DBE and Entrepreneurship

Women Business Owners: Pushing the Industry Forward

For transportation to be diverse, inclusive, accessible to all people, we must make being a woman business owner accessible first.  “We are working to remove the obstacles for women to become entrepreneurs in the transportation industry and to better support existing business owners,” Stickler stated. “Some of that work is about eliminating stereotypes about what an owner looks like, but much of it is providing guidance and best practices for the technical, legal, financial, and business challenges that are a part of entrepreneurship.”


2022 DBE and ACDBE Program Implementation Modifications

WTS International recently submitted formal comments for the proposed rule to the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program Implementation Modifications

Recommendations included:

A. Consolidation of the DBE Certification process
B. Assistance for successful DBE ownership succession plannings
C. Increasing Personal Net Worth (PNW) limits for owner certification
D. Updating the current North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code usage and allowing firms to expand into new areas of business with additional NAICS codes
E. Raising revenue caps for non-construction NAICS codes
F. Consideration of pass-through costs in revenue caps G. More frequent updates on financial caps based on inflation

WTS International's submitted comments can be viewed here


Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Member Firms

WTS DBE/Small Business Subcommittee
WTS International has formalized its program for women business owners and DBE organizations with the Entrepreneurial Program. In 2020, the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Committee (DBE Committee) was formed at the International Board level in conjunction with the President & CEO and staff, to research, learn, and support DBE and women entrepreneurs. A subcommittee of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee, this subcommittee works to provide a support network for women business owners to learn, grow, and promote their businesses and leadership careers. 


Women's Business Owners Roundtable (WBORT)

During the annual roundtable, the select group of leading women business owners in the transportation industry will share successful experiences and best practices and learn from others about starting and running a business in today's world. Sessions may cover topics such corporate value and ownership succession, improving profitability, and attracting and retaining staff.

The first Women's Business Owners Roundtable of 2022 was held on May 17th, in conjunction with the 2022 WTS Annual Conference. 



Since it's inception, WTS International has focused on promoting the advancement of women in the transportation industry.  In 2021, WTS formed the Entrepreneurship Committee to sustain and grow women business ownership and provide a support network for business owners to learn, grow, and promote their businesses and leadership careers. 

The Entrepreneurship Mentorship Subcommittee kicked off the first webinar in a three-part series on Business Ownership on September 16, 2021. The session was geared towards those with an entrepreneurial spirit who considered starting their own business, or were in the first 5 years of business ownership. Panelists discussed the right time is to branch out on your own, financial considerations of business ownership, and how to identify your sphere of influence. 

“When building your business, know your threshold for risk. Consider carefully how and where you want to expand in the market.” - Bridgette Beato, CEO, Lumenor Consulting Group 

“Understand the market ask – it is ever-evolving. Know the client needs and who they are – it is beyond important.” - Asrah Khadr, Founder - Opal Trail, LLC 

“Understanding who you are working with is 90% of business. It really is about being flexible.” - Ty McGilberry, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Partner, Pegasus Financial Planning 

As the panelists reflected on operational efficiencies critical to business success, these points were emphasized: 

“Is your goal to be self-employed or to be a business owner? As a business owner, you work to put processes in place for the continuity of service, even in your absence." - Ty McGilberry

“Effectively using social media and targeted marketing was critical for business outreach and relationship building during the pandemic. It was a giant social experiment and was important to maintain and grow connections.” - Asrah Khadr

“The importance of establishing back-office processes to ensure operational efficiencies is so important for the health of the business and the business owner! I am actually able to take a vacation when I need to, because we have established process in place that ensure the business functions optimally.” - Bridgette Beato

Lastly, the panelists shared important resources and considerations to support business growth: 

“Take advantage of mentor protégé groups and become a lifelong learner. Understand the statistics on small business ownership and specifically what percentages you fall into demographically.” - Bridgette Beato

“Having the WTS family at my side empowered me tackle difficult challenges. Through my involvement with WTS, I have connected with amazing people and formed great relationships.” - Asrah Khadr

“A surgeon wouldn’t operate on himself, and a lawyer who defends himself has a fool for a client. Rely on experts to help you with your business, do not attempt to do it all! Make a practice of reevaluating your business relationships over time.” - Ty McGilberry

The link for SCORE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship, was also shared. The second webinar, held on November 3, 2021, focused on the growing pains of business ownership. Participants learned how to maintain a unique culture, the importance of making operational investments, and how to create and maintain an institutional library.