James Havens began his work in transportation research in 1946 as a chemist, engineer and Assistant Director of Research with the Kentucky Department of Highways’ Division of Research. In 1963, he became Director of Research and held that position until his retirement in 1980. During his career, Mr. Havens became the most influential transportation researcher in Kentucky and was a nationally respected epxert in materials and pavement research. he was widely published and upheld lofty standards for research composition and presentation.
Mr. Havens directly and indirectly influenced the design, construction, maintenance, management and safety of highway transportation throughout his career at the Kentucky Department of Highways. his efforts led to improved design of transportation facilities for increased service life; development of new and improved specifications for roadway and bridge construction; new and improved construction techniques for roadways and bridges ;cost-effective design, maintenance and management strategies; reduced maintenance requirements; and the development of safer transportation facilities for both vehicular and pedestrian use. He also helped develop Kentucky’s Pavement Management System, which is still used today by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
Despite all of these accomplishments, Mr. Havens; most enduring legacy will be as a leader, teacher and mentor to many young engineers that have worked or are still working in the transportation field today.
Mr. Havens’ accomplishments extend beyond his transportation career. He attended Sue Bennett Junior College, Transylvania University, Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Kentucky. He also worked as a document identification specialist for the FBI from 1942 to 1943, and was a flight engineer in the Army Air Force during World War II from 1943 to 1946.