ATSSA Honors Three with National Awards

The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) recognized three individuals with national awards during their 54th Annual Convention & Traffic Expo.

February 19, 2024 | Staff Editor

The American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) honored David Krahulec of Horizon Signal Technologies with the Industry Achievement Award in recognition of significant contributions to the roadway safety infrastructure industry including his dedication to promoting work zone safety.

Krahulec was one of three people recognized with a national award during ATSSA’s 54th Annual Convention & Traffic Expo.

The Association also honored William “Bill” Lambert of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation with the National Safety Award and Elizabeth “Beth” Ruyak of Ruyak Media in California with the National Media Award.

Industry Achievement Award – David Krahulec, President, Horizon Signal Technologies
The Industry Achievement Award is the highest honor bestowed by ATSSA and given to a member deemed worthy of special recognition. It honors members who have made significant contributions to ATSSA and left a mark on the roadway safety infrastructure industry.

David Krahulec has invested more than four decades in the roadway industry with more than 20 years in leadership at Horizon Signal Technologies, a portable traffic signals company based in Reading, Pa., with customers throughout North and South America.

“During his career at Horizon Signal, David has been at the forefront of revolutionizing work zone safety through his pioneering work in the acceptance and implementation of portable traffic signals, which had previously not been widely adopted. His visionary leadership and commitment to improving safety in work zones have significantly impacted the industry, reducing work zone crashes and saving lives,” Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Work Zone Engineer Chris R. Brookes said in nominating Krahulec. “Through his determination, hard work and educating our industry, the use of these devices has grown exponentially over his 20-plus years at Horizon Signal. The countless lives that have been saved using these devices over those years cannot be overstated.”

Krahulec is a current member of ATSSA’s Board of Directors, former chair of the American Traffic Safety Services (ATSS) Foundation and has participated on several ATSSA committees over more than 20 years, using his expertise and insights to shape best practices and policies for the industry.

“His leadership in the association has been instrumental in advancing not only the goals of ATSSA, but also in enhancing the safety of our nation’s roadways,” Brookes said.

As chair of the ATSS Foundation—the charitable arm of ATSSA—Krahulec promoted safety education, supported families of roadway workers killed or permanently disabled in work zone crashes, and fostered a culture of giving back within the industry.

On the national front, Krahulec serves on the National Committee for Uniform Traffic Control Devices (NCUTCD) as a member of the Temporary Traffic Control Technical Committee and chair of the Portable Traffic Signal Task Force. He also has played an integral role over the past eight years in rewriting specifications included in the updated Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which was released by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in December.

National Safety Award – William “Bill” Lambert, State Highway Safety Administrator, New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT)
The National Safety Award recognizes an employee or recent retiree of a government agency who made a significant contribution to the safety of our nation’s highways.

William “Bill” Lambert served for more than 23 years as State Traffic Engineer for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) during which time he was actively involved within the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) on both the Traffic Engineering and Safety committees representing NHDOT.

He also has been actively involved in the National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (NCUTCD), serving as chair of the Warning and Regulatory Sign Technical Committee and vice chair for Programs, which also includes overseeing the Edit Committee.

At ATSSA, he has participated at the national level and within the New England Chapter, and is involved at the national, regional and state levels of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE).

“Through all of these engagements, Bill’s primary focus is to listen and learn what other states and local DOTs are doing to see if there is a best practice to adopt, a new device or material to use, or to just keep his DOT workforce safe out on the roadways. But he is also very willing to share what they do in New Hampshire and provide others with lessons learned and good advice on how to navigate situations,” Neil Boudreau, the 2023 National Safety Award winner and Assistant Administrator for Traffic & Safety at Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), said in nominating Lambert.

Lambert also has worked for more than two decades on collaboration within his region on traffic and safety issues by holding twice yearly Northeast Traffic Engineer meetings that include representatives from the six New England states and sometimes New York and Quebec.

Boudreau said Lambert and his NHDOT team have been leaders in safety efforts such as providing effective signage for horizontal curves, using centerline rumble strips (CLRS) on high-speed state highways to help prevent crashes, using technology and other tools to set speed limits appropriate to roadway characteristics, and using data logging to demonstrate the cost-benefit of durable roadway markings.

Rather than retire or move into a consultant role, Lambert recently took on a new position within NHDOT.

“Bill decided to take on a new challenge and left his position as the State Traffic Engineer to move over and take on the State Highway Safety Administrator’s role, not for more pay—it is the same level—not for a great staff, as the group was essentially defunct and in need of staff, but because safety is at the core of his mission,” Boudreau noted. “Bill wants to bring things like safe systems and speed management to New Hampshire and work on addressing safety for vulnerable road users from a different approach than just the pure traffic engineering one. Bill is going to continue to give back and serve the residents of New Hampshire to make the roads safer for all road users.”

National Media Award – Elizabeth “Beth” Ruyak, owner and CEO, Ruyak Media, Fair Oaks, Calif.
ATSSA’s National Media Award recognizes a reporter, news organization, blogger or freelancer who has been fair, balanced and informative in reporting transportation-related issues on radio, television, newspaper and/or the web.

Elizabeth “Beth” Ruyak has more than four decades of experience in local, statewide, national and syndicated news programming and for more than a decade served as mistress of ceremonies for the annual California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Fallen Workers Memorial.

Since forming Ruyak Media in 2007 she has served as a media resource and contractor spokesperson for major Labor Day weekend shutdowns of the Bay Bridge in San Francisco in 2007 and 2013, strengthening communication between the contractor, Caltrans, the media and public, according to nominator Tamie McGowen with the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA), the cabinet-level agency over the state’s transportation system. In 2008, Ruyak also worked with Caltrans leadership on a high-profile Interstate 5 highway project in Sacramento.

Ruyak continued her partnership with Caltrans in 2011 on a historic Tahoe Basin project and in 2012 received the department’s Excellence in Transportation Award for an Echo Summit public awareness campaign.

McGowen said that for most of Ruyak’s life, highway construction has been familiar and comfortable for her. She wore her first hard hat at age 6 when visiting the Kinzua Dam project in Warren, Pa., with her father, Jim Ruyak, who was later inducted into the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hall of Fame.

Ruyak’s help with the annual Caltrans Fallen Worker Memorial program demonstrated her professionalism and value to the transportation community and public, McGowen said.

“During these annual ceremonies, Beth was the epitome of a class-act professional, overlapping with expertise, excellence and compassion. She possessed a calming presence to all she interacted with and spoke to, and, impressively, she could pivot instantaneously to accommodate any situation whether it be a medical emergency, distraught family member or unexpected ceremony interruption,” McGowen said in nominating Ruyak. “Her supportive and empathetic nature made her a cherished component of the memorial’s framework and Caltrans and the California State Transportation Agency are forever indebted to her for her priceless contributions.”

ATSSA’s core purpose is to advance roadway safety. It represents the roadway safety industry with legislative advocacy and a far-reaching member partnership. It leads the nation in work zone safety training and education for roadway workers. And its members advance roadway safety through the design, manufacture and installation of road safety and traffic control devices.

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