Member Spotlight Archive
May 2021 Member Spotlight
Name: Andrea E. Lake, PLA, LEED AP, ISA Certified Arborist
Company: Floura Teeter Landscape Architects
Title: Senior Associate / Senior Landscape Architect
College: Pennsylvania State University
Degree: Landscape Contracting with Minor in Horticulture
Graduating Year: 2001
What inspired you to pursue a career in the transportation industry? I was working in a field I didn't really enjoy after college, and a friend recommended me for a position at a transportation engineering consulting firm. I found I really liked the projects, the people, and the challenge that transportation projects offered. I am a collaborator by nature, and transportation projects are just that: collaborations. There's nothing more rewarding than seeing a project you worked on being built, and over the years, it's continued to be rewarding to watch ideas come to life.
Do you have anyone that you look up to a mentor? How has this person helped shape your career? While I don't have an "official" mentor, I've been fortunate to have many people help guide and advise me throughout my career. I've worked with so many wonderful men and women over the years, each one with something unique and valuable that they've passed on to me. For the past four years, Joan Floura has been someone who I've turned to for guidance. She really listens and her encouragement has helped me grow more confident in my skills and abilities.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? How are you overcoming this challenge? One of the biggest challenges I've faced in my career has been work-life balance. As a single mother who works a full time job, I try very hard to achieve the highest standards in both my work life and home life. Sometimes one or the other has to give a little bit, but I consider myself very lucky. My company allows me to work from home with flexible hours, so I'm able to further my career and be there for my son at the same time.
Where do you see yourself in your career in 10 years? I am not really sure where I see myself in 10 years, but I hope it's a role that continues to challenge and fulfill me.
Outside of your career, what are some of your hobbies? Outside of work, I'm an active volunteer at my son's school and hold several positions in his elementary school PTA. I enjoy reading, going to concerts, hiking, and baking (when I have the time!). I also have a new puppy that keeps me very busy.
How and when did you get involved with WTS? In 2017, I was looking to join a professional organization where I could give more of my time and network with other women in the industry. I attended a couple of WTS events and found I really enjoyed the camaraderie these women shared and the network they'd developed because of their involvement in WTS. I initially joined Programs Committee and found I enjoyed helping to plan programs and events throughout the year. I've also had the opportunity to participate in Introduce a Girl to Engineering events and the Next-Level Leadership group.
What benefit(s) have you experienced from your WTS membership? WTS has given me so much. I've been able to connect with a network of wonderful, dynamic women who I really admire. I'm excited to be Co-Chairing the Programs Committee this year and be part of the inaugural Next-Level Leadership class.
What project(s) are you most proud to have contributed to? In addition to my involvement in WTS, I've been fortunate to work on some of the largest Design-Build and P3 projects in the Mid-Atlantic area. Projects like the InterCounty Connector, Transform I-66 Outside the Beltway P3, and the Purple Line P3 are all projects I'm proud to have been part of.
April 2021 Member Spotlight
Name: Corren Johnson
Company: MDOT State Highway Administration - District 5
Title: District Engineer
College: NC Agricultural & Technical State University/University of Maryland Global Campus
Degree: BS in Civil and Environmental Engineer / MS in Project Management
Graduating Year: 2003 / 2009
What inspired you to pursue a career in the transportation industry? Since the beginning of civilization, transportation has been a necessary part of everyday life. It connects people to each other, provides opportunities, expands our experiences, and has a great impact on our way of life. A career in transportation is sustainable and with the ever-changing world, it can be exciting while challenging.
