Alex Hainen

I grew up in Traverse City, Michigan with a great family. My dad was chief mate on LNG ships and sailed around the world, and my mom carefully raised my brother and me. My mom is a wonderful example of a Christian and she raised us in church. I was very involved with my youth group and mission trips throughout high school. In college, I started off in chemistry at Albion College. I had a great small group there and continued growing with God. However, I wanted more opportunities for application and field work, so I transferred to Michigan Tech for my sophomore year to study engineering. I was a part of another great small group there and had a ton of fun working on big infrastructure projects during summer internships. In 2009, when the economy was going through the recession, I applied to graduate school at Purdue. During graduate school, I became more focused on my professional identity in my education and work. I was attending church, but God was not at the center of my life. In my last year of graduate school, my church got a new pastor from Auburn, Alabama. One day, my pastor invited college students over to his house for a small group and I couldn’t believe a pastor would do that. I was quite nervous about attending, but what I found was a great group of college students and amazing support from my pastor and his wife. After finishing graduate school, I joined the faculty at the University of Alabama. When I got to Tuscaloosa, I jumped right into small groups and went “all in” with God. I had tremendous support from mentors and small group members pouring into me. I went through a lot of spiritual growth my first year, but I was still finding my identity in my job and looking for others to value me based on my academic work and achievements. As I was reading through the Bible, I began to see how important obedience was to God and how much blessing He offered. Finally, I was ready to submit to Him and surrender my career for His glory and purpose. From then on, He has blessed me tremendously! Now I find my worth and value in God and love working in my field to honor Him!

My Life

My hobbies

Computers, Motorcycles, Snowboarding, Skiing, Cycling (time permitting on most of those)

Fantasy dinner guests

Jay Leno

Best advice I ever received

A verse that my whole career stands on which my mentor, John Jones, and I frequently share: "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33

My undergrad alma mater

Michigan Tech

My worst subject in school


In college I drove

1990 Chevrolet K1500

If I weren't a professor, I would

Love to work with a city on traffic and transportation

Favorite books

Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, A Higher Call

Favorite city

St. James City, FL (Pine Island 🙂

Favorite coffee

Jasmine Tea

Nobody knows I

Love to walk around campus with family, friends, whoever.

My latest accomplishment

Five years of marriage, our two kids, tenure, a $10M FHWA project.

Current Research

I work on transportation research, including traffic signals (please stop by! I'd love to take you out to one!), connected vehicles, traffic detection and sensors, and traffic data. I am blessed to work with great colleagues from ALDOT, Tuscaloosa DOT, and other DOTs.