May/June 2012
In this issue...
WTS Annual Conference
Making Career Connections
May Program Review: Transportation Around the World
AICP CM Credits
June Program Review: Public Involvement Strategies
Member Spotlight
Members on the Move
New Members 

WTS Minnesota welcomes the following new and returning members:


Mei-Ling Anderson


Susan Larson

Budget Representative


Kathleen Mayell


Terrie Williams

Spence, Ricke, Sweeney & Gernes


Kelcie Young



Upcoming Events



Building Networking Skills 

Date:     Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Time:     11:30 AM - 12:45PM
Place:    Conference Room C        
    MnDOT Water's Edge 
    1500 W County Road B2 
              Roseville, MN 55113

Click here for more info.




WTS Minnesota

30th Annivesary Gala 

November 29, 2012 

at Spill the Wine  




Corporate Partners   

Thank you to our corporate partner:


Kimley-Horn Logo  


See your logo here, and support the advancement of women in transportation! For more information about becoming a corporate partner, visit our website

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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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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 




As we enter into another sizzling Minnesota summer, our chapter is busy lining up a fantastic program schedule for the second half of 2012, preparing for the start of our local Transportation YOU educational partnership, and launching several membership specials to offer our benefits to even more professionals. Stay tuned for more information!


In the midst of these efforts, I had the privilege of attending the WTS Annual Conference in Denver in May. A definite highlight of the conference was seeing Gina Baas receive the Member of the Year award before a full room of cheering colleagues from around the world, with her mother applauding from the crowd as well. The technical sessions offered a wealth of learning on a broad range of topics, and I was also pleased to have the chance to connect with other WTS chapter leaders from across the country. Scroll down in this newsletter to see WTS MN scholarship recipient Kristina Nesse's takeaways from the conference as well - it was indeed an excellent experience for all in attendance.


In other news, planning for our 30th Anniversary Gala is rapidly heating up...mark your calendars for November 29th for a night of celebration! In preparation for the event, I've spent some time with board members sifting through 30 years of chapter archives. What has amazed me most - other than a preponderance of VHS tapes and some questionable hairstyle choices - is the incredible number of people who have been touched by WTS Minnesota over the years. Members, scholarship recipients, award winners, program speakers - all of these people have been involved over the years with our mission of advancing women in transportation.


The November 29th gala will be the place for all of these wonderful people to come together again and celebrate the fellowship that has kept our chapter strong for the last three decades. I hope you'll join us!




Katie Roth

President, WTS Minnesota

Gina Baas - WTS Int'l Member of the Year
Marcia Ferranto, WTS President and CEO (left), and Terry Gruver, Chair of WTS Board of Directors (right), present Gina Baas with the Member of the Year award.

WTS Annual Conference Highlights! 

Kristina Nesse


Denver's 16th Street Transit and Pedestrian Mall was one of the highlights on the conference's "Urban Mobility" technical tour, and some of its most recent renovations could undoubtedly inspire a Nicollet Mall revamp in the future; the applicability of the facility to Minneapolis made the tour even more exciting. Strategies for solving chronic challenges with infrastructure, such as the corridor's iconic granite pavers that averaged over $1 million in annual maintenance costs for the city; the unquestionable need for public plaza programming to maintain safe and useable spaces (think: Peavey Plaza); and the success of utilizing the Mall's free hybrid circulators as critical connectors to five LRT lines, local and regional bus service, and commuter rail via Denver's Union Station, were all addressed on the tour of this 1982 downtown revitalization strategy that turned into an icon for the city.


