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WTS-Boston 2018 Awards and Scholarships Dinner

By Salina Martin, HDR

More than 260 WTS-Boston members and guests gathered June 5th to honor current and future leaders at its 2018 Annual Awards and Scholarships Dinner. The event’s honorees share the distinction that each is making a significant and positive impact on our industry today, with tremendous potential for future contributions.

Scholarship Recipients

The WTS-Boston scholarship funds come from a combination of individual member contributions, corporate sponsorships, and proceeds from the Annual Golf Outing. Thanks to the generosity of our members, our sponsors, and successful events, WTS-Boston awarded $14,000 in scholarships in 2018 to four incredibly talented young women. More information about the scholarship categories is available online: (link). This year’s four scholarship winners included:

  • Our Transportation YOU Scholarship was awarded to Emma Weston. Emma is heading to Tufts University in the fall to study civil engineering. She has been interested in math and science since elementary school and is excited to make positive changes in the world through engineering.
  • Our Jacquelyn R. Smith Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship was awarded to Lindsay Cullen. Lindsay recently completed her junior year at the University of Rhode Island where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering with a focus in transportation. One of Lindsay’s goals as a civil engineer is to help others through maintaining and improving transportation. Lindsay has been involved with WTS since she was a sophomore in high school and is currently serving as President of the WTS student chapter at University of Rhode Island.
  • Our Ann M. Hershfang Graduate Scholarship was awarded to Monique Stinson. Monique is currently pursuing a PhD in Civil Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Monique re-entered academia after working in the industry for 12 years and raising a family. Monique cites the importance that leaders inspire change and encourage positive-focused innovation. She hopes to use her knowledge to provide thoughtful, proactive and forward-looking leadership in transportation that improves our way of life and preserves system efficiency while reducing environmental impacts.
  • Our WTS-Boston Member Graduate Scholarship was awarded to Sayeeda Ayaz. Sayeeda is currently pursuing her PhD in Transportation Engineering from the University of Massachusetts - Amherst. Sayeeda chose her career path in transportation engineering after an unexpected death of a neighbor in Bangladesh on the way to the hospital due to inefficient traffic operations. Recognizing the impact traffic congestion has on everyday life led Sayeeda to develop a model as part of her master’s thesis, which looked at a commuter’s residence and workplace locations, transportation mode and vehicle miles travelled. She hopes this research will lead to policies which encourage people to live closer to their place of employment to reduce their commute and miles travelled. Sayeeda serves as the President of the WTS student chapter at UMass Amherst.

Scholarship applications will be available in late fall for our next round of scholarships. If you, or someone you know may be interested, we encourage you to apply.

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Award Recipients

The Annual Chapter Awards recognize individuals and companies/agencies for the positive impact they have made to our industry and in our communities. This year’s five award winners included:

  • Our Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award was presented to Monica Tibbits-Nutt. Monica has made extraordinary efforts to ensure that all people are represented and considered in the design of transportation systems. Access to transportation was life changing for Monica and her early life experiences gave her an appreciation for the city form and public transit, as well as a commitment to hold herself accountable to the lofty goal of fighting for equity of access.  Monica sees transportation as a “right” and as such strives to provide as much access and as many options as possible to all.  In her current role, as Executive Director of the 128 Business Council, Monica works to ensure the residents and employees in the Route 128 corridor can get where they need to be when they need to be there – even if they do not have access to a personal vehicle.  She believes that transportation cannot merely be “as good as driving,” it must be better, and she is in a distinct position that allows her to be involved in transportation reform on many levels.

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  • Our WTS-BostonMember of the Year Award was presented to Laurie Carlson. Laurie has been an active member of WTS-Boston since 2014. She has participated at the committee level, serving as co-chair on both the Programs and Membership committees and regularly attends events, trainings, conferences and roundtable discussions. As co-chair of the Membership Committee, Laurie has worked to promote WTS-Boston by increasing our membership base through various membership raffles and campaigns and some really great events.  Laurie was also instrumental in solidifying MassDOT’s involvement in WTS-Boston.  She worked diligently with senior management to secure MassDOT’s Executive Level Sponsorship and assists with the MassDOT table for each of the monthly luncheons. 
  • Our Innovative Transportation Solutions Award was presented to Kelly McGonagle for the I-90 Toll Plaza Demolition at Interchanges 9-13 Project. Kelly was instrumental in the streamlined schedule of this $40 million contract – leading to its completion within one year, meeting the interim contract milestone 12 days early and the completion milestone 20 days early. Kelly, the only woman assigned full-time to project operations, led both the Skanska and McCourt forces which consisted of over 60 office personnel and union craft labor. In addition, she was responsible for all aspects of the project’s performance including owner coordination, safety and quality oversight, schedule, cost-control, subcontracts and material purchase orders.  Kelly’s emphasis on communication and her team throughout this project certainly shows the key role that people play in innovative thinking and the successful completion of projects.

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  • WTS-Boston’s 2018 Employer of the Year Award was presented to Massport. Massport has been a long-time supporter of WTS-Boston as an Executive Level Sponsor, a Platinum Level Sponsor of the Public Art Project, as attendees and presenters at our events, and as part of the WTS-Boston leadership. Within the agency, women comprise three of the seven seats on the Board of Directors. Overall, women make up 47% of the administrative work force and 32% of the leadership team. Massport has six women on the Senior/Executive team, including four directors as well as the Chief of Staff and Assistant Chief of Staff.  Massport is committed to enhancing and promoting career development of its employees and supports a variety of initiatives and programs to encourage that, both in-house and off-site.  In addition to its programs aimed at advancing women into key roles within the agency, Massport continues to be a tremendous supporter of women and minorities as they enter the transportation field by participating in career fairs and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) events as well as offering summer internship positions for both graduates and undergraduates. 
  • WTS-Boston’s 2018 Woman of the Year Award was presented to Stephanie Pollack, the Secretary and CEO for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Secretary Pollack has a distinguished career in the transportation industry, on both the local and national scale, in both the public and private sectors. She has been a firm defender of the significance of basing transportation decision making on sound information and reliable data and of bringing new voices and perspectives to the transportation planning process. Secretary Pollack is determined to see that the Massachusetts transportation system be able to serve as a stimulus for job-creation and economic growth while serving as a lifeline for all who use it to safely and reliably travel to work and school every day. Secretary Pollack refers to transportation as a “people business,” explaining that it is less about the infrastructure components – roads, sidewalks, bridges, tunnels, buses, bicycles, cars and trains - and more about what transportation helps people do – connect to family, friends, health care, economic opportunity, education and recreational activities. In addition to her intense focus on access and sound decision making, an emphasis of Secretary Pollack’s tenure has been bringing more women into leadership roles within MassDOT -  a full half of the hires since she was appointed have been women. Secretary Pollack described the value her team places on understanding all perspectives of the Commonwealth’s transportation system while providing safe, clean, and well-maintained infrastructure and service. In a closing point that was extremely fitting for this awards celebration recognizing trailblazers and rising stars in transportation, Secretary Pollack noted the power of working together and the important role that every individual plays in working towards change. She encouraged everyone in the audience to believe in the power that one person can have to build a current that will break down the walls of resistance.

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Once again, the WTS-Boston Annual Awards and Scholarship Dinner was a memorable and inspiring event. We look forward to next year!

 

To see more photos from the event please visit the WTS Boston Flickr album here.

 

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