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WTS-Boston December Luncheon and Annual Meeting Featuring speakers Joanna Aalto and Janelle Chan of the MBTA


Written By: Kate Maker, Toole Design Group

At the December 2016 WTS-Boston luncheon, Joanna Aalto, Assistant General Manager for Capital Program Oversight at the MBTA, shared her presentation ‘MBTA Back on Track.’ The presentation highlighted several key initiatives the MBTA has with a focus on improving capital delivery.  Joanna explained how capital delivery is vital to the MBTA operations, service improvement, and the MBTA’s commitment to their customers.  The MBTA has an ambitious goal to more than double capital spending over the next five years to $6.5B, with an emphasis on investment in system reliability and modernization.  In order to meet such an ambitious goal, the T has an initiative to accelerate capital delivery starting with establishing a “state of good repair” acceleration committee.  The MBTA is also using Pay Go Funds to address major issues including upgrading pre-WWI technology.

Janelle Chan, MBTA’s Chief of Real Estate, shared an exciting presentation on transit-oriented development (TOD).  The MBTA views TOD as an approach to development that contributes to creating active, dense, walkable, mixed-use communities which center around transit and thereby increases transit usage.  Improved access to public transportation increases ridership and generates revenue.  Over the past 10 years, the MBTA sold or leased rights for 50+ TOD projects.  The City of Boston has seen significant economic development and housing growth with over 10M square feet of development and 5,000+ units of housing.

Joanna concluded the MBTA presentation by acknowledging the MBTA’s focus on operating transparently with the Fiscal and Management Control Board and emphasizing ways to partner with the MBTA, including participating in their ongoing public engagement.  Joanna also noted that the MBTA is actively recruiting talented professionals to join their diverse team.

Incoming WTS-Boston Chapter President Rebecca Williamson took the podium to continue the Annual Meeting portion of the luncheon.  Rebecca recognized outgoing and incoming Chapter leadership and thanked outgoing President Rachael Sack for her accomplishments during her tenure as Chapter President.

Rebecca concluded the meeting by encouraging everyone in the room to get involved in WTS and highlighted several goals for the upcoming year: strengthening the Chapter Leadership pipeline, increasing diversity of the membership and leadership, maximizing the impact/effectiveness of the Board, and advancing women in transportation. 

The following is a summary of the Chapter leadership transitions:


Board of Directors:
• Sarah Dennechuk, Massport
• Alison Lima, Tetra Tech
• Cynthia Carleo, HDR
• Lori Chicoyne, Kennedy Jenks Consultants
• Colleen Moore, City Point Partners

Committee Co-Chairs:
• Lisa Jacobson – Barr Foundation
• Kim Sousa – Sanborn Head
• Christine Breen – Nitsch Engineering
• Rachel Strauss – U.S. DOT / Volpe Center
• Marie Sullivan – Stantec
• Heather Ostertog – Stantec
• Selma Mandzo – VHB
• Shahpar Negah – MassDOT
• Susan Nichols – VHB
• Arzu Kurkoglu
• Laurie Carlson – MassDOT
• Katie Choe – City of Boston
• Sarah Deschaine –WSP| Parsons Brinckerhoff
• Alison Felix - MAPC

Advisory Board:
• Amy Corbett – FAA
• Lisa Schletzbaum – MassDOT
• Rachel Winkeller – U.S. DOT / Volpe Center.

2016 Emerging Professionals:
• Gonul Duren – MassDOT and
• Leslie Stahl – U.S. DOT Volpe Center


Board of Directors:
• Vice President:  Sarah Dennechuk - Massport
• Treasurer:  Marie Sullivan – Stantec
• Secretary: Kristine Gorman – STV
• Past president: Rachael Sack – U.S. DOT / Volpe Center
• Susie Bailey – HDR
• Christine Breen – Nitsch Engineering
• Sarah Deschaine – WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff
• Jessica Kenny – MassDOT
• Susan Nichols – VHB
• Paula Simmons – MassDOT

Committee Co-Chairs:
• Communications: Lauren Dale – WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff; Sasha Gamborov – Kennedy Jenks Consultants
• Finance: Shahpar Negah – MassDOT;
• Fundraising: Kristen Whitman – Jacobs; Crystale Wozniak – HMMH
• Membership: Laurie Carlson – MassDOT; Nicole Rando – Resource Options
• Mentoring: Teryne Alexander  – Massport; Allison Sweeney – MBTA
• Professional Development: Jackie Davis – Howard Stein Hudson; Allene Rieger – TranSystems
• Programs: Lindsey Barbee – GPI; Tricia Pinto – Sanborn Head
• Public Art: Lisa Brothers – Nitsch Engineering; Hyun-Uh Park – Spy Pond Partners
• Outreach: Ali Love – STV; Leslie Stahl – U.S. DOT / Volpe Center
• Scholarships & Awards: Carrie Lavallee – MassDOT; Anna Nadler –MassDOT
• Special Projects: Aly Kleiman – CTPS; Selma Mandzo –  VHB
• Student Chapter: Jill McLaughlin – Stantec; Pam Degan – Rickes Associates

Advisory Board:
• Past-President (Chair): Rachael Sack – U.S. DOT / Volpe Center
• Past-Past-President: Alison Plant Lima – Tetra Tech
• Vice Chair and Appointments Task Force Chair: Janice Martin Bergeron – Kennedy Jenks; Lee Filipe – Massport; Kate Fichter – MassDOT; Loretta Girard Doughty – HDR; Patty Leavenworth – MassDOT; Michelle Muhlanger – Federal Railroad Association; Margaret O’Meara –WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff; Shannon Reilly – Construction Industries of Massachusetts; Linda Sharpe –DIGITALiBiz, Inc.

Emerging Professionals:
• Margo Dawes – U.S. DOT / Volpe Center
• Michelle Deng – MassDOT




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