ASCE’s Transportation & Development Institute (T&DI) is pleased to congratulate Lan Ventura, a Ph.D. student at Texas Tech University, on winning the 2022 Jack E. Leisch Fellowship Award. The Jack E. Leisch Fellowship is a memorial to the outstanding professional accomplishments and contributions of Jack E. Leisch, M. ASCE, to the fields of geometric design, traffic engineering, and transportation planning.

Mr. Ventura’s focus is on transportation-related safety research and developing predictive models for infrastructure resilience assessment under climate change. His mission as a transportation systems engineer is to reduce motor vehicle crash probabilities by using LiDAR technology and feature extraction tools to map fixed object locations along corridors and identify critical crash zones using clustering methods. A background in geometric analysis and roadway design, 3D modeling of civil infrastructure systems, and pedestrian safety analysis has led Mr. Ventura to innovative solutions to common traffic problems. His dissertation focuses on the nexus of artificial intelligence and massive point cloud data of infrastructure objects in a multimodal corridor with the goal of illustrating technical complexities involving generation of interpretable point clouds of fixed and moving objects. Ideally, this will lead to the development of digital twins of multimodal travel corridors. With countless hours of research invested in this topic, Mr. Ventura has become a rising star in Lubbock and in the industry. His research has helped develop data-driven tools for communities to plan for and respond to extreme climate and other disasters and initiated the Texas Tech Department of Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering to invest in a state-of-the-art mobile mapping system to enable his research in the domain of mobile infrastructure data systems and analysis. He is currently completing a first-of-its-kind journal article on the methodological challenges underlying traffic safety during climate change involving fixed infrastructure objects.

Mr. Ventura graduated from Texas Tech in 2018 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering and, after taking two years to explore working in the industry, discovered that he had not yet fulfilled his interests in contributing his own research to transportation and highway safety. He returned to Texas Tech in January 2021 to pursue his Ph.D. and has been awarded with numerous accolades in both his undergraduate and doctoral studies including the Distinguished Graduate Student Assistantship, Highest Ranking Graduate at the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering, the President’s Honor List, and the First Year Design Excellence Award. He’s currently a Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering and plans to become a Research Scholar at a major university once he completes his Ph.D and his PE exam. His passion for transportation engineering has propelled him forward in his studies despite many obstacles and transformed him into an engaging and beloved teacher, revered for integrating data science-oriented approaches with mobile technologies.

As an ASCE member since 2017, Mr. Ventura became involved in the Texas Tech Chapter and eventually became the Recruitment Chair. He also served as Community Engagement Chair in the Emerging Professionals Group at Alliance Transportation Group. Mr. Ventura is also a member of ITE. His dissertation advisor is Dr. Venky Shankar, P.E., Barnhart Endowed Chair, Professor and Department Chair, Texas Tech University.