Do you have anyone that you look up to a mentor? How has this person helped shape your career? I have had many mentors throughout my career and each one has given me valuable insights that have shaped my career. My most recent mentor started out as a stranger. I was at a point in my career where I felt the need to find a mentor outside of my normal circle, someone who was outside state government. While getting tires replaced on my vehicle, he and I started talking in the waiting room. As our conversation continued, I found that we had certain similarities although his experience was in the private industry and focused on nuclear engineering. I took a chance and asked if he'd be interested in becoming my mentor. Over the years, he has helped me learn to communicate in a more confident way, has been a sounding board and support system when I've been going through opposition at work, and has given me tips to aid in my development as a leader.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? How are you overcoming this challenge? One of my biggest challenges I've faced in my career has been the high expectations I set for myself. Because of these high expectations and this trait of perfectionism, I've put too much pressure on myself. I also found that I would spend an extreme amount of time trying to get a task, letter, or email perfect which would lead to other tasks being delayed. I had to learn that most times, good is good enough. I've learned to determine when I need to get something perfect and when it can be good. This has also allowed me to be less critical of myself if I make a mistake .... and as a leader, I am able to have realistic expectations for others.
Where do you see yourself in your career in 10 years? I always have a hard time saying where I see myself at some point in the future. Over my career, I have learned to live in the present. What I mean is I have diligently worked to perform well in my present position while constantly improving my skills and expanding my experience. I am a constant learner and look for ways to excel where I am. Then I keep an eye out for opportunities and rely on my faith to see where the next step might take me. What I've found is that the experiences and training received in the 'now,' have always prepared me for the future.
Outside of your career, what are some of your hobbies? Work - life balance is very important to me! Outside of my career, I am a Pastor and love to serve others, I am a soccer coach, volunteer Hospitality Committee Chair at my son's school, I am an artist, and love to cook!
How and when did you get involved with WTS? Early on when Transportation YOU first got started at Patterson High School, I signed up to be a volunteer mentor. For many years I continued to work with the girls and looked forward to our projects, field trips, and special events. Once I became District Engineer in 2017, my office location and duties prevented me from making the meetings anymore. My co-mentor Pam Destino reached out to me in December 2020 to see if I'd be interested in serving as a Director-at-Large for the 2021 Board.
What benefit(s) have you experienced from your WTS membership? The greatest benefit I find in being a part of WTS is being surrounded by so many diverse, intelligent, and professional women that have a true desire to help each other. We know as women we wear many hats and titles. This is a group where we can relate with others, quickly handle business, mentor and strengthen each other, and make a difference in people's lives.
What project(s) are you most proud to have contributed to? US 50 Severn River Bridge, MD 261 Chesapeake Beach Streetscape and Bridge Reconstruction, MD 175 BRAC widening projects, MD 254 Cobb Island Bridge
March 2021 Member Spotlight
Name: Chrissy Nizer
Company: MDOT MVA
College: Goucher College, Rutgers University
Degree: Bachelor's in Political Science / Masters in Public Policy
Graduating Year: 1997 / 1998
What inspired you to pursue a career in the transportation industry? I knew that I wanted to be involved in public service from an early age. Originally I was focused on education policy and even spent a year at the U.S. Department of Education. I wanted to see a more immediate impact to my work and came back to the state. Through my career I have had the benefit of working for several different state agencies but my most rewarding time has been at MDOT MVA. The ability to impact the lives of every resident in Maryland and connect them to life's opportunities while working alongside our great employees motivates me every day.
Do you have anyone that you look up to a mentor? How has this person helped shape your career? I have been fortunate to have many people in my career who helped guide me. That is part of the reason I feel such a passion about helping others. John Kuo a former MDOT MVA Administrator was instrumental in my career because he saw the potential in me to rise within the organization, when I did not see it in myself. His encouragement and guidance helped me get to where I am today.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? How are you overcoming this challenge? I think we tend to look at the challenges in front of us as the most difficult, certainly no one anticipated that we would be leading an organizational through a pandemic, while undergoing a major IT system modernization. That being said, I try to look at each challenge as an opportunity, how can we look at things differently and improve the services we provide.
Where do you see yourself in your career in 10 years? It is hard to say where I will be in 10 years but I hope I am in a role that is just as fulfilling, where I am able to help people and make a difference.
Outside of your career, what are some of your hobbies? I love sports and going to the beach. I have a dog Bailey who is 15 years old and my constant companion.
