VTS Board of Governors: Member Profile
David Thurston

In this issue, we introduce one of our newly elected members of the VTS Board of Governors, David Thurston. David has been involved in systems engineering, emphasizing design, construction and operations of railroad and transit systems for over 37 years. 

He received a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Clemson University in 1977, a MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering, George Mason University in 1989, and a Ph.D. in Engineering at Temple University in 2012. This is his self-introduction to our members:

I am a Registered Professional Engineer in eight states, a Fellow and Chairman of the North American Section in the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE). I am an active member of the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association (AREMA), where I serve on three standards committees, and I act as sub-committee chair for Positive Train Control Maintenance and Testing.  

I am a named member of a National Transportation Research Board that conducts research on the railway workforce, and the IDEA program for new and novel research activities.  I am also a member of the American Society for Quality, and the National Fire Prevention Association. 

Professionally, I have led several multi-million dollar design and design/build projects, being fully responsible for financial and technical progress.  For the last 25 years, I have been the Chief Engineer for Systems at three major consulting firms, doing work for clients such as Amtrak, NJ Transit, Houston Metro, Washington Area Metropolitan Transportation Authority, The Long Island Railroad, and many more.  

I have also worked on projects in Canada, China, Venezuela, Chile, Egypt, and Mexico, among others. In addition, I have published or presented over 30 papers on rail and transit research. 

I have been an active volunteer for several organizations over the last 25 years, and have been in a position of responsibility leading these organizations for much of that time. As such, I have used my strengths in organizational skills and program management experience within these organizations to improve the quality of services offered to the members, and increase membership. 

As an engineering consultant with close ties to academia, I have contributed to graduate level courses in the rail and transit field to promote the profession to young students and graduates in engineering.

My field (as with several other engineering disciplines) suffers from a lack of new talent to carry on both the institutional knowledge and interest in advancing technology.  Through the IEEE, the IRSE, and AREMA, I have taken on initiatives to further promote the profession with course material, speaking engagements and edited an introductory book on railway train control.

Over the last few years I have been deeply involved with the Joint Rail Conference. As an author, track chair, session moderator, co-Chair and Chair; I have a vested interest in seeing the JRC maintained as the leading academic conference in North America devote solely to rail transportation. 

For the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers, I have organized several mini-conferences in conjunction with other rail events to enhance the experience of the Engineering community attending these functions.  Under the auspices of the IRSE, I co-wrote a book on Railway Signaling that is in wide use throughout the industry and is used in graduate level courses at the University of Illinois Rail program.

I am involved in the IEEE Standards Association and a member of two Rail Transit Vehicle Interface working groups.    As Chair of Working Group 25, I was responsible and largely wrote the entire IEEE-1698 Guideline for Safe Braking Distance Calculation.  This guideline is used throughout the industry for train control design and safety assessments.  I continue to support the other Working Groups that meet industry and academic needs. 


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In this Issue
Message from the Society President
Board of Governors' Report
VTS Partners with the BMW Summer School
VTS Board of Governors: Member Profile
Call For Volunteers
Mobile Radio
Spectrum Allocations
Automotive Electronics
Licensed Autonomous Vehicles
Land Transportation
Fare-Collection System Upgrade for Dallas Light Rail
Conference Preview
VTC2016-Spring, Nanjing, China
Call for Papers: IEEE VTC Workshop on 5G Millimeter-Wave Channel Models