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WTS-Boston December Annual Meeting and Luncheon Featuring Patricia Leavenworth


Written By: Linde Thatcher, Tetra Tech

On December 19th, 2018, MassDOT’s Deputy Administrator and Chief Engineer Patricia (Patty) Leavenworth spoke to an audience of over 200 WTS-Boston members and guests at the annual meeting.

Patty spoke to the group about the industry’s current concern with employee retention and how “grit” in the workplace can play an integral role in job satisfaction. Patty gleaned this enlightened message from Angela Duckworth’s latest book, Grit, which describes grit asa combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal. Patty noted that there are many reasons why someone may be unhappy with a job, but grit is typically not one of them. She asked all the audience members to recall a moment in our careers where we have felt our greatest sense of accomplishment.  She guessed that our moments were likely all challenging times when we had to fight hard to reach our goal. Our most rewarding projects have been the most exhausting, intense and frustrating and; the grit of the team to push through and overcome these challenges is what made the outcome so satisfying. Patty went on to affirm that this courage and strength is what defines the transportation industry. With job turnover at a higher rate than previous generations, it appears that younger employees do not stay with their company long enough to feel this type of intrinsic reward. She encouraged everyone to mentor the next generation in our transportation industry, to challenge them and give them opportunities to grow, encourage them to learn from their mistakes, and make them feel like they are part of something bigger. Patricia wrapped up her presentation by stressing how proud she is of our gritty Massachusetts transportation industry and the difficult, meaningful, and important work that we do.

Prior to Patty’s riveting address, outgoing WTS-Boston Chapter President, Rebecca (Becky) Williamson, began the Annual Meeting reflecting on her days as Chapter President.  Becky praised her wonderful support group and spoke highly of our incoming Chapter President, Sarah Dennechuk.  Becky recognized all outgoing chapter leadership, and thanked the pioneering past presidents, the WTS 2018 sponsors, and the Chapter’s members and guests who continue to support the advancement of women in transportation.   


Incoming WTS-Boston Chapter President Sarah closed the Annual Meeting by recognizing the incoming Chapter leadership. She also thanked the outgoing WTS-Boston President, Becky, for her many accomplishments during her time as Chapter President, as well as several other individuals that have positively influenced her involvement and commitment to WTS-Boston.  Sarah wrapped up the meeting by highlighting three of the Chapter’s goals for the upcoming year:

  • Continue to build the pipeline of younger members from both the public and private sectors.
  • Expand the reaches of WTS to areas of transportation that have historically had lower representation.
  • Adapt to the changing workforce and needs of our membership.

Thank you to Patty, Becky and Sarah for speaking with WTS-Boston. It was a great way to finish our year of WTS-Boston programs!

The following is a summary of the Chapter leadership transitions:


President:Rebecca Williamson, P.E., Jacobs

Vice President:Sarah Dennechuk, P.E., Massport

Treasurer:Marie Sullivan, P.E., Stantec

Past President:Rachael Barolsky Sack, U.S. DOT/Volpe Center

Directors at Large:

  • Kristine Gorman, Jacobs
  • Susan Nichols, LEED AP, ENV SP, VHB, Inc.

Advisory Board:

  • Janice Bergeron, RND Consultants, Inc.
  • Loretta Girard Doughty, P.E., HDR Engineering, Inc.
  • Kate Fichter, MassDOT
  • Lee Filipe, Massport
  • Linda Sharpe, DIGITALiBiz, Inc.

Committee Co-Chairs

  • Shahpar Negah, PE, MBA, MassDOT – Highway Division
  • Laurie Carlson, MassDOT
  • Teryne Alexander, Massport
  • Allene Rieger, PE, TranSystems
  • Patricia Pinto, PE, LSP, LEP, Sanborn Head & Associates
  • Carrie Lavallee, MassDOT-Highway Division
  • Selma Mandzo, VHB, Inc.
  • Jill  McLaughlin, PE, Stantec


President: Sarah Dennechuk, P.E., Massport

Vice President: Marie Sullivan, P.E., Stantec

Treasurer: Joanne Scannell, CDW Consultants

Secretary: Sarah Bergman, EIT, LEED AP, WSP

Past President: Rebecca Williamson, P.E., Jacobs


  • Teryne Alexander, Massport
  • Genevieve Cahill, Michael Baker International
  • Theresa Carr, AICP,VHB, Inc.
  • Gina Fiandaca, City of Boston Transportation Department
  • Selma Mandzo, P.E., LEED AP, VHB, Inc.
  • Gina Solman, U.S. DOT/VOLPE Center

2019 Committee Co-chairs are:

  • Communications            
    • Lauren Dale, WSP
    • Sasha Gambarov, EIT, RND Consultants, Inc.
  • Diversity             
    • Lauren Ballou, VHB, Inc.
    • Elizabeth Ulloa-Murray, MBTA
  • Finance
    • Carrie Lavallee, P.E., MassDOT-Highway Division
  • Fundraising
    • Lindsey DiTonno, PE, GPI
    • Crystale Wozniak, CPSM, HMMH
  • Golf
    • Christine Mizioch, AI Engineers, Inc.
    • Karin Marshall, S&R Corportation
  • Membership
    • Heather Audet, GZA
    • Nicole Rando, Talent Collaborative Group
  • Mentoring
    • Caroline Leary, Dye Management Group, Inc.
    • Kristen Whitman, P.E., Jacobs
  • Professional Development
    • Stefanie Bridges, P.E., Weston & Sampson
    • Heather Hamilton, BSC Group
  • Programs
    • Kate Maker, P.E., Michael Baker International
    • Alyssa Peck, Weston & Sampson
  • Public Art
    • Lisa Brothers, P.E., LEED AP, Nitsch Engineering
    • Hyun-A Park, Spy Pond Partners, LLC
  • Outreach
    • Stefanie Beaver, VHB, Inc.
    • Heather Moulton, STV Incorporated
  • Scholarships & Awards 
    • Jacqueline Davis, HDR Engineering, Inc.
    • Erica Blonde, AICP, HNTB
  • Special Projects
    • Alexandra Kleyman, AICP, CTPS
    • Britt Bursell, Geocomp Corporation
  • Student Chapter
    • Carly  Soderholm, Stantec
    • Pam Degan, The Whiting-Turning Contracting Company
  • WTS International Conference
    • Lori Chicoyne, BSC Group
    • Colleen Moore, City Point Partners

Advisory Board:

  • Rebecca Williamson, P.E., Jacobs (Past-President (Chair):
  • Rachael Sack, U.S. DOT/Volpe Center (Past-Past-President)
  • Luciana Burdi, Massport
  • Kristine Gorman, Jacobs
  • Danny Levy, MBTA
  • Alison Plant Lima, P.E., Tetra Tech
  • Michelle Muhlanger, Federal Railroad Association
  • Diana Nicklaus, saam Architecture
  • Shannon Reilly, Esq., Construction Industries of Massachusetts
  • Margo Souza, MassDOT-Highway Division
  • Audrey Stuart, PE, LEED AP, Kleinfelder

2019 Emerging Professionals:

  • Michelle Cantor, MBTA
  • Jasmine Meadows, MBTA
  • Birgit Wurster, MBTA




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