How and when did you get involved with WTS? I started attended WTS events when I first came to MDOT MVA 15 years ago. Our leadership appreciated the importance of supporting organizations like WTS.
What benefit(s) have you experienced from your WTS membership? I have met many wonderful people through WTS. Now participating on the Board as a Director I am incredibly impressed with the dedication of the board members, committee members and countless volunteers.
What project(s) are you most proud to have contributed to? I very much enjoyed participating in the WTS Mentorship Program. I strongly believe that it is part of my responsibility as a leader to give back to others and share my own experiences. I also find that I learn just as much from these programs as I give.
February 2021 Member Spotlight
Name: Serese Aranha-Scott
Company: Brudis & Associates, Inc.
Title: Director, Highway Design Division
College: North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University (Bachelors) / University of Maryland College Park (Masters)
Degree: Bachelors in Civil Engineering / Masters in Civil Engineering
Graduating Year: 1994/2004
What inspired you to pursue a career in the transportation industry? I first became interested in the transportation industry during 11th grade physics. I enjoyed the lessons related to forces and structures. Once I got into college, I later focused my coursework on traffic engineering.
Do you have anyone that you look up to a mentor? How has this person helped shape your career? I've never had real mentor. I primarily look to my parents and good friends for advice. I excited to seek the input and advice from women within WTS. One person that has helped me shape my career is Ray Dagher. He has always taken time to explain concepts, answer questions, and provide suggestions in both technical and professional areas.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? How are you overcoming this challenge? I'd say the biggest challenge has been not establishing a professional network early-on, even after working for so many years. To overcome this challenge, I'm looking ahead and making a change. I've become involved with WTS Baltimore, WDCSITE, and ACEC/MD.
Where do you see yourself in your career in 10 years? I'm sorry to say this, but I have no idea! I am currently in the middle of one goal, which was to become department director. That is going well, and I'm continuing to learn at this level.
Outside of your career, what are some of your hobbies? Outside of work, I enjoy walking and puzzles and problem-solving games, home improvements (painting, decorating, gardening), and decluttering. Before the pandemic, I was doing reformer pilates. I am looking forward to getting back to that when things get back to normal.
How and when did you get involved with WTS? I initially began going to some of the WTS luncheons about 7-8 years ago. I then decided I wanted to become more involved and volunteered fro Transportation YOU at Patterson High School. It was rewarding to demonstrate to the high schoolers that transportation is a potential field for them. I also joined the Communications Committee for two years and represented WTS in organizing MEGA Maryland. I am now very excited to be the 2021 WTS Baltimore Chapter Secretary.
What benefit(s) have you experienced from your WTS membership? WTS membership has brought me a real sense of camaraderie and support in the transportation industry. It is inspiring to get exposure to the various pathways that various women have taken to succeed in transportation. Membership helps me keep an open mind to possibilities.
What project(s) are you most proud to have contributed to? One project that I am most proud of was the MOT design for MD 355 at Cedar Lane – Advanced Utility Breakout Contract. This was one of the BRAC projects near NIH. MDOT-SHA decided to perform the extensive utility relocation ahead of the actual roadway work. I became involved during Final Review and was tasked with managing the MOT design for the utility relocation. The work was on a six-month schedule, involved regular partnering meetings and numerous consultants. The challenge was to create adequate workspace to install multiple utilities within a high-traffic area with limited space and limited work hours. We developed temporary traffic control for 6 “Work Areas” (plus sub-phases). The “Work Areas” created more flexibility for the contractors to install individual utilities based upon the location of the work rather than what utility was being installed. The MOT design also had to accommodate pedestrians with a temporary path and maintain truck access at NIH. This project had several women project managers on both the client and consultant side. I gained a lot of confidence while learning the full scope of the work and still remember many of the details of this project.
December 2020 Member Spotlight
Name: Denny Finnerin
Company: Gannett Fleming
Title: Transportation Engineer
College: West Virginia University
Degree: BS Civil Engineering
Graduating Year: 1997
What inspired you to pursue a career in the transportation industry? From an early love of building "cities" with matchbox cars and legos and an obsession with This Old House, I have always loved engineering. Transportation engineering, particularly planning, allows me to work with many different disciplines and never get bored or stop learning new skills.
