Dr. William D. Ankner, the former director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, has been selected to lead the Missouri Transportation Institute (MTI), a new statewide research program involving 11 Missouri colleges and universities and led by the University of Missouri-Rolla.
Ankner will begin his duties as MTI’s executive director on Aug. 15.
The MTI was developed to better coordinate research pertaining to Missouri’s transportation system — from highways and bridges to rail, water, air and public transportation — and help develop new transportation-related technology. The organization is designed to draw upon the research expertise of all 11 colleges and universities, as well as the Missouri Department of Transportation, which sponsors the center.
"We’re delighted to have Dr. Ankner on board to lead this exciting new endeavor," says Dr. Y.T. Shah, UMR’s provost. "With more than 25 years of experience in various fields of transportation, Dr. Ankner brings a wealth of practical knowledge to our state."
As director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation from 1996-2003, Ankner managed an annual budget of $372 million and a capital program of $200 million. He also created the University of Rhode Island’s Transportation Center of Excellence and oversaw Rhode Island’s largest transportation project, a relocation of Interstate 195-Interstate 95 interchange in Providence.
Prior to his role with the Rhode Island DOT, Ankner was director of finance, management and budget for the Delaware Department of Transportation from 1993-1996 and director of policy, capital programming and authorities at the New Jersey Department of Transportation from 1990-1993. From 1982-1990 he was on the staff of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, serving as supervisor of corporate strategic planning and supervisor of transportation policy.
An instructor of philosophy at St. Mary’s College of Maryland from 1973-1980, Ankner’s transportation career began in 1979, when he served as a faculty fellow for the Federal Highways Administration. He then joined the New Jersey Department of Transportation as director of policy and legislation, serving from 1980-1982.
Ankner holds a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from Stonehill College of North Easton, Mass., and a master of arts degree (1971) and Ph.D. (1981), both in philosophy, from the University of Ottawa.
Ankner has been active in a number of professional organizations during his career. They include the Northeast Association of State Transportation Officials, where he served as president and past vice president; the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials; and the Transportation Research Board’s executive committee and chair of that board’s finance subcommittee. He also served as an adjunct professor at the University of Rhode Island.
Ankner also is president of Transportation Solutions, a consulting company he founded in 2003.