Leno H. Menghini, whose career in transportation spanned four decades, was born on January 25, 1925, in the town of Superior, Wyoming. He attended the University of Wyoming until his studies were interrupted by World War II. Menghini was drafted into the U.S. Army and ended up serving in Greenland from 1943 to 1946. After being honorably discharged, he resumed his studies at the University of Wyoming and graduated from there in 1950 with honors with a degree in engineering.
Menghini then began his longtime career with the Wyoming Highway Department, starting out on a survey crew. He rose through the ranks and became the agency’s superintendent and chief engineer in 1976, holding that position until his retirement in 1990. (In 1991, the Wyoming Highway Department was combined with the Wyoming Aeronautics Commission and transportation-oriented programs in the Wyoming Department of Revenue and Taxation and the Wyoming Public Service Commission to form the present-day Wyoming Department of Transportation.)
It was during his time as the superintendent and chief engineer of the Wyoming Highway Department that Menghini was elected vice president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) at a meeting of the association’s Policy Committee in February 1987 to complete the term of Fred Miller, who had resigned from his position as secretary of the Oregon Department of Transportation. At the AASHTO Annual Meeting in San Diego in December 1987, Menghini was elected to serve a one-year term as the association’s 78th president.
As president of AASHTO, Menghini stressed a greater role for the private sector in transportation projects. He also promoted the enactment of regulations for drug testing for those in the motor carrier, railroad, maritime, mass transit and aviation industries. In addition, Menghini helped to launch a new AASHTO accreditation program for materials testing laboratories.
Menghini’s involvement with AASHTO also included serving on a variety of committees, including the Standing Committee on Highways, Select Committee on Research, and committees on Policy, Auditing, and Route Numbering. He also served on the joint AASHTO-Associated General Contractors-American Road and Transportation Builders Association Cooperative Committee, the Transportation Research Board’s Executive Committee, and the board of consultants for the Eno Foundation for Transportation. In addition, Menghini served as president of the Western Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials for 1978-79.
Menghini died on January 5, 2013, in Cheyenne at the age of 87. He is remembered for his strong advocacy for transportation priorities in terms of both innovation and public awareness.
For more information on Leno H. Menghini, please check out his 8 January 2013 Gillette News Record obituary at https://www.gillettenewsrecord.com/obituaries/article_8a8a1257-b01e-5e81-be4e-25b353dfacf8.html