Ali Roohanirad's unique asset management system is now used by the Federal Highway Administration. Photo: Jackson County

‘Public works are fixed assets (usually structures and related equipment) located on land owned or leased by government and for which it has some type of legal responsibility,” wrote former American Public Works Association president Bob Bugher. Based on that definition, the job of all public works professionals could be said to be asset management, and Ali Roohanirad's 24-year career has followed that rule.

Within Jackson County, Roohanirad has expanded engineering and maintenance projects and developed analytical tools and comprehensive management systems for the county and for local jurisdictions. He has developed tools for public works professionals, all designed to achieve their organizational objectives and bottom-line results.

He led the development of an innovative asset management system for pavement, bridges, and signs, which is now used by the Federal Highway Administration and many local governments. The Infrastructure Asset Management System allows managers, designers, engineers, and maintenance divisions to develop and maintain adequate infrastructure and make consistent and cost-effective decisions. Using this management system, Roohanirad designed a two- and five-year maintenance program to help Jackson County improve safety, resulting in more than $1 million in annual savings. By using this system, the county was able to predict areas where traffic accidents are more likely and make corrections, reducing accidents by 40% throughout the county. He is now teaching others how to achieve similar results at a two-day asset management workshop nationwide.

His understanding and proficiency in maintenance, traffic, transportation engineering, and planning are both innovative and outstanding, and he has actively shared his knowledge and experience. He assists small cities in Jackson County in making accurate and cost-effective decisions related to every aspect of public works. Roohanirad's knowledge of planning principles, estimating procedures for transportation capital improvements programs, and grant programs has helped many governments.