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Our staff has a strong background in both academic, policy, and applied research. In addition, they have a detailed knowledge of Federal-aid regulations and the transportation development process.

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Dr. Leslie McCarthy, P.E., has over 15 years of experience in many aspects of transportation and construction engineering. She received her Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from University of Florida.  She holds a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from University of Florida, and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. Dr. McCarthy worked for several years with Federal Highway Administration (FHWA); first, as Pavement Design Engineer in the FHWA Headquarters (HQ) in Washington, D.C., then as Project Development Engineer in the FHWA Delaware Division Office, and most recently as Engineering Team Leader in the FHWA Florida Division. 

Dr. McCarthy also has three years academic and consulting experience, leading research projects on concrete and asphalt pavements, prior to joining FHWA. She is very experienced in the use of the new interim AASHTO Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design guide software as well as other pavement evaluation techniques.  She has extensive experience with transportation policies and application of federal regulations at the State and local level.  She showed leadership in areas such as environmental resources, design (including context sensitive solutions), and construction inspection.  She is intimately familiar with the environmental process required for project development and design of transportation systems. 

She has an exceptional knowledge of federal grant programs after serving many years with the FHWA. She is recognized for her expertise in highway construction and all aspects of the Federal-aid program.  She has the unique experience with interagency communications due to her several years working with the FHWA. 

She has successfully worked with federal, state, local, public and private partners to get projects done on time with considering the needs of all stakeholders.  She has an extensive knowledge of the federal aid program and has inspected the construction of bridge, earthwork, highway, and Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) projects. Through her academic position, she served as the Principal Investigator of the NCHRP 20-05 Synthesis Topic 41-02 Project “Effective Delivery of Small-Scale Federal-aid Projects” and achieved a 100% response rate along with interviewing over 50 representatives of more than 12 agencies. 

In 2003, she developed and compiled a national survey on the implementation of the new Mechanistic-Empirical Pavement Design Guide (MEPDG) by State DOTs as part of the Design Guide Implementation Team at FHWA Headquarters and conducted an international survey for Transportation Research Board (TRB) Standing Committee AFD60 (Flexible Pavement Design) on sensitivity analysis for flexible pavements using the MEPDG through the AASHTO Subcommittees on Design and Materials.