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MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT

September 2017

The Eyes Have It

An Argentinian poet, Antonio Porchia, wrote, “I am chained to the earth to pay for the freedom of my eyes.” Wow. That’s just beautiful. Let the image sink in for a second. Boy, only a poet can do that. But aside from the beauty of the image itself, think about exactly what the poet is saying. That one sentence, that one concept, is probably the best piece of practical advice I have heard in a very, very long time for dealing with many of the challenges we face today. Not coincidently, the poet wrote that in 1943, obviously, another time of considerable upheaval. Don’t see it? Let me explain.

Challenges are like air. We all face them. We need them. It’s how we live. It’s how we grow. Whether it’s your personal life or your professional career, challenges are ever present. So, the idea isn’t to rid yourself of trials or difficulties. The task at hand is to learn to deal with them in the most constructive, positive, and productive ways. In fact, how you deal with challenges defines the difference between them being a true learning and growth experience or a critical, depressing disappointment. So, let’s talk about process.

Whether you lead a department, a company, or an organization, whether you just started your first job out of college, or whether you have years of experience managing and being managed, you will face challenges. Some challenges will present a very serious personal dilemma, where for political, private, or moral reasons you feel overwhelmed, angered, confused, or insulted. This is normal. It happens every day. So, the important thing is to use these challenges as a means for reflection, and make important decisions from a place of wisdom and context. 

Clarity cannot be overrated. Gaining perspective on your situation and the dilemma before you can only help you gain clear understanding of what is being asked of you and what your actions will mean in the grander scheme of things. So, when faced with a monumental conundrum, step back, literally. Take a moment and step out of your office. If you can go outside and get some fresh air, even better. Take a walk. Physically remove yourself from your situation, so that you can gain the mental space to put your options in a greater context. Simply breaking down a problem into its smaller salient parts gives you a better perspective. Then you can develop strategies to deal with those parts or the issue as a whole. But the vital element is gaining clear sight of what is being asked of you, your responsibilities in the situation, and the ramifications of your actions or non-actions. And that’s where WTS-LA comes in.

WTS must count on its core values and principles to carry us through difficult times. What we believe in—the philosophy we espouse—is a lighthouse. So, when seas become rough and waves are breaking over the bow, fall back on WTS-LA, its beliefs, and the support the chapter provides through those principles to help you weather the storm and gain the perspective you need to meet even the toughest challenges.

We are all chained to the earth to pay for the freedom of our eyes. And thank you to Mr. Porchia for administering that lesson in such beautiful language. I believe it helped him and many others get through some truly difficult times. And it can help us, too. Together, with the collective, supportive freedom of our eyes, we can help each other overcome the chains that must fetter us to the challenges of this earth.

Kathy Simons 
President
LKG-CMC, Inc.

Photo by John Livzey

 

Photo © John Livzey

Welcoming POLB Executive Director Mario Cordero July 26, 2017

WTS-LA welcomed newly appointed POLB executive director Mario Cordero in an evening reception on Wednesday, July 26 at the Westin Long Beach. Photo © John Livzey

 
Photo © John Livzey

Up-and-Coming Women Graduate from Pilot Mid-Career Mentoring Program. July 17, 2017

Participants in the WTS Los Angeles inaugural mid-career mentoring program meet at Chaya to celebrate the wrap-up of their year-long pairing with senior executives from the public and private sectors and academia. Photo © John Livzey.

 
Photo © John Livzey

Flowers Delivers for Mid-Career Mentorship Program. May 25, 2017

Former Federal Transit Authority Acting Administrator and current AECOM Americas Transit Practice Leader Carolyn Flowers brings more than three decades of experience to a meeting with mid-career protegées and their mentors. Photo © John Livzey.

 
Photo © John Livzey

Saving Your Assets: Why Maintenance and Repair are Good Business for Everyone. June 21, 2017

California Transportation Commission Vice Chair Fran Inman moderates an asset management discussion with Roderic Diaz (SCRRA), Gregory Kildare (Los Angeles Metro), and Kia Mortazavi (OCTA). Billions, possibly trillions, are at stake. Photo © John Livzey,

 
A Good Book Can Change Your Mind. A Great Book Can Change Your Life.

A Good Book Can Change Your Mind. A Great Book Can Change Your Life. May 24, 2017

The WTS Los Angeles professional development series welcomes author and advice columnist Michelle T. Johnson, known as "the Diversity Diva." Attendees each received a copy of Johnson's book "The Diversity Code." Photo © John Livzey.

 
Los Angeles Metro Changes the Way You Do Business, May 3, 2017

Los Angeles Metro Changes the Way You Do Business. May 3, 2017

Metro's Carolina Coppolo makes a point as moderator Lynda Bybee of LSA and Metro's Dr. Joshua Schank listen at this program featuring innovation in procurement, delivery methodologies, and best practices. Photo © John Livzey.

