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Transportation institute director candidates to present seminars

Two candidates will participate in on-campus interviews for the position of director of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute. Denver Tolliver will interview Tuesday, Feb. 28, and Mark Berndt will interview Thursday, March 1. 

As part of the interview process, both candidates will give a public seminar presentation from 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. in the atrium of the NDSU Alumni Center. The seminars are open to the students, faculty and staff and will be immediately followed by a meet and greet.

The seminars are titled “Moving UGPTI Forward” and candidates have been asked to address the following:  How would you position the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute to successfully contribute to future research and knowledge transfer under policies and programs currently being discussed for the next surface transportation bill?  The candidates are to answer the question with regard to the institute’s existing strengths and weaknesses. They also are asked to describe how their past experiences have prepared them for this effort.

Tolliver is the associate director of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, a position he has held since 2003. He has been with the institute since 1980 serving as a research associate, director of the Mountain-Plains Consortium and director of the NDSU Transportation and Logistics Program. Before joining NDSU, he was a rail planner with the North Dakota Department of Transportation. Tolliver earned his bachelor’s degree in geography from Morehead State University in Morehead, Ky.  He also earned a master of urban and regional planning and a doctorate in environmental design and planning from Virginia Poly technic Institute and State University. Tolliver has consulted for several state departments of transportation, American Crystal Sugar, Border States Electric, the Northern Plains Railroad, the Canadian Grains Council and other agencies. During his time at NDSU, Tolliver has been awarded nearly $28 million in grant funds.

Berndt is the discipline leader for freight planning services at CDM Smith, a consulting, engineering, construction and operations firm in the Twin Cities.  He began working as a consultant in 2001 following a 20-year career with the state of Minnesota. He worked for 15 years with the Minnesota Department of Transportation in a variety of professional and management positions. He began as a data analyst, served as the rate and tariff enforcement supervisor, and led business planning, program audits and developed performance-based enforcement programs. He also served as freight planning director in the office of freight railroads and waterways. He was recognized nine times with the department’s outstanding achievement award. Before joining the Minnesota Department of Transportation he was a policy analyst for the Minnesota Commission on Health Plan Regulatory Reform and an economic analyst with the Minnesota Department of Energy and Economic development. Berndt earned bachelor’s degrees in finance and economics and an Master’s of Business Administration, all from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.


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