March/April 2011
In this issue...
2011 Chapter Award Winners
Notes from WTS International
WTS Minnesota Tweets!
Member Spotlight: Connie Kozlak
March Program: Legislative Audits
Membership Campaign 

Watch for more information coming soon about a new WTS International membership campaign, with individual recruiting incentives!  


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Upcoming Events


WTS Minnesota May Program: The Interchange


Tuesday, May 17

11:30 am-1:00 pm

Metro Transit


Click here for more

information and to RSVP



WTS International

2011 Annual Conference

Building Bridges

San Francisco, CA
May 18-20

Visit the
WTS International website for more information

Joint Luncheon

Social Media & Transportation Panel Discussion

Wednesday, June 1
Holiday Inn East

Look for more information soon!
Has your email address changed?

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

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2011 WTS Minnesota
Board of Directors

Kristin Thompson

Vice President
Katie Roth

Joy Miciano

Christina Miller

Past President
Amber Nord

Scholarships & Recognitions Director
Fay Cleaveland

Programs Director
Molly Stewart

Membership Director
Andrea Arnoldi
Marketing Director
HunWen Westman


2011 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

Kristin Thompson

President's Column

Kristin Thompson 


Dear WTS Minnesota Members & Friends,


Happy Spring! In recent weeks, news about transportation has been all around us, from budget debates in St. Paul and Washington DC to the intensification of Central Corridor construction in the heart of the Twin Cities. In hectic and changing times, the value of connecting with colleagues and staying abreast of new issues and projects is higher than ever. As two of our spring events demonstrate, connecting and learning are at the core of what WTS does.

On April 26th, we honored our chapter scholarship recipients and recognition award winners at the Annual Scholarships and Recognitions Luncheon at Jax Cafe. This event is one of the highlights of the WTS year, and presents a lovely opportunity to celebrate current and future leaders in our field.

At the May program, Chuck Ballentine of Hennepin County will present on The Interchange multimodal hub on the northwest edge of downtown Minneapolis. Join us to gain insight into the increasingly important role The Interchange will play as the region's transitway system expands.

I hope to see you at one of these upcoming events! 

Best regards,


Kristin Thompson

President, WTS Minnesota


Meet the WTS Minnesota 2011 Scholarship and Recognition Award Winners

Fay Cleaveland

Each year, WTS Minnesota recognizes members of the local community for their achievements in the transportation field.  Members and friends  celebrated with our winners at the annual awards luncheon on April 26.  WTS Minnesota is pleased to introduce this year's recipients:


Laurie McGinnis

Woman of the Year

Laurie McGinnis is the newly appointed Director of the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota. She leads CTS in identifying program opportunities, securing funding, directing programs, and establishing future directions in transportation research, education and outreach with involvement of over 150 faculty and research staff from 33 departments. She directs a staff of 27, with an annual budget of $20 million and represents CTS in national, state, and university activities.


Kimley-Horn logoEmployer of the Year  

Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. is one of the nation's most comprehensive engineering and land planning firms.  The firm's "caregiver status" offers flexible schedules for women and men acting as primary caregivers to a family member.  From 2005-2010, FORTUNE magazine has named Kimley-Horn one of its 100 Best Companies to Work For. 


Nice Ride logo

Innovative Transportation Solutions

This award recognizes the unique partnership between Nice Ride Minnesota and its corporate sponsor, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.  Other Nice Ride sponsors include Transit for Livable Communities, the Federal Highway Administration, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, and the City of Minneapolis. Their partnership forms a unique alliance of visionary inspiration, expertise in transportation, and fiscal commitment in support of a new way to promote healthy lifestyles and non-motorized transportation in Minnesota.

Gold Ribbon

Katherine F. Turnbull Undergraduate Leadership Award Kristi Anderson is a Civil Engineering major at the University of Minnesota.  She is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the UMN Varsity Women's Rowing team.  She hopes to one day work on local highways and transportation systems and impact the surrounding communities of Minneapolis.

