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Barbara Harsha to retire as chief executive of GHSA at end of June

Barbara Harsha has managed the GHSA office in Washington since 1988. (Courtesy: GHSA)

The Trucker News Services

6/12/2013

WASHINGTON — The longtime executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association is retiring at the end of June.

Barbara Harsha has managed the association's Washington office since 1988.

"It is not possible to overstate the accomplishments of Barb Harsha during her tenure with the association,” GHSA Chairman Kendell Poole said. “She has worked tirelessly to support state highway safety agencies and to ensure that we have the resources necessary to conduct critical lifesaving programs."

Poole said Harsha has worked successfully with Congress and federal agencies to provide states with the tools needed to save lives on the nation's highways.

Poole said under Harsha’s guidance, the association:

• Successfully sought increased funding for state highway safety grant programs and championed consolidation and reform of these programs.

• Enhanced relationships with key national organizations that represent state-level agencies such as the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) and others.

• Worked cooperatively with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to develop performance measures for highway safety and traffic records programs, helping the states move toward a more performance-based approach in the planning and implementation of state highway safety programs.

• Worked with NHTSA to improve the management of state highway safety systems and helped develop planning and management tools for states.

• Helped raise the visibility of highway safety workforce development issues.

• Developed, with NHTSA, a model guideline to improve the collection of state crash data. This cooperative approach has been used by NHTSA to develop other highway safety-related data guidance, and

• Helped move state highway safety programs toward a more research-based approach and oversaw the development of resources for that purpose.

"The dramatic progress in highway safety is the result of numerous federal, state and private sector efforts,” Troy Costales, GHSA's immediate past chairman, added. “One of the key leaders in these efforts has been Barb Harsha. She has been a constant and steady force in a field that is continually changing. She has mentored hundreds of highway safety directors and has prepared our Association to continue its role as a leader in highway safety."

Prior to joining GHSA, Harsha spent 10 years at the National League of Cities, one of the major public interest groups in Washington. She served as a senior policy analyst for the League's transportation committee and later as the director of policy development. Before coming to Washington, she was a transportation planner with the Southern California Association of Governments in Los Angeles.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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