Two of the conference's technical sessions I attended looked at transportation issues around North America (and more) from a much larger scale, which made for a really great learning opportunity as a student. One of these sessions focused on the Port Expansion Program, which is an effort by many significant U.S. ports to increase the depth, energy efficiency, and community connections. A significant driver of these upgrades and expansions is in an effort to stay competitive with the 2014 "Panamax" expansions to the Panama Canal, which will nearly double its depth and capacity. Undoubtedly, they also have the potential to massively change shipping flows throughout the country. Employees from the Port of Oakland (CA), Long Beach (CA), and Savannah (GA), although they are essentially each other's direct competitors, shared details of port expansion plans to maintain a competitive edge on the market to dock (call) Asian container ships at their port. Overall, the session provided a great global and macroeconomic perspective on a major shipping mode and industry. Additionally, it was also quite eye-opening from a more local perspective: simply, if major shifts in port activity do occur (due to the cost savings a company could realize via routing through the Panamax expansion), significant shifts in freight flows within the rail and trucking industries are inevitable and have the potential for major impacts on our regional and greater MN transportation network.  


Kristina Nesse is the recipient of this year's WTS Minnesota Graduate Scholarship. She just completed her first year in urban and regional planning at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and hopes to have a career in public sector transportation planning in the Twin Cities.



Making Career Connections: WTS @ MnDOT 
Join WTS Minnesota at MnDOT Water's Edge for a brown bag lunch and panel discussion about networking. Mike Marti, Director of Marketing at SRF Consulting Group, will facilitate a lively exercise to build your networking skills. You'll leave with great tips for making new connections with your colleagues.
Date:        Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Time:        11:30 AM - 12:45PM
Location:  Conference Room C        
 MnDOT Water's Edge 
 1500 W County Road B2 
         Roseville, MN 55113
Beverages and cookies will be provided. Please RSVP by Friday, July 6 to Rose Ryan. Include name and organization in RSVP. 


February_Program_ReviewProgram Review: Transportation Around the World

Ashley Ver Burg 


On Thursday, May 31st, Minnesota put the "I" in WTSI by going international with its May program. Fifteen world explorers gathered for an international lunch conversation at Salut Bar Americain in St. Paul. Members shared photos and reflections on their travel and transportation experiences around the world.


Biz Colburn kicked the afternoon off with stories from her recent trip to India. India's innovation in low cost/high benefit transportation solutions prompted fascinating sightseeing that left Biz inspired with hundreds of photos. Michael Corbett followed up with conversations of India and Thailand, which held just as great of intrigue. Stephanie Eiler spoke of her time working on projects in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and Edmonton, Canada. She provided valuable insight on implementing transportation projects outside the boundaries of the US. The presentations wrapped up with Kristina Nesse recalling her time spent studying in London, and the role the "Tube" played in her experience. This included a short English lesson that proved American English does not necessarily correlate directly to British English.


WTS Minnesota thanks its member presenters and encourages all follow-up conversations of travel as a great way to make connections and advance transportation in our respective communities. For more information, contact WTS MN or any of our May program presenters. Merci!


Michael Corbett pins the places he has traveled. Stephanie Eiler presenting

The group shared their adventures in transportation around the world

Top left: Michael Corbett locates all the places he's been.

Top right: Stephanie Eiler talks about designing personal rapid transit in the middle east.

Bottom: There's just not enough time to share all the adventures we've had in transportation around the world!

AICP CM badge
AICP CM Credits Coming Soon!


Attention planners! WTS Minnesota is in the process of registering for Certification Maintenance (CM) credits from the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) for upcoming programs. Look for the badge on upcoming program announcements!


Program Review: Public Involvement Strategies Ashley Ver Burg 



June marks the annual WTS Minnesota, ITS Minnesota, and NCITE joint luncheon. This year's program, "Public Involvement Strategies for Transportation Initiatives" was held on Wednesday, June 20th, at the Holiday Inn East in St. Paul. Nearly fifty attendees came to hear the innovative public involvement tactics utilized within our region.


