WTS Chapters

Celebrating 30 Years of Service


September 3, 2015

You may have noticed that WTS-LA has been busy this month.

This week, we published our 2014 Annual Report; check it out if you have not already. And our eblast format underwent a redesign as well. The intent of the new design was to consolidate eblasts by announcing multiple events while also providing easy access to useful links to chapter resources. We hope you enjoy the new look. 

The WTS-LA board voted this month on the 2016 WTS-LA Recognition nominations. The competition was stiff this year with phenomenal nominations, but there were a few that shined a bit brighter than the rest.  I am so pleased to announce recipients of the 2016 WTS-LA Recognition Awards:

Woman of the Year
Sharon Neely
Retired Chief Deputy Executive Director
Southern California Association of Governments

WTS Ray LaHood Man of the Year
Professor James Elliott Moore II
University of Southern California

Employer of the Year
Los Angeles County Metro

Member of the Year
Natasha DeBenon

Innovative Transportation Solution
Phase II of the Exposition Light Rail Line -
Culver City to Santa Monica

Diversity Award
The Robert Group

We hope to see you at our Annual Scholarship & Awards Dinner on November 5th!

Amanda Smith Heinke
Fehr & Peers

Photo by John Livzey


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Photo by John Livzey

WTS Welcomes LAWA's Deborah Flint as She Takes the Reins, September 21

A "members only" audience welcomed new Executive Director Deborah Flint, who now leads the largest public sector capital program in Los Angeles and one of the largest airport systems in the world. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

Jennifer Brogin Discusses How Consensus is Won, August 7

Jennifer Brogin, deputy for LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, discussed how transportation policy is developed and consensus is won with WTS-LA members attending a professional development workshop. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

Nicole Englund Talks Transportation Policy Development, August 7

Nicole Englund, deputy for LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, discussed how transportation policy is developed and consensus is won with WTS-LA members attending a professional development workshop. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

Paul Backstrom Looks at Policies that Enhance Mobility for Constituents, August 7

Paul Backstrom, deputy for LA City Councilmember Mike Bonin, discussed how transportation policy is developed and consensus is won with WTS-LA members attending a professional development workshop. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

Metro CEO Phil Washington Gets Passionate about Innovation, August 6

Recently appointed Los Angeles Metro CEO Phillip Washington wowed a packed room, discussing his passion for innovation and how that will enhance mobility for Angelenos. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

CH2M's Andres Ocon Welcomes Phil Washington to WTS-LA, August 6

Representing WTS-LA Platinum Sponsor CH2M, Vice President Andres Ocon introduced Metro CEO Phil Washington to a SRO audience, noting Washington's distinguished record for innovation and effective project delivery. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

Dr. Amy Shimshon-Santo Introduces a New Take on High School Outreach, August 6

Dr. Amy Shimshon-Santo of Claremont Graduate University, recently named Adopt-A-School chair for WTS Los Angeles, briefed our audience on new education alliances the chapter is pursuing. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

Dr. Giovanna Brasfield Speaks Up for Small Business, August 6

WTS-LA Small Business Outreach chair Dr. Giovanna Brasfield of Hensel Phelps gave a précis on a coming program that will give small business owners an insight into legal issues associated with contracting. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

The FAA's Felicia Boyd Gives a Mission Briefing, July 15

FAA Division Manager Felicia Boyd coached participants in our "members only" Mentorship program on developing essential personal and professional mission statements. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

LAWA's Roger Johnson Talks $7 Billion in Capital Improvements, July 9

Los Angeles World Airports Deputy Executive Director Roger Johnson presented an engaging look at LAX's massive and complex capital improvement program. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

ARCADIS Exec Ralph Taber Does the Honors, July 9

Ralph Taber, representing WTS Los Angeles Platinum Sponsor ARCADIS, introduces LAWA Deputy Executive Director Roger Johnson. Photo ©John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

WTS Los Angeles Veep Rosa Brice Weighs In on Membership, July 9

WTS-LA 2nd Vice President (Membership) Rosa Brice of Los Angeles World Airports talks to the audience about the benefits of chapter membership. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

Stantec's Pattie Antich Introduces Rail Panel, June 2

WTS Los Angeles Board Treasurer Pattie Antich of Stantec, a WTS-LA Platinum Sponsor, introduces the moderator and panel of passenger rail experts at our June 2 program. Photo © John Livzey.

