As the new area manager for Northern New England, Richard Tetreault believes that one of WSP USA’s top priorities is to help its clients maintain a safe and efficient transportation system for the region.
“Users of the transportation system here want a reliable network to travel and move goods,” Tetreault said. “This is a daunting task with an aging inventory of assets situated in fairly extreme environments. This is a population that craves more transportation options.”
Based in the Manchester, New Hampshire office, Tetreault is responsible for overseeing WSP operations in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. He comes to the firm from the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans), most recently serving as deputy secretary. While at the agency, he served as director of program development/highways, chief engineer, and district transportation administrator.
Following a 31-year career with VTrans, Tetreault carefully evaluated his options before deciding to continue his career with WSP.
“The international scale and breadth of engineering disciplines at WSP encouraged me to make this decision,” Tetreault said. “The ability to enjoy my home life in northern Vermont coupled with the opportunity for personal growth by expanding my working knowledge of transportation with a global team was very enticing.”
In addition to focusing on clients in the tri-state region, Tetreault is responsible for working on national programs in support of the company’s work with clients such as American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program.
“Our goal is to grow the company’s presence and portfolio across the tri-state region,” he said. “I look forward to leading that effort.”
Some of the firm’s recent projects in New England include:
Born and raised in Newport, Vermont, Tetreault received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Vermont. He had been considering a move to Alaska to begin his engineering career when he was contacted by his uncle, Tom Tetreault, at the time an engineer with VTrans.
“He called me up asking if I had a job yet,” Tetreault recalled. “Not having nailed one down, he told me VTrans was hiring and to submit my name for consideration. I had my sights set on moving to Alaska, but when I was offered a job, I decided to work with VTrans for a few years first.”
Tetreault soon realized that it was a good fit and made his short-term position a permanent one. “It was an extremely enjoyable and educational 31-year career with VTrans, and I was most thankful for Uncle Tom making that call. My wife and I did still manage to make it to Alaska … on our honeymoon.”
Since most of the tri-state area clients are in the public sector, Tetreault said a key challenge for the firm is sustaining a strategic plan with goals that align with political realities in the region.
“The ongoing turnover of elected officials yields changes in micro and macro transportation policy, as well as degrees of revenue generation and funding apportionment,” he said. “As asset and performance management policies and programs become more of the culture and are used across the region, this challenge will be more readily faced.”
He said it is critical that the firm move forward as a team, understanding that the only thing that is consistent is change.
“It is critically important that we as a large organization align our individual oars in the water and row together in order to most effectively and efficiently reach our goals,” Tetreault said. “Our ‘radar’ needs to be operable, fine-tuned, and closely monitored. Ultimately, our clients will be best served by steady leadership and communication to manage the outcomes, and I look forward to playing a role in this for the firm.”