James D. Pitcock, Jr., the chief executive officer of Texas-based Williams Brothers Construction Company for 60 years, and Horatio S. Earle, a former Michigan highway commissioner who led the good roads movement at the turn of the 20th century, are the 2014 inductees to American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Foundation’s “Transportation Development Hall of Fame.”
Launched in 2010, the Hall honors individuals or families from the public and private sectors who have made extraordinary contributions to U.S. transportation development during their careers. A committee of judges comprised of construction industry journalists annually reviews nominees in two categories:
Transportation Design & Construction Industry Innovators: Honors the men and women who discovered or created a “game changing” product or process that significantly advanced transportation design, construction and/or safety. It seeks to honor the original innovator.
Transportation Design & Construction Industry Leaders (Individuals or Families): Recognizes men, women and families who have made significant contributions—beyond just having successful businesses or careers—that have notably helped advance the interests and image of the transportation design, construction and safety industry.
James D. Pitcock, Jr. (Leader)
Once called a “gentle persuader” by “Engineering News-Record” magazine, Doug Pitcock’s impacts as a transportation construction industry for 60 years are profound. He was one of the founders of Williams Brothers Construction Company in 1955. As chief executive officer since 1955, Pitcock continues to drive the strategy that has made Williams Brothers one of the largest and most successful highway/heavy construction firms in the U.S.
Pitcock has been a powerful advocate for increased highway funding at the federal and state levels and the use of innovative financing for highways. His volunteer leadership positions span decades. In 1976, he was appointed to the National Transportation Policy Study Commission by President Gerald Ford. Beyond his many years of service to the ARTBA board, Pitcock was elected national president of Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America, twice elected president of AGC of Texas, co-chaired the AASHTO-AGC-ARTBA Joint Committee, served as chairman of the Houston Chamber of Commerce transportation committee, and was named a permanent member of the Executive Committee for the Texas Good Roads and Transportation Authority.
Over many years, Pitcock has been a major financial supporter of the programs administered by ARTBA’s Transportation Development Foundation, and the association’s “Transportation Makes America Work” campaign—the industry’s only comprehensive communications and grassroots advocacy programs aimed at boosting federal surface transportation investment.
His list of industry honors is long and distinguished, including induction to the Texas Good Roads/Transportation Association’s Hall of Fame and the Texas Transportation Institute’s Hall of Honor, and being named in 2002 as one of the “America’s Top 100 Private Sector Transportation Design & Construction Professionals of the 20th Century.”
Horatio S. Earle (Leader)
Horatio Earle was a pioneer for the “good roads” movement in Michigan and nationally. Earle began the quest for good roads in Michigan, even before the automobile age. He organized the first International Good Roads Conference in 1900 and provided a demonstration of “modern” road building techniques in Port Huron. Earle, appointed the state’s commissioner of highways in 1902, tirelessly promoted state-aid for roads and authored the first state-aid road law.
He burst on to the national stage in 1901 when he was the first to propose a national network of interstate highways. In February 1902, he formed the American Road Makers (today’s ARTBA) to push for federal legislation to create a “Capital Connecting Government Highway,” which he said, would connect “every state capital with every other state capital, and every capital with the United States Capital, Washington.”
Earle’s vision was fulfilled with the 1956 law signed by President Dwight Eisenhower authorizing the Interstate Highway System and creating Highway Trust Fund to finance its construction.
The 2014 inductees will be honored at a September 28 dinner in Philadelphia celebrating the ARTBA’s Foundation 30th anniversary as part of the association’s National Convention.
The ARTBA-TDF is currently accepting nominations for the 2015 Hall of Fame class. The deadline is June 26. Applications are available at www.artbatdf.org.