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John Deere's Innovation to Headline Purdue Road School
Indiana Ag Connection - 03/06/2020

A leader in John Deere innovation will give the keynote address during the 106th annual Purdue Road School.

This year's road school -- designed for federal, state and local agency, industry, consulting, and academic colleagues -- begins March 9 in the afternoon and will continue until March 11 with meetings and sessions at Purdue University Memorial Union and Stewart Center.

John H. Stone, senior vice president of John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group, is the keynote speaker scheduled for Wednesday's luncheon. Stone leads the precision technology group, which equips farmers with the tools and technology they need to be more sustainable and profitable.

Darcy Bullock, a civil engineering professor and director of the university's Joint Transportation Research Program, said Stone's group develops and delivers smart technology in John Deere equipment, which helps farmers do more with less.

"Many early applications by Deere in the smart agricultural space are providing insights we can apply for preparing our highways for connected and autonomous vehicles," Bullock said.

Four speakers are scheduled for Tuesday's opening session. West Lafayette Mayor John R. Dennis will talk, and a panel discussion will involve Donna W. Cook, vice president of properties and facilities for FedEx Express; Mario Rodriguez, executive director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority; and Joe McGuinness, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation.

Bullock said the panel will share perspectives on their organizations' investment in Indiana transportation infrastructure and the impact those investments are having on economic development.

The Purdue Road School continues to grow in both attendance and offerings.

John Haddock, a civil engineering professor and director of the Indiana Local Technical Assistance Program, said Monday afternoon activities are a new addition to the agenda because the event has outgrown a strictly Tuesday/Wednesday schedule.

Haddock said Purdue Road School is collaborating with The Work Truck Show, held at the Indianapolis Convention Center on Thursday (March 5) for the second straight year. That show will feature Purdue Road School sessions.

This year's Purdue Road School includes almost 200 presentations involving more than 350 speakers and moderators. In addition, more than 50 exhibitors will be set up in the North and South ballrooms of the Purdue Memorial Union on the first full day of the event.

Purdue Road School traces its origin to 1913, when W.K. Hatt, head of Purdue's School of Civil Engineering, initiated a conference to help county surveyors and city engineers develop and maintain Indiana's roads and streets. At the 1914 conference, a resolution was passed calling for a yearly school for county road superintendents. In 1915 the conference officially became known as Purdue Road School.

Attendance for the annual Road School event has continued to exceed 3,000 people in recent years.

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