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Board Spotlight: WTS Foundation Board Director, Karen Good

Karen_Good

Karen Good, Project Manager II at Denver Public Works in Colorado, has been an active member of WTS for 11 years and has served as WTS Colorado Chapter President, on theCircle of Excellence committee since 2014, as the Fundraising Chair of the 2012 WTS International Annual Conference, and is an alum of the WTS Leadership Program. WTS sat down with Karen to find out how she landed at Denver Public Works from her beginnings in landscape architecture, and what drives her passion for supporting the Foundation.

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

KG: The Department of Public Works provides for the delivery of high quality, cost-effective, efficient, safe services involving public infrastructure and facilities to enhance the quality of life in Denver. Public Works is improving mobility throughout the city, focusing on providing people with safe, sustainable transportation choices. I have worked on a variety of transportation planning and visioning projects throughout the city including the Federal Boulevard Corridor Study, Brighton Boulevard Corridor visioning, Washington Street Study, City coordination for CDOT’s I-70 East EIS, 14th Street Project as well as the Strategic Transportation Plan. These efforts focus on balancing the needs of transportation modes and creating choices for the citizens of Denver. 

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

KG: I took an interesting route to transportation planning. I received a Master’s in Landscape Architecture from the University of Massachusetts in 2000 and worked for a local landscape architecture firm while in grad school. Through my work and experience and classes I realized I wanted to expand my horizons and focused my thesis on an integrated plan addressing land use, historic preservation, economic redevelopment and circulation for a small central Massachusetts town. After graduating I began my career working with a consulting firm focused on historic preservation, urban design and planning for the integration of new transportation infrastructure. This work continued my journey towards transportation planning and design along with NEPA documentation. My current position with Denver Public Works incorporates elements from all my education and professional experience. The most important element of the pathway to my current position was the sage advice and conversations with many fabulous mentors and associates.

WTS: You are you particularly passionate about attracting young women to the industry?

KG: WTS has supported me as a transportation professional through mentoring, engagement, and unique opportunities. There have been times in my career, as many have likely experienced, where I felt like I had few opportunities to advance and limited support, but WTS made a difference and provided me with room to grow and lead. I’ve had the opportunity to work with several Transportation YOU interns and many other young women interning while in college and have seen the opportunities and doors that WTS has opened for them and want to make sure that every young woman interested in pursuing a job in the transportation industry has the support and strength of WTS behind them and providing scholarships and connections to move forward. I continue to be inspired by the people I meet through WTS and hopefully to inspire others through my engagement and enthusiasm for transportation planning and the organization as a whole. I feel involvement in WTS is a key part of maintaining strong connections within the transportation community, motivating personal growth and development and providing professional support and resources beyond one’s employment sector. 

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?

KG: I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with many smart and innovative women in leadership roles at the City of Denver and have benefitted greatly from the wealth of amazing women working in transportation both in Denver and nationally. WTS helped forge these connections both locally and across the country with the mentoring and leadership development provided through the International Leadership program and locally through a wide variety of professional development and networking opportunities. I feel as though there are more women in leadership positions in the industry there is certainly still a significant imbalance and need to provide the space for the greater advancement of women in transportation.

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

KG: I think we need to continue to focus on reminding people that there still are pay gaps, opportunity gaps and, perhaps most importantly, a limited number of role models and teachers in the STEM fields. I think the answer is twofold – support those currently striving in the workforce and focus on girls who are our future. It is critical to support our members and other women in the industry through leadership development and networking. However, I think our greatest chance to find balance is through working with girls and at schools across board from elementary through college. We need to ensure these future leaders have the tools and support they need to be aware of opportunities and fields they may not have been exposed to or seen as possibilities for them, as women. 

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

KG: The WTS Foundation makes a difference in people’s lives. It’s been inspirational to review scholarship applications and to understand how much students benefit from the Transportation YOU program and scholarships are critical in advancing women in the transportation profession. Many people involved in WTS may not be aware of the role of the Foundation as the 501(3)(c) arm of WTS, focused on supporting women in transportation through expanding existing scholarship opportunities, providing more educational opportunities and career development, and initiating, sponsoring, and publishing research related to advancing women in transportation. The mission of the Foundation is critical to making a difference in the industry and I couldn’t ask to be part of a more inspirational and dedicated group of women.   

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

KG: I believe that we need to continue to band together and bring more women to the table across the country in particular, strengthening our relationship with colleges and universities and looking for opportunities to partner with other complementary organizations. WTS can continue to evolve into an organization that introduces girls to transportation, provides support for them as they pursue educational goals and engages them through both professional development, networking and leadership. WTS is the continuum of support that allows women to reach their professional and personal goals.

 

 

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