by Andy Fitzgerald, Communications Team Intern
The SCOUT Summit (formerly known as the Intern Jamboree) is one of the most memorable elements of Kittelson’s summer internship program. This year, our cohort of summer interns gathered in Boise, Idaho–Idaho’s first ever SCOUT Summit! The event provides interns with the opportunity to network with each other, connect with industry professionals, and see new angles of the transportation industry. 23 interns from 16 offices visited, all bringing diverse perspectives and new ideas about the future of the profession.
It was an action-packed week, filled with discussion topics from knowledgeable panelists, workshops, transportation tours of local areas and projects, and insights into local infrastructure. Any time left in between, our interns took advantage of everything Boise has to offer.
To start off the Summit, we heard from Senior Principal Engineer Sonia Daleiden and founder Wayne Kittelson. Sonia and Wayne shared why Kittelson puts on the SCOUT Summit and what it means for both interns and the firm. Following that presentation, we participated in a quick round of icebreaker bingo, where we discovered that Wayne Kittelson can touch his toes and CEO Brandon Nevers was the only lefty in the room.
A memorable session came from Senior Principal Planner Gibran Hadj-Chikh, who spoke about how the transportation profession has seen and adapted to developments and challenges over time. Afterwards, he challenged groups of interns to react to hypothetical situations, where critical thinking and innovative solutions were required. Calamities including ocean monsters terrorizing coastal cities and slow driving zombies plaguing the roads forced interns to think differently about solving transportation issues.
“The defining moment was thinking and presenting the solutions to hypothetical catastrophic events as transportation engineers. It showed me how important innovation and thinking beyond the daily problems is, and I really enjoy being in this environment.”- Milad Tahmasebi, Northeastern University, Washington D.C. Intern
Next up was a panel featuring guests from COMPASS Idaho, Ada County Highway District (ACHD), Idaho Department of Transportation, Valley Regional Transit (VRT), and Associate Planner Nick Foster. Panelists shared their history in the industry and how each of them came into the positions they now hold, and provided observations into both the private and public sectors of transportation and a deeper understanding of public transit systems.
"One of my favorite parts of the SCOUT Summit was hearing from our panelists. Elaine, the CEO of Valley Regional Transit, had a unique background. Her passion for public service led her to develop the first Safe Routes to School program and foster unity during her 20-year city council tenure. As VRT’s CEO she focuses on user balance and innovative ideas despite funding challenges for safer streets in Boise."- Ashley Hightower, University of Tennessee - Knoxville, Baltimore Intern
To wrap up the Summit, we took to the streets to see Boise’s transportation systems in action. We toured the underground Main Street VRT Station in downtown Boise, which gave interns unique insight into local transportation infrastructure and how it solved an issue regarding station space and consumer amenities. After a bus ride through one of VRT’s routes and a stop at the Boise State Football Stadium, we made our way to Boise’s ongoing 11th Street bikeway project. Led by Nick Foster and Sam Mantsch, we learned how the project delivery process has worked from bid to construction and how innovative technologies have allowed for special facilities–giving more room for non-vehicular transportation modes.
"Overall, this experience has been immensely valuable for both my personal and professional development. Not only did it deepen my knowledge of the transportation industry, but it also allowed me to establish meaningful connections with remarkable individuals who share my passion.”- Suprapti Gautam, Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville, San Diego Intern
“It was an exciting and educational experience where you could really see the passion that Kittelson employees have for the transportation industry!”- TJ Hribar, University of Arizona, Phoenix Intern
Interns traveled over 27,000 combined miles to the heart of Idaho for the SCOUT Summit, and it would not have been possible without our SCOUT Summit and intern coordination team. The significant effort from Alex Morgan, Russ Doubleday, Liz Kaniecki, Bridger Helm, Sonia Daleiden, and so many more made this experience unforgettable.
Want in on the fun?
The Kittelson internship program takes place annually over the summer, holding an integral spot in our culture and reflecting our desire to give back to the profession. We actively seek both graduate and undergraduate students who possess open-mindedness, a powerful desire to explore the transportation field, exceptional critical thinking and complex problem-solving abilities, and a motivation to advance the industry. Interested in joining the team? We will soon be accepting applications for next summer’s program and invite you to learn more here.