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Systems Engineering Testimonials

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Melissa Hewitt, P.E.
ITS Project Manager/Associate
Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.
Orange, CA

Melissa Hewitt is a seasoned transportation systems engineer with specialized expertise in a wide range of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) applications, programs, and technologies. As a systems engineering specialist, she has provided training on the application of the SE process in California based on this SE Guidebook. She provides technical expertise for both planning and design of advanced traffic management systems, ITS strategic plans, and traffic management center projects, with specialized expertise in ITS architecture development.  Her recent experience includes: LA County Regional Transportation Management Center Technical Advisor; OCTA Traffic Signal Synchronization Master Plan; Pomona Valley ITS Program; City of Anaheim ITS Strategic Plan; HOV/Express Lane Business Plan; and Las Vegas Freeway and Arterial System of Transportation.

How long have you been using systems engineering on your ITS projects?

We have been designing and deploying ITS projects for the past two decades. We have always utilized a full life-cycle approach and considered stakeholder commitment to be the most critical factor leading to a successful project.

Did you encounter any challenges in earlier ITS projects that a more formalized use of systems engineering would have minimized or avoided?

We seek to find the best solution for our clients and that can be different for every situation depending on the project and client objectives. We explore some of these very topics in our TE-21 class (offered free of charge to public sector employees in California) and encourage you to learn more about the many challenges we face in ITS and how it has evolved over the last decade.

How has systems engineering helped you and your organization?

We have always felt that systems engineering helps to minimize schedule and cost overruns and helps to ensure system integrity on a range of projects. We also value the importance of the more predictable outcomes from projects, systems that evolve with a minimum of redesign and cost, and systems that really meet the functionality benefits of the stakeholders. We feel systems engineering has been beneficial to our clients as we find reliable solutions to their needs as well as promote business efficiency.

What aspect of systems engineering have you found to be most helpful?

That’s a tough one because there are so many aspects of systems engineering that are helpful. From systems engineering required on a multimillion dollar traffic management center to a small, municipal signal system upgrade, every project requires a thoughtful approach to systems engineering and applying ITS elements to achieve beneficial systems operations.

How have you benefited from use of the Systems Engineering Guidebook website?

We love the transition to a web-based format. The site is easy to traverse, and makes it quick and easy to access refresher material and examples of how different steps of the process have been carried out for different situations and projects.

Yes, it has helped us develop systems engineering process guidance for use within our organization.

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