May/June 2011
In this issue...
WTS Annual Conference
June Program: Social Media & Transportation
Member Spotlight: Gina Baas
Members on the Move
New Members 

WTS Minnesota welcomes the following new members:


Ann McLellan



Lubov Radtke

University of Minnesota  


Maranda Wendt

Short Elliot Hendrickson, Inc.


WTS Minnesota

Needs You!


Do you have good program ideas, venue suggestions, or just a few hours a month you could invest in developing quality programs with other incredible transportation professionals? The Programs Committee wants you! Contact Molly Stewart or any of the board members for more information.


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Upcoming Events


Transportation YOU Volunteer Opportunity: Exploring Careers in Engineering & Physical Science, Workshops for 11th and 12th Grade Students  


Monday, July 18

9:15am - noon: Activities Noon - 1:00pm: Career Panel

University of Minnesota,

Keller Hall 3170


Click here for more



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,


When you were in high school, were you encouraged to pursue math and science to the full extent of your capabilities? Were you aware of the diversity of rewarding transportation careers available? Many young people, especially young women, are not. According to the FHWA, women comprise just 8% of engineers. Many of us know from personal experience that women are underrepresented in other transportation fields, too.

At this year's Annual Conference, WTS International and the US Department of Transportation kicked off a national initiative for girls and young women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This initiative, called Transportation YOU, will introduce younger girls ages 13-18 to the broad array of transportation careers through hands-on interactive activities, mentoring programs, field experiences and a national "virtual" community.

Transportation YOU will provide a wonderful opportunity for us to promote WTS's mission of transforming the transportation industry through the advancement of women. Stay tuned for more information about the initiative and WTS Minnesota's involvement in the coming months!

Best regards,


Kristin Thompson

President, WTS Minnesota


WTS Annual Conference

Fay Cleaveland

This May, I had the honor of representing WTS Minnesota at the WTS Annual Conference in San Francisco, CA.  Conference planners filled three jam-packed days with thought-provoking panel discussions, speakers, infrastructure tours, and opportunities to informally connect with WTS members from around the country.   

One element I most valued about the conference was the high quality pool of speakers invited by WTS International. My personal highlights were hearing Secretary Ray Lahood and journalist Laura Ling.  Secretary Lahood announced the official launch of Transportation Transportation YOU logoYOU, a new initiative encouraging WTS members to help teenage women explore careers in transportation. Secretary Lahood challenged WTS members to embrace Transportation YOU as an investment in their community and in shaping future colleagues in local industries.  As I reflect on the relationships that influenced my own years as a teenager, I am excited by new opportunities for WTS members to actively engage in the development of young transportation talent here in Minnesota. 


In her keynote address, journalist Laura Ling described her 140-day experience as a North Korean prisoner.  She was captured at the Chinese-Korean border while researching female-trafficking in that region.  Ling believes the connection she developed with her female prison guard helped alleviate some of the sense of isolation and emotional hardship she experienced during her captivity.  Ling shared the message that women of any background have a commonality and the ability to build connections simply because they are both women.  This idea resonates strongly with WTS' mission to advance women in transportation careers and validates the regular efforts of WTS members to connect with other women and support their professional growth.


Throughout the week's activities, I enjoyed getting to know other WTS Minnesota members, including Christina Miller, Gina Baas, Dawn Spanhake, Xuan Di, and Avital Barnea.  In addition, conversations with WTS members from around the country exposed me to the wide variety of ways women are supporting their WTS chapters and creating relevant experiences for their members.  Attending the annual conference increased my appreciation of the WTS mission and the commitment, enthusiasm, and creativity its members offer in supporting women's transportation careers.

WTS Annual Conference - MN attendees
Minnesota chapter attendees at the 2011 WTS Annual Conference, from left to right: Avital Barnea, Dawn Spanhake, Gina Baas, Fay Cleaveland, Christina Miller, Xuan Di

Social Media & Transportation

Kristin Thompson


On June 1st, WTS Minnesota partnered with ITS Minnesota and NCITE to present a panel discussion on Social Media and Transportation. About 70 professionals gathered at the Holiday Inn East to learn from the experts.


