January/February 2012
In this issue...
Scholarship & Recognitions Award Winners
Transportation YOU Mentorship Program
Corporate Partnership Update
2012 Board of Directors
Effective Feedback Program
Member Spotlight: Nikki Farrington, Sara Schmitt, Ashley Ver Burg
Members on the Move
New Members 

WTS Minnesota welcomes the following new and returning members:


Nicole Campbell

University of Minnesota


Mona Elabbady

SRF Consulting Group, Inc.


Heather Gardner



Ashley Slominski

Parsons Brinkerhoff


New Website Launching February 29


WTS International has been busy designing a new and improved website, set to launch February 29. The new site will make it easier to navigate the site, join or renew memberships, and share and find news and events for WTS International as well as each chapter. 


The Minnesota chapter pages will be updated as well when the new site launches. Please take a look around and let us know what you think! The web address for both the WTS International and the Minnesota chapter homepages will remain the same:






Some functionalities may be unavailable in the days leading up to the launch of the new site. Thank you for your patience as the bugs get worked out!

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Upcoming Events


March Program: Rapid Bus

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Charles Carlson, Metro Transit's Manager of Transitway Planning, will discuss the Rapid Bus concept for the Twin Cities metropolitan area.  


Watch your inbox for more details coming soon! 




WTS Annual Conference 

May 9-11, 2012 

Denver, CO

 Click here for more info.


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.
Join Our Mailing List
2012 WTS Minnesota
Board of Directors

Katie Roth

Vice President
Fay Simer

Sara Schmitt

Christina Miller

Past President
Kristin Thompson

Scholarships & Recognitions Director
Nikki Farrington

Programs Director
Ashley Ver Burg

Membership Director
Andrea Arnoldi
Marketing Director
HunWen Westman


2012 WTS Minnesota
Advisory Board

Donna Allan
WTS Past President

Gina Baas
Center for Transportation Studies

Debra Brisk
Hennepin County

Biz Colburn
WTS Past President

Sandy Cullen

University of Minnesota

Margaret Donahoe

Minnesota Transportation Alliance

Mary Gute


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

Katie Roth president photo

President's Column

Katie Roth 


Hello WTS Minnesota Members & Friends,


In 1982, a pioneering group of 14 women founded WTS Minnesota, the tenth chapter of an up-and-coming national organization dedicated to advancing women in transportation. In 2012, we invite you to join us in celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Minnesota chapter's founding, and to help us continue building our chapter for the future.


2012 is shaping up to be a very eventful year for WTS Minnesota. We start the year by welcoming Kimley-Horn and Associates as our first corporate partner. Throughout the year, we'll be stepping up our efforts to offer you quality programs, networking opportunities, and professional development resources. We kicked off the year with our February professional development program and will follow up with a timely topical program in March. And big plans are in the works for a 30th Anniversary Gala to be held in November.


In this year of celebration, I'm honored to serve as your chapter president and work with an energetic board of dedicated professional women. Regardless of where you've fit into WTS Minnesota's 30-year history, I invite you to come back to WTS--by attending a program, volunteering with our Transportation YOU efforts, or coming to a networking event. We're looking forward to reconnecting with our members in 2012!




Katie Roth

President, WTS Minnesota


2012 WTS Minnesota Scholarship & Recognition
Award Winners


Gold RibbonEach year, WTS Minnesota recognizes members of the local community for their achievements in the transportation field, and awards scholarships to women pursuing transportation careers. Members are invited to celebrate with our winners at the annual awards luncheon in April (date forthcoming). WTS Minnesota is pleased to announce this year's recipients:


Woman of the Year:

Wanda Kirkpatrick


Member of the Year:

Gina Baas


Innovative Transportation Solutions:

Minnesota GO Visioning Process -

MnDOT Office of Statewide Multimodal Planning


Katherine F. Turnbull Undergraduate Leadership Award:

Caitlin Weber


Donna W. Allan Undergraduate Scholarship:

Jessica Miller


WTS Minnesota Graduate Scholarship:

Kristina Nesse


Learn more about our accomplished winners in the next newsletter!

