WTS Metro Phoenix Volunteer Spotlight: Sarah Schmid

Sarah Schmid

April is National Volunteer Month, making it the perfect time to highlight our chapter’s many volunteers. Our organization would not be the successful group that it is without the many volunteers who put time and energy into the Metro Phoenix Chapter. Sarah Schmid graduated from NC State in 2019 and despite COVID and a big move to a new state, she has hit the ground running. Beyond her day job as a Traffic Engineer with WSP, Sarah Schmid is Social Media Chair on WTS Metro Phoenix Chapter’s Communications Committee. We asked Sarah a few questions about what keeps her going:

How did you get involved in volunteering with the Communications Committee for WTS Metro Phoenix?

I was a part of the WTS Communications group for the NC Triangle Chapter when I lived in Raleigh. When COVID hit, I wanted to get more involved. As an engineer I’m very used to number crunching and analyzing data, so I thought it would be fun to create graphics and write up summaries on events. It turned out to be a lot of fun.

What have you gotten out of this experience?

Networking, a 100%. Especially joining a new office in a new state on the other side of the country in the middle of COVID. I felt I was struggling to know the industry - people in the industry. No one knew who I was, and I didn’t know them. In joining the committee and the Board I’ve met so many people.

How did you choose traffic engineering?

When I was in school at NC State, I applied to the NCDOT internship program. They have a great intern program where they will take you with no experience. You don’t decide where you get put, they decide based on their need. They threw me in the Traffic group. I liked it, it was tangible, I could visualize what I was improving. There are a lot of different aspects to traffic engineering. There’s analysis, which is running models, watching simulations, summarizing in reports and tables, and then designing things like signals, lighting, ITS, striping, pavement marking, signage. I get put on a lot of different tasks and I really enjoy the variety.

What keeps you motivated to be involved?

I grew up a competitive swimmer, so I was very used to having to manage my time well. Go to school, go to swim practice, study - all in a short period of time. I work best when I have a lot going on. Doing things for WTS has been a way I decrease my stress. It gives me a break from my day-to-day job and serves as an outlet to be creative.

Do you have a designated role within the Communications Committee?

I would say in general everyone on the committee shares roles and helps in any way they can. One constant for me is the monthly newsletter. I compile all the happenings into one newsletter that goes out in the beginning of each month. It typically promotes the business meetings and virtual programs, TransYou events, other exciting events going on within WTS and the industry, job postings, and celebrations, for example – Volunteer Month!

The Communications Committee is responsible for updating the Chapter website, posting to all forms of social media, and keeping everyone informed of what is going on. We communicate with the Board and other committees to make sure the Chapter members are in touch with what’s happening. We set up Q&A sessions, like this one, we take photos at events. We wear a lot of hats, but that’s what makes it fun! Nicole Moon is our Director of Communications, and she is a true rockstar. She keeps us all in check and we wouldn’t be the group we are without her!

Favorite fun thing to do on the weekend?

Sarah Hiking

Hiking for sure. East coast hiking has nothing on us. The Superstition Mountains are my favorite. Every time we come up on Lost Dutchman and see the Flatiron, it’s just so beautiful. It never gets old! My husband and I go out there to hike almost every weekend.

Favorite restaurant?

Have you ever been to Perfect Pear Bistro in Tempe? They do soups, salads, pastas and sandwiches. They have a really fun little patio with string lights. It’s a nice environment with really good food. I usually order a half sandwich and salad and I change up the combo each time.