Do you have anyone that you look up to a mentor? How has this person helped shape your career? I have been fortunate to count many people as mentors over my career - far too many to name, but one of my biggest mentors is certainly Bill Hellmann -- I cannot thank him enough for all he taught me. It is important to never stop learning, and in the past few years I have learned so much from my co-workers, older and younger, including Josie Boyer, Bhavani Thotakura, Steve Hawtof, and as I have taken on new a skill set, particularly McEwan Van der Mandele.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? How are you overcoming this challenge? My biggest challenge has been not being my own best advocate. This is a hard lesson to learn and even harder to practice regularly. However, if you don't advocate for yourself you cannot expect others to do it for you. You are your best cheerleader! I think as women particularly, we struggle with that - it goes against everything we were taught as girls.
Where do you see yourself in your career in 10 years? In 10 years, I hope to still be working on interesting, challenging projects; learning new skills; and meeting wonderful, talented people.
Outside of your career, what are some of your hobbies? I sing in bands (pre-pandemic), read far too many books, and lament how quickly my 10-year old son is growing up.
How and when did you get involved with WTS? When I joined Gannett Fleming, Josie Boyer said to me, "Girl, you're coming to the next WTS meeting with me!" And I haven't looked back. It is such a rewarding organization, filled with great people, whom I miss seeing in person now that we are all stuck at home. Hopefully we will all gather together in person again soon!
What benefit(s) have you experienced from your WTS membership? WTS has allowed me to meet and get to know other women in our industry that I may not necessarily work with on my projects.
What project(s) are you most proud to have contributed to? Working in planning has allowed me to work on large projects that eventually come to fruition, such as US 301 in Delaware, the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel project, and more recently the MD 355 Bus Rapid Transit Project in Montgomery County, which is progressing to final design.
November 2020 Member Spotlight
Name: Michele Stamm
Title: Water Resources Engineer
College: University of Maryland, College Park
Degree: Civil Engineering
Graduating Year: 2013
What inspired you to pursue a career in the transportation industry? When it came time to look at colleges, I was encouraged by my parents and teachers to apply to engineering programs. I was always interested in architecture and infrastructure growing up and developed an interest in environmental science in high school; this led me to choose a major in civil engineering. I had the opportunity to intern at the MDSHA Highway Hydraulics Division during my junior year at University of Maryland and from that experience knew I wanted pursue water resources work within the transportation industry.
Do you have anyone that you look up to a mentor? How has this person helped shape your career? My current supervisor is someone I’ve looked up to as a mentor during my time at AECOM. I often seek her out for technical guidance, as well as advice on career advancement. She has always encouraged me to tackle new challenges and responsibilities and has been instrumental in my professional development.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? How are you overcoming this challenge? Early in my career I struggled with feeling underqualified when presented with a design challenge or increase in responsibility outside my comfort zone. Becoming an active member in WTS, specifically participating in the mentor program, has aided me tremendously in overcoming this challenge. My WTS mentor helped me to expand my professional network and set clear career goals which has helped me to develop more confidence at work.
Where do you see yourself in your career in 10 years? In 10 years, I would like to continue to be involved in the design process of transportation projects. I enjoy coordinating with other design disciplines and helping to develop young engineers, so I hope to be involved in the management side at that point as well.
Outside of your career, what are some of your hobbies? I love hiking, traveling, reading, skiing, swimming and crafting.
How and when did you get involved with WTS? A colleague encouraged me to apply to WTS’s mentoring program four years ago and have been a member ever since. Over the past four years I’ve become active in WTS’s Transportation YOU program and have done work with other WTS members at AECOM to promote WTS membership and involvement.
What benefit(s) have you experienced from your WTS membership? I have really enjoyed my involvement in the Transportation YOU program. The opportunity to work with the staff and students at Patterson High has been a rewarding experience. I look forward to my visits to there each month.
