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2022 LeadershipITE Capstone Takeaways: Expanding International Industry Organization Membership and Partnership

Transportation engineer Sowmya Chandrasekhar graduated from the 2022 LeadershipITE program, designing a team capstone project

Sowmya Chandrasekhar - LeadershipITE Capstone Takeaways

The LeadershipITE program is an annual initiative by the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) to gather notable transportation industry leaders and facilitate further professional development, networking opportunities, and management training for participants. The prestigious program brings together transportation professionals with a variety of backgrounds to participate in interactive online sessions, in-person trainings, group projects, webinars, and the ITE Annual Meeting and Exhibition. Graduates of LeadershipITE develop skills to build relationships, motivate industry changes, and lead the future of transportation developments in their individual spheres.  

Sowmya Chandrasekhar, PE, PTOE, a Kimley-Horn transportation engineer, and her five-person LeadershipITE team created a comprehensive analysis of international expansion benefits for ITE as well as how the industry organization can move towards diverse engagement that aligns with their goals. Sowmya and her team created a report and presentation for LeadershipITE to communicate their findings to ITE professionals, and these are the key takeaways from their capstone:  

International expansion and diverse representation are both desired and needed. The group successfully conducted surveys with fellow ITE members, and the survey results proved how greatly members value networking opportunities through events and connections with other transportation professionals. Sowmya’s team also demonstrated how expansion aligns with ITE’s growth goals and the interests of ITE members who want to engage in international partnership.

The creation of Sister Chapters can help with connections and partnership across geographic barriers. Sowmya’s team advised the creation of ITE Sister Chapters—a concept similar to that of Sister Cities—that facilitate mutual knowledge sharing, communication, and interaction about transportation ideas and professional development both virtually and in-person. The team laid out a strategic plan for how ITE could create a subcommittee, trial the Sister Chapters program, initiate matching and kickoff between global chapters, and more!

In-person networking and experience-building opportunities should be emphasized. The team noted the importance of “student exchange” programs and how face-to-face engagement between international chapters should be encouraged to ensure long-term success. To alleviate concerns about the cost of in-person exchanges, the team proposed a program that will allow students to apply for selective travel awards to create in-person opportunities.

Check out Sowmya’s team report and presentation here to learn more about how ITE and other industry organizations or groups can facilitate international partnership and support the diverse exchange of knowledge and expertise.  

About the Author

Sowmya Chandrasekhar, PE, PTOE

Sowmya Chandrasekhar, PE, PTOE

With more than 15 years of experience as a transportation engineer, Sowmya has developed notable skills in corridor operational analyses, traffic impact analyses, traffic signal designs, illumination designs, traffic control plans and warrant analyses, parking studies, pedestrian studies, crash analyses, and innovative intersection improvements. Licensed in Texas and California, Sowmya has also assisted in transportation simulation model development and has been a valuable partner for grant applications and agency connected vehicle applications.


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