2016 Recognition Awards WTS South Florida Chapter



Ekaete Ekwere, Transportation Engineer, Kimley-Horn


1. A member who has shown an extraordinary commitment to the goals and growth of WTS by working effectively in support of WTS goals. (Identify activities.)

Ekaete Ekwere recently joined the South Florida Chapter of WTS in May 2016 and was eager to take on a contributing role in the organization. Within the first month of membership, Ekaete was appointed as the Transportation YOU chair for the chapter. Taking on a role with no previous trail blazed, she saw this as an opportunity to make the program her own. She has taken it upon herself to ensure that Transportation YOU has made a presence in the local community. Her first outreach event at Walter C Young Middle School in Pembroke Pines included various engineering and transportation planning activities that got the students excited about the possibility of a career in engineering. Tapping into the WTS membership pool for volunteers, the event was a major success and enjoyed by both students and volunteers alike.

2. A member who has promoted the reputation of WTS within the transportation industry. (Include an explanation describing how and what was done.)

First impressions are lasting impressions and Ekaete has always made a great lasting impression on all those. Building connections with the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization and local university to ensure that WTS is seen as a collaborative organization that is focused on the development on women in transportation. Whether at a local networking event or at a client meeting, any appropriate avenue to ensure that WTS and all of its efforts are magnified has helped to ensure the WTS South Florida network is constantly growing.


3. A member who has worked effectively to strengthen communication between local and international WTS levels or between chapters.

Capitalizing on the support of the Florida International University WTS student chapter, Ekaete has ensured collaboration between the two chapters. Through events at local schools she has helped to maintain the relationship to broaden the footprint of the WTS South Florida chapter.

4. A member who has done an outstanding job of revitalizing or expanding a chapter or any of its functions.

Ekaete has built the Transportation You program from the ground up this past year. Hosting events at local schools and participating in activities throughout the community that have a similar vision. She has WTS members and students excited about the future of transportation engineering and the possibilities are endless.  

Current members of the International Board of Directors should not be considered for Member of the Year.




Jeri Muoio, Mayor of the City of West Palm Beach


  1. A woman who is a leader in transportation and has made an outstanding contribution to the transportation industry.

Jeri Muoio was first elected Mayor of the City of West Palm Beach March 2011. She was reelected to the office of Mayor in March 2015. She previously served on the West Palm Beach City Commission for four years, having been re-elected twice by the voters. During her administration, Mayor Muoio has presided over the important first stages of an economic resurgence in the city. Her focus on strengthening the economy has led to hundreds of new jobs in the city since taking office.

Mayor Muoio has pledged to make the City of West Palm Beach more business friendly, understanding that progress and growth are the keys to the city’s future. She frequently tells business and industry leaders that the City of West Palm Beach is not only open “for” business, but also open “to” business. Mayor Muoio is a strong advocate for open, transparent government. Her ongoing “Open Access” campaign has led to numerous town hall meetings, neighborhood chats, and outreach efforts. She is the first mayor in the city’s history to make herself available for a weekly “no question off limits” press briefing.

She is also the first mayor to reach out directly to residents with a Twitter Town Hall, and she and her team have rolled out new customer survey tools to collect feedback on City performance. Since taking office, Mayor Muoio has fulfilled her pledge to make government more responsive. She reorganized several departments, and demanded they focus on customer service. Mayor Muoio has worked to make the City of West Palm Beach a great place to live, work and raise a family.

She recently has committed to focusing on creating a complete streets transportation network so that her City can be a car-optional one. Because of her leadership, the City recently started a mobility program to ensure the City’s vision of multimodal transportation accessible for all is implemented.

Mayor Muoio holds a doctorate in Education Leadership from Syracuse University and worked for many years as a school district leader.

2. A woman who has directly contributed toward the advancement of women and minorities through programs or opportunities in the transportation field.

A strong proponent of equality, the Mayor was responsible for securing family health benefits for domestic partners of employees of the City of West Palm Beach. The creation of a vibrant Downtown, the maintenance of safe, beautiful neighborhoods and the open communication with constituents are all priorities for Mayor Muoio.

Many women and minorities work for the City and have equal opportunity. Additionally, the City requires a higher than average percentage of City work to go to disadvantaged local businesses.  

3. A woman who through her career achievements and support of women in the industry has advanced the reputation and credibility of women in transportation.

We are all very proud of the Mayor and the change she is accomplishing. She is a woman of action and extremely humble. It is evidenced through her long standing career and support by the public that she is doing great things for our profession but greater than that, the community.



Kimley-Horn logo

Nominee (Company/Organization): Kimley-Horn & Associates, Inc.

Contact: Ekaete Ekwere

Contact Title: Transportation Engineer

Contact Information (email/phone): ekaete.ekwere@kimley-horn.com/954-535-5124

Describe the organization’s structure, including the number of women in executive and senior positions and those leading major initiatives.

