2015 Recognition Award Recipients
WTS Woman of the Year
Chair of the Board
For more than 30 years Rita Brogan has been influencing the transportation industry, improving partnerships, building trust with the communities that transportation serves, and changing the way we deliver transportation. As Metro’s first appointed woman Superintendent of Public Transportation Development, Rita was an innovator and significant role model to a generation of women in the transit industry as she managed a staff of over 220 with an annual operating budget over $14 million. She administered a $750 million transit capital program and implemented a collaborative management program that nurtured entrepreneurial participation at all levels of the organization. She directed award-winning multi-media advertising campaigns and used aggressive promotional strategies to increase transit ridership 4% during a period when comparable transit agencies experienced decreases.
Truly an icon of the transportation industry, Rita changed our transportation lexicon broadening the discussion to include the general public and elected officials, translating technical terms for the lay audience, and improving the overall decision-making process. When Rita purchased PRR (formerly Pacific Rim Resources) nearly 30 years ago, she had a vision of engaging communities in meaningful wayson transportation, human health, and environmental issues. Large and small projects have benefitted from the strategic communications and outreach PRR and Rita have provided, including the I-405 Corridor Master Plan, I-5 Moving Washington, Washington State Long-term Air Transportation Study, PSRC’s Vision 2020 and Destination 2030 Plans, Sea-Tac Airport Concessions Policy, Port of Seattle Century Agenda, Bellingham Waterfront, Central Link Light Rail Business Assistance, East Lake Sammamish Trail Master Plan, Livable South Downtown, FAST Corridor, Hawaii Department of Transportation Public Involvement Plan and the first GMA-based Transportation Plan for Pierce County.
Rita’s creativity, mentorship and leadership go beyond conventional boundaries. In 1976, she was appointed by Jimmy Carter to the National Commission for the Observance of International Women’s Year alongside such giants as Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, and Coretta Scott King. She has worked to support other minority- and women-owned businesses, most recently serving on the Mayor of Seattle’s task force on minority business engagement and contracting. She has been honored at Marketing NW as a Marketing Immortal, by the Port of Seattle receiving the Small Business Advocate Award, in King County as an Outstanding Women-Owned Small Business, as the Asian American Entrepreneur of the Year, Legacy Award and entering UWs Communications Hall of Fame, among others.
WTS Member of the Year
Dana Hook has served the transportation industry for over 16 years, concentrating on public transportation and urban development. She currently serves as a vice president with CDM Smith, where she leads the firm’s urban mobility efforts, helping to identify and outline strategic market areas, clients and projects. In just two years, her meritorious performance has resulted in substantial strategic projects and new client relationships worth over $2 million for the firm. Throughout her career and no matter what scenario she is in, Dana consistently delivers the same message in her activities, words, and actions: Women are strong and capable, and can choose to be leaders in all aspects of what they do. As relayed by one of her CDM Smith team members, “Dana takes every opportunity to support the success of women. As a colleague and a professional, she realizes that everyone brings value to the table, and she seeks an even playing field for sharing ideas, participating in teams, and assuming leadership roles.”
In addition to her daily work, Dana looks for opportunities that help further the advancement of women within the firm. She serves as a mentor to women through the firm’s formal mentorship program; serves as the firm’s WTS conference champion; and has been instrumental in the hiring of several women into leadership roles this year. Within each of these activities and through her position on the transportation leadership team, she works with varying levels of professionals to understand that communication is powerful, listening is important, diversity is valuable, and improvement requires change.
Although she actively participates in several organizations, her greatest contributions have been to WTS, which she joined in 2002. Most recently, she served as the 2012-2014 Chair of the WTS International Board of Directors, and in that role, she has served as a panelist, presenter, and keynote speaker at countless events, which she continues to do throughout the country. During her tenure, she built a strong board of directors who collectively, and individually, champion the mission of WTS. Under her leadership, WTS formalized the student chapter ratification process and implemented the regional WTS model program, strengthening the link between chapters and opening more leadership opportunities. She also serves an active role with the WTS San Diego Chapter, helping to drive membership, involvement, and mentorship in a competitive industry.
It is through these accomplishments and more that Dana embodies what it means to do what one loves. Her professional journey consistently communicates how she is described by colleagues, “Someone who is truly passionate about what she does.” And it is that passion that drives everything for Dana.
WTS Employer of the Year
Collaborative. Pioneering. Caring.These words describe CH2M’s women who are the inspiration behind the programs and activities developed to promote CH2M’s female colleagues. CH2M believes in a keen focus on attracting, developing, and retaining women in the industry, where almost 30% of their U.S. workforce today is female.
CH2M strives to be the most diverse firm in the transportation industry and the best place to work. They have long been recognized as a most-admired and leading employer and have been named a top workplace in the U.S. Initial data for 2014 indicates that women make up more than half of CH2M’s Rising Executive Talent population, showing a great emphasis on developing this demographic as future leaders.
