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Board Spotlight Danielle Smith

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Each member of WTS International's Board of Directors is dedicated to the fulfillment of the WTS mission by serving in positions for two-year terms. Danielle Smith, PE. is the Transportation Operation Manager at Michael Baker International in the Lakewood, Colorado office. She has been a valued member of WTS for over 20 years and is in her first term as a member of the WTSI Board of Directors for which she serves as the treasurer. She also served as the Colorado Chapter President and Northwest Regional Chair. Danielle's involvement in transportation and her drive to support the advancement of women in the industry is truly inspiring.

WTS: Let’s start with your role at Michael Baker International. Can you tell us a little about the firm, and what you do?

Michael Baker International is a full -service transportation firm that employs over 3500 people nationally.  I am the Transportation Operations manager in the Lakewood, CO office that contains roadway, traffic, structural, construction management and water engineering. 

WTS: Where did you get your start in the industry? 

I started as an intern at Carter Burgess during college and got the opportunity to move around the company to understand the different areas of expertise and determined that transportation engineering was what I was drawn too.  I then started my career path as a roadway, highway and light rail design engineer.  I was fortunate enough to work on amazing projects such as nationally recognized TREX and FasTracks project throughout my career.

WTS: You are you passionate about advancing women in transportation. What drives that passion?

I have been in the transportation industry for over 20 years and looking back on my path I had amazing mentors and opportunities given to me to advance my career.  I believe the transportation has so much to offer future generations, I want other women to continue to carry on this industry, because I believe we add so much value to the teams and projects that have succeeded. 

WTS: What has been your experience as it pertains to women in leadership roles? What have you witnessed during the course of your career?

I was fortunate enough to have my first manager out of college to be a strong, smart and successful woman.  It set my path from the first step to see how important woman were in this industry and how important that role model is to set up the next work force.  Woman have continued to increase their presence every year in this industry, but it is also something that needs attention to continue the trend.  This is where the WTS is so crucial to support this mission. 

WTS: What do you think is the best path forward to making change in the gender makeup of the transportation industry?

The industry is making strides in attracting young women, but I believe that the best path forward is to continue to strive to reach younger and younger girls about the importance of the transportation industry and the different opportunities.  To continue to show that all different sectors play a part in the transportation industries success, whether it is the engineering, planning, communication or technologies.  There are many opportunities to apply knowledge to this field. 

WTS: Why did you feel it was important to join the Board of WTS?

I have been a member of WTS for over 20 years and have received many levels of support and networking from the organization.  What I have found with WTS, is the more you give this organization, the more you receive. I have received so many benefits from WTS, from relationships to leadership development, that I wanted to give back to an organization that has given me so much.  I want to make sure that WTS continues to bring the same benefits to other women so that they can achieve their goals. 

 

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