WTS-DC July-August 2015



WTS-DC July-August 2015
WTS-DC Chapter President
Melany Alliston-Brick,
Toole Design Group
Dear WTS-DC Chapter members and friends,
As we enter the final days of
summer, the WTS-DC Chapter
is busy preparing for our upcoming year-end activities,
and we have already begun
planning several great programs for 2016.
We are also ready to begin
our annual scholarship application process, but we need
your help.
To date, we have not been
able to fully fund our scholarships for this year, and are
still nearly $2,000 short of
last year’s funding level and
$8,000 under our
scholarship funding goal. We
believe that supporting young
women as they embark upon
their career education in the
transportation industry is one
of the most important things
that WTS does as an organization. Please help us to continue that support by making
a tax-deductible donation to
the WTS-DC scholarship fund.
Or, if you are interested in
sponsoring a particular scholarship in whole or in part,
please contact me to discuss
options for doing so.
Thank you for continuing to
help us support our next generation of transportation leaders.
Best Regards,
Melany Alliston-Brick, PE
Upcoming Programs ….........2
Announcements ……….........3
Member Spotlights…….........4
New Members…………..........5
People We Know……….........5
Professional Development
Transportation YOU..............7
Program Articles………..........8
For updates on events and
news about women in transportation and transportation planning and engineering in the DC Metro area,
follow us on Twitter, Like us
on Facebook, and join the
WTS-DC LinkedIn group!
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Join WTS-DC at Our Upcoming Events!
TRF-WTS-YPT-Reason Event:
How Technology will Transform Transportation
Wednesday, August 12 5:30-7:00 PM
For more information and to register for the event, click here.
How to Host a Public Meeting Workshop with WTS-DC and VDOT
Tuesday, September 22 5:30-8:30 PM
WTS-DC Book Club for the Busy Professional - October 2015
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
Stay tuned for information on more upcoming programs via email!
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WTS-DC 2015 Recognition Awards: Last Call for Nominations!
Recognitions are a great way to acknowledge those who support our local WTS-DC
Chapter. We encourage both WTS members and friends to consider nominees for the
following categories to honor the accomplishments of women and men in transportation:
1. WTS-DC Member of the Year
2. Woman of the Year
3. Employer of the Year
4. Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award; and
5. Innovative Transportation Solutions Award
6. Secretary Ray LaHood Award (This new award honors a man who is an outstanding role model and advocate for women in transportation.)
The criteria and forms for award nominations can be found here along with a list of our past award winners. We are proud to recognize the WTS-DC Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award winner of 2014, US Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, who subsequently received the WTS International Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award.
Please submit your nominations today to Kate at [email protected]
Scholarship Fundraising: 2015 Goals Update
The WTS mission is to “transform the transportation industry through
the advancement of women.” WTS-DC believes that education is a
vital tool to facilitate advancement. Every year, WTS-DC awards scholarships to deserving young women who are studying transportation at
undergraduate and graduate programs in the DC area. We believe
that giving scholarships is one of the most important things we do.
So far this year, we have raised $1900 for the scholarship fund. If
you would like to contribute to the advancement of women in the
transportation industry in the DC area, please contact WTS-DC Scholarship Committee Chair, Amanda Wall Vandegrift
([email protected]). All scholarship contributions are taxdeductible and will be acknowledged in our newsletter and annual
report, unless you request anonymity.
| JUNE 2014| |AUG
4 2015 | 4
Johanna Zmud
Senior Research Scientist,
Texas A&M Transportation
College Station, TX
Johanna’s background is as
a social and behavioral scientist with expertise in
transportation issues – particularly relating to travel
behavior and emerging technologies. Her doctoral
training at the University of Southern California focused on policy, new technologies, and attitude and
behavior measurement. Johanna’s journey from
these studies to transportation came about serendipitously. Her former firm, NuStats, was one of the first
to link survey science with travel behavior surveys and
analysis. They were also first in bringing technology to
the capture of travel behavior information. As we built
a reputation for quality and innovation, their opportunities in the transportation field grew and she learned
increasingly more about a diverse set of transportation issues. After nearly 25 years, NuStats was acquired by a larger firm, and she joined the RAND Corporation to focus on transportation policy research.
Now she is with TTI, which has a breadth and depth of
programs, facilities, and capabilities unsurpassed by
any other higher-education-affiliated transportation
research organization.
