Transportation Commissioner Bernhardt visits UMaine

The Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering hosted Commissioner David Bernhardt of the Maine Department of Transportation at the University of Maine on April 6, 2016. Commissioner Bernhardt was honored as a Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow, an honor extended to prominent individuals with a past or current career as a policymaker in the state.

As a Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow, Commissioner Bernhardt spent the day on campus meeting with President Dr. Susan Hunter, Provost Dr. Jeffrey Hecker, and distinguished leaders from the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Economics. Commissioner Bernhardt toured campus research facilities – including the Advanced Manufacturing Center, Advanced Structures and Composites Center, and the Virtual Environment and Multimodal Interaction Lab – and met with a large group of engineering students and professors.

At the standing-room only meeting with engineering students, the commissioner, who graduated from the University of Maine with an engineering degree in 1984, expressed his appreciation for the University of Maine’s world class facilities and the opportunities afforded to students. The commissioner underscored the importance of transportation, calling transportation the “lifeblood” of an economy, and detailed the diversity of modes of transportation in Maine. Students were inspired by learn about ongoing cooperation between the University of Maine’s Department of Civil Engineer and the Department of Transportation as the commissioner urged them to be innovative in their thinking and enthusiastic in their studies.

At the end of Commissioner Bernhardt’s visit, a reception was organized at the University Club to honor the commissioner for his service and dedication. Remarks were delivered by Dr. Dana Humphrey, Dean of the College of Engineering, and the Honorable Mary Cathcart of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center.

The Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center typically organizes two visits by Distinguished Maine Policy Fellows each academic semester. Past Policy Fellows include Rep. Ellie Espling and Rep. Sara Gideon. Future Distinguished Maine Policy Fellows will be announced here and in print.