September/October 2013
In this issue...
President's Column
Member Spotlight: Commissioner Charles Zelle
Last Call for Scholarship Applications
Past Scholarship Winners: Where Are They Now?
Members on the Move
New Members   

WTS Minnesota welcomes the following new and returning members:


Denise Engen

Hennepin County


Arlene Tchourumoff

Hennepin County


Michelle Julius



Tracy Hatch



Tara Olds



Judy Schmidt


Friday, November 1
LinkedIn Panel 


Join WTS Minnesota at Republic at Seven Corners on Friday, November 1, for a session on how to make the most out of using the networking tool LinkedIn. Panelists Christine Wiegert, Vice President of Marketing/Business Development at TKDA and Mark Sorenson-Wagner, Director of Career Services in the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota will provide insights for professionals and students on how to make the most of LinkedIn.


This event is free for students! Please come to learn more about WTS Minnesota at this engaging fall event. Lunch will be provided.


For more information and to register, visit the event page on the WTS Minnesota website.




Wednesday, December 11
Holiday Party


Mark your calendars for WTS Minnesota's annual holiday party! This year's event will be at Patrick McGovern's Pub in St. Paul. More details to come!

Job Postings  
WTS Minnesota posts job and internship opportunities on our website. 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.


Corporate Partners   

Thank you to our 2013 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.  

Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook

View our profile on LinkedIn
Has your email address changed?

Please email Rose Ryan with your new address and don't forget to update your email address with WTS International as well.
Join Our Mailing List
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 Burg

 Membership Director
Rose Ryan

 Marketing Director
 Bre Grand

 Transportation YOU Director
HunWen Westman
2013 WTS Minnesota
Advisory Board

Donna Allan
WTS Past President
Laura Amundson
Parsons Brinckerhoff 
Kristin Asher
City of Richfield
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

Lisa Raduenz


Dawn Spanhake

Center for Transportation Studies

Amy Vennewitz

Metropolitan Council

Charleen Zimmer

Zan Associates

President's Column



Greetings WTS Members and Friends:


This has been a busy season for WTS Minnesota. We kicked off our chapter's 2014 corporate partnership campaign in August. To date, ten firms have pledged $13,500 in response to our request. I am overwhelmed by this level of commitment to WTS demonstrated by the transportation community. It is an honor to know how strongly our partners value WTS Minnesota's efforts to produce high-quality educational and networking experiences for women. WTS will continue to seek partnerships for next year throughout 2013. Contact chapter vice president Molly Stewart for details.

Earlier this month, the board revisited our chapter's strategic plan to reassess our mission and goals and set short-term priorities for board activities. Charleen Zimmer of Zan Associates volunteered her excellent facilitation skills to lead a fun and energizing conversation about our realities and aspirations as a chapter. We reaffirmed our chapter's core mission to transform the transportation industry through the advancement of women, and set key goals and strategies to deliver that mission in the near future. A final version of this plan will be available to the chapter later this year. A heart-felt shout out to Dawn Spanhake (CTS), Gina Baas (CTS), Laura Amundson (Parsons Brinckerhoff), Scott McBride (MnDOT), Kristin Asher (City of Richfield), and Wanda Kirkpatrick (Metropolitan Council) for lending their time and wisdom to this effort.

Meanwhile, our second year of Transportation YOU programming is underway at Blaine High School. Our program has nearly doubled in size due to the popularity of last year's program. Special thanks to this year's mentors, Andrea Arnoldi, Sara Pflaum (Metro Transit), Katie Ellis, Lisa Rasmussen (Kimley-Horn), Marie Cote, Mona Elabbady (SRF), Rhonda Pierce (Pierce Pini and Associates), Jessa Troboyevich and Kim Zlimen (Hennepin County), for committing their time to these students.

Throughout these efforts, WTS continues to offer a well-rounded line-up of programs and networking opportunities, including last month's well-attended happy hour celebration of MnDOT's new Deputy Commissioners Tracy Hatch and Sue Mulvihill. I hope to see many of you at our December holiday party to celebrate this fantastic year of WTS. 

Best wishes,


Fay Simer

President, WTS Minnesota




member spotlight



Commissioner Charles Zelle

Minnesota Department of Transportation



What career path led you to your current position as Minnesota's Transportation Commissioner?

For nearly 25 years I have been the President and CEO of Jefferson Lines, an intercity bus company that serves 13 states through the heartland. I have enjoyed a wide variety of experiences associated with transportation operations and policy, including partnerships with state DOT's. My civic volunteer work as co-chair of the Itasca Project Transportation Initiative and chair of the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce further prepared me by exposing me to the importance multi-modal transportation systems are to Minnesota employers and employees alike.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

MnDOT activities affect the lives of all Minnesotans on a daily basis. I am honored to be involved and truly enjoy the breadth of the agency's impact. The people I work with are devoted to public service and seem passionate about pursuing new solutions. It is exciting to be a part of a thriving agency.

