2016 Project Users Group (PUG) Conference Highlights

February 08, 2017

The 2016 Project Users Group (PUG) conference was held in the great state of Michigan, September 18 – 23, 2016. The conference kicked off with a meet and greet at the PUG Primer session. This was a great way for new members to meet PUG veterans and learn about the PUG, while also serving as a refresher for past members.

The meetings began on Monday morning with PUG Chair, Danica Stovall-Taylor, welcoming the users to Michigan. This was followed by a presentation on the State of Michigan by Mr. Kirk Steudle, State Transportation Director for the State of Michigan. Roll call was taken by Secretary/Treasurer Tammy Mancinelli and recorded by Ellis Holder, Vice-Chair. The conference had 162 registered attendees with 32 states represented.

Kevin Fox, AASHTOWare ProjectTM Task Force (PTF) Chair, presented the PTF report. Next was “Big Picture,” with information presented on the roles of the Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs), Technical Review Teams (TRTs), the PTF, and the software vendors. Ellis Holder of the Indiana Department of Transportation followed this with a short talk on Networking “Breaking out of our Silos.”

Sara Edson, AECOM, Inc., Tom Rothrock, Info Tech, Inc., and Mallory Woods, SLI Global Solutions, Inc. provided updates from the AASHTOWare Vendor perspective. Eric Erskine, Info Tech, followed up by giving an update on the AASHTOWare Project 3.01 software. Jeremy Kampeter, PTF Vice Chair, Missouri Department of Transportation, gave a presentation on “PTF Research Innovation and Product.” Wrapping up the first full day of discussion was led by Jeff Hisem of the Ohio Department of Transportation with an update on “AASHTOWare Project BAMS/DSSTM”, ending with Devin Townsend, Nebraska Department of Roads, with a presentation on “Data Enterprise Solutions.”

The TAG meetings began Tuesday morning and continued on Wednesday with both individual and joint TAG meetings to discuss the AASHTOWare Project software functionality. In addition, there were two session dedicated to AASHTOWare Project 3.01 training demonstrations.

Thursday kicked off with a panel discussion on the beta testing of AASHTOWare Project 3.01 software. Lee Shepard, Iowa Department of Transportation, followed with a presentation on e-Construction and how Iowa uses technology to help with business needs. Next, Melissa Horne, Mississippi Department of Transportation, presented on the Cloverleaf website refresh and updated everyone on the proposed implementation schedule. To end the morning, Devin Townsend, Nebraska Department of Roads, and Cliff Farr, Michigan Department of Transportation gave an interactive presentation on the “Utilizing Available Technology.”

The annual PUG business meeting was held Thursday afternoon with 29 members in attendance. During the meeting, John Thomas, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, was elected to the Vice-Chair position, Tammy Mancinelli, Virginia Department of Transportation, was re-elected to the Secretary/Treasurer position, and the Kentucky Department of Transportation was selected to host the 2018 PUG conference. That evening, the 2016 PUG banquet was the finale to a great conference of learning and networking. At the banquet, the Michigan Department of Transportation was presented with a plaque for hosting a great PUG conference, Danica Stovall-Taylor was presented with a plaque for her term as PUG Chair, and Vonda Lane was the recipient of the ‘Extra Mile Award’ for all of extra work she has put into the PUG over the years.

The PUG Board would like to express its gratitude to the Michigan Department of Transportation and the attendees for making the conference so successful! Great hosts and excellent participation really makes a difference. We hope to see everyone in Kalispell, Montana for the 2017 PUG Conference, September 23-27, 2017​​.