Board Chair Update: A Groundwork Laid for a Full Future

Maggie Walsh
Maggie Walsh serves as Chair of the WTS International Board of Directors. She is also Vice President of Strategic Pursuite at HDR.

My last letter to you was March 8, 2019—International Women’s Day, during Women’s History Month. For me, it has been "Women’s Day” many times since then.

I have had the opportunity to travel the country, talking with WTS members, and hearing about the amazing programs and activities in every corner of North America. Today, I hope to inform, enlighten, and inspire you as much as the many members whose paths I’ve crossed this year have for me.

Chapter events have brought me to Phoenix, Ames, Iowa, Jacksonville, Fla., Madison, Wis., Raleigh, N.C., Columbia, S.C., Columbus, Ohio, and Toronto. I went to a fashion show, a 30th anniversary, a regional conference, an annual dinner—and that’s just the shortlist! The creativity and technical acuity of these events demonstrate the passion and dedication of chapter leaders and members.

In addition, I attended the COMTO annual conference in Tampa, Fla., the TRB Women’s Issues in Transportation conference in Irvine, CA, and the APTA annual conference in New York City. At these events, I was heartened by the inclusion of women’s issues in their programming and by a renewed interest in WTS as it will take our entire industry focused on the principles of the WTS mission to achieve success.

With that in mind, we signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with AASHTO at their spring conference in Park City, Utah. In addition to WTS MOUs with ARTBA, TRB, and APTA, our alliance with AASHTO will further the participation, opportunities, advancement, and recognition of women in the transportation infrastructure sector.

Our reach is growing as an organization, as well. I am proud to announce the ratification of four WTS chapters this year: Vermont, Iowa, South Carolina, and Arkansas. The Board is committed to expanding the reach of WTS; Sara Stickler, WTS Executive Director, and April Rai, WTS Director, External Affairs, are laser-focused on the strategic chapter development needed to get us there.

We want to connect professionals in our industry to one another and to WTS. That’s why we are refreshing the WTS brand to take us into 2020 with the bold, future-focused imprint it deserves. Nearly 1,500 members completed two surveys on our rebranding effort. Your ideas will support our enhanced image going forward. The rebrand will include a new website and improved member features so that we can better point to our message and reach our mission.

Lisa Meitner said, “Life need not be easy, provided only that it is not empty.” This year, WTS has tackled big issues, big problems, and big dreams. It has not always been simple or easy, but we have laid the groundwork for years of future success. We have a promising and full future in front of us. Thank you for all that you are doing each day. Let’s keep the momentum going.