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Chapter Awards

The WTS Northeast Ohio Chapter is comprised of many individuals, sponsors and partners that make it one of the most rewarding and successful professional organizations in our industry.  The Northeast Ohio chapter recognizes the outstanding achievements of those individuals, companies, and organizations who have advanced and supported women in the transportation field. 

The WTS Northeast Ohio Chapter seeks to recognize those contributions through the following awards:

Please see the award descriptions and nomination forms linked above for more details.  If you know a Leader, Member, Employer or an Innovative Transportation Project led by a woman, please considering submitting a nomination. 

The following 2020 awards were be presented at the Corporate Sponsor and Public Partner Appreciation Breakfast on September 10, 2019 at the International Women’s Air and Space Museum. 

Innovative Transportation Solutions Award

Recipient: NOACA’s Transportation Asset Management Program, led by Kathy Sarli, Director of Planning for NOACA.

  • NOCA is charged with making sure the transportation system is safe, efficient, and effective for moving people and goods via all modes of transportation.
  • This involves determining which projects will receive federal funding.
  • NOACA must plan for keeping the transportation system in a state of good repair, and deciding which projects should be funded first with the money available each year.
  • NOACA is the first MPO to develop a transportation asset management program.
  • Four female and two male NOACA staff members were involved in the transportation asset management program project. In addition, one of the subcontractors was a woman‐owned business.


Member of the Year Award

Recipient: Kim Guice, PE, Senior Structural Engineer with Michael Baker International.

  • Kim is the original Transportation YOU Chair and is responsible for the growth that we have seen over the past 8 years.
  • She has built our program from the ground up and expanded our chapter's involvement in our community through outreach, teaching and mentoring.
  • Recently, Kim has taken the Transportation YOU program to the next level by successfully achieving the Chapter goal of sending a  mentor/mentee pair to the DC Summit for two consecutive years.
  • Following the success of the Summit, Kim has refocused her efforts to develop a plan to increase our fundraising efforts in order to allow for future mentor/mentee pairs to attend the DC Summit.
  • Kim has also been very active in other ways to promote females in transportation:
    • Mentored and tutored students at EPrep
    • Partnered with the Girl Scouts for day-long events to introduce girls to transportation careers
    • Cleveland Metropolitan School District Bridge Building Initiative
    • Cleveland Engineering Society to assist with the Engineering Roadshow program


Leadership Award

Recipient: Lisa Hoekenga, PE, SE, Department Manager Rail and Transit and Michael Baker International.

  • Lisa began her involvement with WTS on the scholarship committee for the Chicago Chapter in 2007. After 3 years, she became chair for the next 3 years. She then transitioned to the Central Region Representative for the Chicago Chapter for 2 years before becoming the Central Region Vice Chairperson. After moving to Cleveland, she brought her years of knowledge to our chapter
  • Previously, she served as President of our Chapter (2017–2018) and Secretary (2015‐2016).
  • She also served as the Central Region Vice Chairperson, where the Northeast Ohio Chapter is a member.
  • As an active member of our Transportation YOU committee, Lisa volunteers as a mentorat St. Joseph Academy (SJA). She was integral in formalizing a relationship between our Transportation YOU committee and the Pre‐Engineering Class. Lisa was vital in the development of a 2‐week Transportation Engineering course taught by WTS volunteers at SJA (2017‐2019).
  • Lisa is currently the Central Region Representative for our Chapter of WTS
  • She is also currently a volunteer for the Central Region Conference planning committee and the Transportation YOU committee.


Employer of the Year Award

The Employer of the Year Award was established to recognize and honor a local organization (company, nonprofit, association, or government agency) for recruiting, retaining and advancing women.

Recipient : Michael Baker International.