What project(s) are you most proud to have contributed to? One of my favorite projects I’ve been involved in was the replacement of the Arlington Memorial Bridge in Washington D.C. It was humbling to be part of the project to rehabilitate this historic bridge that serves as a gateway to Arlington National Cemetery.
October 2020 Member Spotlight
Name: Lindsay Wood
Company: Sharp & Company
Title: Project Manager
College: Missouri State University
Degree: Political Science
Graduating Year: 2004
What inspired you to pursue a career in the transportation industry? I studied Political Science during college and moved to Washington, DC after graduation to pursue a career in policy and advocacy. I knew I wanted to be a part of something that made people's lives better, but I was passionate about so many things that I had a hard time narrowing my focus. In 2010, I began working with the FAA to raise awareness about the benefits of the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) and soon found myself managing communications for the office that was responsible for interagency planning and development of the program. After a brief stint in television production, I returned to the transportation industry last summer. As a Project Manager at Sharp & Company, I have enjoyed being able to plan and execute public outreach campaigns for a broad array of transportation projects, from long-range plans and feasibility studies to website redesigns and mobile app launches.
Do you have anyone that you look up to a mentor? How has this person helped shape your career? I've never had an "official" mentor, but I've learned many important lessons from coworkers and managers throughout my career. Right now, each member of Sharp & Company's executive team plays a unique role in my professional development. Between the four of them, there is such a wide-ranging wealth of knowledge and experience that I always find myself learning something new. They have also empowered me to trust my own professional instincts, which has made me more confident and resilient.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? How are you overcoming this challenge? I think I will always struggle with "professional wanderlust." I am interested in so many different things that I often find myself considering various "what if" scenarios, wondering what life would be like if I had become an architect or a chef or other any number of things that I’ll never actually be. At some point, I found that this kind of thinking was getting in the way of my ability to enjoy the career path I was already on. I ended up taking on creative side projects as a way to combat these feelings, but I also think that making my creative aspirations known to employers has played out more positively than I might have expected it would. When I started voicing these interests to bosses and coworkers, they found ways to let me explore them within the context of the work we were involved in.
Where do you see yourself in your career in 10 years? Given my answer to the last question, you can imagine how difficult it is for me to answer this one. I really enjoy my job right now and would like to continue honing my project management skills while learning more about managing the creative aspects of a project. Most of my jobs have required me to rely primarily on the left side of my brain, so I’d like the opportunity to use the right side more often since that is where I feel most rooted.
Outside of your career, what are some of your hobbies? I love cooking, thrifting, traveling, running, reading, hiking, camping, and hanging out with dogs.
How and when did you get involved with WTS? I am lucky to work for a company that values and encourages professional development. Almost as soon as I started with Sharp & Company, I was encouraged to become involved with WTS.
What benefit(s) have you experienced from your WTS membership? So far, my favorite part has been getting to know the other members of the Communications Committee. I've also appreciated the opportunity to brush up on my Content Management System skills!
What project(s) are you most proud to have contributed to? To be honest, I am proud to be a part of any project that improves safety, sustainability, and quality of life for all communities… not just the ones with the loudest voices or the most influence. Since this is a fundamental part of my job, I find satisfaction in every project I am a part of.
September 2020 Member Spotlight
Name: Ines Nizeye, AICP, AI/PE
Company: Tindale Oliver
Title: Assistant Project Manager
College: University of Memphis
Degree: Master of City and Regional Planning
Graduating Year: 2015
What inspired you to pursue a career in the transportation industry? My first exposure to transportation projects was in graduate school. At the time, I worked on a Rails-to-Trails project that connected Memphis, TN to West Memphis, AR. That was the first time I realized the impact of an efficient transportation system in connecting people to places. It also broadened my view of transportation as not just motor roads and highways, but also pedestrian sidewalks, trails, greenways, etc.
