The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) will dedicate one of its most important meeting spaces to the life and work of Ron Kirby, who served as COG's director of transportation planning for more than 26 years until his sudden, unexpected death in November 2013.
The "Ronald F. Kirby Training Center" will host dozens of COG and Transportation Planning Board committee meetings, training sessions, workshops, focus groups, and staff gatherings each month, as it has for the more than two decades since COG moved to its current location in 1990.
During his tenure at COG, Ron Kirby organized and attended hundreds of meetings and events in the Training Center. To those meetings he brought decades of transportation planning experience, a collaborative leadership style, and a willingness to mentor and advise others that helped guide and enrich the conversations that took place there.
Most frequently, Ron attended the monthly meetings of the TPB Technical Committee and the TPB's Citizens Advisory Committee. At meetings of the Technical Committee, Ron joined technical staff from the TPB's member jurisdictions each month to review and discuss the latest data, research, and policy information to identify opportunities for better planning and cooperation in the region. Ron's technical and policy expertise, and his ability to build consensus among differing viewpoints, helped advance the committee's ongoing dialogue over many years.
These same qualities contributed greatly to the meetings of the TPB's Citizens Advisory Committee, a group Ron helped create in the early 1990s to provide region-oriented citizen advice to the TPB. Ron attended nearly every one of the committee's monthly, evening meetings to brief members on upcoming items for consideration by the TPB and to serve as a resource during the committee's discussions about regional transportation issues.
In addition to these regular meetings, Ron also attended numerous workshops and public events in the Training Center. One was the TPB's twice-yearly Community Leadership Institute, a two-day, workshop-style event that provides an opportunity for local community leaders to learn about and better understand how transportation decisions are made throughout the region. In 2012 and 2013, Ron organized and attended a series of focus groups, public forums, and stakeholder listening sessions in the Training Center as part of the development of the Regional Transportation Priorities Plan.
The Ronald F. Kirby Training Center will officially be dedicated in a small ceremony scheduled for Wednesday, July 23. Members of Ron's family and officials and staff from COG and the TPB will attend the ceremony. Kanti Srikanth, who will succeed Ron as director of transportation planning, will also attend.