March/April 2013
In this issue...
2012 Annual Report Now Available
2013 Scholarships & Recognitions Awards Luncheon
Transportation YOU Update
April Program: The Woodbury Drive Improvement Project
WTSI Launches Pilot Region Organization Program: WTS Central Region
New Job Postings
New Members   

WTS Minnesota welcomes the following new and returning members:


Mackenzie Turner Bargen

City of Minneapolis


Pat Bursaw



Jill Hentges

Metro Transit


Kristin Petersen

Zan Associates


Nelrae Succio

Hennepin County


Jie Yang 


New Honorary Member


 Gail Dorfman

Hennepin County Commissioner

Save the Date
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
4:30-5:30 p.m.
Moscow on the Hill


More information to follow.


To become a member and enjoy access to all WTS Minnesota events, visit

our website.


Questions? Contact Rose Ryan.

2012 Annual Report Now Available

WTS Minnesota's report documenting last year's chapter activities is now available

on our website.


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 Rose Ryan with your new address and don't forget to update your email address with WTS International as well.
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2013 WTS Minnesota
Board of Directors

Fay Simer

Vice President
Molly Stewart

Sara Pflaum

Morgan Abbott 
Past President
Scholarships & Recognitions Director
 Lyssa Leitner

 Programs Director
 Ashley Ver Berg

 Membership Director
Rose Ryan

 Marketing Director
 Bre Grand

 Transportation YOU Director
HunWen Westman
2013 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

City of Richfield

Lisa Raduenz


Dawn Spanhake

Center for Transportation Studies

Amy Vennewitz

Metropolitan Council

Charleen Zimmer

Zan Associates


President's Column

Fay Simer 



Greetings WTS Minnesota members and friends,

It was a pleasure to see so many of you at our annual Scholarships and Recognitions Luncheon earlier this month. The luncheon always leaves me feeling energized by the wonderful achievements women make in our field and the exciting accomplishments of our colleagues in this region. 

At the luncheon, I had the pleasure of announcing WTS Minnesota's new honorary membership program. WTS MN Woman of the Year and Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman accepted our invitation to be our chapter's first-ever honorary member. Throughout the next 12 months of her honorary membership, WTS MN will work to connect Commissioner Dorfman with networking opportunities in the transportation sector, while Commissioner Dorfman will help WTS raise the visibility of women's contributions in our local transportation community.Please look for Commissioner Dorfman at future WTS events and help welcome her to our chapter.

Meanwhile, WTS continues to build on new strategies to fulfill our mission of advancing women in transportation. Our chapter's Transportation YOU mentorship program has successfully completed its first year, offering mentees and mentors alike the opportunity to explore different facets of the transportation industry, like pedestrian-friendly design, driver safety, and airport and bus operations. WTS International has recently announced the launch of a Central Region pilot initiative, meant to provide region-wide networking and collaboration opportunities among Minnesota and other central state chapters. It promises to be another exciting year at WTS.

Best wishes,

Fay Simer

President, WTS Minnesota





2013 Scholarships & Recognitions Awards Luncheon

Lyssa Leitner


On April 10, WTS Minnesota hosted a luncheon to honor some amazing students, professionals and projects. The annual event, held at Jax Café, was attended by nearly 80 people, who had a great time networking, catching up with friends, and becoming inspired by all of this year's honorees. Below is a summary of just some of our honorees' accomplishments.


Find more information about the annual awards and scholarship solicitation and recipients and view photos from the event on the WTS Minnesota website.


Graduate Scholarship Recipients


Chelsey Armstrong

Chelsey Armstrong is currently completing her first year in urban and regional planning at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She's also an intern with Metro Transit and has previously worked for HOURCAR and the city of Savage. As an undergraduate student at Miami University Chelsey received honors in the business and geography programs. Chelsey hopes to have a career helping to make alternative transportation solutions a viable option for all people.


Xuan Di

Xuan Di is a PhD student in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Minnesota and is a fellow in the department. While at the U of M, her research on improving traffic signal operations with vehicle infrastructure integration lead to her authoring a paper that was published in the Journal of Transportation Research Record. Xuan has been involved heavily in the Interdisciplinary Transportation Student Organization (ITSO) and WTS Minnesota.


Recognition Award Recipients


Member of the Year: Stephanie Malinoff

Stephanie's steadfast commitment to the Minnesota Chapter's efforts and service as a committee volunteer strongly impacted the chapter's major initiatives in 2012. Over the past twelve years, Steph has served in five different roles on the board and helped plan the 2002 WTS International conference in Minneapolis. In 2012, Steph committed her time and expertise to help plan the 30th Anniversary Gala as well as a year-long curriculum for WTS Minnesota's new Transportation YOU program.


Woman of the Year: Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman

Commissioner Dorfman has illustrated her leadership for transportation as Mayor of the City of St. Louis Park and through her 14 years on the Hennepin County Board. She has become known as a strong and effective advocate for transit and as someone who can build bridges on divisive community issues, work effectively with local, state, and federal government leaders, and articulate a big picture enhancing the linkage between transit and development. She is also committed to bringing under-represented groups to the table to participate in transportation planning.


Employer of the Year: Zan Associates

Zan Associates was formed in 2001 and is certified in Minnesota as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), Central Certification Program (CERT), and Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE). The firm provides expertise in strategic planning, public affairs, and training related to community, environmental, and transportation policies and projects. Zan's excellent reputation and commitment to transportation planning and engagement has continually led to a large increase in project retention. Zan President Charleen Zimmer has been an active member with WTS at both the national and local level and multiple Zan employees have served on the WTS Minnesota Board.


Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award: Jill Hentges, Metro Transit and Karyssa Jackson, District Councils Collaborative of St. Paul and Minneapolis

In order to effectively engage a representative body of the regional transit system's key stakeholders-its users-to gain input on the new light rail transit line (METRO Green Line), the District Councils Collaborative (DCC) of Saint Paul and Minneapolis combined forces with Metro Transit to implement the Trusted Advocates Program as a part of the Green Line connecting bus service restructuring study. On behalf of Metro Transit and the DCC, Jill and Karyssa led advocates through educational workshops and empowered them to work within the communities. Their leadership not only benefitted this particular transit service study, but will also advance future transit planning engagement efforts.


Innovative Transportation Solutions Award: Highway 61 Hastings Bridge

MnDOT's commitment to innovative solutions and construction impact minimization was put to the test when a project began to replace a Mississippi River bridge crossing on Trunk Highway 61 in Hastings. MnDOT used many pioneering methods to work within the difficult construction realities, most notably constructing the bridge one half mile up the Mississippi and using barges to 'float' it to its location. The main span 'float,' the aesthetic tie-in of the bridge to the downtown Hastings cityscape, and the ability to maintain the river crossing throughout construction have all contributed to the success and innovative spirit of this project. A time lapse video was created of the 'float' process.


Past President Recognition: Katie Roth

WTS Minnesota's 2012 Chapter President, Katie Roth, was recognized for her leadership and dedication to our chapter's initiatives last year.  Katie spent countless hours redesigning our chapter website, making this a relevant resource for members and friends.  Katie successfully led our chapter during the launch of our Transportation YOU program and in hosting our 30th Anniversary Gala.




Transportation YOU Update               

HunWen Westman


As the school year approaches the final month, the Minnesota chapter's Transportation YOU mentorship program wraps up its first year with two tours and a roadway design planning exercise. In February, four girls and a teacher took a Metro Transit express bus and light rail with the morning commuters downtown to spend a day at Metro Transit. Mentors filtered in and out to learn with the girls the inner workings of transit operations and planning. Participants visited the transit control center and met members of various departments within the organization.


In March, the girls tackled the difficult task of deciding what elements to include within 80 feet of roadway right-of-way. Drawing from past experiences, including their November walkability audit, the students considered how to incorporate design features to accommodate all of the requests of the residents of a fictional town. Scaled drawings of the roadway cross section and roadway elements helped the girls to quickly realize that they couldn't include everything, and then experienced the difficulty of choosing which elements to leave out.


The Blaine airport tour, including hangars, maintenance, and the Golden Wings Museum, was unfortunately snowed out in one of the many April snowstorms of 2013. A rescheduled visit is in the works.


WTS Minnesota would like to thank mentors Katie Caskey, Marie Cote, Rhonda Pierce, Lisa Rasmussen, and Ashley Slominski and the following organizations for providing time and resources that made each activity interactive, effective, and fun:

  • Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota
  • Metro Transit
  • Community Design Group
  • Blaine-Anoka Airport 
If you are interested in being a mentor or helping to plan next year's program, please contact HunWen Westman.

April Program: The Woodbury Drive Improvement Project

Ashley Ver Burg 


On Tuesday, April 2, nearly 20 WTS members and friends gathered for a lunchtime presentation on the Woodbury Drive Improvement Project by Bill Klingbeil from HR Green. The event--sponsored by HR Green--provided insight into how a roadway expansion project can improve water quality, increase drinking water supply, accommodate additional modes of traffic, and beautify a corridor...all within a constrained right of way. Bill explained the community based design process used to deliver the project and highlighted the importance of early and often stakeholder coordination. WTS MN President Fay Simer said, "WTS Minnesota strives to offer programs that appeal to an audience diverse in disciplinary backgrounds--this project is a great example of that."


For more information on the Woodbury Drive Improvement Project, visit the

project website.


Check out more photos of the event on our website!




WTS Launches Pilot Region Organization Program: WTS Central Region

Courtesy of WTS International


WTS is pleased to announce that WTS has launched a regional chapter organization strategy that will support WTS International's mission and enhance the success of WTS chapters.


Chapters and states in the north central region of the US have been selected to test a program that creates a WTS geographic region--the Central Region.

The Central Region will include the Minnesota, Greater Chicago, Greater Indianapolis, Michigan, Wisconsin, Metropolitan St. Louis, Columbus, and Northeast Ohio chapters. The purpose of a WTS region is for chapters to come together to share knowledge, collaborate on events, and create dynamic member experiences through added engagement opportunities. A WTS region fosters collaboration on a local level to broaden the scope of activities available to transportation professionals and allows for events based on region needs and interests while generating more visibility and a higher profile for WTS chapters through increased awareness and added programs.  


In May, a council will be appointed to lead the region effort. The council will be made up of a WTS International board-appointed council president and representatives from each chapter. A successful test pilot in the Central Region is anticipated, which will lead to future WTS Regions.


New Job Postings  
WTS Minnesota now posts job and internship opportunities on our website. A few new postings include:
  • Hennepin County Civil Senior Professional Engineer
  • Anoka County Multimodal Transportation Manager
  • TKDA Registered Civil Engineer- Highway
Visit our Employment Opportunities page to view all current postings. 
Help us spread the word about available positions by sending new posting information to Bre Grand.








Kathleen Mayell and family welcomed Palak on February 2. Palak has an older sister, Anupriya. Congratulations to the Mayell family!





Congratulations to Kristin Petersen and her husband and two sons, who welcomed a new daughter and sibling, Vienna (7 lbs. 11 oz.). Vienna was born at 7:50 a.m. March 18 and is one of the youngest people to attend a WTS Minnesota event (the April 10 Scholarships & Awards Luncheon) at just three weeks old!




Zan Associates has recently settled into a new office space in the downtown Minneapolis. They're located in Suite 490 of the Crown Roller Mill building, 105 5th Avenue S.





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