 
Photo © John Livzey

Transportation Résumé Book Mixer is a Winner for Students and Corporate Partners. April 27, 2017

This year's mixer introducing graduating students to WTS Los Angeles public and private corporate partners who received our exclusive Transportation Résumé Book was a hit. Photo © John Livzey.

 
Photo © John Livzey

WTS Gets the Scoop on LAWA's $14 Billion Capital Improvement Planning. April 5, 2017

Key LAWA execs Cynthia Guidry, Samantha Bricker, and Aura Moore, responding to questions from moderator Lydia Kennard of KDG Construction Consulting, brief an SRO audience on this landmark initiative. Photo © John Livzey.

 
Welcoming Supervisor Janice Hahn

Welcoming Supervisor Janice Hahn on February 22, 2017

WTS-LA welcomes Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board member Janice Hahn. Photo © John Livzey.

 
Photo © John Livzey

Welcoming Supervisor Kathryn Barger on January 27, 2017

WTS-LA welcomes newly elected Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board member Kathryn Barger. Photo © John Livzey.

 
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Regional Rail Connects Communities. October 13, 2016

Jennifer Bergener (LOSSAN), Michelle Boehm (CAHSRA), Elissa Konove (Metrolink), and Bryan Pennington (Metro) discuss what's new in SoCal rail moderated by the Honorable Yvonne B. Burke (former LA County Supervisor, 2nd District). Photo © John Livzey.

 
Photo © John Livzey.

Southern California Port Leaders Discuss Future. August 18, 2016

Antonio Gioiello (POLA), Rick Cameron (POLB), and Kristin Decas (Port of Hueneme) discuss their plans to improve the Southern California ports on a panel moderated by Eric Shen (Maritime Administration of the USDOT). Photo © John Livzey.

 
Members Get Coached by an Expert, July 16

Member Benefit: Coaching by an Expert. July 16, 2016

Business coach Katie Carr, a principal with Fehr & Peers and Left Lane Advisors, leads a half-day professional development workshop for WTS Los Angeles members on the USC campus. Photo © John Livzey.

 
Photo by John Livzey

Metro Planning Chief Therese McMillan Gets a Warm Reception. July 13, 2016

Therese McMillan, Los Angeles Metro's newly appointed Chief Planning Officer and a WTS Los Angeles member, is welcomed by a SRO audience. Photo © John Livzey.

 
Photo by John Livzey

Mid-Career Members Get Extraordinary Mentoring. July 15, 2016

On July 15, WTS-LA launched its pilot mid-career mentoring program, pairing members with directors-at-large on its board - all senior executives in the public sector. Photo © John Livzey.

 
Photo by John Livzey

High School Students Get the Inside Track on Transportation Careers. July 15, 2016

On July 15, WTS-LA Adopt-A-School chair Amy Shimshon-Santos, ITEP's Christiana Faulkner, and POLA's Mahsa Pan moderated a workshop for high school students at the Port of Los Angeles. Photo © John Livzey

 
LA and Orange County are Serious about Streetcars, June 16

LA and Orange County are Serious About Streetcars. June 16, 2016

OCTA Rail Program Manager Mary Shavalier briefs our audience on their streetcar program as LA Streetcar Program Manager Shane Phillips and Bringing Back Broadway Executive Director Jessica Wethington McLean listen in. Photo by John Livzey.

 
Photo by John Livzey

Our Prez Welcomes Elena Studier and Stevie. June 7, 2016

Elena Studier, a National Association of Railroad Passengers intern, and her bike "Stevie" are traveling the US on Amtrak this summer, and were welcomed to Los Angeles by chapter president Amanda Heinke. Photo © John Livzey.

 
Photo by John Livzey

WTS Los Angeles Board Member Champions Students

Longtime WTS-LA board member Emilie Gino, retired LAUSD administrator, has sponsored student attendance at programs and underwritten student memberships for two decades. Here she is with USC's Kaitlyn Zhang and CSUN's Raiwan Alijamal. Photo © John Livzey.

 
Photo by John Livzey

LAWA Capital Program Briefing. May 26, 2016

Cynthia Guidry, Deputy Executive Director, Planning and Development Group, briefs a SRO audience on projects coming up at LAWA. Photo © John Livzey.

 
Photo by John Livzey

LAWA Capital Program Briefing. May 26, 2016

Ellen Wright, Director of Terminal Planning and Design, Planning and Development Group, briefs a SRO audience on projects coming up at LAWA. Photo © John Livzey.

 
Photo by John Livzey

Expo Phase 2 Pre-Opening Tour. May 13, 2016

Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, instrumental in development of the Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority, led a windshield tour to the new destination in Santa Monica for WTS-LA members. Photo © John Livzey.

 
Photo by John Livzey

METRANS "Meet the Practitioner" Series. March 23, 2016

Grace Crunican, general manager of BART, welcomes at SRO audience to this WTS-LA co-sponsored "Boots on the Ground, Flats in the Boardroom" event for USC and CSULB students and industry practitioners. Photo © John Livzey.