Transportation YOU Mentorship Program
Planning Underway


The Transportation YOU committee is in the process of setting up a local mentorship program for girls with an interest in the transportation industry. The committee has developed a general framework for the mentorship program that includes activities and tours to introduce students to careers in transportation. The program is scheduled to launch in the fall. 
Transportation YOU is a hands-on, interactive program that offers young girls ages 13-18 an introduction to a wide variety of transportation careers. Through the program, WTS Minnesota has the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young girls by offering programs and activities that will spark their interest in all modes of transportation and encourage them to take courses in math, science, and technology, which are the stepping stones to exciting careers that can change the face of the transportation industry.
If you would like to participate in the development of the mentorship program, or are interested in other Transportation YOU activities, please contact HunWen Westman  


Transportation YOU logo 

Corporate Partnership Update


Kimley-Horn Logo

We are pleased to announce that Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., has signed on as a 2012 Corporate Partner at the Advocate level. Kimley-Horn is a national engineering, planning, and environmental consulting firm. WTS Minnesota looks forward to building on our relationship with Kimley-Horn throughout the year. 


We are still welcoming Corporate Partners for 2012. For more information on becoming a WTS Minnesota Corporate Partner, please contact Kristin Thompson or Katie Roth


2012 WTS Minnesota Board of Directors

With three new members, the 2012 WTS Minnesota Board of Directors is enthusiastic and ready to serve you! Get to know new board members Nikki Farrington, Ashley Ver Burg, and Sara Schmitt in the Member Spotlight feature below. We encourage you to contact any board member with questions or suggestions on how the chapter can better address your needs. Board members can also tell you about committees and other ways you can help if you want to get more involved in WTS. 

Many thanks to outgoing board members Joy Miciano and Molly Stewart for their combined six years of dedication to the board!
2012 WTS MN Board of Directors

2012 WTS Minnesota Board of Directors

Front (L to R): Andrea Arnoldi (Membership Director), HunWen Westman (Marketing Director), Katie Roth (President), Fay Simer (Vice President).

Back (L to R): Nikki Farrington (Scholarships and Recognitions Director), Kristin Thompson (Past President), Christina Miller (Treasurer), Ashley Ver Burg (Programs Director), Sara Schmitt (Secretary).


February_Program_ReviewProgram Review: Effective Feedback without Fear

Ashley Ver Burg 


Maribeth OverlandThe 2012 WTS Programs Season kicked off on Wednesday, February 22nd, with a dynamic professional development session entitled "Effective Feedback without Fear." Professional life coach and motivational speaker Maribeth (Mo) Overland facilitated the program which engaged attendees to consider how they provide and receive feedback.


The event was hosted by Kimley-Horn & Associates, and drew a crowd of twenty-four participants. Over coffee and bagels, program attendees learned tips on how to keep their feedback objective and concise to avoid emotional responses and/or fallouts.


A few tips covered in the presentation included:

  • Always provide feedback in private.
  • Schedule conversations at the end of the day and at the end of the week, if possible.
  • Use concrete, quantifiable examples of behavior.
  • Describe the behavior's impact on the individual, on yourself, and on the organization/department/company.
  • In the case of negative feedback, discuss alternatives to change behavior.

If you would like to see a PowerPoint presentation from the event, contact Ashley Ver Burg. For more information on our speaker, Maribeth Overland, visit www.MOverlandconsulting.com.


 Effective Feedback without Fear presentation

member spotlight
Member_SpotlightThis month's member spotlight is on three members who have increased their investments in the organization by joining the chapter's board of directors!

Meet Nikki Farrington: 

Nikki FarringtonI am a transportation engineer with CH2M HILL with over 10 years of experience. I have been a member of WTS since 2006 and have been active as a Scholarship and Recognitions committee member for the last four years.  My current project work includes being part of the design team for the I-94 Gateway Study for Washington County, developing transit alternatives for the I-94 corridor and a safety analyst on MnDOT's County Road Safety Plans. Besides my transportation work, I'm also addicted to Zumba classes at my YMCA and spend  a lot of time chasing after my two sons.


Nikki, why are you involved in WTS? 