Expo COO Samantha Bricker Moderates Rail Panel, June 2

Expo COO Samantha Bricker Moderates Rail Panel, June 2

Samantha Bricker, Chief Operating Officer at Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority, moderates a discussion of passenger rail issues. The panel featured execs from California High-Speed Rail Authority, Metrolink, and Metro. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

Passenger Rail Panel Presents Current Trends and Issues, June 2

Jeanet Owens (Los Angeles Metro), Michelle Boehm (California High Speed Rail Authority), Art Leahy (Metrolink), and Don Sepulveda (Los Angeles Metro) talk to a "standing room only" audience. Expo COO Samantha Bricker moderated. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

WTSers Network in Ernest at Our SRO Rail Program, June 2

Audience members at our June 2 rail panel discussion network in the registration area before lunch at this "full house." Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Hueneme Execs Discuss Marine Cargo and Infrastructure, April 29

Tony Gioiello of the Port of Los Angeles and Jon Slangerup of the Port of Long Beach look on as Kristin Decas of the Port of Hueneme opens our April 29 discussion of ports infrastructure. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

FTA Senior Advisor Carolyn Flowers Visits, April 15

Federal Transit Administration Senior Advisor Carolyn Flowers is warmly welcomed by our chapter - including a large contingent of Metro staff and execs - at the Jonathan Club in downtown Los Angeles. Photo © John Livzey.

FTA Senior Advisor Carolyn Flowers Visits, April 15

FTA Senior Advisor Carolyn Flowers Visits, April 15

Councilmember Tom LaBonge joins us to welcome Ms. Flowers back to Los Angeles. Photo © John Livzey.

FTS Senior Advisor Carolyn Flowers Visits, April 15

FTS Senior Advisor Carolyn Flowers Visits, April 15

Foothill Transit Finance Director Michelle Caldwell joins us at the Jonathan Club to welcome Carolyn Flowers. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

"Leadership at All Levels" Scores a 10 with WTSers, March 27

In 2015's first Professional Development roundtable, Emily Buss (Parsons Brinckerhoff) hosts Marcy Szarma (Destination Enterprises), Samantha Bricker (Expo Construction Authority) and Gwen Williams (L.A. Department of Water and Power). Photo © John Livzey

Photo by John Livzey

Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority COO Samantha Bricker Welcomes WTS Members

WTS Los Angeles Director at Large Samantha Bricker welcomes 28 chapter members to 2015's first professional development roundtable, chaired by Emily Buss of Parsons Brinckerhoff. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

County Supervisor Hilda Solis, March 6

County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Hilda Solia, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and an advocate for working families, discusses her vision for accessible transportation. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

WTS Members Talk with Supervisor Solis

Monica Villalobos (AECOM), chapter president Amanda Smith (Fehr & Peers), and event chair Elizabeth Ramirez (Group Delta) talk with County Supervisor Solis (third from left) after the program. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

Metro Planning Update, February 10

Martha Welborne, Metro Chief Planning Officer, opens our year with a "standing room only" audience of 270 people as she looks at what the agency has planned for 2015. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

2015 Board Retreats to Advance Strategic Plan, February 6

On February 6, our board met in the beautiful Ming Hsieh Boardroom at the University of Southern California to identify their goals for the coming year, with chapter president Amanda Smith of Fehr & Peers facilitating the discussion. Photo © John Livzey.




For VeGingerGherardi1_e6277ntura County Transportation Commissioner Ginger Gherardi, being WTS-LA president from 1986-1988 provided a perfect stage for professional advancement. “The great advantage of being chapter president was the opportunity to meet people and develop contacts on a personal level throughout Los Angeles, the Los Angeles region, and later on a national level, when I was WTS National president. That was an enormous personal and professional opportunity and it gave me a broad appreciation for the reach of WTS.”