The panelists-Amber Collett (Transit for Livable Communities), Josh Collins (Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority), TK Kramascz (MnDOT), Andrew Rankin (Downtown Minneapolis TMO), moderated by Gina Baas (Center for Transportation Studies)-discussed the opportunities and challenges presented by social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Each panelist shared strategies for using social media as well as obstacles and successes experienced by their agencies. 


Several common threads emerged from the panelists presentations, including:

  • The importance of identifying your agency's goals for using social media
  • The value of ongoing engagement via social media, including "retweeting" messages and responding to questions from followers
  • The challenge of keeping up with a 24-7 communication environment given limited resources

Numerous questions from the audience generated a lively follow-up discussion. WTS, ITS MN and NCITE plan to hold joint events annually from now on. 

Social Media and Transportation program panel
Panelists Josh Collins, Andrew Rankin, TK Kramascz, and Amber Collett, and moderator Gina Baas, field questions from the audience.
member spotlight
Thinking about getting more involved? This month's featured member shows us the range of options.
Gina Baas
 Gina Baas
Title:  Assistant Director, Education and Outreach
Company/Agency:  Center for Transportation Studies (CTS), University of Minnesota
WTS Member Since:  1995

Your career path is somewhat unconventional - how did you get into the transportation industry? 

My degree is in political science and I worked for US Senator Dave Durenberger in his Minnesota office starting in 1989 until his retirement in 1994. In 1990-1991, I had the opportunity to work on the federal transportation bill - the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) - and first met people like Bob Johns and Fred Corrigan who remain friends and mentors to this day. I also met Lisa Raduenz, a WTS member, who hired me to work with her transportation planning and consulting firm following the senator's retirement. I made one more stop at a market research firm owned by another WTS member, Carolyn Olson, before landing at CTS in December 1997.   


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

I oversee CTS's education, communications, and event activities and serve as a member of the CTS Leadership Team that guides the strategic direction of the Center. I would have to say that I love the variety of my responsibilities and the broad range of transportation issues and stakeholders that we are involved with. In addition, we have a talented and engaged staff here at CTS and they motivate and inspire me every day.


How have you been involved with WTS over the years? 

I've held the following positions with the WTS Minnesota Board: secretary, program chair, vice president, president, and past-president (1996-2000); served as arrangements chair for the 2002 WTS National Conference (2000-2002); currently serve on the WTS Minnesota Advisory Board (2006-Present); chaired the WTS Minnesota 25th Anniversary Celebration Committee (2007); and serve as WTS International Membership Development Committee co-chair (2009-Present). 


How did you become involved with WTS International?   

WTS International President at the time, Elaine Dezenski, recommended me for the position. I first met Elaine in 1998 when she and I attended chapter presidents' training together and we continued to stay in touch through the years - reconnecting at WTS conferences and during the WTS reception at the Transportation Research Board annual meeting  


What has WTS International's Membership Development Committee been working on? 

We've taken on several big initiatives over the last couple of years, including developing a membership development toolkit for chapters to use in their recruitment and retention efforts (available on the website) and working with WTS International Staff to develop and market the membership campaign completed this spring. During the next couple of years, we'll be working with staff to identify segments of the transportation industry who are under-represented in WTS and focus recruitment efforts in those areas


Why is continued involvement in WTS important to you? 

My answers above tell part of the story - my career has advanced with the help and support of my WTS local and national network. Hopefully, I'll have the opportunity to pay it forward for others. More importantly to me, I've made lifelong friends who share my passion for transportation and for this organization!


What are you looking forward to most this summer? 

Spending more time on the golf course!


Members on the Move!



Kate Bartelt, previously of Richardson, Richter, and Associates, is now Manager of Financial Strategy and Contract Coordination at the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota.


Congratulations to:


Ann Johnson, recipient of the Ray L. Lappegaard Distinguished Service Award from the Center for Transportation Studies. 


Pavithra Parthasarathi, recipient of the John S. Adams Award for Excellence in Transportation Research and Education from the Center for Transportation Studies.


Katie Roth, newly minted Certified Planner.


Molly Stewart, now a licensed Professional Engineer.



Have member news to share? Please send them to HunWen Westman so we can keep track of and recognize our colleagues!