July/August 2012
In this issue...
TYOU Mentors Needed
July Program Review: Building Networking Skills
Summer Social Photos
WTS Career Panel at UMN Summer Camp
WTS MN Tweets
Member Spotlight
Members on the Move
New Members 

WTS Minnesota welcomes new member


Morgan Abbott

TKDA, Inc.


Welcome, Morgan!

Upcoming Events



Transportation Trivia Night 

Date:     Tuesday, Sept 11, 2012
Time:     5:30 PM  Social Time
              6:00 PM  Trivia Begins
Place:    Republic        
    221 Cedar Ave S 
    Minneapolis, MN 55454
Stay tuned for an announcement!



Tour of Regional Traffic Management Center 

Date:     Tuesday, Sept 18, 2012
Time:     1:45-3:00PM
Place:     MnDOT Water's Edge 
    1500 W County Road B2 
     Roseville, MN 55113




WTS Minnesota30th Annivesary Gala 

November 29, 2012  

at Spill the Wine


 30th Anniversary Gala logo

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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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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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


President's Column

Katie Roth 

 Katie Roth president photo



With fall in the air, we hope you've had a restful and fun summer! WTS Minnesota has been busy these past few months keeping up a great schedule of social and professional events. In July, members and friends brushed up on networking skills with Mike Marti through our MnDOT Making Career Connections series. Those who joined us at our August social enjoyed a terrific evening of lawn bowling competition and fun with colleagues at Brit's Pub. Kudos to Rose Ryan and Ashley Ver Burg for organizing these great summer events!


Our September & October events are focused on expanding your transportation knowledge base. On September 11, WTS is teaming up with the growing Minnesota chapter of Young Professionals in Transportation (YPT) to host our first-ever Transportation Trivia Night, hosted by David Levinson. On September 18, we're bringing members & friends to MnDOT to tour the Regional Traffic Management Center as part of our Making Career Connections series. And stay tuned for news on our October program, featuring State Bridge Engineer Nancy Daubenberger.


WTS Minnesota's 30th Anniversary Gala on November 29th is just around the corner too. We look forward to hosting WTS International CEO Marcia Ferranto and other special guests as we celebrate 30 years of WTS and launch our chapter's Transportation YOU program. We are seeking silent auction donations to benefit our educational programs, and need your help to make these programs a success! Please consider donating an item, experience or cash to the auction. Click here to download a donation form (pdf).


It's been a great year so far, but we're always looking for ways to make WTS better for you. Want to get more involved in helping to plan our events? Got a great idea that we can help make happen? Feel free to contact me or any other board members -- you are the reason WTS exists!




Katie Roth

President, WTS Minnesota



Mentors Needed! 


WTS Minnesota is preparing to launch the first year of our Transportation YOU mentoring program, and would love to have more mentors! We are partnering with the Center for Engineering, Mathematics, and Science (CEMS), a specialty program housed at Blaine High School, to provide high school girls an introduction to transportation careers. 


Monthly meetings are being planned with activities and discussion topics designed to expose the students to the variety of work available in the transportation industry. So no matter what letters trail your name, if you have an interest in sharing your love of your work with the next generation, please consider volunteering! We don't want to turn any students away!


Anticipated commitment is three to five hours per month through the 2012-2013 school year, which includes meetings once per month (mostly at Blaine High School) and email correspondence. A mentor kick-off meeting will be scheduled for mid-September.


Please contact HunWen Westman for more information or to volunteer. 

Transportation YOU logo 


NetworkingProgram Review: Building Networking Skills
Rose Ryan 

July 10 marked the second program in the MnDOT Making Career Connections series, hosted by the MnDOT Water's Edge office. Mike Marti of SRF Consulting Group led participants through an entertaining and educational program to build networking skills. Mike started the program with a presentation about how to start building your network. Being positive, respectful, and attentive are key to networking success. Mike also stressed the importance of doing your homework and being prepared for networking opportunities: set goals for who you want to talk to, arrive early and stay late, and research your audience so you can have quality conversations to build your network. And don't forget your business cards and breath mints!


Mike gave the group a chance to practice their networking skills in a speed networking exercise. The room was buzzing with WTS members and friends as we discussed our current work and relationship with WTS. Speed networking was a great way to practice our skills and get to know each other. Stay tuned for an announcement about the next program in the series: a September tour of MnDOT's Regional Transportation Management Center.


Brits_SocialSummer Social at Brit's Pub  


On Wednesday, August 22, friends and colleagues gathered on the rooftop of Brit's Pub for some competition and conversation. Fierce lawn bowling competitors were well disguised in congenial pre-bowling chatter - don't be fooled by these friendly smiles!


