Thomas R. Menzies '85


At the National Academy of Sciences, a former economics major synthesizes science, public policy, economics to produce important studies of environmental and transportation-related topics.

Thomas R. Menzies '85
Thomas R. Menzies '85
Tom Menzies '85 is a senior program officer with the National Academy of Sciences' Transportation Research Board in Washington, D.C. In that capacity he assembles, manages, and provides analytic support for committees of experts that study a broad range of issues related to all modes of transportation.

Menzies has directed studies of everything from the economics and safety of the airline industry to transportation's impact on global climate change to the fuel efficiency of passenger-car tires. The latter was somewhat controversial, with tire companies closely monitoring the project, which ended up recommending to Congress that consumers be given information on the fuel economy characteristics of replacement tires, he said.

The economics major brings the breadth and flexibility of a liberal arts education to bear in a job that requires understanding science, economics, and public policy and being able to write reports that incorporate relevant data and the findings of the experts who serve on the study committees.

Menzies earned a master's in public administration at Maryland and has been with the National Academy of Sciences for more than 20 years. He works with experts from industry, think tanks, state and local governments, and academe to study topics related to transportation and transportation policy, and as a study director he is responsible for synthesizing findings produced by his panels and for writing consensus reports.

In 2008-09 he was involved in project titled Potential Energy Savings and Greenhouse Gas Reductions from Transportation, a study of policies and strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to improve fuel economy for passenger and freight vehicles across all modes of transportation.

As a staff member for the National Academy’s study on America's Climate Choices, he reconnected with Emeritus Mitchell Professor of Economics Thomas Tietenberg, who taught Menzies at Colby in the 1980s and who was recruited to serve on the study's panel examining policy and technology options for limiting the magnitude of future climate change. Menzies predicted that the climate-change study, commissioned by Congress, will garner a lot of attention in Washington and beyond when findings are released in late 2009.