November/December 2010
in this issue...
Welcome New Members!
President's Column
2010 Challenge Update
November Program: Teen Driver Support System
Member Spotlight: Margaret Donahoe
Holiday Party & Scholarship Fundraiser
2011 Chapter Recognition Awards
New Members!

WTS Minnesota welcomes the following members who joined in November:

Sara Schmitt
Andrea Arnoldi
Xuan Di
Ying Chen

Save the Date

WTS International
2011 Annual Conference
Building Bridges
::   ::   ::
San Francisco, CA
May 18-20, 2011

Visit the
 WTS International website for more information
Has your email address changed?

Please email Molly Stewart with your new address and don't forget to update your email address with WTS International as well.

Join Our Mailing List
2010 WTS Minnesota
Board of Directors

Amber Nord

Vice President
Kristin Thompson

Joy Miciano

Christina Miller

Past President

Scholarships & Recognitions Director
Angie Christo

Programs Director
HunWen Westman

Membership Co-Director
Molly Stewart

Membership Co-Director
Karen Allen

Marketing Director
Katie Roth


2010 WTS Minnesota
Advisory Board

Donna Allan
WTS Past President

Laura Amundson
Parsons Brinkerhoff

Gina Baas
Center for Transportation Studies

Biz Colburn
WTS Past President

Sandy Cullen
University of Minnesota

Judy Hollander
Hennepin County

Ann Johnson
University of Minnesota

Connie Kozlak
Metropolitan Council

Jessica Laabs
Kimley-Horn & Associates

Stephanie Malinoff
Center for Transportation Studies

Laurie McGinnis
Center for Transportation Studies

Dan Meyers

Sam O'Connell
Dakota County

Kristin Asher-Osberg
City of Richfield

Lisa Raduenz

Kate Sanderson

Dawn Spanhake
Center for Transportation Studies

Amy Vennewitz
Metropolitan Council

Charleen Zimmer
Zan Associates

Amber 1
President's Column 
Amber Nord

We have much to celebrate as we close 2010. Due to our membership drive, we have gained four new members since the initiative was launched in November. We are off to a great start and if you are considering a membership with WTS Minnesota, now is a great time to join.


At our Annual Holiday Party and Scholarship Fundraiser earlier this month, we passed a huge milestone for our chapter. We have met our 2010 Challenge fundraising goal of raising $7,000 to fund our scholarships in perpetuity. Thank you to all of you who have donated to help us reach our goal!!! This concludes our fundraising initiative that we began in 2007. Countless people have given of their time, money, and silent auction items over the past three years. Thank you so much! 


And finally after two years as WTS Minnesota President, I bid you all adieu. I have truly enjoyed getting to know so many of you over the past two years. I hope to see you all at an event or program in 2011!


Happy Holidays,

Amber Nord
WTS Minnesota President

2010 Challenge Update

Kristin Thompson

Those who attended the Holiday Party on December 9th were the first to hear some exciting news for WTS Minnesota:  Over 7000 raised to date

We exceeded our goal of raising $7,000 for our scholarships this year!

Thanks to our generous members, friends, and corporate partners, we are now on firm footing to support deserving women students for years to come.

Look for an email update in early 2011 with more details on this accomplishment.

November Program:
Teen Driver Support System (TDSS)
HunWen Westman

Nationally, drivers between ages 16 and 19 made up only 4.6% of all licensed drivers in 2008, but were involved in 8.6% of all fatal crashes, making this age group at higher risk of fatality on the road than any other. In Minnesota, teenagers represented 6.7% of licensed drivers in 2009, but represented over 12.1% of drivers involved in crashes.

Dr. Max Donath shared these statistics with an audience of WTS members and friends on Wednesday, November 10, highlighting the need to focus on helping teens to drive safely. Donath, a University of Minnesota professor in Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Institute, then shared the latest technology his research team is developing to do just that.

Dr. Max Donath speaks to WTS members and friends
 The Teen Driver Support System (TDSS) uses a smart phone to monitor teen driving behavior and provide real-time feedback to the driver and parents. Summary reports are also provided weekly to the teen's parents. TDSS monitors some of the primary factors that can increase fatality risk in teen drivers, such as speeding, not using seat belts, presence of others teenagers in the vehicle, distractions such as phone calls and texting, and aggressive driving. Picture messages appear on the screen of the smart phone when the driver violates any of the monitored factors and text messages are sent to parents if violations persist.

In a recent usability study of 30 teen-parent pairs, both teens and parents felt TDSS might improve the teens' driving behavior when used regularly. Teens felt the system made driving more stressful, but also made them focus more on their driving. The research team is undertaking further review of the written comments from the evaluation to help refine the design of TDSS.

member spotlight

Margaret Donahoe

Title:  Executive Director
Company/Agency:  The Minnesota Transportation Alliance
WTS Member Since:  2006

What do you do in your position on a daily basis, and what do you enjoy most about your job? 
  My job involves a wide variety of activities so there isn't really a typical day. I am responsible for managing the Alliance including overseeing the staff, managing the budget, working to maintain and expand membership in the Alliance, and dealing with administrative tasks.


