Harelson nominated for Idaho State Business Journal's
Professional of the Year for work with Pocatello's Greenway Foundation
The legacy of Dan Harelson, an engineer manager who leads the District 5 Engineering Group A in ITD’s Pocatello office, lies in Pocatello’s pavement. Throughout 25 years as a Pocatello resident, Dan has improved the safety of area roads and has made numerous contributions to the Portneuf Greenway Foundation. For that, and more, Harelson was recently nominated for the Idaho State Business Journal’s Professional of the Year awards July 27.
Dan was born in Colorado where he attended Colorado State University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Dan went on to earn a master’s in engineering from Montana State University. Dan has also completed a number of business and technical courses through Idaho State University and the University of Idaho.
Dan and wife Laurie moved to Pocatello and made it their home beginning in 1991. He worked for the Department of Energy for about eight years before joining ITD’s District 5 in 1999.
Harelson held staff and technical positions in Construction, Project Development and Traffic. Dan was promoted to resident engineer in December of 2008 but took a six-month “developmental assignment” with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in August of 2009. Dan returned to ITD in March of 2010 and worked as the District 5 materials engineer until he was again promoted to engineering manager for the residency in February of 2013.
He and Laurie have two teenaged daughters, who often join Dan’s volunteer work for the Portneuf Greenway Foundation.
One of Dan’s most significant accomplishments as the District 5 traffic engineer was the development of a program that evaluated the safety of intersections on the state highway system, which ultimately helped reduce intersection-related crashes by 35 percent. Harelson and the District 5 sign crew were given an Excellence in Transportation Award for this work, and he was able to share the program with his peers on a national level at Transportation Research Board conferences in Pittsburgh and Washington, DC.
Dan joined the Portneuf Greenway Board in late 2009 to contribute his engineering skills to the completion of the Greenway. For more than four years, Dan has worked with one or more groups of engineering students at ISU on their senior design projects — projects that represent some of the more significant engineering challenges faced by the Greenway. The results of several of these projects have been built upon by the city in their river-visioning effort. One project contributes to the final design for a trail near Portneuf Medical Center. According to his nominator, Dan is the primary driving force behind the Greenway's project planning, grants and actual work.
According to his nominator, “Dan is humble, modest and pragmatic … and one hell of a good guy. Without Dan, the Greenway would not have had the success we've had in recent years.”
“Dan is a proactive, pragmatic leader with a high regard for both people and outcomes,” explained District Engineer Ed Bala. In addition, Harelson was instrumental in D5 being able to advance $32 million worth of projects this month when a brief funding window opened and the agency called for additional project submissions.