Johanna’s most interesting project during her professional career is the one she is working on currently. TTI runs a Transportation Policy Research Center (PRC) under the direction and support of the Texas
State Legislature. And, through the PRC, She is working on a study to gather empirical evidence on people’s patterns of adoption and likely use of self-driving
vehicles, and how these might influence their amount
of travel, mode choice, auto ownership, and other
travel behavior decisions. It combines both my interests of travel behavior and emerging transportation
technologies. Because self-driving vehicles are not
yet on the market, the study requires an innovative
research design.
WTS-DC members might be surprised to know that
Johanna’s idea of a good time is hiking 150 miles in
seven days.
Kathryn B. Thomson
General Counsel,
United States Department of
Washington, DC
Kathryn was born and raised
in Jacksonville, Illinois. She
received her undergraduate degree in history and Japanese language from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her J.D. from the University of
Pennsylvania School of Law. She practiced law with
the environmental group at Sidley Austin LLP (first as
an associate and then as a partner) in Washington, DC
for 19 years before joining USDOT in April 2009.
Kathryn joined USDOT as Counselor to Secretary Ray
LaHood with the responsibility for advising the Secretary on energy, climate and environmental matters. In
January 2012, she was appointed as the first woman
Chief Counsel at the Federal Aviation Administration.
She returned to USDOT in May 2013, first as Acting
General Counsel and then as General Counsel once
she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in March 2014.
Kathryn has been fortunate throughout her career to
have worked on numerous challenging and worthwhile
projects. The most interesting and rewarding project
was working with the White House, NHTSA and EPA to
develop and implement the first-ever joint fuel economy/greenhouse gas emission standards for light duty
vehicles and medium and heavy duty trucks. She
worked to solve challenging legal, policy and technical
issues with a large and diverse group of stakeholders
to more than double fuel economy standards for cars
between 2009 and 2025 with no significant litigation.
The standards represent a win for consumers, labor,
the automobile manufacturing industry, safety groups,
the environment and innovation.
You may not know that Kathryn ran her first marathon
at the age of 40. Since that time, she has run a total
of 22 marathons, competed in multiple Olympic distance triathlons and 2 half-Ironman competitions, and
completed a full Ironman competition. All transportation-related activities!
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Jane Terry, National Safety Council
Jeanine Thompson, JM Thompson Landscape
Architecture PLLC
Vineela Pentyala, Rutgers University
Sonia Bacchus, WMATA
Deb Miller, Surface Transportation Board
Catherine Chardon, RATP DEV America
Claire Randall, Transportation Research
Nickell Thomas, First Transit
Karen Kirksey, Maryland DOT
Dana Giddens, 20twenty Strategic Consulting
Ashley Bosch, Chambers, Conlon, &
Hartwell, LLC
WTS-DC board member, Beth Ann Ray accepted a position as Senior Manager of Grassroots
Advocacy at the American Society of Civil Engineers. In her new role, Beth Ann will focus on engaging ASCE members in its Key Contact Program, managing the organization’s annual DC Legislative Fly-In, and supporting the Society’s multiple advocacy campaigns.
Congratulations to WTS-DC board member Adrienne Ameel on her recent promotion to the position of Office Practice Leader at Kimley-Horn. Her new responsibilities will include business
planning, developing strategies for achieving office goals and managing projects.
Congratulations to WTS-DC board member Heather Rothenberg on her recent promotion to Director of Policy and Federal Projects at Sam Schwartz Engineering.
Do you have news to share with the WTS-DC community?
Please email suggested articles and member updates to [email protected]
For more information from WTS-DC, visit us on:
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~ Reflections on Placemaking ~
Last month’s Complete Streets Bike Tour Scholarship Fundraiser
was an eye-opener for me, as one of the organizers. Many of our 37
cyclists were new to urban cycling and intimidated by the crazy busyness of DC streets. How inspiring to see an entire family, children
in tow, tackle the challenges of riding through downtown and experiencing the thrill of a new activity in the company of other novice riders. That trip through the District, as seen from the saddle of a bicycle, was memorable and definitely not reproducible from behind the
wheel of a car.
The lesson I drew from this is one I rely on often, as a landscape ar- WTS-DC members and friends participated
chitect who has morphed into an urban planner with a focus on mul- in the recent Complete Streets Bike Tour,
pictured here outside of USDOT.
timodal transportation. It is important to immerse oneself in the experience of place. My landscape architecture background has given me a well-organized approach to project
development in the arena of public space, but sometimes it is essential to step outside of the manager’s role
and turn oneself into a participant. I’ve found that there is just no substitute for directly experiencing the corridors and spaces we are designing, from a real-time perspective. Walking, cycling or even taking the bus continually presents us with unexpected events and makes us active players in the drama of the journey.
