David Clarke retired as the director of the Center for Transportation Research (CTR) at the end of 2020 after 12 years of leadership. On January 1, after serving as the center’s associate director for the last eight years, Jerry Everett stepped in as the new interim director, and DeAnna Flinchum assumed the role of interim associate director. The two will lead the CTR through much, if not all, of 2021. The hope is that a search for a permanent director will be approved, but that is not immediately certain.
“We are fortunate, with Dave’s departure and having to wait for approval to search for the new director, to be able to depend on the experience and leadership of Jerry and DeAnna,” said Tickle College of Engineering Associate Dean for Research and Facilities and Professor Bill Dunn. “They have worked well together for many years and will meet the challenge of a smooth transition, which is particularly difficult in the time of COVID.”
In addition to his CTR management responsibilities, Everett—who has worked in transportation since 1991—is the program manager of several Tennessee Highway Safety Office grants and is the principal investigator for a number of TDOT and other projects, where he performs research and provides management oversight.
His research interest and expertise include transportation planning, teen highway safety outreach, K-12 STEM education, highway traffic safety culture, travel data collection, and travel demand modeling since 1991. Prior to beginning work at UT in 1999, he was a community planner in the Metropolitan Planning Division of the Federal Highway Administration in Washington, DC, for seven years.
“The Center for Transportation Research has a history of almost 50 years serving the transportation research, training, and technical assistance needs of Tennessee and the nation,” he said. “DeAnna and I look forward to leading CTR during 2021 as we prepare for not only a new director but also an exciting future. Our staff will continue to work collaboratively with faculty throughout the university to conduct innovative research and provide timely advice resulting in solutions to critical transportation challenges facing our nation.”
Interim Associate Director DeAnna Flinchum also serves as a research director and chief of staff at CTR, where she has worked for 25 years. She is currently the director of Tennessee Vans, a program founded in 1990 to fill mobility gaps for underserved populations across the state. The program has placed over 1,000 vans with non-profit organizations that help individuals in recovery, those who are disabled, senior citizens, and youth.
“Jerry and I are excited about the future of CTR and we are looking forward to setting the stage for a new director when the opportunity arises,” said Flinchum. “We have a great group of people at the center and feel that we are ready to take on the challenges that 2021 might bring. Dave’s leadership over the past decade has enabled us to feel confident stepping into the interim roles and the center’s continued ability to impact the transportation community.”
In her role as chief of staff for the center, she provides human resources management oversight for the center’s 50-plus employees. For over 20 years she was the co-director of the Southeastern Transportation Center, a multi-million-dollar safety-focused university transportation center housed within CTR. Flinchum’s core areas of research include transportation safety, teen drivers, and mobility gaps. Prior to joining the university, she worked as a transportation analyst for SAIC, Inc. and as a project analyst for Lockheed Martin.
Both Everett and Flinchum received their undergraduate and graduate degrees at UT. Everett holds a doctorate, master’s, and bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering, and Flinchum holds a bachelor’s in supply chain management and a master’s in transportation engineering.