Gherardi led Ventura County Transportation Commission as Executive Director for nearly 20 years, and was responsible for transportation planning and implementation in Ventura County. Her mandate included highways, roads, public transit, paratransit, rail service (Metrolink), airport land-use, callboxes, and new technology. After retiring from VCTC, Gherardi was elected to the Santa Paula City Council and now represents the City as a Commissioner on the Ventura County Transportation Commission. To read about Commissioner Gherardi's career and the reach WTS provided to her, click here.


Liz1_4559There are many schools of thought about networking. Some experts recommend leaving your comfort zone and forcing interaction. Liz Levin thinks differently. “Networking to-do lists often contain things like: go around the entire room, meet lots of people, practice and deliver your elevator speech, drop important names, and hand out business cards. And when we ask, ‘Who are the good networkers?’ People most often say, ‘Salespeople—people who are extroverted, smooth, slick, and smiley. Someone who has a strong pitch.’ But many people, particularly women, stop and think, ‘That’s not who I am. That’s not how I connect with people. That’s not how I build comfortable relationships.’ And therein lies the source of discomfort many people feel about networking. It doesn’t have to be that way,” Levin says. “In fact, I think people are less powerful when they network in someone else’s style. The strength is in developing your own style and perfecting that.” To read more of Levin's advice, click here.


EricShen_e5933Eric Shen has a very long title and great responsibility with the United States Department of Transportation. Shen serves as Director, Southern California Gateway Office, Maritime Administration (MARAD) of the United States Department of Transportation. Based in Long Beach, his area of responsibility encompasses Arizona and Southern California. He works closely with four deep-water ports, namely Hueneme, Long Beach, Los Angeles, and San Diego. The nontraditional path he took to reach his current position offers a model for engineers and planners looking to build a career in transportation. In our new member profile of Shen, who serves as a Director at Large on the WTS Los Angeles board, he serves up thoughtful career advice. “There is no single career path that defines who we are,” he says. “Be adventurous, challenge ourselves, and leave our own trails. Knowing that we won’t succeed each and every time, we can always pick ourselves up when we fail and then regroup.” To read more, click here.


Grey_Annual_Report_SpreadWTS-LA Communications Chair and ICF International Senior Proposal Manager Jeff Markwardt believes many, if not most, annual reports are dull. They offer little more than a rhetorical year in review. But the 2014 WTS-LA Annual Report defies convention by providing chapter membership with a beautiful, engaging document filled with substantive, useful information. It is a document chapter members can both use and be proud of.

“We wanted to provide WTS-LA members with a comprehensive overview of their accomplishments for the year," says Markwardt. "And we wanted to give it to them in a form that they would be proud of, a document that they can enthusiastically show their boss, their spouse, or someone they think might be interested in joining the chapter. We went to great lengths and took great care to make sure that this would be an engaging document that looks beautiful and conveys effectively exactly what WTS-LA is about. And I think we achieved that.” To read our annual report, click here.

Photography in this section © John Livzey.


Upcoming Events



2015 Annual Scholarship and Awards Dinner

Join WTS-LA to celebrate its Annual Scholarship & Awards Dinner and 30-year celebration.
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Featured News

With Mobility and Transit, the Answer Isn’t Always Mass

Monday, September 28, 2015 - In America, we love big solutions, particularly when dealing with mobility. From bigger airports to more highway lanes to expanded port complexes, bigger is better. But not every problem can be addressed by a big solution alone. Sometimes, solutions can be smaller, more individual. They can even augment larger solutions already in place.
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The Secret to Networking: To Thine Own Self Be Shrewd

Sunday, September 13, 2015 - There are many schools of thought about networking. Some experts recommend leaving your comfort zone and forcing interaction. Others encourage using sales techniques to ensure “meaningful contact” with potential employers and clients. Still others see networking as a rite of passage where you must just “put yourself out there” no matter what the circumstances may be, how it's done, or how effective the results. Liz Levin thinks differently.
Read More »

For Deborah Berg, WTS-LA was a Presidential Primer

Thursday, September 10, 2015 - “Networking. Meeting the decision makers and being among the first to meet new public sector appointees is something you don’t really get to do in any other capacity," says Deborah Berg of her involvement in WTS. "You hear about what is being planned way before that information is available anywhere else."
Read More »

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