Do you have anyone that you look up to a mentor? How has this person helped shape your career? I look up to both my mother and brother. I learned hard work from my mother. She is the hardest working person I know. My brother possesses similar qualities, but I also learned how to build relationships from him. He can talk to anyone. At work he is very personable and admired by his peers. My on-going goal is to effectively work with people, and I try to watch my brother. Other times, I call him for advice.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? How are you overcoming this challenge? One thing I did not fully learn while I was in school was how to effectively deliver information. I have been realizing that how a person delivers information has a big impact on how it is received. You can do the best work on a project, but if delivery is not right, the project may not fully be embraced. Thus, I have been looking out for resources on effective communication so that I can effectively deliver what I am passionate about.
Where do you see yourself in your career in 10 years? I see myself continuing to work on great projects at Tindale Oliver and involved with WTS. I hope to have an impact on younger professionals through service and mentorship
Outside of your career, what are some of your hobbies? I love being outdoors, whether it is hiking or running. If the sun is out, I want to be out too. I enjoy reading, cooking, having a great talk with any of my close friends.
How and when did you get involved with WTS? I officially joined WTS in 2019 after attending a panel discussion for small businesses. One of the panel members encouraged attendees to get involved in local transportation organizations, one of which was WTS. I looked up WTS and started attending social events. From that first event, I never wanted to miss any planned events.
What benefit(s) have you experienced from your WTS membership? I have met the smartest and most engaging women through the organization. I have developed great friendships, and I now have several colleagues that I can reach out to for input and advice. Every time I attend a WTS event, I end up having a meaningful and insightful conversation with someone in attendance. I have also benefited from the mentorship program. I had a wonderful mentor!
What project(s) are you most proud to have contributed to?
A few years ago, I worked on the implementation of Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) in Southwest Missouri. This was my first project out of graduate school. It was challenging and new, but the plan had been well-written. I was also fortunate because the public was eager to see this project through, and the other planners who had worked on the plan were also involved. I learned three things from this project:
- Use all available resources to guide the work. In my case, it meant taking advantage of the public’s knowledge and their willingness to be involved.
- Discipline and organization always help to keep the project on track.
- Do not be afraid to ask for advice and help.
August 2020 Member Spotlight
Name: Mindy Barnowski, CPSM
Company: Straughan Environmental, Inc.
Title: Marketing Manager
College: Elizabethtown College
Degree: BS in Business Administration, Marketing & Management
Graduating Year: 2002
What inspired you to pursue a career in the transportation industry? To be honest, the transportation industry chose me! I’ve been in the AEC world for 18 years and transportation for the last 6 with Straughan. I love that there are always new challenges around every bend of the road. Watching Straughan’s engineers and scientists make a difference in our communities is one of my favorite parts of my job!
Do you have anyone that you look up to a mentor? How has this person helped shape your career? I’ve looked up to so many people along the way, but my dad has been my mentor all along. He set an example of strong work ethic and it has shaped who I am today. He’s still the first person I turn to when I need to talk something out or develop ideas. I’ve learned from him passively and actively over the years and continue to value his wisdom and unwavering support of my endeavors.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? How are you overcoming this challenge? Letting go. I’m a doer, so learning to think before I either do or delegate has been a challenge. I’m part of an amazing team with diverse skills, so it’s gotten easier. It’s also been fun to delegate and watch others succeed. While I’ll probably always fight the instinct to get things done immediately, I’ve developed new habits to organize and prioritize my work so that my days are intentional and focused.
Where do you see yourself in your career in 10 years? This is a tough one, and it is the question of the year for me! I want to continue to make an impact as part of the Straughan team by scaling up our proposals, messaging, and strategy to win new and exciting projects. I’d also like to be more proactive in mentoring others in the field of marketing. I’m looking forward to a decade of sharing and learning!
Outside of your career, what are some of your hobbies? All things creative. I love photography, graphic design, crafting with my two children, and generally coloring outside the lines of life!
How and when did you get involved with WTS? I was encouraged to join and get involved in WTS shortly after I joined Straughan in 2014. I was hesitant at first, feeling like a fish out of water as many members are directly involved in client work and I’m non-technical. I quickly discovered that the opportunity for learning and networking more than made up for my hesitance.
