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Federal Highway Administration / Publications / Focus / February 1999

Accelerating Infrastructure Innovations

Date: February 1999

SHRP Champion Francois Retires

Francis B. Francois, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the driving force behind the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP), retired on January 29. From the moment SHRP was first envisioned and at every milestone throughout its research and implementation phases, Frank was there. To many people, Frank was SHRP.

As a member of the Steering Committee for a Strategic Transportation Research Study, he recommended the establishment of SHRP and outlined its key features and expected benefits. He was one of the three signers of the memorandum of understanding that established SHRP as a National Research Council program in 1986.

Frank was one of the first to begin thinking about, and planning for, the implementation phase of SHRP. He encouraged the Federal Highway Administration to beef up its activities and programs for moving tried-and-proven technologies, including those of SHRP, into practice. He was instrumental in the creation of the AASHTO Task Force on SHRP Implementation, which is charged with furthering the implementation of SHRP products at the State level. He created the position of SHRP implementation coordinator on the AASHTO staff, responsible for transferring SHRP technologies into AASHTO standards and specifications.

He initiated the AASHTO resolution that allowed States to use Federal funds to buy Superpave equipment and thus accelerated the pace of Superpave implementation. He helped create the SHRP Lead States teams, which are considered a model for future technology transfer efforts.

During his 18 years at the helm of AASHTO, Frank was an unflagging advocate for transportation research and technology innovation.

He is succeeded by John C. Horsley, who for the past 5 years has served in the Secretary's Office at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Prior to joining U.S. DOT, Horsley served five terms as a county commissioner in Kitsap County, Washington.

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