When Robert S. “Bob” Foyle came to work at the Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE) in 1980, there were six employees and his first job was to develop a pavement management system for the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). After 32 years, he has seen ITRE grow to over 40 full-time staff, five program groups and two centers.
Foyle, who will retire at the end of June, has served as associate director since 2001, providing support for the overall administration of ITRE. He has also served as director of the Highway Systems Group and has been involved in Highway Capacity Manual training, highway simulation, traffic operations software packages, transportation engineering and the Professional Engineering and Fundamentals of Engineering Review courses.
Over the years, Foyle has taught numerous classes on traffic engineering and operations and has developed training materials on a variety of transportation engineering topics. Foyle is particularly proud of the Professional Engineering Review course at ITRE, which came about in 1985 when NCDOT required that employees in certain engineering positions had to be licensed professional engineers. Eventually the training was opened to interested participants outside NCDOT and thousands of students have completed this training which is still in place today.
“It will be difficult for us at ITRE not to have Bob around,” ITRE Director Nagui Rouphail said of Foyle’s retirement. “He has provided such steady, calming and professional leadership not only to our staff, affiliated faculty and students, but to the thousands of professionals who came through ITRE’s doors to be trained by him.”
Among his many accomplishments and awards, Foyle received an outstanding paper award from NCSITE and SDITE, served as a member of TRB’s AHB40 Highway Capacity and Quality of Service Committee, is a charter member of the Transportation Founders Fund at NC State and is a life member of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society. In 2011, he was the recipient of a University Award for Excellence.
Rouphail describes Foyle as a model of personal integrity, fairness and care for others.
“Since I came on board in 2001, I have yet to see him decline to participate in a community service event. While I will personally miss his advice and guidance on the many issues that face us, he can now look forward to spending more time with his lovely family and countless friends across the state and the country,” he said.
After retirement, Foyle has immediate plans to do some consulting or teaching. His eventual plans are to engage in permaculture farming with his wife Rebecca on their 270-acre family farm in Caswell County. Using this sustainable, organic method to grow winter vegetables, berries and apples, Foyle wants to focus on growing Roxbury Russet apples, believed to be the oldest known variety of apple in the United States. He also enjoys woodworking and plans to use his skills making mantel clocks.