March/April 2014
In this issue...
President's Column
2014 Scolarships & Recognitions Awards Luncheon
Transportation YOU Update
WTS Central Region 2014 Conference Overview
March Program Recap: Risk Management
Members on the Move

New Members   

WTS Minnesota welcomes the following new and returning members:


Susan Haigh

Metropolitan Council


 Jeff Hamiel

 Metropolitan Airports Commission


Rachel Haase

Kimley-Horn & Associates 


Janet Cherney



Nani Jacobson

Metro Transit


Jen Lahmann

Minnesota Valley Transit Authority


Donald Pflaum

City of Minneapolis


Rachel Wiken

Metropolitan Council

Save the Date for the
WTS MN May Program: MSP Airport Tour 
Be sure to save a spot on your calendar for the next WTS MN event. On Friday, May 16, WTS MN will get a behind-the-scenes look at the MSP airport. Look for more details to come soon!
Check out our 2014 programs schedule here.


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 2014 corporate partners:



  Kimley-Horn Logo  


Kimley-Horn & Associates, Inc.



HR Green Logo    

HR Green




 HDR, Inc.


URS Corp.





Bolton & Menk, Inc.


SRF Consulting


SEH, Inc.


Parsons Brinckerhoff


WSB & Associates, Inc.


J&L Steel & Electrical Services


Professional Engineering Services, Ltd.


See your name 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 Kathleen Mayell with your new address and don't forget to update your email address with WTS International as well.
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2014 WTS Minnesota
Board of Directors

Molly Stewart

Vice President
HunWen Westman

Chelsey Armstrong

Morgan Abbott
Past President
  Scholarships & Recognitions Director
 Sara Pflaum

 Programs Co-Director
 Rose Ryan
Programs Co-Director

 Membership Director
Kathleen Mayell

 Marketing Director
 Bre Grand

 Transportation YOU Director


 Membership Director
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
  Wanda Kirkpatrick
Metropolitan Council


Connie Kozlak
Metropolitan Council

Jessica Laabs

Kimley-Horn & Associates

Stephanie Malinoff

Center for Transportation Studies

Scott McBride
Laurie McGinnis
Center for Transportation Studies

Dan Meyers


Amber Nord
Isthmus Engineering

Lisa Raduenz

Past President

Dawn Spanhake

Center for Transportation Studies

Amy Vennewitz

Metropolitan Council

Charleen Zimmer

Zan Associates

President's Column


Greetings WTS Members and Friends:


It was wonderful to see so many of you at our annual Scholarships and Recognitions Luncheon earlier this month. The event is a time for us to come together and celebrate the achievements of our friends and colleagues working here in our Minnesota transportation community, and WTS was blown away by record-setting attendance at the event.

Last year at the annual luncheon the chapter presented our first honorary membership to former Commissioner Gail Dorfman. During her 12 month honorary membership, she was instrumental in raising the visibility of WTS, particularly among our 2014 Employer of the Year, Hennepin County. This year we had the pleasure of presenting honorary memberships to Jeff Hamiel, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, and Susan Haigh, Chair of the Metropolitan Council. Both individuals have made outstanding contributions to the transportation industry and both support our mission to transform the transportation industry through the advancement of women. Please look for Mr. Hamiel and Chair Haigh at future WTS events and help welcome them to our chapter.

In other chapter news, WTS continues building on strategies to fulfill our mission of advancing women in transportation. Our Chapter's Transportation YOU mentorship program at Blaine High School continues to thrive with the number of mentees and mentors doubling this past year. Our chapter is excited to be sending a pair, Natalie McGrath (mentee) and Katie Ellis (mentor), to the TYOU Summit in Washington DC this June. In March, WTSI hosted the first Central Region Conference in St. Louis. The conference has a huge success with over 50 people, including Kathleen Mayell and Tracy Hatch from the Minnesota Chapter, in attendance for the day-and-a-half long conference.

So far 2014 has been a busy year and there is still much more to come. A complete 2014 events calendar can be found on our chapter website and I encourage all of you to check it out. 2014 promises to be another exciting year at WTS and I look forwarding to seeing many of you at upcoming programs and networking opportunities this year! 

Best wishes,


Molly Stewart

President, WTS Minnesota




2014 WTS Minnesota Scholarships & Recognitions Awards Luncheon


WTS Minnesota hosted its annual Scholarships & Recognitions Awards Luncheon on March 9 at the St. Paul Town & County Club. This year's event was another successful and exciting celebration of all of the accomplishments made in the transportation industry and those who have made them possible. Over 130 people attended this year's event and enjoyed time seeing old friends, making new connections, and honoring the 2014 awards and scholarships recipients. Check out photos from the Scholarships and Recognitions Luncheon here. A special thank you to SRF Consulting Group for donating photography services by their team Member, Heidi Garrido.


