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March 2019

March Brings Us Women in Construction Week and International Women’s Day: 
- AND an Opportunity for You to Make a Difference as We Celebrate! …

Nothing is more satisfying than a victory lap. You’ve run the race. Bested quality competitors. And now it’s time to celebrate by acknowledging effort and the adulation of the fans. Women in transportation have made tremendous strides. If you look at the industry today as compared to when WTS was founded, things are very, very different. Women lead public agencies and private firms. Women PEs and PMs lead large-scale projects. And women help plan infrastructure at the highest levels. According to a 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, women accounted for 42.2% of all fulltime workers in STEM fields. So, we’ve made it. It’s time to celebrate a full victory. Right? Well, not exactly…

That same report breaks things down further to reveal that women in architecture-and-engineering occupations account for only 14% of fulltime workers, and women comprise only 9% of the construction workforce. While great gains have been made, it seems we still have more work to do.

So, what makes this a pressing issue at the moment? What is the “why now?” as they say in the film industry? This week is Women in Construction Week, an event that highlights “women as a viable component of the construction industry…to raise awareness of the opportunities available for women in the construction industry and to emphasize the growing role of women in the industry.” This is important and often neglected. In WTS-LA, while we focus greatly on transportation and infrastructure, unfortunately we tend to give certain areas like construction short shrift. The same is true for other vital aspects of transportation like freight, railroads, and even airline pilots. It’s no one’s fault. We do not actively seek to avoid certain disciplines or professions in our outreach. We have just fallen prey to staying within the well-worn grooves that others pioneered before us. So, it’s time to take a step back and really look carefully at the transportation industry and its many facets. We need to expand our vision and application of the WTS-LA mission and see where we can really make more of a difference - and WTS-LA needs your help to make that happen! Here’s what I would like us to do.

While continuing WTS-LA’s outstanding outreach to fields like transit, aviation, and commuter rail, we’re also putting our money where our mouths are. First, WTS-LA is expanding recognition and awareness through targeted programs and events. But we’re also launching a series on women in construction in our bimonthly e-newsletter. So, stay tuned. And while that’s a very good start, that’s what we’re doing collectively. Now, it’s time to turn our attention a little more inward.

I would like each and every WTS-LA member to try and identify someone in a discipline that is not so well represented in the chapter. In addition to areas like freight, railroads, and pilots, expand your horizons to consider construction, logistics, bus/train drivers, shipping companies, trucking, the military, marine transportation, and community outreach. Even the sky isn’t the limit, as we could also reach out to the burgeoning space exploration sector. It, too, is part of the transportation industry. So, I want each WTS-LA member to identify and reach out to at least one person in a sector that deserves greater representation in the chapter (or if you don’t know anyone personally, ask me how you can help the chapter as we find ways to reach out to these industries). As we’ve learned personally and from the stories of so many others, it only takes one person to light the spark of interest in WTS-LA and our mission. Be that spark. Bring someone to a chapter event as your guest. Introduce them to other WTS-LA members and other WTS-LA programs and events. Help them know they have real support and opportunity in the greater transportation industry.

Naturally, this is somewhat of a self-serving endeavor. By doing this, WTS-LA members will help expand the chapter. But that expansion will serve to help us engage a greater portion of the transportation industry while expanding WTS-LA’s mission. So, essentially, it is doing well by doing good. And there’s another reason why this effort is so timely. Today, March 8, is also International Women’s Day (IWD). First celebrated in 1911 (!), IWD is a global event celebrating the “social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.” Obviously, that syncs perfectly with WTS-LA and our mission. But the IWD website also points out that, “Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist once explained, ‘The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.’ So make International Women's Day your day and do what you can to truly make a positive difference for women.” I couldn’t agree more.

Victory laps are great. Few things than sports show the absolute joy of overcoming challenge and celebrating hard work and extraordinary effort. While we certainly have earned the right to celebrate our victories, for women in the transportation industry it is a little too soon to take that victory lap. Yes, the women and men of the transportation industry have made great strides. And WTS-LA has been very instrumental in many of those advances here in Los Angeles. But we’re not done yet. So, let us use this time—Women in Construction Week and IWD—to start a new push to expand WTS-LA’s mandate to areas of the transportation industry that deserve representation and support. Let’s make March 2019 a great month for all women in transportation.


Lisa Karwoski, PE

Mott MacDonald


Photo by John Livzey


2019 Celebration of Recent Industry Milestones for Women

2019 Celebration of Recent Industry Milestones for Women

On Thursday, July 18, 2019 WTS-LA hosted a Celebration of Recent Industry Milestones for Women featuring Elissa Konove, Michelle Boehm, Nadine Lee, Yvette Zoe-Robles Rapose, and Jonaura Wisdom.

2019 LAX Tour

WTS-LA Members Visit LAX

On August 23, 2019, WTS-LA members got an exclusive tour of the Midfield Satellite Concourse, currently under construction at Los Angeles International Airport.