Once I had an amazing opportunity to redesign the natural landscape of Fallingwater, the world famous modernist house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. I mean, really – how does one improve on that? We did a plan,
of course, since that is what landscape architects do. But the opportunity to make a difference came when we
asked visitors about what was most meaningful to them during their Fallingwater pilgrimage. People told us it
was the anticipation of walking through the woods, and encountering the house poised over the waterfall – an
almost mystical encounter. So we reoriented our entire plan to focus on the experiential journey of seeing the
house, and framing that through physical interventions in the landscape. We redesigned part of the pathway
as a switchback so that people would have glimpses of the house from
different vistas, drawing out the experience with more nuanced perspectives.
Why is this important to professionals in the transportation field? Transportation professionals are considered to be destination-focused, utilizing traffic data showing levels of service, modal accommodation, and
intersection timing cycles to make the journey as efficient and safe as
possible. These are very important objectives, without question. The
quality of the journey, however, can be as important as a timely arrival
WTS-DC Professional Development
at the destination. Allowing for the experience – a view, a place to slow Committee members and Bike Tour
down, a slice of street life – helps us truly inhabit our world, and not planners extraordinaire (from left): Marita Roos, UrbanBiology LLC; Cerasela
just pass through it.
Cristei,Parsons Brinckerhoff; & Neelima
Ghanta, HNTB
—Marita Roos RLA AICP, Professional Development Committee Co-Chair
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WTS-DC Attends the Transportation YOU Summit
Board member Heather Rothenberg and her mentee, Favor Ogu, a rising senior in
the TransSTEM Academy at Cardozo Education Campus participated in the fourth
WTS Transportation You Summit in June. The five-day summit brought together 18
mentor-mentee pairs from WTS chapters across the country to learn more about
careers in transportation, meet other students and professionals with similar interests, and see some of the sites that make Washington, DC so special.
The Summit kicked off Wednesday, June 24, with a welcome dinner for attendees
and members of the WTS International Board of Directors at the Mayflower Hotel.
This was followed by a workshop for the mentees on developing a personal mission
Heather and her mentee Favor Ogu
Thursday morning began an activity-packed day with an early start at the US Department of Transportation where the group heard from a diverse group of transportation professionals about their backgrounds and experience and met USDOT Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez. Next, the group headed to the Washington
Metropolitan Area Transit Authority where they learned about the technology used to manage their transit system and
provide information to the public. Favor and Heather, along with the others, then spent the afternoon at the America on
the Move Exhibit at the Smithsonian and working on a small group project. Here, Heather and Favor participated in an
information scavenger hunt, giving them the opportunity to discuss transportation topics beyond what was specifically
presented in the exhibit. The last stop for the day before dinner was at Google where they learned about their self-driving
vehicle and other projects under development. Dinner was followed by a guided night time tour of the monuments.
Friday morning began with a tour of the White House, where the group had the chance to meet the President’s dogs, Bo
and Sunny. This was followed by a visit to the National Transportation Safety Board where they learned about the investigation into the TWA Flight 800 crash. This included seeing the recovered wreckage and learning how it was reconstructed to help the investigation. Friday afternoon, the group visited FHWA’s Turner Fairbank Research Center where
they toured research labs studying connected vehicles, driver behavior, and pavement engineering. The connected vehicles technology discussion offered an interesting counterpoint to Google’s approach to a self-driving vehicle that is autonomous. Friday ended with a dinner cruise on the Potomac.
The focus on Saturday was on the development and delivery of effective presentations. Summit attendees participated
in a workshop on public speaking before they prepared and delivered their own presentations. This was followed by a
college information panel discussion with current students at several local colleges. Saturday night mentees received a
graduation certificate at a banquet where they were addressed by and had the opportunity to ask questions of Therese
McMillan, Acting Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration. Sunday morning, the group met for a final breakfast and closing remarks.
When asked what her favorite activity was, WTS-DC mentee Favor
Ogu responded that she really enjoyed visiting Google. This appealed
to the budding entrepreneur who dreams of one day owning her own
transportation technology business. She said her biggest take away
was the networking. “It is important not just to meet people, but to
make connections…You never know the doors that may be opened
through networking.”
Favor is spending the rest of her summer as an intern at the World
Bank. Heather and Favor enjoyed time together before the summit
discussing professional goals, college plans, and having fun. They
will continue this mentor/mentee relationship, with plans for a baseball game and a double-decker bus tour of DC on the list of things
they’d like to do together. Heather will also be encouraging Favor to
be active in WTS activities, including applying for scholarships.
