While we often talk about the importance of investing in our country's roads, bridges, and airports, here at DOT we also take the time to invest in our most valuable assets--our talented employees. I'm proud to have some of the best and the brightest on staff, and to lead a department that encourages people to pursue educational opportunities that will benefit the Department and themselves.
Last September, two of DOT's employees--Keith Dixon and Victor Austin--were admitted to the prestigious National Defense University, one of the premier centers for Joint Professional Military Education in the United States. Recently, I had the privilege of watching them receive their degrees at the university's graduation ceremony.
NDU's mission is to prepare leaders from the United States and other countries to evaluate national and international security challenges through education, research, and outreach. Under the direction of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the school is made up of members of the military, civilians, and international scholars.
This diversity in the student population is what drew Victor Austin to the school. After creating a professional development plan and working with his supervisor, Victor enrolled full-time in the National Resource Strategy program at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF). While there, he studied effective strategies for managing programs and traveled to Istanbul and London as part of his training.
Having completed his degree, Victor is now back at the Federal Transit Administration in the Office of Planning and Environment, where he'll be taking on a leadership role in the Department's livability and sustainability initiatives.
Having finished his studies, Keith is now back at work in our Office of Intelligence, Security, and Emergency Response. His department, which helps rebuild infrastructure after catastrophic events at home and abroad, is on the front lines responding to major emergencies.
Taking time out from a career to pursue higher education is always going to require sacrifice and hard work. But, there's no doubt that it's a worthwhile investment.
The way I see it, the better trained our employees are, the better equipped DOT is to anticipate challenges and find innovative solutions. I'm tremendously proud of Keith's and Victor's accomplishments, and I know their training will benefit all of us at the Department for a long time to come.