Photo © Eric Shen

2019 WTS-LA Summer Happy Hour

On June 13th, 2019, WTS members and non-members joined WTS-LA for a networking happy hour at Harbor House in Downtown Los Angeles.

Photo © John Livzey

2019 WTS-LA Ports update

On May 22, 2019 WTS-LA hosted major players from Southern California ports who discussed current and upcoming projects, innovations, and improvements.

Photo © John Livzey

Metrolink CEO Stephanie Wiggins

On February 22, 2019, WTS-LA hosted a lunch with Metrolink CEO Stephanie Wiggins

Photo © John Livzey

Caltrans District 7 Director John Bulinksi

On January 25, 2019, WTS-LA hosted a lunch with guest speaker Caltrans District 7 Director John Bulinski


Transportation YOU High School Students Tour LAX

On May 29, 2018, a WTS-LA Transportation YOU group of high school students toured Los Angeles International Airport.

Photo © John Livzey

Connected and Autonomous Vehicles Panel

On May 31, 2018, WTS-LA hosted a panel to discuss the future of connected and autonomous vehicles.

Photo © John Livzey

Mentorship-WTS-LA Directors at Large Panel

On May 10, 2018, Directors at Large Dina Aryan-Zahlan (POLA), Mark Pestrella (LACDPW), and Elissa Knove (Metrolink) spoke to the 2018 mentorship group.

Photo © John Livzey

Reception for Caltrans Director Laurie Berman

On May 8, 2018, WTS-LA welcomed Caltrans Director Laurie Berman at a reception in downtown Los Angeles.

Photo © John Livzey

Reception for CHSRA CEO Brian Kelly

On May 1, 2018, WTS-LA hosted a reception to welcome Brian Kelly, CEO of California High-Speed Rail Authority.

Photo © John Livzey

College Outreach - Bring Your Own Résumé

On March 14, 2018, the College Outreach Committee held a résumé workshop, where students received guidance on their résumés.




On December 4th, WTS-LA hosted a lunch program featuring Richard Clarke, Chief Program Management Officer for Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. See more on his presentation here
Pictured at left are guest speaker Richard Clarke wth local undergraduate and graduate students. Student attendance is sponsored by corporate partners and other firms. Please email us at wtslosangeles@gmail.com if you are interested in sponsoring students to attend WTS-LA programs. More photos from the December 4th program are here.  





We thank Director Bulinksi for sharing with WTS-LA at January's luncheon his plans for the agency's future and his vision as he begins his tenure as District 7 Director. If you missed it, here are photos from the lunch. 







At the Annual Scholarship and Awards dinner on November 8, 2018, WTS-LA awarded more than $90,000 in scholarships to deserving young women in high school, community college, undergraduate, and graduate programs in transportation-related fields. For more photos, click here.  For more info on scholarship winners, click here



Photos © John Livzey.

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2019 Mobility 21 Southern California Transportation Summit Beyond the Limits Friday, Sept. 27, 2019 • 7:30 AM – 4:30 PM Disneyland Hotel
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WTS-LA Annual Scholarship and Awards Dinner

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Featured News

Metro’s Stephanie Leslie, PE, helps girls and women hear opportunity knocking…

Tuesday, July 30, 2019 - “WTS-LA is extremely valuable. It’s very important for women to have a forum where they can come together and make sure that they’re not being ignored in the industry, that they have opportunity, and that all of this is passed on to future generations."
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Metro’s Andrina Dominguez delivers on WTS-LA’s scholarship promise…

Thursday, June 20, 2019 - Metro senior environmental specialist Andrina Dominguez was the recipient of the 2013 won the $6,000 WTS-LA Ava Doner Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship. "[The WTS-LA scholarship program] is also so deliberate in making sure that young professionals are introduced and integrated into the chapter and the industry."
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Linda Apodaca: One WTS-LA Scholarship. Four Beneficiaries.

Thursday, June 6, 2019 - Having been on the receiving end of a kindness from WTS-LA in the form of the Board of Directors Scholarship, Linda Apodaca pays forward that kindness through her work at Foothill Transit as Manager of Community Engagement and her volunteering and promotion of the WTS Transportation YOU program.
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LAWA's Cynthia Guidry: Building the Future and Sparking Enthusiasm

Thursday, March 28, 2019 - Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) Planning and Development Group Deputy Executive Director and WTS-LA Director at Large, Cynthia Guidry manages some of LAWA's largest capital projects, yet takes time to inspire the next generation.
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Christi Fu: Making a Name in Construction Claims

Monday, March 11, 2019 - WTS-LA Treasurer, Christi Fu, PE, CCM, LEED AP, ENV SP, is an Associate Vice President with Arcadis and operations manager for the Contract Solutions Practice in the Western United States. She has performed construction claims analysis for a variety of projects, from highways, bridges, light rail, airports, and ports, to wastewater treatment centers, court houses, college campuses, etc., that range from $30-million projects to $1.2-billion programs.
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