Meet the 2014 WTS Minnesota Scholarships & Recognitions Awards recipients:


Donna W. Allen Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient: Beth Burton 

Beth is currently a senior in pursuit of a Bachelors of Civil Engineering at the University of Minnesota. She is activity involved in the ASCE Student Chapter, the Interdisciplinary Transportation Student Organization, and APWA. She has also worked as an Engineering Aide for the City of St. Paul and the project lead on the I-94W Crash Report. Beth's long term goal is to be a project manager for major highway design projects. 


WTS Minnesota Graduate Scholarship Recipient: Nadine Chalmers

Nadine is currently enrolled in a dual master's program at the University of Minnesota in Urban Planning and Public Heath. Her unique education experience has lead her to an internship with Hennepin County as an Active Living Planning Analyst Intern. She believes that transportation is about health, equity, and quality of life and would like to bring this discussion into transportation departments and help public health practitioners understand transportation.


Katherine F. Turnbull Leadership Award Recipient: Kate Christopherson


Kate is currently completing her second year in urban and regional planning at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She is currently an intern with Metro Transit in the BRT/Small Starts Office. She is involved in many transportation organizations and has successfully taken on leadership roles for the Planning Student Organization, the Young Professionals in Transportation group, and the American Planning Association. Kate hopes to have a career helping to create more sustainable, accessible, and equitable transportation options.

2014 WTS MN Scholarship Recipients 


Member of the Year: Scott McBride

During the past year, Scott has made his mark as a tireless advocate for key WTS initiatives. As the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) Metro District Engineer, Scott is in a unique position to influence individuals at all levels in the transportation industry. Scott has worked diligently to encourage colleagues to participate in WTS MN events and become members. MnDOT membership (both men and women) in the MN chapter increased by 70% in 2013. Scott also participated as an advisor when the chapter revised its mission and strategic plan this past summer, providing insight on developing a clear vision for the future and advice on marketing what WTS MN has to offer its members. Scott's enthusiasm, support for WTS and excitement to participate in our events has continued to stand out.


Woman of the Year: Susan Haigh


As the chair of the Metropolitan Council, Susan Haigh's leadership on transportation issues is outstanding. She is a tireless advocate for building a 21st century transportation system for the Twin Cities metro area. In 2012, Susan participated on the Governor's Transportation Finance Advisory Committee, which developed recommendations to fund and finance the state's highways, roads, bridges and public transit, as well as its air, rail and port facilities. In 2013, she crisscrossed the state with MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle to make the case for an adequate, sustainable funding mechanism for highways and transit, speaking about the importance of investing in both for the economic vitality and quality of life in Minnesota. She has led the Council through construction of the METRO Green Line (Central Corridor light rail transit). During the sometimes difficult construction process, she advocated for millions of dollars of funding to provide loans for businesses that saw losses due to construction, and for a marketing campaign to support Green Line businesses. Under her leadership the Council is creating Thrive MSP 2040, the new regional development framework for the metro area that emphasizes transportation investments to help achieve five regional outcomes: livability, sustainability, prosperity, equity, and stewardship; updating its Transportation Policy Plan, which covers all transportation modes in the region, including highways, transit, bike/pedestrian, airports and freight transportation; and has adopted a Transit-Oriented Development Strategic Action Plan, a TOD policy, and established a new TOD office within Metro Transit to partner and coordinate with communities to advance TOD. 


Employer of the Year: Hennepin County

Hennepin County has shown its commitment to WTS and its women employees. Within Hennepin County Public works there are numerous gatherings to support women in the transportation field including; lunch with the women transportation engineers, brown bags to discuss issues including diversity and inclusion, a culture and communications team, and various networking opportunities to expand knowledge relating to the transportation field including formal project management training deployed in 2013. In addition, Hennepin County facilitates various leadership development programs targeted towards fostering leadership skills in women and minorities. This includes a Public Works diversity and inclusion group - "Connections", formal annual leadership programs supported by assigned mentors and new agency policies supporting diversity and inclusion. Hennepin County is an organization with women in positions at all levels of the organization, including Debra Brisk as the Assistant County Administrator for Public Works. Under Debra's leadership, the county's commitment to WTS has grown. As a WTS MN Advisory Board member, Debra has encouraged staff to attend WTS events and to become members of WTS. Debra recently announced that staff can be fully reimbursed for their memberships in WTS. As a result of the county's commitment to WTS, the number of Hennepin County staff members of WTS more than doubled in 2013, from 4 to 9 members.


Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award: Fostering an East Side Transit Equity Conversation

The Fostering An East Side Transit Equity Conversation (FESTEC) campaign was a six-month organizing blitz that took a historic approach to transit organizing on the East Side of St. Paul. A steering committee of District Councils and other neighborhood groups (50% women) hired 10 organizers who lived in the neighborhood, 90% people of color and 60% women, to bring forward the voices of women, low-income, and communities of color to transit decisions. With this diverse organizing group, they were able to bring together a large town hall meeting. The meeting had over 75% people of color and good representation of elders, youth, women, and men. They developed a set of four Transit Equity Principles to guide future transit projects. The equity framework they worked with made the issues of all under-represented communities central; the concerns of women and elders, people of color, and low income. They were also able to productively create a new dialogue as they brought together community members and transit systems professionals into a transformative intersection between these two groups. Systems people had new strength in their realms to insist on equity issues, and community people had the power of more information and new relationships.


Innovative Transportation Solutions Award: I-494/34th Ave S Diverging Diamond Interchange

The I-494/34th Avenue South diverging diamond interchange (DDI) is one of the first DDIs constructed in the state of Minnesota, and the only DDI in the country that incorporates light rail transit (LRT). This project was led by the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) and included key participation and project funding by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) and the City of Bloomington. The DDI, open and operational since October 27, 2013, provides an exciting application of multimodal transportation design that alleviates congestion while accommodating all modes of transportation through the corridor. It is an innovative multi-modal transportation solution, had funding sources based on the likelihood for a transportation project to have a positive economic impact, and required a significant amount of stakeholder coordination. 



 2014 WTS MN Recognition Awards Recipients

Transportation YOU Update


The WTS Minnesota Chapter wrapped up another successful Transportation YOU program on April 17, 2014 with a tour of the new Green Line LRT line. This tour began at the Green Line LRT Operations and Maintenance Facility (OMF) in St. Paul and included stops at various stations along the line, including the new Target Field Station and Metro Transit's Transit Control Center (TCC) in Minneapolis. Other events throughout the year included presentations on roundabouts, public involvement, storm water, public speaking/networking, road design and geotechnical engineering. This year's program included 12 high school students and 10 WTS mentors - a huge thank you to everyone that helped organize and participate in this year's program!


WTS will be sending another mentor/mentee pair to the Transportation YOU DC Summit, which hosts several mentor/mentee pairs from around the country providing them an opportunity to see how transportation works in Washington D.C.


WTS will be looking for volunteers to help organize next year's program and participate as a mentor - if you're interested, please contact Lisa Rasmussen.




WTS Central Region 2014 Conference Overview


WTS International piloted the first regional conference in St. Louis, Missouri on March 14-15. The conference drew approximately 50 participants from the central region states of Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Kansas, Iowa, South Dakota, Michigan, North Dakota and Wisconsin. The Minnesota chapter of WTS sent two MnDOT members to the event - Tracy Hatch and Kathleen Mayell. Tracy Hatch presented on the panel Challenges for Central Region DOT Executives


The conference sessions included chapter updates, updates on passenger rail, aviation, alternative delivery methods, a lunchtime presentation on the new Mississippi River Bridge Crossing connection Missouri and Illinois in St Louis, and a keynote address from Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, Director of the Lambert St. Louis International Airport. A professional development session spawned by the Lean In movement and a presentation and site visit to the St Louis Gateway Arch concluded the conference.


Attendees reported that the conference overall was a success, and hope that is continued in future years as an opportunity to bring groups from around the region together.


March Program: Risk Management in Transportation Projects
Tuesday, March 11, WTS members met to learn about Risk Management from Phil Barnes at WSB & Associates. Phil taught the group basic Risk Management concepts and shared some tricks and tips, such as:
  • Accept more risk in high-budget/low-risk areas
  • Invest in high-risk areas that can be managed effectively at a low cost
  • Facilitate solutions that manage a "blend" of risks

Phil stressed the importance of basing Risk Management in a collaborative and problem-solving approach. He pointed out the importance of including all core stakeholders in the discussion, as they have the highest interest and influence levels, and pointed out that the best solution is advantageous to all and incorporates broader objectives and visions of success. The goal isn't to eliminate all risk, but rather assess the risk and determine which risks one can avoid, transfer or mitigate and accept calculated risk. Steps to Risk Management include:


  • Facilitate and determine objective
  • Define alternatives/positions
  • Identify lists of risks
  • Quantify probability of risk and impact
  • Prioritize risks by level
  • Strategize for top risks and discuss effectiveness
  • Define final position


Juana Sandoval recently accepted a planning position at Community Design Group. Congratulations Juana!


Congratulation to Morgan Abbott, who recently accepted a design position at S.E.H. in their transportation group. Best wishes, Morgan!


Amber Nord has started a new position as a Senior Civil Engineer at Isthmus Engineering. Congratulations Amber!





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!