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History

WTS is an international organization of men and women transportation professionals. In 1977, the group was started as the Women’s Transportation Seminar by 40 women involved in transportation in Washington DC. Now known simply as WTS, after more than 30 years, the organization consists of more than 5,000 transportation professionals with 45 chapters in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain.

The mission statement of WTS is:

Transforming the transportation industry through the advancement of women.

Rhode Island’s involvement in WTS started in 2002, when Pam Sherrill and Mona Manachi formed the Rhode Island Affiliate of the Boston chapter of WTS. Pam and Mona formed the group to provide outreach to students interested in transportation careers, to conduct construction tours, and more importantly to network with other transportation professionals from all modes in order to meet the unique challenges of transportation issues in Rhode Island. Pam offered these insights on her experience:

“Although the perception had been that there were few women transportation professionals in Rhode Island, I was amazed at how successful Mona and I were in bringing together a core group of women from diverse transportation backgrounds. We were very fortunate to have the guidance of Lucy Garliauskus, former WTS President and Woman of the Year, to promote the values of WTS for career development and to encourage us to form our own chapter. Lucy set the bar high for us and we delivered!”

Due to the success of the group, the Rhode Island chapter was approved by WTS International as the 38th chapter in February 2006. WTS-Rhode Island celebrated with an inaugural reception in March 2006 at the Federal Reserve in Providence. James R. Capaldi, P.E., who was Director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), was in attendance and offered these words of encouragement for the new chapter:

"I am pleased to welcome and encourage support of a WTS chapter in Rhode Island. The formation of this organization shows how important transportation is not only to residents and visitors, but to business professionals as well. WTS-Rhode Island will promote collaboration amongst professionals from all facets of transportation including state agencies, consultants, and contractors."

In only a few short years, WTS-Rhode Island has grown to more than 60 members. WTS-Rhode Island encourages all interested individuals, organizations, and consulting firms to become involved in our activities and committees. Our goals are to expand opportunities for women in the transportation industry through professional development, mentoring, and strategic positioning of women, and to provide leadership in the global transportation community.

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