Kimley-Horn is a planning and design consulting firm founded in 1967 that has grown to over 2,800 employees in 75 offices. The structure of Kimley-Horn is based around Practice Builders. This title is given to leaders of the firm who serve clients, develop staff, and influence the overall direction of the firm. We currently have over 100 female Practice Builders, and that number is steadily growing. Beyond Practice Builders, the firm is divided into six regions, each managed by a regional leadership team. Fourteen women serve on these regional teams. In 2017, we will bring two women onto our Management Committee; one will be our first female regional leader and the other will be our first female CFO.

Specify the career development plans and succession programs the organization has in place for women to advance within the organization.

Kimley-Horn’s core purpose is to provide an environment for our people to flourish. We consistently strive to create a gender diverse workforce and have taken steps to do so by developing an initiative entitled LIFT (Lasting Impact for Tomorrow). This program allows the firm to provide the tools necessary for women to succeed in a male-dominated industry. Kimley-Horn launched LIFT to recruit, retain, and develop talented women. Under the initiative, we have introduced career development training for mid-level and senior women; presented tools for mothers and families (including a backup childcare program); and provided clear support for schedule flexibility. Our long-standing Women’s Leadership Group provides mentorship and education on topics such as “Mentorship and Your Career” and “Women Supporting Women.”

Describe and provide example(s) of how the organization provides continuing development for its female employees through: professional education; professional organizations; and professional development opportunities.

·      Professional education: Kimley-Horn offers tuition reimbursement up to 75% of actual costs for specialized and graduate-level programs. We also reimburse prep course fees, exam fees, and annual renewal fees for state certifications.

·      Professional organizations: Our employees are involved in dozens of professional organizations. Kimley-Horn covers the annual costs of membership dues for every employee and encourages involvement on boards and committees. Kimley-Horn regularly sponsors organizations, such as WTS, the Society of Women Engineers, and the Urban Land Institute at the local, regional, and national levels.

·      Professional development: Kimley-Horn developed internal training programs that aim to help staff stay current in their respective disciplines and sharpen their expertise in soft skills and technical skills. As part of LIFT, we invite emerging female leaders to participate in a Career Development Workshop to learn how to leverage their professional brand, engage their networks, and recognize the importance of feedback.

Describe and provide example(s) of how the organization encourages women students to enter the transportation field by providing internship opportunities.

Kimley-Horn’s internship program is one of the main ways we recruit young staff. We hire several hundred interns every year—and each year, women make up an increasing proportion of our intern groups, reflecting the increasing number of women studying civil engineering. A large percentage of these interns join Kimley-Horn full-time after graduation. Additionally, interns and employees in their first five years with the firm are given lunch coupons to invite mid-level and senior leaders to lunch, paid for by Kimley-Horn. This lunch program gives younger professionals the opportunity to talk one-on-one with someone in their desired field who can offer advice and guidance as they plan their career and future.

Describe and provide example(s) of how the organization supports WTS through memberships, sponsorships, and employee involvement at the local and international levels.

We support WTS through memberships, sponsorships, and employee involvement:

· Kimley-Horn recently increased our sponsorship level to a Platinum Sponsor of the South Florida WTS Chapter for the year 2016.

· Kimley-Horn recently increased our WTS International sponsorship level to a Corporate Partner. We sent eight attendees to WTS’s Annual Conference and Debbie Wilson—a member of our board—participated in the Executive Women’s Roundtable.

· Kimley-Horn’s Ekaete Ekwere received the Member of the Year Award from WTS South Florida for helping to build the chapter’s Transportation YOU program from humble beginnings.

· Kimley-Horn’s Paul Danielson received the Honorable Ray LaHood Award from WTS Minnesota for leading with integrity, mentoring staff, providing opportunities for women and minorities in the transportation community, and bringing DBE talent to large transit projects.

· Kimley-Horn partnered with WTS South Florida for a lunch and learn session on the LIFT initiative. Jill Capelli and Ali Hanes hosted this session to share how women at Kimley-Horn obtain opportunities to reach their full potential as part of an exceptional team. More importantly, begin the discussion of how similar programs can be initiated by other employers in the engineering industry.  

· Membership Participation: These Kimley-Horn employees are or have been involved in WTS chapter leadership roles: Jodi Pearson: President of Salt Lake City; Amy Avery: Vice President of San Antonio; Adrienne Ameel: Vice President of Washington, DC; Chelsey Armstrong: Programs Co-Director of Minnesota; Erin Emmons: Director at Large of South Florida; Anna Potter: Transportation YOU Co-Director of Minnesota; Lisa Juan: Treasurer of South Florida; Jessica Choi: Communications Chair of Charlotte Metro; Marie Santos: Vice  President of San Diego; Sara Sciarrino: Secretary of Central Virginia; Ekaete Ekwere:  Transportation YOU Chair of South Florida; Ali Hanes: Mentor Protégé Chair of South Florida.


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