 WTS Social - Lawn bowlers

WTS Social - Lawn bowlersWTS Social - measuring in feet

 Brit's Social - lawn bowlers




February_Program_ReviewWTS Career Panel at UMN Summer Camp 

On July 17, WTS participated in a transportation career panel at a summer camp put on by the U of M College of Science & Engineering. Panelists Sandy Cullen, Nikki Farrington, Becky Krugerud, and Katie Roth answered questions from students in grades 9-12 about transportation careers, and provided some background on how they came to their current positions. Moderator Ashley Ver Burg added a fun interactive element by inviting students to text or tweet their questions. The result was a fun and lively panel, with many engaging and inquisitive questions from the student attendees.


Career Panel at UMN CSE summer camp

Cell phones encouraged! Students used their phones to tweet questions to the panel.


This photo needs a caption.
We're not sure what's happening here! Help us out by sending your caption suggestions to HunWen Westman and we'll share your gems in the next newsletter. Visit the photo gallery for a larger version of this photo.


WTS Minnesota Tweets  



Speaking of tweeting, WTS Minnesota uses Twitter to share news from around the industry. We try to keep our emails focused on our organization, but we often have other information that we think would be of interest to our members. Our Twitter feed is the forum we use to share all that other transportation information, so start following @WTSMN today!


Follow us on Twitter  

member spotlight
WTS is not just for women! In support of our Male Membership Campaign, an active male member advises: "I think it's helpful to understand that WTS wants ALL of their members to advance and succeed in the field of transportation."
Michael Corbett, PE

 Michael Corbett 

Title: Senior Transportation Planner

Company/Agency: MnDOT - Metro Planning

WTS Member Since: 2005 


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

I am fortunate that I get to do a variety of things on a regular basis. I spend some of my time doing traffic forecasts for upcoming projects, and part of my time coordinating development reviews. For development reviews, I get to work with many people within the Metro District across several disciplines (e.g. Traffic, Water Resources, Design, Permitting, etc.). So far, I have reviewed documents for a variety of projects, ranging from small site plans for new drive thru businesses, to AAs and EISs for transit corridors. I also spend some of my time doing research for a number of MnDOT planning efforts, and serve on committees for several transit and planning projects.


I've always enjoyed working with people from various disciplines, because you really gain an appreciation for the role each person plays in moving things forward, and you can really benefit from their different perspectives.


2)  What is the most interesting project you have worked on?

I think the most interesting project I worked on was the Final EIS for the Central Corridor LRT project. I was working for a consultant back then, and though I had previous experience with environmental documentation and review, this was the largest and highest-profile project to date. The project was very fast-paced and required extensive coordination and communication management between project team members, partner agencies, the general public, and other stakeholders. I worked with many people from several agencies and consultant groups, and greatly increased my knowledge in areas outside of my usual orbit, such as noise and vibration, environmental justice, and historic and cultural resources.


3)  What is one thing you want people to know about you or your work?

MnDOT provides many tools and opportunities that empower employees toward improvement, but they do not give discounts for using MnPASS.


4)  How did you first get involved with WTS and how has your involvement evolved over the years?

I first got involved with WTS in 2004 when I was in graduate school. I was part of the newly-formed Interdisciplinary Transportation Student Organization (ITSO) at the U of M. I acted as the liaison between ITSO and WTS. After graduation, I spent several years helping out on the newsletter, and then spent a few years on the programs committee. I was also fortunate enough to be a part of the mentoring program. Now, I am able to put my experience to good use by helping students at career fairs and informational panels.


5)  Of all the professional organizations out there, why do you choose to continue to invest in WTS?

I feel WTS offers the best variety of topics in their programs, and our members have an impressive diversity of educational backgrounds and professional experiences. I have benefitted greatly from the networking opportunities WTS offers, andhave learned so much about the variety of roles and responsibilities people have within the realm of transportation. My professional and personal life has been greatly enriched. I truly value the friendships I have made within WTS over the years.


6)  What does it take to be a male member of WTS?

To be a male member of WTS, you need a Y-chromosome and a valid payment method.


In all seriousness though, I think it's helpful to understand that WTS wants ALL of their members to advance and succeed in the field of transportation. All it really takes is a willingness to attend programs, talk to people and explore what WTS has to offer.


7)  What's the best thing you did this summer?

After years of putting it off, I finally enrolled in a martial-arts program! I started Tae Kwon Do a few months ago, and it seems to be the only form of exercise that I repeatedly find enjoyable. I actually look forward to attending classes, which is more than I can say for all the other exercise programs I've tried. There are some similarities between my Tae Kwon Do school and WTS in that both are groups of people interested in helping everyone to become better. 





Brandi Popenhagen has taken a new position with HNTB Corporation's Minneapolis Office as the Transportation Section Manager. She brings nearly 15 years of Transportation Engineering experience focusing on Project Development, Project Management, and Final Design of Highway and Surface Transportation Projects throughout Minnesota.  She is a Past Secretary of WTS' Minnesota Chapter. 


Congratulations, Brandi!


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! 


Enjoy your Labor Day -

Thanks for all that you do!