WTS International, the association for the professional advancement of women in transportation, just announced that it has selected the winners of its annual recognition awards for 2013. Each of the five awards will be presented at an awards banquet on May 16 during the 2013 WTS Annual Conference in Philadelphia, PA. The recognition award winners are:
- Woman of the Year – Beverley Swaim-Staley, President/CEO, Union Station Redevelopment Corporation
- Member of the Year – Lupe Harriger, Former Senior Transportation Planner, Arizona DOT
- Employer of the Year – HDR Engineering
- Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award – Ann Richards School for Young Women
- Innovative Transportation Solutions Award – Presidio Parkway Project
“Beverley Swaim-Staley’s efforts for women and minorities in the transportation industry are a testament to her passion for workforce development, a mission aligned with WTS International’s goals. We’re honored that she brings her professional acumen for making a difference in the industry to our organization and appreciative of the opportunities she is working on for our members. We congratulate her on her Woman of the Year recognition,” said Marcia Ferranto, WTS President and CEO.
Prior to her current post at USRC, Beverley Swaim-Staley was the first woman to be appointed as Maryland’s Transportation Secretary, a department with 10,000 employees and a $3.6B annual budget. As Secretary, Ms. Swaim-Staley directed initiatives to assure Maryland’s national prominence in the area of minority business development by enhancing the State’s Minority Business Enterprise Program. She also developed the first office within MDOT dedicated to comprehensively addressing equity and diversity issues. Ms. Swaim-Staley was recently named by the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials as one of the nation’s most influential women in the transportation industry. In 2010, she was named by the Maryland Washington Minority Contractors’ Association as the Most Inclusive Government Leader of the Year for Minority Business Enterprise.
Lupe Harriger, a member of WTS since 1998, was nominated for WTS Member of the Year by her local chapter in Phoenix, AZ. This recognition is awarded to a member who has shown extraordinary commitment to the goals and growth of WTS, has promoted the reputation of WTS within the transportation industry, has worked effectively to strengthen communication between local and national levels or between chapters, and has done an outstanding job of revitalizing or expanding a chapter or any of its functions. “Serving the transportation industry for 23 years at ADOT, Lupe has not only been a fixture of WTS, but has been an example of the professionalism of our industry. Her upbeat and supportive style exemplifies the essence of WTS, and her passion for the mission to advance women in transportation has helped create the strong chapter we all benefit from today,” said Alicia Robertson, WTS Metropolitan Phoenix Chapter president. Among her many contributions to the association over the years, Ms. Harriger has shared her experience with other new members as a formal mentor in the WTS mentorship program, imparting the lessons of her many years of professional and chapter experience.
The Employer of the Year recognition is awarded each year to an organization that has enhanced the transportation industry through its commitment to excellence and quality in its services or products, has an outstanding record of affirmative action in hiring and promoting at all employment levels, supports continuing education of its employees, and encourages women students to enter the transportation field by providing internship opportunities. “HDR is honored to be recognized as the WTS International 2013 Employer of the Year. We are proud supporters of WTS and its mission, and we‘re committed to a diverse workforce and strongly believe that diversity makes us a better company,” said Dorri Giles Raposa, Senior Vice President with HDR.
HDR’s affirmative action initiative is robust. Professional development, internships, and professional growth through mentorship and training ensure that HDR’s current and future female employees have the support and role models they need for a successful career. HDR is also a strong supporter of WTS and other professional organizations that promote women in the engineering and transportation industries. “HDR is a very strong supporter of WTS both locally and internationally, and we are very pleased to be awarding the firm with Employer of the Year. Their dedication to affirmative action, professional development, and continuing education make HDR a model organization for the industry,” said Ferranto. HDR’s record for hiring and promoting women at all levels of the organization are noteworthy for the male-dominated industry; of its 7,800 employees, 32% are women and 18% are minorities. The company places value on providing flex time and part-time opportunities, and offers in-house training and tuition reimbursement programs.
The Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award is awarded for exhibiting extraordinary efforts or initiatives in facilitating professional opportunities for women and minorities and contributing significantly to the promotion of diversity, inclusion, and multi-cultural awareness. The Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, a public school in Austin, TX, serving girls in 6th - 11th grades, is a unique all-girls school founded to educate young women and give them the confidence and skills necessary to succeed in college, in their careers, and in their communities. The academic curriculum is challenging with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), encouraging students in areas and careers where girls are under-represented. The single-gender setting allows for unique instruction specific to issues encountered by girls and women. Research has found that single-gender classrooms may be particularly helpful to girls at the developmental level of early adolescence.
The Ann Richards School dedicates itself to prepare young women to attend and graduate from college, commit to a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle, lead others with courage and compassion, and solve problems creatively and ethically in support of the global community. During the 2011 - 2012 school year, 61% percent of students were Hispanic, 22% were Caucasian, 13% were African-American, 3% were Asian-American and 1% were American Indian/Alaskan Native. Approximately 60% of the students qualify for free and reduced meals. The demographics of the student body mirror that of the local community.
Presidio Parkway Project in San Francisco will receive the Innovative Transportation Solutions Award, created to recognize its application of innovative techniques to overcome obstacles and the difference it has made in people’s lives. The project is a multi-year effort to replace Doyle Drive, the 1.5 mile segment of Highway 101 that carried traffic between the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco from 1936 until the historic traffic shift onto a seismically-safe temporary bypass in April 2012. The world-class design will improve the seismic, structural, and traffic safety of the roadway, and supports community accessibility, environmental goals, and employment opportunities through enhanced pedestrian connections, improved natural environments, and a small-business program.
The Awards Banquet will be held during the 2013 WTS Annual Conference, being held this year in Philadelphia, PA, May 15 – 17. As WTS International’s flagship event, it attracts more than 500 corporate and governmental industry leaders worldwide, including executives, CEOs, government administrators, and leading engineering authorities.