In January, 1924 a group of officials from New Jersey, New York, the New England states and other eastern states attended the annual convention of the American Road Builders Association in Chicago.
At the same time, the annual meeting of the Mississippi Valley Association of Highway Officials was also being held in Chicago. Three members of the group attending the Road Builders Association (Bert Wait, of Portland Cement Association, Frederick E. Everett, Highway Commissioner of New Hampshire, and Hubert E. Sargent, Construction Engineer of New Hampshire) also attended this meeting. Papers presented at this meeting covered the problems of the working engineer rather than those of the administration; questions and discussions followed each paper. Those attending the meeting felt that this was an ideal arrangement for field and design engineers to discuss their mutual problems.
Major W. G. Sloan, State Highway Engineer of New Jersey, suggested that the Eastern states form such an organization. Fred H. Everett and John A. McDonald (Commissioner from Connecticut) suggested that a meeting be held for the purpose of organizing an association for the North Atlantic states. The first organizational meeting was held in August, 1924 at the Engineers Club in New York City.
In its inception, NASTO members included twelve transportation officials representing only six states. These original members included:
- Hon. John A. McDonald, Highway Commissioner (Connecticut)
- C. D. Buck, Chief Engineer (Delaware)
- Paul D. Sarget, Chief Engineer (Maine)
- Hon. Frederick E. Everett, Highway Commissioner (New Hampshire)
- Major W. G. Sloan, Chief Engineer (New Jersey)
- Lee Grover, Secretary of New Jersey Highway Department (New Jersey)
- N. Whitcraft (New Jersey)
- W. Kilpatrick (New Jersey)
- Hon. Arthur W. Brandt, Supt. Public Works (New York)
- Col. William A. Acheson, Div. Engineer (New York)
- R. B. Traver, Supt. Of Highways of Onondaga County (New York)
- H. Waite (New York)
Since its inception in 1924, NASTO has progressed from a group interested only in highway transportation to a group concerned with all forms of transportation. The organization was formed under the name of the Association of Highway Officials of the North Atlantic States. Some important dates for NASTO include:
- February 25-27, 1925: The first annual meeting of the association was held at the Chalfonte-Haddon Hall Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J.
- 1974: The association changed its name to Northeast Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (NASHTO).
- 1993: The word “Highway” was dropped from the organization title and the present name The Northeast Association of Transportation Officials (NASTO) was adopted.
An Historic Commitment to Diversity
Throughout its history, NASTO has demonstrated a commitment to diversity.
- In 1987 the association elected its first woman president, Susan Crampton of Vermont.
- In 1988, the association elected its first African-American woman as president, Betty Hager Francis of the District of Columbia.
- In 1995, the association elected its first Hispanic president, Carlos Pesquera
- In 1995, the association held its first annual meeting outside of the continental United States – in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
- In 1997, Quebec became the first Canadian member to host the NASTO annual meeting.
Today, NASTO continues to be a viable organization by assisting its member states and provinces by creating and supporting innovative transportation solutions.