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Board Spotlight: Deborah Dagang, Vice Chair, WTS Foundation


Board Spotlight: Foundation Vice Chair, Deborah Dagang

Each member of WTS Foundation's board of directors is dedicated to the fulfillment of the WTS mission by serving in positions for two-year terms. Deborah Dagang, Business Vice President at CH2M, has been an active member of WTS for 30 years and has served two years as Foundation Treasurer and has just kicked off her two-year term as Vice Chair. She has also served on the WTS International Development Committee, the Annual Conference Committee, as well as serving as the Chair of the 2011 WTS Annual Conference.

WTS: Let’s start with your role at CH2M. Can you tell us a little about the firm, and what you do?

DD: CH2M is a global engineering and project delivery company partnering with public and private clients to tackle the world's most complex infrastructure and natural resource challenges. The firm's work is concentrated in the water, transportation, energy, environment and industrial markets. CH2M has gross revenues of $5.4 billion, has 22,000 employees and is a specialist in program, construction and operations management and design.

I am a Manager of Projects at CH2M in Oakland, CA. This is a new role in the firm as we are in the process of restructuring to be a more client-centric company. I will supervise the project managers and have responsibility for the financial success portfolio of the projects conducted by CH2M in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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

DD: I started with Cambridge Systematics, Inc., in Berkeley, CA., working both in transportation and building energy conservation. I have 30 years of experience in multi-modal transportation engineering and planning, bus rapid transit implementation, traffic engineering, evaluation of transportation strategies, and consensus building. I’ve led controversial multi-jurisdiction projects, for which I’ve translated technical details into concepts that clients and policy makers can understand and endorse.

WTS: You are you particularly passionate about attracting young women to the industry. What drives that passion? [you can change this to the full attract, retain, advance perspective if you prefer]

DD: Transportation impacts every aspect of our society, and as such, it is important to include diverse viewpoints in every stage of transportation planning and implementation. The attraction and retention of young women will only make our industry stronger. And, I’ve experienced the challenges of being in a male-dominated industry and recognize that having a support structure in place is critical to keeping and advancing women.

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

DD: Being at the forefront of recommending talented women for positions throughout the industry. Political appointments, supporting academic appointments, and providing recommendations for up and coming women leaders in our private companies and public agencies.

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

DD:Giving back to an organization that has helped to shape my career from the beginning and has provided an amazing support network. Joining the Board of WTSF allows me to do my small part support young women in their transportation careers.

WTS: What strategies do you feel will help bring WTS closer to achieving its mission?

DD:Continuing to expand our reach to multiple modes and job functions within transportation. Also, continuing to expand our geographic reach in the U.S. and internationally. Tracking the growth of our members and our scholarship and award winners to demonstrate our progress.




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