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Brittany Montgomery, 2007 Helene M. Overly Scholarship Recipient


When Brittany Montgomery won the WTS Foundation Helene M. Overly Scholarship in 2007, not only was the 25th anniversary of WTS being celebrated at the Annual Conference that year, she herself was in the midst of working toward her dual Masters degrees in the Science in Transportation Engineering and Master of City Planning program at U.C. Berkeley. She was also a member of the Global Metro Studies research group, with a focus on developing cities.  

Brittany’s career path has led her far from her native Texas and kept her busy, challenged, and doing her part to make improvements in the world’s transportation infrastructure. With five years since the receipt of her WTS scholarship behind her, we pulled her from her busy schedule to find out where she’s been, and where she thinks she’ll land in the future.  

WTS: Where has your career taken you since receiving the Helene M. Overly Scholarship at the WTS Awards Banquet in 2007?

B. Montgomery:I graduated U.C. Berkeley 1 ½ years later in December 2008. Following graduation I began working for Logit Engenharia Consultoria, a Brazilian transportation planning firm with projects spanning cities in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, and I’ve continued at Logit for the past four years.  While with Logit in Paraguay, I was the Project Leader of a $1.2 million USD Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) master-planning project in Asunción with a 35+ member multi-national consulting team.  The project was financed by the Inter-American Development Bank. With the Macrobús BRT System Strategic planning project, I led an interdisciplinary team with members from three state agencies and the private sector in the preparation of a $200 million USD public-private partnership contract, specifying the design, build, finance, operations, and maintenance infrastructure performance standards for the Macrobús BRT system. I represented the project on behalf of the State of Jalisco in interactions with the World Bank and the Mexican National Infrastructure Fund (FONADIN).

Currently I am the project manager of two projects for the Secretary of Transportation of the State of Espirito Santo related to a 36km BRT system in the metropolitan area of Vitória, Espirito Santo, Brazil, that include service planning, route reorganization, financial modeling, functional design, and concession planning. I’m also leading three projects for the Secretary of Transportation of the State of Jalisco, Mexico, related to school transportation, carpool lanes, and major event transportation in the Guadalajara metropolitan area.

WTS: What unexpected challenges have you had to face in your career so far?

B. Montgomery:The greatest challenge for me has been the conjunction of being female, young, and a non-native speaker in Latin America!

WTS: So with those challenges, what is it about the transportation industry that keeps you excited?

B. Montgomery:Transportation directly affects our everyday lives. It shapes the decisions we make about where we live and work, where our children go to school, and what we do for fun.  Its effects are even more pronounced in places where the vast majority of the population is bound to public or non-motorized transportation.  So major improvements to transportation become major improvements to life, and I hope that in some small way I am contributing to making the quality of life better for the residents of developing cities.

WTS: How did your WTS scholarship help get you to where you are today?

B. Montgomery:Perhaps one of the greatest parts of receiving the WTS scholarship was the access to a network of both women and men who believed in and supported my dream of working on transportation problems in developing countries.  I was quite impressed to be warmly welcomed into a support network of highly successful women in transportation.  I also met some of my current mentors at the WTS conference where I received my scholarship, and they have generously offered their support on many occasions.

WTS: Do you feel that WTS is a worthwhile organization for others to be a part of?

B. Montgomery:Definitely!  I would have never realized how important WTS is to nurturing female transportation professionals if I had not moved to a place where WTS does not exist!  Particularly in places where women are a small minority of the workforce, a professional network of colleagues in similarly daunting situations is key.

WTS: Where do you see yourself going next?

B. Montgomery:Working with government agencies and project financiers over the last four years has deeply impressed on me the importance of institutions and “good governance” as catalysts for achieving “development” outcomes.  I would like to better understand how to create policies that result in more livable developing cities and how these places can becreated in places where there are significant institutional and financial obstacles.  I plan to begin a PhD program in the near future to focus specifically on policy issues related to development.  

WTS Foundation has provided over $1 million in scholarships to deserving women like Brittany Montgomery throughout the transportation industry, supporting the next generation of transportation professionals and advancing the principles of WTS. The Foundation is committed to attracting, retaining, and advancing women in transportation by expanding existing scholarship opportunities to women pursuing transportation-related degrees and by providing and promoting more educational opportunities and career development programs.  If you’d like to contribute to the WTS Foundation, please visit www.WTSinternational.org.

WTS will profile a past WTS Foundation scholarship recipient several times each year. To submit a recommendation for a Where are They Nowprofile, please email mpetto@wtsinternational.org.



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