Michael Baker International is a leading provider of engineering and consulting services, including design, planning, architectural, environmental, construction and program management. Michael Baker's more than 3,000 employees across nearly 100 locations are committed to a culture of innovation, collaboration and technological advancement to help solve challenges for clients and communities throughout the country. Michael Baker is an organization that has enhanced the transportation industry through its commitment to excellence and quality in its services fornearly 80 years and is consistently ranked by Engineering News‐Record as a Top 20 transportation firm. 

Michael Baker services Northeast Ohio with offices in Cleveland and Canton. These offices provide the region with a full‐service transportation team for planning, design and construction of highways, bridges, railroads and aviation facilities.

Michael Baker is a founding supporter of WTS Northeast Ohio and the advancement of women. In 2001, the office grew from a start‐up office to a full‐service transportation firm with 25% of the technical staff being women. From 2007 through its ratification as a chapte ron March1, 2008, Michael Baker provided the support needed for Kirsten Bowen and Amilyn Cedergreen to start the WTS Northeast Ohio Chapter. The company supported the following:

  • Kirsten Bowen ‐ founding President, Central Region Representative, Programs Chair
  • Lisa Hoekenga – Central Region Representative and Past President and Secretary
  • Amilyn Cedergreen ‐ founding Vice President and Corporate Sponsor Chair
  • Kim Guice ‐ founding Transportation YOU Chair
  • Derek Johnson ‐ Secretary

Michael Baker has been a corporate partner for WTS Northeast Ohio since the Corporate Sponsor Program started in 2010.

In addition to the leadership roles noted above, many employees have served on various WTS Northeast committeed including the Programs, Trasportation YOU, Corporate Sponsor/Public Partners, 10th Anniversary, and 2019 Central Regional Conference Committees.




The following 2019 awards were be presented at the Corporate Sponsor and Public Partner Appreciation Breakfast on September 12, 2018 at the International Women’s Air and Space Museum. 

Innovative Transportation Solutions Award

Cleveland's Midway Cycle Track, which had key women in leadership positions, including:

Nancy Lyon-Stadler, WSP
Sharonda Whatley, City of Cleveland Planning
Barb Clint, Greater Cleveland YMCA
Eva Vargas, City of Cleveland Engineering and Construction
Melissa Thompson, NOACA


Cleveland’s Midway Cycle Track Design Concept and Plan is a highly innovative concept for a new protected bicycle facility that accommodates all ages and abilities within an urban context. Modeled after Cleveland’s HealthLine BRT, but carrying bicycles instead of buses, the Midway Cycle Track addresses operational safety issues associated with traditional cycle tracks. The Midway Cycle Track will be on a raised, landscaped median, providing a safe and comfortable bicycle facility in the middle of the road, with positive control of vehicle and bicycle movements at intersections. The Superior Avenue pilot corridor will launch Cleveland’s first Midway Cycle Track and provide proof of concept. It was awarded $8.3 million in CMAQ funding with construction planned for 2020.

Member of the Year Award
Valerie Shea, Director of Planning and Development, METRO RTA


Valerie is an integral contributor to so many of our organization’s committees and events. She currently serves as the Vice President of the Chapter, the co‐chair for our annual golf outing fundraiser for the last four years, key contributor to our Programs Committee, past Scholarship Committee chair, and current Scholarship Committee and 10 Year Anniversary Committee member. Valerie has worked tirelessly to plan and organize our Programs for the past four years where her efforts included developing the yearly budget, organizing speakers, coordinating the new registration system, marketing the events, and checking in attendees. Valerie also plays a key role behind the scenes. She is often the first to volunteer assistance when a need arises within the chapter. She fills in the gaps effortlessly and therefore has a hand in almost everything our chapter does. In summary, Valerie is truly an integral part of the organization and deserving of this honor.

Leadership Award

Al Biehl, Vice President, TranSystems


Al has been instrumental in his leadership of this organization, having been a board member since 2008. He helped program and has been the primary supporter of our annual DDD event. He has encouraged advancement of women with his support of female colleagues, in providing mentorship and being their champion as they consider professional changes. For these any many other reasons we are happy that Al is such a big part of this organization.


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