I also work as the chief lobbyist for the organization which involves working with my members to develop a legislative agenda, meeting one-on-one with legislators, attending committee hearings and sometimes testifying at hearings, providing weekly updates on legislative activity to the membership and working with legislators to get bills passed -- this is the part of my job that I enjoy the most. There is nothing like watching an idea go from a thought to a bill to a law.

I also produce reports on specific issues of concern, such as our Alliance recommendations for the next multi-year surface transportation authorization act, and develop materials to help policymakers understand how transportation in Minnesota is funded and why this funding is so critical. Currently, I'm working with my members to develop a long-range vision for transportation in Minnesota.

My job involves interacting with the media and providing comments and information on transportation for news reporters and editorial boards. I am also asked to speak to various groups throughout the year about transportation funding issues. The Alliance has some special contracts with certain members so I also work on more closely with certain groups on transportation advocacy efforts.

The Alliance hosts three major events throughout the year: Transportation Day at the Capitol, the Washington, D.C. Fly-In and the Alliance Annual Meeting featuring the Construction Forecast. I oversee the planning and execution of these events as well as some other smaller, more impromptu events such as candidate forums during election years.

Fill in the blank:  Outside of work, you'd most likely find me...Spending time with my children: Conor - 13 and Maryn - 11. I stay busy taking them to activities including piano lessons, ice skating lessons and competitions, baseball games and bandy games. I like to help them with homework and to spend time just hanging out with them at home.

How did you learn about WTS and why did you decide to join? 
I first learned about WTS when I worked for the Minnesota Senate. I worked as the Committee Administrator for the Senate Transportation Budget Division and I remember attending a WTS event honoring the woman I worked for - Senator Janet Johnson, Chair of the Transportation Budget Division and Senator Carol Flynn, Chair of the Transportation Committee and Rep. Jean Wagenius, Chair of the House Transportation Committee. I was impressed by all of the women who work in the transportation industry and how the organization supported and encouraged women to be leaders in transportation.

After I left the Minnesota Senate, I started working for the Minnesota Transportation Alliance and decided to join WTS to be more involved and get to know more of the women working in transportation in Minnesota.


How have you been involved with WTS over the years? 

In addition to attending educational programs and events like the Holiday Party, I have provided presentations at WTS meetings on transportation funding and efforts to increase funding through the legislative process.

In 2007 I was extremely honored to receive the Minnesota Chapter Woman of the Year award after working with many people in the transportation industry on the campaign to pass the constitutional amendment dedicating the motor vehicle sales tax revenue to highways and transit.

What has being a WTS member meant for you? 
I have really appreciated the friendships I've made with women in WTS. When I was promoted to Executive Director of the Minnesota Transportation Alliance, it was even more important to me to have an organization to be part of that is so supportive of women leaders.

I think WTS does a great job of providing useful information, keeping members engaged and interested and supporting future women leaders in transportation.

2010 Holiday Party & Scholarship Fundraiser
Katie Roth
Laurie McGinnis, Angie Christo, Amber Nord, Jessica Laabs, Christina Miller, Amy Vennewitz, Gina Baas, and Shannon Tyree.
Melissa Barnes and Andrea Arnoldi cruise in the WTSmobile.

Connie Kozlak and Dave Christianson go for a ride.
Members and friends gathered at Elsie's in northeast Minneapolis on December 9th for an evening of fun.

Those in attendance enjoyed great food, chair massages, tarot card readings--and of course, plenty of catching up with colleagues.

As usual, the silent auction was a big hit with attendees. Prizes ranged from gift certificates to sports tickets to weekend getaway packages, generously donated by individuals and corporate partners. Proceeds from the silent auction helped WTS Minnesota meet its scholarship fundraising goal for 2010.

In the new/renewing member drawing, Ann Johnson took home the coveted $100 Visa card for renewing her membership.

The holiday party also marked the end of the road for board members not returning in 2011. Thank you to Amber Nord for her two years of service as WTS Minnesota president! Kristin Thompson will taking on the duties of president in 2011.

Thanks to all who kicked off the holiday season with WTS and helped us fuel the fund to endow our scholarships.

A special thank you to our event sponsor, Kimley-Horn and Associates! Thanks also are due to Richardson, Richter & Associates for the use of a photo printer for the evening
2010 Board members Joy Miciano, HunWen Westman, Kristin Thompson, Molly Stewart, Katie Roth, Christina Miller, and Amber Nord. (Not pictured: Angie Christo, Karen Allen)

2011 Chapter Recognition Awards

WTS Minnesota will soon be seeking nominations for our 2011 Recognition Awards. We encourage members to participate. It is a great way to honor those who support our organization and its goals, and to heighten awareness of WTS in the transportation community.


The awards are:

  • WTS Member of the Year
  • WTS Employer of the Year
  • WTS Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award
  • WTS Innovative Transportation Solutions Award

Chapter nominations are due on Friday, January 21, 2011. Start thinking about nominations and look for more information in an upcoming email!