Levingstone presentation

Karyssa Jackson, Communications and Outreach Coordinator for the District Councils Collaborative of St. Paul and Minneapolis, shared the results of the Trusted Advocate Project implemented along the Central Corridor LRT alignment. Shaun Murphy of Minneapolis Public Works provided insight on how bicycle/pedestrian improvements are incorporated into larger-scale projects through outreach efforts. Pierce, Pini & Associates' Peter Muelhlbach shared his experiences working on MnDOT outreach efforts for larger-scale construction projects. Vanessa Levingston of MnDOT concluded with a presentation on how webinar technology can advance the public engagement process.


Major takeaways from the event included the importance of engaging the public in transportation decision-making, the need for employing creative techniques to reach out to specific demographics, and the opportunity for technology to advance the public outreach process.


member spotlight
This month, the spotlight is on one of our earliest members, and an inspiring example of a career in transportation.
Biz Colburn, AICP



Biz Colburn1)  Your career is a great example of women advancing in transportation - would you tell us about the path you took to becoming the Transportation Planning Manager at a national civil engineering firm?

My degree is in Communications from the University of Minnesota. My skill set included writing and organizing/coordinating large events. Word of mouth led me to my first job as LRT Coordinator for a local consulting engineering firm. I did not know what LRT was or what consulting engineering meant! I learned.


The field of transportation is fascinating. The up-front planning that goes into designing a roadway, bridge or transit line is very involved and I loved it! Even learning the environmental review process was, although tedious, interesting. I learned quickly the importance of engaging the community in the planning of infrastructure that would affect them. It can make or break a project.

To get up to speed I took all the available classes related to transportation planning at the HHH Institute. Suddenly, I had been in the business for the required six years to take the AICP exam, passing on the first try! Now I had the letters behind my name indicating I was a Planner. My responsibilities were increasing. Whenever asked to do something new, I said I'll try. Each new task built upon the past, until I had experience in many facets of transportation planning. I worked for two more firms. With each move I acquired additional managerial responsibilities.


But one thing I never did was to make a pot of coffee.


2)  Looking back, what were the highlights/turning points in your career?

Being asked and able to travel gave me the opportunity to grow in my responsibilities and show my capabilities. My company gave me assignments all over the country - from NYC to Yosemite National Park. In Newark, NJ, I had a field office experience which is wonderful; you learn to do everything or who to ask to provide the expertise.


3)  What role did WTS have in your career?

WTS MN gave me the opportunity to take a leadership role in the transportation community as 1993 President. While traveling on business, I connected with other WTS Chapters around the country and met many smart, talented women, many with high-level transportation jobs. I felt at home because no matter which city I linked up with, the women were similar to those in the MN WTS Chapter. Everyone had been so kind to me; I felt it was time to give back. I sat on the WTS National Board of Directors for 3 terms which gave me great access to national speakers for the MN Chapter.


4)  What motivates you to continue your involvement with WTS now that you are no longer working in the industry?

Transportation is critical to the economics of our state and nation. Staying connected to WTS keeps me apprised of current trends. One of my favorite things to do each year is to help review the scholarship applications and see the talented young women coming into the industry. I hope I can encourage them to take risks, try new roles and grow in their field.


5)  What is the most memorable thing you've done since retirement?

I could tell you reading books, playing golf or traveling, but the very best is the following:

Planning for the Newark Airport Monorail to connect the airport to the NE Corridor was the first out-of-town job I had. This was my first experience in east coast environmental issues such as the 'Potters Field' we needed to avoid. Since retiring, I had an opportunity to go to Princeton, NJ for a seminar. I flew into the Newark Airport and took 'my' Monorail to connect with the NE Corridor train to Princeton. I couldn't believe that I was riding on something that I had helped plan some fifteen years earlier-it was really exciting!!!


The summer heat isn't slowing down our members! 


Fay Simer passed the AICP exam and is now a certified planner!


Katie Roth has taken on a new role as a Senior Planner on transitway projects at Metro Transit! Her new email address is katie.roth@metrotransit.org


Congratulations, Fay and Katie!


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! 


Have a safe and happy holiday!