(Posted May 26, 2017)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
David Brand, former Madison County engineer, was the kind of person who lived, ate and breathed his job.
Julie, his wife, said that even on family outings, he wouldn’t hesitate to stop the car to check on road and ditch conditions, address any issues, then get back to family fun.
“He was really passionate about what he did and about roadway safety,” Julie said.
That passion garnered national recognition last month as the National Association of County Engineers (NACE) named Brand as the first recipient of the David P. Brand Safety Award.
Brand passed away in 2015 following a battle with cancer. Julie accepted the award, presented at NACE’s annual banquet in Cincinnati. The couple’s children, Sophie and Andrew, also attended.
“Dave was NACE’s go-to guy on all things related to local road safety,” said Chris Bauserman, Delaware County engineer and a long-time peer and friend of Brand’s, as he presented the award.
“He knew the FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) safety staff personally, and, though always respectful, he was sometimes a thorn in their side. When FHWA began to cite statistics on decreasing fatalities on our nation’s highways, Dave repeatedly reminded them that fatalities were increasing on our local roads.
“I am convinced that the current and previous Federal Highway legislations pertaining to local road safety programs were influenced by Dave Brand’s tireless advocacy. Dave’s legacy is a life that inspires each of us to be passionate about our work and about life.”
Throughout his career, Brand was a champion of local road safety. He chaired the NACo Highway/Highway Safety Subcommittee, leading a committee comprised primarily of county commissioners. In 2013, FHWA recognized Brand for his work on the Every Day Counts initiative.
Brand represented NACE on numerous national roadway safety initiatives, including the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety, the National Local Technical Assistance Program Association Roadway Safety Working Group, the Every Day Counts Safety Edge Team, Toward Zero Deaths, and the National Center for Rural Road Safety.
On the county level, Brand’s constant push for improved safety took many forms. One example was his work on Safe Routes To Schools, which made streets in Madison County safer for children walking and biking to school.
“It’s hard to remember when those sidewalks and crosswalks weren’t there, but if not for Dave, they wouldn’t be,” Julie said.
Soon, another member of the Brand family will enter the engineering profession. Andrew, who graduated from London High School on May 21, was accepted into the honors college in engineering at the University of Cincinnati. Instead of studying civil engineering like his father did, though, Andrew plans to pursue a degree in electrical engineering. Even so, at the awards banquet, three NACE members offered him job opportunities upon graduation.
“It was very sweet and more demonstration of how much they loved Dave and respected him. And he had the utmost respect for all of them,” Julie said of the NACE membership. “For the kids, it was great having all of these people come up and say how great their dad was.”