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WTS-DC Programs: Transportation Project Management Panel Discussion
A group of WTS-DC members and friends gathered over lunch at Gordon Biersch on July 29 for an engaging panel discussion with a diverse array of speakers. Moderated by Paul Rich of Deloitte, Dr. Yael
Grushka-Cockayne kicked off the session by highlighting several of the most challenging biases that affect project planning and management. These include the following, which set the tone for the rest of the
D e sc r i pt i o n
Parkinson’s Law
The task takes the amount of time you allot it.
Managing task dependencies and sequencing.
Student Syndrome
A buffer is established to cushion the time it takes to
accomplish a task. Procrastination ensues and the
project is not started until the last minute.
Working on too many things at one time delays completion of any final product.
Wendy Messenger, Chief, Program Implementation at the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), discussed the challenges of scaling up as an agency that grew from a multi-million to multi-billion dollar
budget in a short timespan. FRA needed to ramp up quickly by training project management staff and
establishing a risk management framework to proactively anticipate problems and solutions.
Kevin Ginnerty, Director of Project Delivery at Transurban, discussed the public-private partnership delivery of the 495 and 95 Express Lanes in Virginia. He noted that developing solid relationships between all
project partners and following the mantra “no surprises” in order to keep each other informed was key to
Julie Flores Kriegsfeld, ADS-B Project Manager at the
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), explained that
vision, leadership and critical thinking are all key
skills for successful project management. One of the
highlights of working on her current program will be
the transition of Air Traffic Control operations in towers from a paper to electronic system.
The speakers then answered a series of questions
from the lively attendees and everyone parted ways From left: Dr. Yael Grushka-Cockayne, UVA; Julie Flores
Kriegsfeld, FAA; Kevin Ginnerty, P.E., Transurban; Wendy
with new ideas after eating a tasty dessert.
Messenger, FRA; Paul Rich, Deloitte
WTS-DC thanks Deloitte for sponsoring this informative event!
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Melany Alliston-Brick, Toole Design Group
Vice President
Avital Barnea, USDOT
Iris Ortiz, Cambridge Systematics, Inc.
Dana Jaffe, AECOM
Communications/Social Media Committee
Christine Sherman, RSG
Marla Westervelt, Eno Center for Transportation
Christine Mayeur, Nspiregreen
Corporate Relations Committee
Susan Sharp, Sharp & Company
Shelley Johnson, Sharp & Company
Patricia Happ, Info Quest Associates, Inc.
Diversity Committee
Balkis Hassane, Parsons
Rosemary Mullane, USDOT-PHMSA
Nadia Anderson, AAA
Glass Ceiling Task Force
Tiffany Batac, Parsons Brinckerhoff
Jennifer Brickett, AASHTO
Holiday Party Committee
Adrienne Ameel, Kimley-Horn and Associates
Danielle McCray, Kimley-Horn and Associates
Hospitality Committee
Moji Jimoh, WMATA
Erin Shumate, Eno Center for Transportation
Mary Ellen Akins, Stratacomm
Megan McCarty, Toole Design Group
Dulce Carrillo, WMATA
Legislative Committee
Cathy Connor, Parsons Brinckerhoff
Beth Ann Ray, ASCE
Valerie Southern, VJS-TC
Isabelle Beegle-Levin, U.S. House of Representatives
Anja Graves, CHG & Associates
Membership Committee
Maggie Schilling, USDOT-FTA
Mentoring and STEM Initiative Committee
Meredith Howell, USDOT
Stacy Weisfeld, HDR Inc.
Newsletter Committee
Emily Norton, USDOT
Christine Mayeur, Nspiregreen
Professional Development Committee
Cerasela Cristei, AEM Corporation
Marita Roos, UrbanBiology LLC
Neelima Ghanta, HNTB
Programs Committee
Kristine Boswell, USDOT
Sophie Guiny, Booz Allen Hamilton
Genevieve Oudar, Deloitte
Amina Popowich, Deloitte
Tiffani Bryant, WMATA
Recognitions Committee
Kate Lefkowitz, Cambridge Systematics
Waiching Wong, Booz Allen Hamilton
Scholarships Committee
Amanda Wall Vandegrift, Parsons Brinckerhoff
Maheen Aziz, USDOT
Silent Auction Committee
Angela Martinez, University of Maryland
Transportation YOU Committee
Jasmy Methipara, NHTS Program Analyst, MacroSys
Heather Rothenberg, Sam Schwartz Engineering
Contributors to this issue include: Melany Alliston-Brick, Toole Design Group; Marita Roos, UrbanBiology LLC; Heather Rothenberg, Sam Schwartz Engineering;
Emily Norton, USDOT; Christine Mayeur, Nspiregreen LLC
Many thanks to
2014 - 2015