Annual Awards

Each year, WTS-KC honors exceptional women, members, employers, and diversity leaders who exemplify the WTS mission of equity and access for women in transportation. Save the date for the 2024 Scholarship + Awards Celebration which will also celebrate the Chapter's 10th Anniversary. 

Save the Date for April 17, 2024

Following are the categories for annual awards:

  • Member of the Year: Recognizes a WTS Kansas City Chapter member who has made extraordinary contributions to the success of the organization.
  • Woman of the Year: Honors a woman who is an outstanding role model and has contributed to the advancement of women and minorities in transportation.
  • Employer of the Year: Recognizes a business or agency for its support of the goals and purpose of WTS.
  • Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award: Honors an individual or organization that has made significant contributions in promoting diversity and cultural awareness within their organization, the transportation industry, or in a project activity that supports the goals and mission of WTS. 
  • Honorable Ray LaHood Award: Nominees must be men who lead by example in advocating for women to compete for key positions. The nominee must contribute to the advancement of women and minorities through programs or opportunities and show outstanding contributions to the Transportation industry.
  • Innovative Transportation Solutions Award: Nominations must illustrate the purpose of the initiative, solution, project or policy and the number of women involved. The nomination must exhibit key elements of the project and how the female project manager successfully implemented these elements. The application must also show how the female project manager successfully met and overcame challenges and how the project achieved its purpose.

Click here to download the award nomination forms.

The nomination period is closed for 2024, but will open in the fall for the 2025 year. To nominate a person or organization please review the selection criteria and tell us how that person or organization meets the criteria for the award. Please send questions and submit nominations to Heidi Thummel. 

All of the award winners and scholarship recipients are recognized at the Annual Awards Celebration. Here is a highlight reel from the 2023 Awards: 


Meet our 2023 award winners below!

Member of the Year: Barb Wells, PE, CDM Smith

Barb Wells

Ms. Barbara Wells, PE, offers more than 27 years of progressively responsible experience as a transportation professional. Currently a Technical Delivery Manager and Senior Vice President for CDM Smith, she oversees approximately 140 employees and the technical delivery of nearly $80 million annually for our transportation business. As a senior vice president of the firm, she is passionate about the development and growth of the staff, the work that they do for clients, and the positive impact of sound transportation solutions in the communities in which we work, live and play. As a founding member of the WTS KC chapter, Barb has had the opportunity to serve as Treasurer, Vice President, President and most recent Central Region Representative for the Chapter. Barb is a graduate of Iowa State University and currently resides in Kansas City with her husband and four kids. As a founding member of the WTS KC chapter, Barb has had the opportunity to serve as Treasurer, Vice President, President and most recent Central Region Representative for the Chapter.


Woman of the Year: Congresswoman Sharice Davids

Congresswoman Sharice Davids

Rep. Davids is the Vice Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and is a former White House Fellow at the US DOT.  In this role she has made an outstanding impact on the transportation industry. She was a leader on passage of the bipartisan infrastructure law, meeting with the President several times throughout negotiations and was one of the first Members to host the President following its passage.

She served as Vice-Chair of the Aviation Subcommittee, which held several hearings on two international Boeing 737 MAX crashes, and she has vowed to keep pushing to ensure we have the safest airspace in the world. She is also working with others to push the DOT to hold Southwest Airlines accountable and prevent mass cancellations from occurring in the future.

One of her biggest infrastructure priorities is “Rebuilding for the next generation”.  She voted to pass key funding to invest more than $70 billion in green, modern, job-creating infrastructure through the appropriations process that supports projects to improve and upgrade our roads and bridges, mass transit, and airports.


Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award: Tawn Nugent, PE, TREKK Design Group

Tawn Nugent

As an Associate Partner, Tawn leads TREKK Design Group’s transportation services across all markets. With nearly 30 years of experience in transportation design, she has managed transportation projects of all sizes in communities throughout the Midwest. Tawn is especially passionate about projects that improve safety, connectivity and quality of life for all individuals.

Tawn is dedicated to developing and coaching those around her. This mentorship extends to the community, where she volunteers her time spreading the love of engineering to our younger generation, particularly young women. Tawn is involved in a number of civic and industry organizations beyond WTS, including the Design-Build Institute of America, American Public Works Association and the Kansas Society of Professional Engineers.

Tawn holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Iowa State University and a M.S. in Engineering Management from the University of Kansas. She is a Designated Design Build Professional and a Licensed Professional Engineer in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Illinois.


Employer of the Year: Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT)


MoDOT plans, designs, constructs, and maintains 33,830 miles of highways and 10,399 bridges which is the nation’s 7th largest state highway system.  MoDOT is passionate about hiring, training, and growing women in the transportation industry.  They have a developed a Diversity Plan through their Equal Opportunity and Diversity Division.  The EODD researches, develops, coordinates, and implements initiatives that advance MoDOT values of an inclusive work environment to ensure equitable opportunities exist for all employees.

Of the executive leadership staff at MoDOT, 40% are female.  Females are represented on all branches of the organization including safety, engineering, finances, and communications.  MoDOT regularly recruits female engineers from school and awards them opportunities to move up in the organization with intentionality.