During the hiring process, CH2M endeavors to ensure the pool of candidates for each open position includes women and minorities. CH2M uses a variety of tools to recruit a diverse talent pool. Its relationship with CareerBuilder has allowed them to leverage their connection of diversity job boards. They have recently honed the diversity job boards used to meet their more specific needs in the engineering space. In addition to postings jobs to those diversity boards, they also have had past relationships with several associations (including Women’s Transportation Seminar, Women in Construction, Society of Women Engineers, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers, and others). As much as possible, CH2M selects qualified candidates for review with the commitment that there will be a minimum of one diversity candidate per position for consideration.
CH2M has policies and practices that clearly value women—and men—with families or other responsibilities including maternity leave and flexible work schedules. However, the local practice of these policies is what is unique. The local office is flexible with its work schedules, provides laptops to those who work from home, and endorses part-time work.
Many of CH2M’s high-profile roles have women at the forefront. Jacqueline Hinman was appointed the firm’s first female CEO in January 2014 and Lisa Glatch joined as Executive Vice President of Client Sales and Solutions in March. Chief Communications Officer Elisa Speranza serves on the 11-member CH2M Board of Directors along with Ms. Hinman and independent director Georgia Nelson. Among many other women leaders at CH2M, Susan Martinovich leads the firm’s Highways & Bridges sector within the Transportation Market; Chris Bisio is the U.S. Southwest Geographic Manager; and Sue Kershaw leads the Rail and Transit sector in Europe. In the Puget Sound, Amy Carlson is a Vice President and the Area Office Manager.
WTS Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award
U.S. Secretary of Transportation
Secretary Anthony Foxx, who became the 17th U.S. Secretary of Transportation in July 2013, leads an agency with more than 55,000 employees and a $70 billion budget that oversees air, maritime, and surface transportation.Prior to his appointment as US Secretary of Transportation, Mr. Foxx served as the Mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, where there too he made efficient and innovative transportation investments the centerpiece of the city’s job creation and economic recovery efforts.
One of the strongest advocates for the White House’s Ladders of Opportunity initiative, Secretary Foxx has long believed that transportation plays a critical role in connecting Americans and communities to economic opportunity. Access to reliable, safe, and affordable transportation for all Americans is central to Secretary Foxx’s agenda, as he believes the choices that are made regarding transportation infrastructure at the Federal, State and local levels can strengthen communities, create pathways to jobs and improve the quality of life for all Americans.
Under Secretary Foxx’s directive, the USDOT has prioritized initiatives to advance Ladders of Opportunity through multiple programs, including a new $100 million Ladders of Opportunity Initiative to fund projects that expand bus services to better serve people who need them the most, and through the $9 million Innovative Public Transportation Workforce Development Program to invest in America's economic growth and help build ladders of opportunity into the middle class for American workers.Secretary Foxx also prioritized the extent to which the projects chosen for the FY2014 TIGER grant program strengthen access to opportunities through transportation.
WTS Innovative Transportation Solutions Award
Caltrans/SANDAG “Steer Clear”/DARmageddon Project Team
“Steer Clear”/DARmageddon Public Outreach Program
In summer 2013, Caltrans District 11 and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) developed a comprehensive, bi-national public outreach campaign encouraging motorists to “Steer Clear” of two of San Diego’s busiest freeways during required closures due to construction activities over two separate weekends. In July, Caltrans closed a three-mile southbound segment of Interstate 15 (I-15) for 33 hours to make drainage improvements. Three weeks later, Interstate 805 (I-805) was closed in both directions for 14 hours while crews demolished a bridge in Chula Vista.
To kick off the “Steer Clear” campaign, three news conferences were held leading up to the freeway closures, featuring elected officials from the United States and Mexico, high-level Caltrans and SANDAG executives, and other local jurisdictions educating the media about what to expect. The first news conference announced the “Steer Clear” public outreach effort and provided a preview of the summer freeway closures on both the I-15 and the I-805 corridors. The second news conference was held on the East Palomar Street Bridge in the city of Chula Vista to announce an extensive DARmageddon media buy campaign and provide additional details on the South County freeway closure and detours. During the news conference, a “Countdown to DARmageddon” clock was unveiled and symbolically activated. The final news conference was held to reinforce the need for the public to “Steer Clear” of I-805 during the closure and provide information about what to expect during bridge demolition. These news conferences generated stories by all of the San Diego television stations and U.S./Mexico Spanish television stations. Approximately one dozen stories were published online by television, print, web news outlets, independent blogs, and local government channels.
The “Steer Clear” outreach is part of a larger effort to increase transportation choices and improve quality of life for residents in the San Diego region, a key component of Caltrans District 11 Director Laurie Berman’s mission. In addition to Ms. Berman, many women held senior leadership roles in the project, including SANDAG’s Communications Director Colleen Windsor and its Senior Public Outreach Representative Tedi Jackson. Additional women on the project included Caltrans Public Information Officers, Cathryne Bruce-Johnson and Lynne Cory, and SANDAG’s Marisa Guzzardo, Helen Gao, Joy DeKorte, and Elizabeth Cox. Chula Vista’s then-mayor, Cheryl Cox, was an advocate for the project, and the project’s construction team was led by Caltrans staff, including Senior Resident Engineer Marla Deyoe.
As a result of the press coverage and media buys, traffic was reduced by 13 percent during the I-15 closure and by an estimated 50 percent during the I-805 closure. In both cases, work was completed on schedule and the freeways reopened in time for the morning commute.