WTS has always been a great resource for networking, it continues to have great monthly programs and I've been especially proud of our scholarship program. As a scholarship and recognitions committee member, I've been continually blown away by the local scholarship applicants. Every year I'm convinced we are making an impact on the transportation community by supporting some of the brightest, most enthusiastic  talent out there. I want to encourage all members to continue to support our scholarship program - we are making a difference!


Sara Schmitt on construction siteMeet Sara Schmitt: 

I have been a member since 2010.  Prior to 2010, my former employer, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), had a corporate membership in the Seattle Section, and I could participate in WTS without being a member myself.  I am a Transportation Engineer, currently looking for a new position.


Sara, what is the most interesting project you have worked on? 

Prior to moving back to Minnesota in 2010, I spent four years working on the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program, a $2.4 billion program in Seattle to replace a seismically vulnerable double deck bridge structure carrying 100,000 vehicles per day. When you start working on a mega-project like that, you never know where it'll lead. The Alaskan Way Viaduct was the first program where I got to lead a team of engineers and technicians. Innovation and creativity were very important. When I became part of the team, it was one project and we were going to build either a cut and cover tunnel or a replacement bridge. But due to politics and public involvement, the replacement was split into a number of projects and became a program. These projects to move utilities, improve traffic management along the corridor, and replace a southern portion of the viaduct were pursued until agreement was reached to construct a bored tunnel, which will now be the largest diameter bored tunnel in the world. The projects that were part of this program encouraged me to approach projects with an open mind. It is easy to look at standards, guidelines, and timelines and say something can't be done. These projects were too large and complicated and needed to be done too quickly for traditional design and construction methods. I led a team that always found a way to "yes" and worked hard to find acceptable solutions. Because the Alaskan Way Viaduct required so much innovation, it changed the way I look at projects.


Meet Ashley Ver Burg: Ashley Ver Burg in Cannes

February marks my fifth month as a Transportation Planner with Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. As a 2010 intern at Metro Transit, former WTS President Kristin Thompson introduced me to the organization with a summer tour of the Northstar Commuter Rail downtown station. I was impressed and am now delighted to join the 2012 board in a programming capacity.


Ashley, what is the best and worst transportation experience you have had? 

Best: After a summer of conducting arterial bus rapid transit research for Metro Transit, I moved to the south of France to teach English for an academic year. I spent a multimodal weekend in Lyon last April that has to be my best transportation experience to date. The trip included a TGV high speed train ride from Toulon to Lyon, a Lyon "Velo'V" bicycle sharing ride to the hostel, a funicular ride to the top of hill Fourviere, a 10k race through the infrastructure of the old and new city, and a wheelchair ride from a French man when I sprained my ankle in the last 500 meters (Not to worry, I still finished the race). All this said, the best mode experienced that weekend was riding on one of the Irisbus Citelis articulated vehicles acquired in 2009 for the August 2010 launch of Atoubus BRT in Lyon. Worst: Easter Sunday 9-hour night train from Toulon to Paris in a second-class cabin full of dentist-chair seats that reclined into the lap of the person behind you.






The new year brought new adventures to several of our members:


Molly Stewart is now a Project Engineer in the Transportation group at HR Green. She can be reached at mstewart@hrgreen.com or 651-659-7770.


Christina Miller joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in January. In her new role as business analyst, Christina provides analytical support for business functions and operations within the Treasury Services Department. She can still be reached via email at mill4953@umn.edu


Michael Corbett has moved into the public sector, as a Senior Transportation Planner at MnDOT.  His new email address is michael.j.corbett@state.mn.us 


Stephanie Malinoff has embraced a whole new kind of responsibility - Steph is now Mom to baby boy Zachary Michael Malinoff! Zachary was born on January 4, 2012 at 11:34 pm, weighing 3 pounds 12 ounces and measuring 16 3/4" long. He was 8 weeks early, but both mom and baby are doing great now. 


Zachary Michael Malinoff 



Have member news to share? Send in snippets about job changes, life milestones, and other accomplishments to HunWen Westman at so we can keep track of and recognize our colleagues! 


 Happy Leap Day!