We have some amazing clients who are doing amazing things. From building software that helps with Social Emotional Learning in the classroom to creating a tool that helps people create impact with nonprofits. We thought it would be fun to highlight some of our clients by letting them tell their own story. This month, we are showcasing the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP)! Check out our interview below with their Training Specialist, Meredith Camp.
First off, can you give me the background of LTAP – when it started, where the idea came from, etc.?
In 1959 The Highway Extension and Research Project for Indiana Counties (HERPIC) was organized at Purdue University. The program was created to lend guidance and assistance to county highway officials in their problems with management, planning, and operation of county highway departments throughout the State. Then in 1982 HERPICC (C was added to include cites/towns) is one of the first state programs to join the pilot program of LTAP. LTAP is a nationwide system of technology transfer centers, established by the Federal Highway Administration that is designed to improve transportation department performance. LTAP was created to help street departments, county highway departments and local elected officials to better meet the needs of the public by acting as a resource for training, technical assistance and technology transfer.
So Meredith, can you tell us a little about yourself? What is your roll at LTAP?
Well, I graduated from Indiana University with a degree in apparel merchandising and found myself working for Purdue University 8 years later. (ha-ha!) I have a 9 year old son and a 1 year old rescue goldendoodle.
I started with LTAP in 2015 as the office manager and then became the Program Coordinator. In 2020, I was promoted to Senior Training Specialist and put in charge of LTAP’s training calendar, scholar records, annual conferences, and digital learning.
What does success mean for LTAP?
Perfectly paved roads and zero auto fatalities, but until we can achieve that we will consider it a success every time a local attends an LTAP event and leaves with some knowledge that makes their job safer or easier.
Since this is such a unique field that you and your team are continually working on to improve and assist, where do you see LTAP five years from now? What are your goals?
We adapt as the industry and workers change. Millennials are being promoted to leadership roles and Generation Z is entering the workforce, and we need to be able to communicate and train them in ways that resonate. This means more online learning, videos, and interactive trainings. Our goal is when local agencies experience a problem, their first response is “I’m going to reach out to LTAP to see if they can help.”
What parts of your job do you find most challenging?
There is never enough hours in the day. We have to provide training and support to local agencies and fit it into their schedule so they can also do their normal day-to-day tasks, like road maintenance, refuse, or other city projects. With 92 counties, 120 cities and over 447 towns accounting for 80,000 miles of road, there is a lot to do and many people to help.
What do you find most enjoyable?
The people and their stories. They are all so unique. If you take the expertise of the guy that’s been working at the highway department for 40 years and listen to all the hands on training he has done to be an expert in his field, and combine that with a newly graduated engineer who has knowledge in the most advance science in preservation, then you will understand how truly amazing what they do is. No one thinks about the roads they drive on everyday until there is a problem. This job and this program taught me how critical our infrastructure is in society and makes me proud to be a part of the system that keeps it going.
Since we are putting the spotlight on our clients, is there anything else you would like our followers to know?
When you are frustrated at road construction or because you are stuck behind a garbage truck on your way to work, take a moment to think of the men and women that serve your communities. They are out there every day no matter what the weather to keep your roads safe and your community looking its best. They do it without praise or acknowledgement on a very tight budget. In the winter, they put in a full day’s work and if a storm hits they have to leave their families to get in a plow truck for hours on end to salt and clear your roads. These people work hard and they take pride in their jobs and look after each other. So, PLEASE make sure you use hands free devices in your car and your eyes on the road so you can look after them the way they are looking after you.
How can people stay up to date with LTAP?
They can find us at https://www.purdue.edu/inltap/.