What benefit(s) have you experienced from your WTS membership? I’ve made so many great relationships and have grown in my career because of the amazing connections I’ve made through WTS. The best decision I made was to get involved. I’ve also been serving on the Programs Committee for almost 5 years and continue to enjoy contributing to several of WTS’ successful events.
What project(s) are you most proud to have contributed to? From a marketing perspective, I am incredibly proud of Straughan’s recent rebranding effort, which recently won an SMPS Maryland Key Award for Brand Identity. I love the creative aspect of my work, and this project gave me the opportunity to put all of my creative energy to good use! From a project perspective, Straughan recently contributed to the I-95/Belvidere Road Transportation Improvement Study, MDTA’s first fully virtual public meeting due to COVID-19. Our team prepared animations, converted a PowerPoint presentation to video, recorded the voiceover, and more. I am proud to have been involved in the voice and animation aspects of the project.
July 2020 Member Spotlight (2 of 2)
Name: Nancy Boyd
Title: Director, Civil Engineer
College: Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington State
Graduating Year: 1987
What inspired you to pursue a career in the transportation industry? I got my start with the Washington State Dept. of Transportation (WSDOT) working as a field geologist with a geotechnical drill crew up at Mt. St. Helens. We were doing the advance location work for the last 8 miles of the new Spirit Lake Memorial Highway. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Do you have anyone that you look up to a mentor? How has this person helped shape your career? I've found inspiration and learned from many great people throughout my career. One person who may be familiar to you is Paula Hammond, the new chair of the WTS International Board of Directors. She was a great role model to many of us at WSDOT and continues to be here at WSP.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? How are you overcoming this challenge? Like everyone, I've had many challenges, or as some would say "personal growth opportunities" throughout my career. One of the more recent was my move, 3 years ago, from public to private sector. Simultaneously, we also moved from the west coast to the east coast, and became empty nesters. My colleagues at WSP made it easy to make the adjustment, and WTS has helped me form new friendships with other great people in the industry.
Where do you see yourself in your career in 10 years? I hope I continue to have opportunities to work on great projects and initiatives, and to work with great people!
Outside of your career, what are some of your hobbies? I'm a hiker. Not an overachieving hiker, mind you. More of a zen hiker. Hiking is my happy place. I'm also an avid reader and enjoy playing the piano.
How and when did you get involved with WTS? I occasionally did things with the Washington State area WTS folks, but I didn't really get involved until I moved to Maryland. Soon after I arrived, I was invited to participate on a panel sponsored by the Diversity and Inclusion committee, and I've remained as a member of the committee ever since.
What benefit(s) have you experienced from your WTS membership? The WTS sponsored events are great networking opportunities. But what I enjoy most is working together with the other members of the Diversity and Inclusion committee.
What project(s) are you most proud to have contributed to? I'm still really proud of my work on the Spirit Lake Memorial Highway - that was unforgettable. Currently, I'm honored to serve as WSP's Project Manager for our role on the GEC team for the Harry Nice/"Mac" Middleton Bridge (in a JV with our JMT partners). We have a great GEC team, supporting a great MDTA team, working with a great Design-Builder (SCM - Skanska/Corman/McLean). It's fun to see our early work come to fruition. Looking forward to the formal groundbreaking in a couple of weeks!
July 2020 Member Spotlight (1 of 2)
Name: Clea Baumhofer
Company: Toole Design Group
Title: Project Engineer
College: Johns Hopkins University
Degree: Civil Engineering
Graduating Year: 2014
What inspired you to pursue a career in the transportation industry? I first became interested in transportation in high school, when I discovered a love for bridges and big pieces of infrastructure that can symbolize a city, like the Brooklyn Bridge for New York. As I learned more about civil engineering, I became interested in how people interact with infrastructure and how we as engineers can improve that experience. Now at Toole Design I focus on active transportation design, making biking and walking on our streets safer and more enjoyable.
