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.