WTS Hampton Roads Chapter Newsletter - November 2021

Thank You, Hampton Roads Chapter!

Thank you to everyone who helped make 2021 one for the books! We had some great new events, welcomed some new faces, and even got to meet in person a few times! You all helped make this year a great one. Thank you again, enjoy the holiday season, and Happy Reading!

- WTS HRC Communications Committee

Looking Back - Fall 2021 Events

Diversity and Equity Event Featuring Tamika L. Butler 

Diversity and Equity Event

On October 20th, a joint event on the topic of diversity and equity was hosted by the WTS Central VA, DC, Hampton Roads, NC Triangle and South Carolina Chapters. This event featured an in-depth conversation with Tamika Butler on diversity vs. inclusion, intentional inclusion and action-based plans, bystander intervention, industry-centric employee relations, and the retention rate of women and women of color in the industry. In addition to being the Principal + Founder of Tamika L. Butler Consulting, Tamika is a national expert and speaker on issues related to the built environment, equity, anti-racism, diversity and inclusion, organizational behavior, and change management. 

Tamika introduced several terms that helped to kick off the conversation. The first term that was addressed was white spaces which Tamika defined as communities or groups that are predominately white and lack diversity. The conversation continued to the term of intersectionality in which Tamika described that many diversity and inclusion issues facing communities are not related to just one issue. Intersectionality is an understanding of individual needs on a variety of aspects such as class, gender, ability, and age. As a professional working in the transportation industry, it is important to do our part to create access to affordable, reliable, and good quality transportation for everyone that propose a variety of needs. Tamika brought up a great example of how a new roadway project that is intended to connect communities can actually cut-off access to local and often minority communities instead of providing a real transportation benefits. New highway infrastructure does provide access for commuters traveling regionally but what about the effects on individuals without vehicles? How will they travel without a vehicle from one community where they live to the next community where they work if a new highway cuts off their direct access.    

Tamika also spoke on how to rise to higher levels of leadership and how people in the industry in positions of power can affect change. Individuals in positions of power need to recognize how easy it is to value people by having specific conversations and policies related to diversity and inclusion and not just be culturally competent. Tamika inspired attendees on the importance that change in the transportation industry is needed. Tamika brought up that we may want to ignore the role that racism plays in our industry and pretend that is doesn’t exist, but that won’t make it go away. It is not good enough to just be a bystander. Change starts with putting antiracism ideals into daily practice and learning what it takes to be anti-racist.   

Highlights from the 11th Annual WTS HRC Transportation Reception

The 11th Annual WTS HRC Transportation Reception, sponsored by Dominion Energy and JMT, was held on November 9 at Waterman's Surfside Grille in Virginia Beach. It was great being able to get together in person and network with our peers in the transportation industry.

The night started with open networking over heavy hors d'oeuvres. During the event, our Keynote Address provided an engaging conversation about the state of the Port of Virginia. The night ended with celebrations of a great 2021 and a toast to all to come in 2022.

Congratulations again to our Recognitions Award Winners, Scholarship Winners, and Silent Auction Winners; and a special thank you to our event sponsors, special guests, and keynote speaker - Cathie Vick!

Thank you to our speaker!
Cathie Vick
Annual Event






Cathie Vick
Chief Development & Public Affairs Office at the Port of Virginia.

Congratulations 2021 Scholarship Winners!

Ebony Myers-Grimes

Junior College/Trade School Scholarship (Local & National Winner)​

  • Graduate of Bayside High School, TCC-Virginia Beach, Virginia Wesleyan College​

  • Currently working in the aviation field with Piedmont Airlines for 6 year​

  • "Living Life One Day At A Time While Pushing For Greatness!

Kota Laning


Sharon D. Banks Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship (Local Winner)​

  • Studying Civil Engineering at Old Dominion University​

  • Civil engineering internship at Pennoni Associates in 2021, working on bridge inspections, stormwater/drainage assignments, and utility relocation for roadway projects​

  • Member of ODU Makerspace and ASCE Student Chapter​

  • Member of WTS Philadelphia Student Chapter and TransportationYOU

Aralee Fajardo

Molitoris Leadership Scholarship for Undergraduates (Local Winner)​

  • 2019 Tidewater Community College STEM Promise Program Cohort Graduate​

  • TCC President’s Honor Roll award recipient​

  • Graduated May 2021 with a TCC Associate of Science in Engineering, 4.0 G.P.A.​

  • Summer 2021 NASA intern in Hampton’s NASA Langley Center (STEM Takes Flight Program)​

  • Currently studying Computer Science in New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering ​

  • A DoD SMART Scholar (Full-ride DoD scholarship) stationed at the US Space Force team at the Space and Missile Systems Center in El Segundo, CA after graduation in NYU.

Congratulations 2021 Recognition Award Winners!

Woman of the Year

 Karen McPherson

Member of the Year

Crystal White

Past President:

Julie Perkoski

Employer of the Year

Michael Baker International 

Annual Event
Annual Event
Annual Event
Michael Baker VB

Check out our Chapter Photo Gallery page for more event photos!

Member Showcase 

The Hampton Roads Chapter would like to extend a HUGE Thank You to one of our past presidents and this month's showcase, Deanna Nevling, for her amazing work in planning and coordinating this year's Annual Reception. Deanna spearheaded the event planning committee and was crucial to the event's success.


Deanna Nevling


Position/Title at Company – Senior Bridge Engineer 

Hometown – Altoona, PA

When did you join WTS? – 2011

Why did you join WTS? – I am a founding member of the WTS HRC. I helped form the WTS HRC for the opportunity to meet, network, and get to know other professionals in the Hampton Roads area. I love


supporting WTS's mission to advance women in transportation.

Do you hold a position in WTS HRC or International? What is your role? –  I have held many positions over the years. Membership chair, Treasurer, President, and Past President. Currently I am assisting the programs committee with planning events.

What do you like best about your job? – I love that I get to work on creating solutions for clients for issues related to all aspects of bridge engineering including new design, maintenance and repair, asset management, and load ratings. I love collaborating and working with colleagues. I learn something new every day!

Favorite project you have worked on – It’s hard to pick just one. I’m currently working on the design of a 350’ radius curved steel girder flyover bridge and this has moved to the top of my favorites list! I have also had the pleasure of working on some great load rating projects over the years for many different clients including VDOT, SCDOT, MSDOT, and OKDOT.

How do you like to spend your free time? – My favorite outdoors activities include walking at the beach, or attending one of my kids sporting events. Our family also enjoys doing puzzles and playing games. Yahtzee, scary bingo, and Sorry! are current favorites.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself – I’ve been a vegetarian for over 20 years

Interested in nominating someone for our next Member Showcase? Contact our Communications Committee.

Looking Ahead - Upcoming Events

December Charity Blanket Making Event - Thursday, December 9
Registration can be found under the Events tab

Interested in sponsoring one of our next events? Contact our Corporate Sponsorship Committee.