RS&H, a leading engineering, architecture and consulting firm, is expanding its service offerings to help clients keep pace in today’s rapidly changing technology and infrastructure era.
The firm hired Tony Ahmad and Julie Evans, PE as the foundation of a new, Emerging Technologies group that will focus on helping RS&H’s clients navigate new technologies and explore, test, and implement data-driven solutions. Ahmad and Evans led FHWA’s foundational research in Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAV) and supported the planning and deployment of Smart City infrastructure and applications across the country. Using agile development principles, they will offer RS&H clients new solutions for advanced connectivity and computing, data management, and cybersecurity.
With nearly 25 years of experience in systems engineering and solution architecture, Ahmad will lead Emerging Technologies within RS&H’s Tolls and Technology Service Group, with technical and policy support from Evans, who works directly with clients to integrate technology modernization into existing operations and long-term plans. To start, they will focus on expanding existing contract opportunities that focus on automation-enabling capabilities.
“This will open new doors for RS&H,” said Mike Davis, PE, RS&H Vice President and the Tolls and Technology Service Group leader. “To move agencies forward with implementing new technologies, they need a 360 degree-view, and end-to-end solutions for practical implementation. Tony and Julie will help bring this to our clients.”
Ahmad and Evans come to RS&H after operating their own niche integration firm that led smart city planning and deployment projects as well as toll modernization efforts for state, local, and commercial clients. Ahmad began his career in the Dot Com Era building and operating data centers and later grew into the tolling space as plazas were opening up for modernization. Once in the transportation space, he migrated into ITS innovation to lead foundational research for FHWA.
Evans complements Tony’s breadth of technological expertise. As a civil engineer with a master’s degree in transportation policy, operations and logistics, her industry and federal research experience is integral to deploying ITS and CAV technologies. Five years ago, the pair shifted from federal research to state and local deployments, recognizing that public agencies need private sector allies to navigate a complex and increasingly crowded market of software services and technology products that are new and largely unproven.
At RS&H, Ahmad and Evans will maintain their office in Virginia, where they will bring their existing laboratory online. The lab is the hub of the team’s operation, equipped with advanced networking and testing equipment to support functional and performance evaluation as well as in-house assembly, integration, and pre-configuration of new systems and technologies.
“Agencies are being inundated with new products,” Evans said. “From automation to connectivity, programs with a small budget don’t know what to invest in. We consult with them, determine their current needs and problems, and create cohesive roadmaps that identify opportunities to solve these problems with technology. Equally important, we also help them identify which technologies will not solve their problems.”
“Not all agencies have the capability to bring in 10 different devices from different manufactures, hook them up to power, the network, and test their marketing claims,” Ahmad said. “We can do that for them, find what’s right for their constituents, and make the technology transition easy for them.”
Ahmad and Evans – in partnership with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Panasonic – designed and deployed the first living lab in Colorado. The project required the design of a gigabit fiber backbone as well as the design, integration, and installation of roadside connected vehicle infrastructure, all tested and assembled in their Virginia lab. Ultimately, CDOT used the deployment for preliminary Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communication testing and has continued to develop the site as a technology test bed for renewable energy, next-generation public safety, environmental solutions, electric vehicle charging, and smart lighting.
“We’re really excited about the partnership,” Mike said. “RS&H’s people-focused culture aligns with Tony and Julie’s entrepreneurial spirits. With RS&H’s resources, we can now scale their work to truly implement the technology in the field, which is what our clients are ready for.”
On their end, the duo is also excited to take advantage of RS&H’s reach to better serve clients and emphasize collaboration, which is critical to innovation and interoperability.
“As the industry moves towards connectivity, IoT, what they’re starting to realize is the best connectivity comes with collaboration,” Evans said. “Collaborating with other people and agencies with the same problems – foremost safety – insulates you against the inherent risk of failure in such a rapidly changing technology landscape. This partnership with RS&H will allow us to be more hands-on to help public agencies and commercial partners implement new solutions and communicate dynamically.”