Donna W. Allan Undergraduate Scholarship Ainsley Judge is a Geography major at Macalester College.  She is a leader for Mac Bike, Macalester's bike advocacy group, and a former intern at St. Paul Smart Trips and the Sibley Bike Depot.  She hopes to pursue a career in alternative transportation advocacy or in transportation planning.

WTS Minnesota Graduate Scholarship Rose Ryan is a second year urban planning student at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.  She is a former intern for the Minneapolis Department of Public Works Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program, and currently works as a planning analyst for Active Living Hennepin County.  Her current focus is changing transportation policy to provide for walking, biking, and transit. 

Nadine Lee

Notes from WTS International

By Nadine Lee, WTS Int'l Director, Region 6


Greetings, and welcome to Spring 2011!


Spring is traditionally a period of renewal - a time to cleanse and start anew, shaking off the blanket of dust collected over the winter.  Fresh air and warm sunshine give us a healing energy, reminding us that the world is full of opportunities to make change and improve upon the past.


On a national level, the transportation industry is poised to act upon the next transportation reauthorization.  Whether or not Congress will pass a reauthorization bill is yet to be seen, but one thing we do know is that the economy depends on jobs that can be created through such legislation.  Right now, infrastructure investment is paramount to the stabilization of our economy and would give American workers a fresh start.


As part of our own Spring cleaning, WTS International is developing an update to our strategic plan.  The existing plan was completed in 2007 to facilitate an organizational transition with the establishment of an executive office.  Since then, WTS has become a much stronger and more capable organization than ever before.  With this strategic plan update, WTS will take the next steps to solidify our position as the leading organization in the transportation industry.  Of course, making these strides will move us forward in our mission to "transform transportation through the advancement of women."  Be on the lookout for the rollout of the strategic plan update at the Annual Conference in San Francisco in May.


Speaking of San Francisco, I always look forward to attending the Annual Conference, and this year is no exception.  At the three-day event, we are sure to hear about leadership, trends in transportation and land use, innovative financing for transportation mega-projects, and much, much more.  In addition, exposure to the movers and shakers in the industry will give each person new ideas for tackling the challenges waiting at home.


I hope that you, too, will find inspiration in the coming of Spring and that this energy will apply to your work in both WTS and in transportation!


Nadine Lee At a Glance

Name:  Nadine Lee

Position:  Region 6 Director, WTS International Board

Local Chapter:  Colorado

Past Positions in WTS:

            Director, WTS International Board

            Co-Chair, WTS International Leadership Program

            Past President, Colorado Chapter

            President, Colorado Chapter

            Programs Chair, Colorado Chapter

            Special Events Chair, Colorado Chapter

Years in WTS: 10

Years in Industry:  19

Employer:  Regional Transportation District (RTD)

Title:  Engineering Project Manager

Current Projects:

            FasTracks Eagle P3

FasTracks US 36 Bus Rapid Transit

            FasTracks Northwest Rail

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Do you tweet? WTS Minnesota does, and we're working hard to make Twitter a place where members and friends can stay in touch with us.  


Follow WTS Minnesota for up-to-date information on chapter programs and events, updates from WTS International, and news from the transportation community.  


Feel free to tweet us your suggestions for programs, feedback, or just to say hello. It's a great way to stay connected!


member spotlight

This month, we learn about how the Minnesota chapter of WTS was formed from one of our founding members.  
Connie Kozlak

Title:  Manager of Transportation PlanningConnie Kozlak
Company/Agency:  Metropolitan Council
WTS Member Since:  1981

What do you do in your position on a daily basis, and what do you enjoy most about your job? 

I work with a great staff who does highway, transit, bike/ped, freight and aviation planning for the seven-county metro area. Every four years we revise our regional long-range Transportation Policy Plan and in between, we work on lots of transportation plans and projects, with staff from county, Mn/DOT, Metro Transit, as well as city staff members and people who work in different departments at the Council like land use planning.   


