Once a year, the UDOT Research Division presents a Trailblazer award to someone who makes a long-time contribution to the success of research. Blaine Leonard has been both face and voice of the Utah Transportation Research Advisory Council Workshop and the research selection process at UDOT.  His expertise as an engineer, communicator, motivator and leader has benefited the research process at UDOT for nine years.

Leonard is a “practical engineer with a very curious mind,” says Cameron Kergaye, UDOT’s Director of Research. Leonard sees the value in trying a new approach to solve problems.

Blaine Leonard and David Stevens at the UTRAC Workshop

Along with his problem solving expertise, Leonard is a great communicator. His ability to communicate results goes to the heart of what makes research successful: transmitting knowledge to others.

Motivating others to keep making incremental advancements in technical knowledge is a Leonard strong suit. He inspires people to keep trying and sees the value in making continual progress. “That kind of discovery process helps us,” says Kergaye, who presented the award at the 2011 UTRAC Workshop in April.

Leonard has led at UDOT and nationally as the past president of the American Society of Civil Engineers. “He has worked beyond the bounds for our engineering profession,” says Kergaye. As the former Program Manager in the Research Division, he contributed to the UTRAC process by improving the workshop format, providing workshop instructions, and program overviews for participants, and he has helped frame research for workshop breakout sessions.

According to Leonard, research fuels innovation. “All the new things we do have a research component.” He truly deserves thanks and recognition for his role as a Trailblazer.

Leonard is the Intelligent Transportation System Deployment Engineer at the Traffic Operations Center in Salt Lake County.

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