Max Sproles (1934-2015)
A registered professional engineer in multiple states and D.C., Max Sproles began his career in 1958 at the federal Bureau of Public Roads—today’s Federal Highway Administration. He later held several key management positions with the North Carolina State Highway Commission. In 1970, he joined the Association of American Railroads (AAR). As AAR’s executive director for highway-rail programs, he played a key leadership role in the passage of a 1973 law that funded upgraded rail crossings – estimated to have helped save 1,000 lives annually. He later spent 10 years as a vice president with Deleuw Cather and another decade with Frederic R. Harris. He also was a senior vice president with the international infrastructure company, AECOM.
Sproles was a fixture at ARTBA’s annual meeting for more than 40 years. As 1997 ARTBA chairman, he met with President Bill Clinton to highlight the importance of increasing federal highway and public transit investment as part of the next reauthorization bill.
His other volunteer ARTBA leadership roles included: senior vice chairman, regional vice chairman, co-chairman of the Russian Project Advisory Committee, Planning & Design Division president, and chairman of the Railroads Advisory Council. Sproles spent more than two decades as a member of the AASHTO-AGC-ARTBA Joint Committee. Until his passing, he also was the long-time chairman of the ARTBA Tellers Committee, which was responsible for counting the votes and certifying the annual election results for ARTBA’s officers and directors.
Sproles received the 1998 ARTBA Award—the association’s highest honor—in recognition of his leadership in the passage of the June 1998 TEA-21 surface transportation law. He was elected a fellow of the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers. Sproles served as a member of Virginia Tech’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Board and the department’s advisory board, as well as the university’s Center for Transportation Research Advisory Board.