 
Photo by John Livzey

METRANS "Meet the Practitioner" Series. March 23, 2016

Prof. James Moore II (USC), Mengzhao Hu (KOA Corporation), Dana Hook (CDM Smith), and LaVerne Francis Reid (formerly with the FAA) are "Boots on the Ground, Flats in the Boardroom" panelists. Photo © John Livzey,

 
Photo by John Livzey

Metro Exec Joshua Schank Talks Innovation and Careers. March 18, 2016

WTS Los Angeles members welcomed Metro Chief Innovation Officer Joshua Schank on March 18 for a professional development program discussing career strategies. Photo © John Livzey.

 
Photo by John Livzey

Metro Exec Joshua Schank Talks Innovation and Careers. March 18, 2016

Foothill Transit exec Michelle Caldwell participates in the Q&A during our March 18 program. Photo © John Livzey.

 
Photo by John Livzey

Metro Exec Joshua Schank Talks Innovation and Careers. March 18, 2016

USC Price School of Public Policy student Ariana Seymore poses a question during the Q&A portion of Joshua Schank's March 18 meeting with our members. Photo © John Livzey.

 
BART General Manager Grace Crunican Moderates a Panel of Women Leaders, September 30

BART General Manager Grace Crunican Moderates a Panel of Women Leaders. September 30, 2015

Grace Crunican, who co-authored the new book "Boots on the Ground, Flats in the Boardroom: Transportation Women Tell Their Stories" with industry leader Liz Levin, makes a point in our September 30 panel discussion. Photo by Koop Films.

 
Photo by John Livzey

WTS Welcomes LAWA's Deborah Flint as She Takes the Reins. September 21, 2015

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.

 
 
 



THE WTS-LA NEWSLETTER: KEEPING THE CHAPTER IN VERSE

SchenaeRourk1_e4554It is said that journalism is literature in a hurry. While the WTS-LA newsletter has no pretense to be great literature, it does serve a vital function for the chapter. It delivers the most important news for its membership to its membership. And the July edition is no exception.

Covering a wide range of stories, member profiles, events, and of course the WTS-LA president’s letter, the WTS-LA newsletter is an essential means of communication for WTS-LA members and beyond. Want to learn about Monika Bowden? Schenae Rourk? Lisa Maurath? Amy Grat? METRANS? Workforce development? WTS-LA programs? Click here. It may not be great literature, but it will be the most important news you read today.
 

FLOWERS DELIVERS FOR MID-CAREER LEADERSHIP PROGRAM

WTS_1100You can’t put a price on wisdom, but everyone recognizes its value. And that value is exactly what Mentorship committee chair and Port of Los Angeles civil engineer Mahsa Hematabadi Pan, PE, delivered to the Mid-Career Leadership Program when she arranged for Carolyn Flowers to moderate its most recent event.

WTS_1317Former Federal Transit Authority Acting Administrator and current AECOM Americas Transit Practice Leader, Carolyn Flowers brought more than three decades of exemplary transportation experience to the May 25 gathering. And by all accounts her grace and style was only matched by her practical, strategic, and compelling insights into how to have a consummate, meaningful, and long-lasting transportation career, particularly from a mid-career perspective. Want to know what she said to our protegées and executive mentors? Read all about the event here.

Photos © John Livzey.

 

Upcoming Events

Sep

29-7

WTS International London - Rotterdam- Amsterdam Tour

September 29 to October 7. WTS tour of London, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam with an optional Lyon project.
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Oct

5

Senate Bill 1 Panel

Save the date!
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Nov

9

2017 WTS-LA Annual Scholarship and Awards Dinner

WTS-LA will be holding our Annual Scholarship and Awards Dinner on November 9, 2017.
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View All Events

Featured News

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Friday, July 14, 2017 - Each month WTS-LA brings dynamic transportation leaders to the chapter and those leaders impart knowledge, wisdom, expertise, and plans from their professional careers and current organizations. Recently, Programs co-chairs CH2M transportation engineer Heather Anderson, Mott MacDonald rail transit engineer Kaoru McCullough, and Berg & Associates client relations manager Jenelle Saunders have outdone themselves by producing extraordinary programs. Here is a rundown of their recent offerings.
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Lisa Maurath prefers her transportation a la modes…

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 - Ms. Maurath’s position affords her tremendous access to Southern California transportation leaders of every stripe. But that was not always the case. She credits WTS and WTS-LA with helping make that happen.
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No off-the-shelf tome, the TRB is a must-read for WTS-LA Corporate Partners…

Thursday, July 6, 2017 - An invaluable resource for Southern California job-seeking college graduates in transportation, WTS-LA’s TRB has helped hundreds of students in its decade of publication. But TRB chair and WSP Assistant Transportation/Environmental manager Todd Nguyen wants to make it even better.
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