How did you learn about WTS and why did you decide to join?

I first learned about WTS years ago from a MnDOT director I knew, Donna Allen. I was impressed that there was an organization like WTS that recognized the talents women bring to the field. In the course of the past two decades, I have found some of the most talented managers are women.

Where are we most likely to find you when you're not working?

Naturally, my family is an essential part of my life, and our times together include a place near a beach where we stay active. My wife Julie and I love plays and have been known to see several in one day. Skiing, squash and biking are my attempts to stay in shape.


Last Call! Scholarship Applications Due November 4


WTS Minnesota is pleased to offer three scholarships for 2013-2014, to encourage women's pursuit of careers in transportation-related fields. There are three WTS-MN scholarships available:

  • $500 Katherine F. Turnbull Undergraduate Leadership Award
  • $2,000 Donna W. Allan Undergraduate Scholarship
  • $2,000 WTS Minnesota Graduate Scholarship

The scholarships are competitive and are based on the applicant's specific transportation goals, academic record, and transportation-related activities or job skills. Applications are available online and are due by November 4, 2013.


Read the following stories below of past scholarship winners for inspiration on the pursuit of a transportation career!


WTS Minnesota Past Scholarship Winners: Where Are They Now?


WTS Minnesota's commitment to furthering the advancement of women in transportation has been demonstrated through its annual scholarships, which have been awarded to women pursuing higher education in the field for over twenty years. Many past scholarship recipients are still WTS Minnesota members and have helped shaped the transportation industry throughout their careers. We caught up with two past scholarship winners to find out where their careers have taken them.


Sandy Cullen 

Sandy Cullen received a WTS Minnesota Undergraduate Scholarship in 1989, when she was a student studying Civil Engineering at the University of Minnesota. While in school she interned at BRW, Inc. and was hired full time there after graduating. After six years, Sandy went to Washington County to become their traffic engineer. Sandy eventually was promoted to transportation manager in charge of planning, design and construction for County highway system. After ten years, she resigned her position to run for office, and

 took a position at Arnt Construction as an estimator, where she won a $1 million contract for a senior housing/assisted living project on West Seventh Street in St. Paul.


After four months with Arnt (and with a reference and support from Lisa Radeunz, a fellow WTS member), Sandy joined the University of Minnesota Parking and Transportation Services Department (PTS) to help manage the design, construction and operations of LRT through campus along with planning for large scale events at the new TCF Bank Stadium on campus.


Sandy is still with PTS today, working on transportation/traffic projects throughout the Twin Cities Campus. Outside of work, Sandy enjoys spending time with her husband and three children (a daughter who is currently a student at the University of Minnesota, and two sons, 13 and 12 years old), being a soccer/football/basketball/baseball/track/band mom, playing golf, taking walks around the lake, and watching movies.


Mackenzie Turner Bargen

Mackenzie Turner Bargen was awarded the WTS Graduate Scholarship in 2009, while she was a graduate student at the University of Minnesota in the Master of Urban and Regional planning program at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs (now the Humphrey School of Public Affairs).


During her graduate program, Mackenzie worked for the City of Minneapolis as a Bike Walk Ambassador on a part-time basis, focusing on Bike Walk education and outreach at the University of Minnesota. After earning her Masters of Urban and Regional Planning in December 2010, she was able to move into a full-time position with the City of Minneapolis as a Bike Walk Ambassador, serving the University of Minnesota as well as the rest of Minneapolis.


In January 2012 Mackenzie began working for the City of Minneapolis as a Pedestrian and Bicycle Planner. She enjoys working on unique challenges and finding unique solutions for pedestrian and bicycle improvement projects, and says that her work continuously reaffirms that transportation planning is the career for her.


When not at work, Mackenzie says there's never a dull moment in her northeast Minneapolis home, where she lives with her husband Jonathan, sons Joseph and William, 10-month old twins Hugo & August, and ivory lab Shilo.


Laura Eash recently joined the MN Transportation Alliance and MN Public Transit Association, as their Program Coordinator. Congratulations Laura!


Kate Bartelt recently accepted a position at Ramsey County, as their new Planning Specialist in the Environmental Health Section. Best wishes to Kate in her new role!


Three WTS members were among those recognized by the Minnesota Chapter of the American Planning Association at the Upper Midwest Planners' Conference on September 18 in Rochester:


Katie Roth of Metro Transit and Mona Elabbady of SRF Consulting Group, along with Charles Carlson of Metro Transit, accepted APA Minnesota's "Innovation in Planning" award for their work on the Arterial Transitway Corridors Study, which studied the potential for arterial BRT in the Twin Cities.


Kristina Nesse accepted the "Outstanding Student Project" award for her team's work on a Transportation Demand Management Policy Study for the City of Minnetonka.


Congratulations to Katie, Mona and Kristina! 




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!