The Iowa Transportation Museum is still under construction, but nominations are being taken now for Iowans who are leaders in the transportation industry who’ll be featured when the facility opens in Grinnell next year. Jerry Schnepf, president of the museum’s board of directors, says they’re looking for nominations in three categories.
He says there’s the "Hero By Example," the person who does the everyday job but does it in a major, extraordinary way. The "Hero of Industry and Technology" are those people who make significant breakthroughs in science or technology that help to make advancements so transportation is more practical, more cost-efficient and more safe.
The third category is the "Hero of Valor" for transportation workers who’ve placed their lives at risk, willingly or unknowingly, while on the job. Schnepf says there are dozens of Iowans who are deserving of recognition — from I-S-U scientists to railroad engineers to riverboat pilots, or anyone else working in the airways, waterways or highways.
He says it can be any and all — it can be air, water or land-based transportation. One example is Joe Scherbring, a semi-truck driver for Cedar Rapids-based CRST who’s driven five-million miles without an accident. Other Iowans who might make the list include an airplane designer and a man who developed one of the nation’s largest concrete paving operations. Schnepf say many Iowans know the name Rockwell-Collins, an avionics company in Cedar Rapids, but don’t know either of the co-founders.
He says Art Collins developed a communications system for airplanes and his further research enabled astronauts on the moon to talk with NASA’s mission control back on earth. There’s also Ralph Budd, born near Waterloo, who developed the Burlington Zephyr and worked on the Panama Canal rail system. Finalists will become part of the Heroes Center, a focal point in the future museum.
Anyone can make a nomination on the website " www.transportationheroes.org " in any of the three categories, or to learn more about the facilty itself, visit: " www.iowatransportationmuseum.org ". The museum is being developed in Grinnell at the former site of the Spaulding Manufacturing Company, which produced thousands of horse-drawn vehicles and motorcars in the early 1900s.