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Board Spotlight: Teresa Welborn


Each member of WTS Foundation's board of directors is dedicated to the fulfillment of the mission to attract, retain, and advance women in the industry. This month, the Board Spotlight column features Teresa Welborn, who has been an active member of WTS for many years.

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

TW:  I joined MCDOT in 2014 and my role as Administrator is to lead the Finance, Information Technology, Strategic Communications and Outreach, and Administrative Services Divisions. Maricopa County (metropolitan Phoenix area) is the fourth largest county in the United States, with a population of 3.8 million. The Maricopa County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) plans, designs, builds, operates and maintains roadways within the County's unincorporated areas. MCDOT's transportation system includes 5,216 miles of roadway, 435 bridges and structures, 143 traffic signals, and 57,369 traffic signs.

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

TW:  My first role in the transportation industry was with the Arizona Department of Transportation in 2006 as Public Involvement Assistant Director.  I then received promotions to Public Involvement Director, Assistant Communication Director and my last position was as Partnering Director.

WTS: You are particularly passionate about attracting young women to the industry. What drives that passion?

TW:  According to the United States Department of Labor, women make up 47 percent of the workforce, and in 2018 women are projected to be 51 percent. In the transportation industry, currently, women make up approximately 10 percent of the civil engineers, 6.3 percent of the engineer managers, and 1.1 percent are heavy equipment operators. We need to increase the number of women in the transportation field across the board in all fields, and in order to do this, everyone must do their part. It starts with schools and scholarships, and then continues with businesses and governments that must make a conscious effort to hire and advance women.

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

TW:  I have been fortunate to work with women who actively hire and promote women, and I have used them as a role model and try to do the same. It is also important that men make a commitment to hire and advance women. That is why it is important for men to be members of WTS!

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

TW:  Every man and woman working in this industry need to make a commitment to mentor and advance at least one woman.

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

TW: The WTS Foundation provides scholarships to students who want to work in this industry. I want to be able to support the effort to bring in scholarship funding knowing that it will provide the opportunity for more women to advance in this industry.

WTS: Where are the opportunities for the next generation of leaders in this industry?

TW:  With Baby Boomers retiring, now is the time for Generation X and Millennials to take advantage of the opportunity to lead. As a Baby Boomer myself, I enjoy working with the different generations and love to encourage the innovative thinking they bring to the table.

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

TW: Working with schools, from elementary level to college, to promote STEM careers for girls and women would be a challenge, but a great effort, towards advancing women in the transportation industry.



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