Do you have anyone that you look up to a mentor? How has this person helped shape your career? I am very fortunate to have many people I look up to as mentors, but one in particular is my colleague Tina. She is really connected to the mission of our work in improving safety for all roadway users and reminds me to center the well-being of individuals in my engineering designs. At the same time, she practices everyday mentorship of many young engineers at our firm, and she is the kind of caring mentor I would like to become one day myself.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? How are you overcoming this challenge? For me, the biggest challenge is being the bad guy. In my years as a construction inspector, and now as a project manager on design projects, there's times when I have to put my foot down to get the project delivered correctly and on time. I overcome this personal discomfort by focusing on the goal of a safe and successful project .
Where do you see yourself in your career in 10 years? Rather than trying to see into the future, I have preferred to work as hard as I can in my current role and see what opportunities that brings. Right now, I am focused on learning and growing as an engineer so I can deliver projects that have a big positive impact. In 10 years, I would like to be able to look back on a body of work, in Baltimore and the region, that represents a concrete improvement in how people get around in their daily lives.
Outside of your career, what are some of your hobbies? I have several musical neighbors and we have formed a casual chamber ensemble. Three to eight of us get together weekly for dinner and music in non-COVID times. In summer, I love hiking with my dog and heading to the beach.
How and when did you get involved with WTS? I first became involved with WTS in 2018. I was looking to join a professional organization and the dual mission of WTS in advancing both women and the industry really appealed to me. Spending more time with a group of smart, hardworking women was an easy decision.
What benefit(s) have you experienced from your WTS membership? I have enjoyed connecting with women across the region that I would not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise, from the industry chats like the conversation with Chrissy Nizer to mentoring opportunities like working with young women interested in transportation in TransportationYou.
What project(s) are you most proud to have contributed to? I am most proud of our Lynn Street project in Arlington, VA which just wrapped up construction in June. This project included safety improvements and at several intersections along Lynn St and Lee Hwy, widening the Custis Trail, and re-imagining the streetscape and entrance to Gateway Park. The corridor serves a key connection between Arlington and DC for cars, bikes, and pedestrians. While the original design occurred before my time at Toole Design, I managed our team's role as the Engineer of Record on the project, and it represented for me the melding of my background in construction inspection with my current role as an active transportation designer.
Spring 2020 Member Spotlight
Name: Lindsay Ewell
Company: Rossi Transportation Group
Title: Jr. Traffic Engineer
College: University of Delaware
Degree: Bachelor of Civil Engineering
Graduating Year: 2016
What inspired you to pursue a career in the transportation industry? I was exposed to transportation engineering fairly early on in my college career, and quickly found it interesting and was intrigued by the variety of career paths. I enjoy being able to work in a field that is solving problems that have a positive impact on the community.
Do you have anyone that you look up to a mentor? How has this person helped shape your career? I was paired with a great mentor in the WTS Mentoring Program. While I've only been her mentee for a few months, Veronica MacBeth has been invaluable with helping me set career goals and have more confidence in myself and my work. She's helped me see projects from a new perspective and consider public opinion.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career? How are you overcoming this challenge? I've encountered a few instances where I don't have a subject matter expert readily available to bounce ideas off of, or to offer more in-depth knowledge. I've had to learn through other resources, including through my work on-site at MDOT SHA's Travel Forecasting and Analysis Division.
Where do you see yourself in your career in 10 years? In 10 years, I see myself with my PE and PTOE, and hopefully leading a small traffic group at Rossi.
Outside of your career, what are some of your hobbies? I really enjoy traveling and exploring new places. My college friends are scattered across the country, so I'm given a good reason to visit and see some new places at the same time.
How and when did you get involved with WTS? I got involved with WTS shortly after I started at Rossi in Spring 2018. My boss, Rita Ossiander, introduced me to the organization and after my first event (a tour of BWI airport), I was hooked.
What has been a benefit you have seen from your WTS membership? I've met some pretty awesome women through this organization. We're still in a predominantly male field, and having a group of women that supports each other and is always willing to offer guidance and friendship has been amazing.