SC State names Wright new James E. Clyburn University Transportation Center executive director

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dr. Charles WrightDr. Charles Wright, an accomplished professional in civil engineering transportation, has been named the new executive director for the James E. Clyburn University Transportation Center (JECUTC), SC State University officials recently announced.

As the executive director of the JECUTC, Wright will oversee the day-to-day operations of the transportation center and work to further position the center as an integral partner for the state and nation in the development of various aspects of the transportation industry.

“South Carolina and the nation are teeming with opportunities for SC State to assist and lead in the advancement of transportation technologies and to address critical needs of transportation in South Carolina and the nation,” said President George E. Cooper. Dr. Wright is an exceptional and experienced professional, adept at leading the transportation center in excellence in scholarship, innovation and discovery.”

Among the duties he will perform, Wright will provide administrative oversight and direction to recruit, train and prepare students in the transportation graduate program to become the next generation of leaders in logistics; provide guidance in the construction and renovation of transportation center facilities; garner public and private sector support and direct the efforts for continuing the federally-funded JECUTC.

Wright will also direct the fundamental and applied research efforts of the center. While wide-ranging, the center’s scope of research projects will focus on biodiesel research, environmental justice, protection and policy related to transportation, highway safety assessment, rural transportation, systems solutions and planning, modeling transportation, and logistics of nuclear materials.

“I am delighted to serve in the capacity of executive director of the James E. Clyburn University Transportation Center,” said Wright. “I intend to continue directing the legacy of the transportation center as a valuable resource for the state of South Carolina and the nation in training competent professionals in safety, hazardous materials and logistics and conducting research that enhances the modes of transporting people and commodities.”

In 1976, Wright became a professional engineer in the state of Florida. He possesses 40 years of experience in civil engineering, transportation and construction. His longevity in the transportation field is a dream realized for Wright who was reared in rural central Georgia.

“When I was in the eighth grade, I remember the state engineer allowed me to view through the transit [an instrument used in the development of highways]. From that point on, I wanted to be a civil engineer. That career was an untapped field for minorities when I was growing up,” said Wright.

Wright previously served as professor emeritus and research engineer in the College of Engineering Sciences, Technology and Agriculture at Florida A&M University (FAMU).

For much of his career, Wright was employed at FAMU, where he held several positions, including transportation research engineer, professor, department chair of civil engineering technology, program area coordinator and principal investigator for various studies in the FAMU Transportation Safety Center and division director of engineering technology.

The seasoned grant writer and research scientist has been awarded over $3 million in grant funding from various federal and state agencies during his tenure at FAMU.  Though his research interests center on transportation safety and occupant protection, some of Wright’s areas of expertise include, child-passenger safety, inter-modal transportation assessment, transportation modeling, commodity movement, hazardous materials transportation, alternative modes of transportation and risk assessment.

Wright has authored and co-authored more than 50 articles in journals, books, reports and conference proceedings in civil engineering, technology, safety and assessment. He has also served on several National Research Council Transportation Research Board committees.

Throughout his career, Wright has also maintained affiliation with construction companies, having once served as vice president and chief engineer for ACE Paving and Construction in Florida.

“We are elated to have Dr. Charles Wright join the SC State University family,” said Dr. G. Dale Wesson, vice president for Research, Economic Development and Public Service, the division under which the JECUTC operates. “His vast knowledge in civil engineering, transportation, construction, management, research development, and his ability to motivate students to achieve scholastically, are exceptional qualities that, when combined, will undeniably thrust the James E. Clyburn University Transportation Center to the next level as a major academic and research center.”

Wright earned a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering technology from Savannah State University,  Bachelor of Science in civil engineering and Master of Engineering in civil and public works engineering from the University of Florida, and terminal degree in civil engineering transportation from Vanderbilt University.

He and his wife, Barbara, have three adult children and five grandchildren.

For more information contact Elizabeth Mosely, communications coordinator in the Division of Research Economic Development and Public Service and 1890 Research and Extension, at (803) 536-8464 or