origins of the Standard Plans Initiative.
  • Discover the benefits of the program for all stakeholders.
  • Learn about current and upcoming efforts from the bureau.
Breakout Sessions B (11:25 a.m. - 12:25 p.m.)

B1. Risk-Based Cost Estimating & Estimating Initiative Update
Speakers: Dave Platz, FHWA; Ned Grady & Fred Schunke, WisDOT

Join the team of speake for an extensive review of risk-based cost estimating at both the federal and state levels. Real world examples, such as the I-39 estimating evolution, will be shared to contextualize the tools being used.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand FHWA major project requirements and cost estimating process.
  • Review WisDOT's cost estimating tools and website.
  • Learn how to apply estimating best practices to work with key lessons learned.

B2. WisDOT Design Build Update
Speakers: Mike Preboske, PE, Chris Shaeffer, PE & Charlie Stein, PE, AECOM; Ben Thompson, WisDOT

WisDOT will give an update on the progress of implementing the design build program and follow up from its presentation in November/February 2020.

Learning Objectives:

  • Update on implementation of WisDOT program roll out.
  • Learn what projects are being focused on for first projects solicited.
  • Understand design build contracting verses traditional methods of contracting.
Watch Your Ethics (1:00 - 2:00 p.m.)

Speaker: Richard Kyte, Viterbo University

One of the significant keys to employee engagement in the workplace is creating an ethical culture with meaningful participation by everyone. This presentation will illustrate ways to enhance ethical culture through an emphasis on safety, with the added benefit of increased employee engagement.

Learning Objectives:

  • Evaluate a method for ethical decision-making.
  • Understand the link between ethics and employee engagement.
  • Learn how to promote safe practices that make work more productive.
Open Discussion Hour (2:00 - 3:00 p.m.)

Join us for an open hour of discussion and networking. Attendees will be able to review the day's sessions with other attendees and speakers.


Asset Management Guidelines for Performance Based Practical Design (8:30 - 9:30 a.m.)

Speakers: Robert Heldt, PE & David Stertz, PE, WisDOT

This session will discuss the new project evaluation process for applying Performance Based Practical Design. It will also clarify the concept code definitions and how to determine the appropriate standards application.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review how WisDOT developed its PBPD standards.
  • Understand the department's asset management guidelines.
  • Learn about how your firm can best work with WisDOT through its new design standards.
Breakout Sessions C (9:40 - 10:40 a.m.)

C1. Introduction to Compact Roundabouts
Speakers: Ben Wilkinson, PE, MSA Professional Services; Mark McCulloch, Washtenaw County Road Commission; Van Walling, PE, WisDOT

The goal of this session is to provide an overview of compact roundabouts and to provide an update on the changes being made to the Roundabout FDM Guidelines to include compact roundabouts.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review the definition of a compact roundabout.
  • Understand where compact roundabouts should be considered.
  • Learn about FDM updates on compact roundabouts.

C2. Safety Solutions & Innovations
Speakers: Don Gutkowski, PE, WisDOT; Kyle Henderson, PE, Strand Associates; John Campbell, PE, RS2, Traffic Analysis & Design; Kevin Scopoline, WisDOT

This course will present the outcomes of a comprehensive safety analysis of the 30 highest crash intersections in the City of Madison. The team will also present information on the calibration of roundabout safety performance functions (SPFs) for Wisconsin and the change in the star rating system used by the CMF Clearinghouse.

Learning Objectives:

  • Discover the factors that determine the eligibility of an intersection the HSIP program.
  • Learn what the CMF Clearinghouse is and how to use it.
  • Understand the usefulness of crash diagrams in intersection safety.
Breakout Sessions D (10:50 - 11:50 a.m.)

D1. Environmental Section Updates for a Changing World
Speakers: Joel Brown, WisDOT

Join us as the WisDOT Environmental Section provides their always entertaining look at the newest trends and requirements for environmental documentation. This session will hit on virtual public involvement, agreement updates, and revisions to WisDOT environmental document templates and some highlights from lessons learned over the past year.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review the importance of virtual public involvement.
  • Understand changes to environmental documentation templates.
  • Learn about new cooperative agreement updates.

D2. ADA Curb Ramps
Speakers: Tim Watt & Ben Weigand, Benesch; Jill Mrotek Glenzinski, WisDOT

This training session is designed to provide participants with a detailed understanding of the design of accessible sidewalks, curb ramps, signals, etc. and the relationship to project scope. Using an example based approach participants will be guided through several pilot efforts to demonstrate the role of effective scoping, context based design approaches, technical infeasibility challenges and best practices. This course will provide the context for the role of compliance in the broader goal of accessibility.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review ADA requirements and efforts to increase compliance in Wisconsin..
  • Discover techniques to effectively scope curb ramps.
  • Understand real world examples and lessons learned.
Consultants-Only Discussion Hour (11:50 a.m. - 12:50 p.m.)

Join us for an open hour of discussion and networking. Attendees will be able to review the day's sessions with other attendees and speakers.


The Negativity Remedy (8:30 - 9:30 a.m.)

Speaker: Nicole Phillips

We’re all pretty nice people, right? It’s all those other people who are the problem. Sure, occasionally we’re tempted to gossip or indulge in a little justified road rage… or snap at a spouse… or scream at our kids… but if everyone else would just get with the program, we wouldn’t be this way!

Maybe the trouble isn’t with all those other people who aggravate us. Maybe we’re the problem — specifically, the way we react to inconveniences, accidents, and just plain everyday life with negative words, thoughts and actions. Because the truth is, when we stop focusing on how we’re being affected and start responding in kind ways, that’s when something remarkable happens: we actually feel happier ourselves.

With humor, compassion and encouragement, Nicole Phillips draws on scientific research and real-life examples to help us recognize unhelpful negative thought patterns, show kindness toward others even when we don’t feel like it, and discover how one little change actually changes everything.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand your own negative thought patterns.
  • Learn how to engage people with kindness in all settings.
  • Discover how to make changes to bring more positivity into your life. 
Breakout Sessions E (9:40 - 10:40 a.m.)

E1. WisDOT Utility Coordination
Speakers: Michael Baumann, PE, Heath Bielefeldt, Michael Birschbach, PE & Justin Niemec, PE, WisDOT

New activities related to utility coordination are under way at WisDOT. Attend this session to learn about the Utility Monitoring Process throughout the life of a project, lessons learned during the construction phase of a project that can be used to improve utility coordination during the design phase of a project, and a few case examples to help improve coordination during design and generate a group discussion.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn what the Utility Monitoring Process is and how to effectively utilize it for your projects.
  • Gain knowledge of ways to improve utility coordination during design by reviewing lessons learned and common issues during construction.
  • Review highway construction case examples to improve utility coordination during design.

E2. Local Program Updates
Speakers: Merrill Mechler-Hickson & Ryan Spaight, WisDOT

The presentation will provide WisDOT local program funding and policy updates.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review local program funding eligibility rules.
  • Understand new local program funding and delivery changes.
  • Learn about the current status of local program funding awards.
WisDOT Design Awards (10:50 - 11:30 a.m.)

Speaker: Dan Tyler, WisDOT

End the conference on a high note! Celebrate awards with fellow consultants and WisDOT attendees. Dan delivers a high-paces program that highlights the achivements of consultants on a wide variety of transportation projects.