As a manager, I also do administrative work like working on budgets, consultant contracts, and supervising and training staff. And I am also on a TRB committee, and work often with CTS and the Humphrey School at the University. What I enjoy most is the variety of my work, the people I work with and feeling like I make a difference in how the region develops and in minimizing many people's day-to-day hassles of getting to work and other activities.


How did you learn about WTS and what motivated you to take on the challenges of forming a new chapter?   
I learned about WTS from Sherri Alston, who had belonged in DC before she moved here to work with Mn/DOT (which was still the MN Highway Dept in those days). She called a group of women together in a basement conference room over lunch one day and told us about the group in DC. Since there were so few of us women working in transportation in the late 1970s it seemed like a good idea to band together and support and get to know each other. I remember Judy Hollander, Randi Alcott, Donna Allan, Charlene Zimmer and a woman named Julie Sparks from MPCA at the very beginning and soon we had about 25 members.   
How have you been involved with WTS over the years? 

We held our first national conference here in 1987 and I was the program chair. That was my biggest job. I have also been involved speaking at programs, organizing some of them, fundraising, and I am currently on the advisory board.   


What role has WTS had in your career? 

It has been a great way to meet people that I would not have met in my day-to-day projects, as well as a way to learn about different fields within transportation. Most of the programs are great, and I can remember some very unique ones. I have participated in some of the professional development activities also, like one helping consultants and public sector staff better understand one another's perspective, and a session with a PR person who showed us how to deal with the media. I have gone to some of the national conventions and met members from other cities, which has been helpful when I needed to check out how something is done elsewhere. And when I got laid off about 15 years ago one of my WTS friends got me an interview with her boss within two hours! I have been a mentor at the Humphrey School for over 15 years and I try to bring my students to a professional meeting like WTS so they can meet others who are already working in transportation. 


Why is continued involvement in WTS important to you? 

It is a supportive group, where you can talk informally with other women on a variety of topics; it gives me a chance to meet new people, especially younger ones just entering the field; there are interesting programs; and just going to meetings gives me a chance to catch up with all the good friends I have made over the years.


Fill in the blank:  Outside of work, you'd most likely find me... 

Skiing in the winter, biking, or at our lake cabin in the summer, or just hanging out with my family and friends. I am beyond the stage of driving a minivan full of hockey or baseball players, and kind of enjoying being able to pick my own activities!

March Program: Legislative Audits & Twin Cities Transit Governance
Katie Roth

On Tuesday, March 8, WTS members and friends gathered at Hoa Bien on University Avenue for the chapter's March program. Judy Randall of the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) provided an interesting and timely look at how the OLA evaluates state programs and shared results of its recent evaluation on Governance of Transit in the Twin Cities Region. Ms. Randall served as the evaluation manager for that effort, and offered a candid look at the process and findings. 

Legislative Audits presentation
Judy Randall explains the legislative auditing process.

Ms. Randall first set the stage for the transit governance report by explaining how topics are chosen for evaluation each year. The Legislative Audit Commission, made up of members of both political parties from both the House and Senate, appoints the Legislative Auditor and selects topics for the Program Evaluation Division to review. The nonpartisan, professional OLA staff then take on the task of evaluating the selected topics and presenting their findings to the Legislature. 


In January, the OLA released its evaluation report on the governance of transit in the Twin Cities. The report observed that a large number of agencies are involved at different stages of planning, funding, and delivering transit service and capital improvements, including the Metropolitan Council, CTIB, and the suburban transit providers. Coordination between these entities can be difficult and time consuming. Ms. Randall noted that one of the key recommendations of the evaluation was to restructure the Metropolitan Council to include a combination of elected and appointed members. This recommendation is aimed at overcoming a lack of trust observed by the OLA team during its evaluation activities. 


Legislative Audits program attendees

  Legislative Audit program attendees