Dr. Myra Blanco serves as the institute’s Chief Growth Officer. In this role, she is tasked with cultivating opportunities for researchers and developing initiatives in an effort to help VTTI grow. She is an impact multiplier that will help the institute achieve sustained growth and continue to cultivate a positive trajectory. In addition, Blanco serves as a Senior Faculty Fellow within the Virginia Tech Office of Research and Innovation where she provides leadership for increasing diversity, inclusion, and empowerment for the university’s faculty and staff.
Formally trained in human factors engineering, her areas of expertise extend beyond automated driving systems. Her experience includes evaluation of in-vehicle devices, distraction, driver behavior, training, work/rest cycles, fatigue, and active safety systems for light and heavy vehicles. She has directed research efforts in naturalistic, on-road, test track, and simulator test environments and she has authored and co-authored numerous publications on driver performance and safety. Dr. Blanco was the recipient of the 2013 SAE International J. Cordell Breed Award for Women Leaders and the 2017 NHTSA Award for Safety Engineering Excellence. She was also named SAE Contributor of the Year for 2021, the highest honor bestowed on a volunteer for their contributions to the society.