Check out the WTS HOT Chapter's third quarter recap and learn more about upcoming events!
For Summer 2017, we brought back our summer series of Lattes & Leadership meetings which provide a small group setting where we can share candid lessons learned about career development and come away inspired by some amazing leaders in our industry. 
  • June: Wendy Travis, Garver USA
  • July: Stephanie Messerli, Jacobs
  • August: Heidi Ross, Network Modeling Center at the Center for Transportation Research (UT Austin)
In August, we shared an evening with so many women that have been elected or appointed as leaders in our region to honor their efforts and hear their thoughts on transportation in Central Texas. Honorees included:
  • Bastrop County Commissioner Clara Beckett
  • Bastrop Mayor Connie Schroeder
  • Hays County Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe
  • Manor Mayor Rita Jonse
  • Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea
  • Travis County Commissioner Margaret Gomez
  • Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt
  • Williamson County Commissioner Valerie Covey
  • Williamson County Commissioner Cynthia Long
  • Williamson County Commissioner Terry Cook
  • TxDOT Commissioner Laura Ryan
Our professional development day in September also brought great perspective from the Central Texas Turnpike System that paved the way for public-private partnership, comprehensive development agreements, design-build and many other firsts that had never been tackled in Texas before. The 125 attendees heard from a fantastic list of speakers including:
  • Phil Russell, Lochner
  • Stacey Benningfield, CP&Y
  • Bob Daigh, Williamson County
  • Ed Pensock, Lower Colorado River Authority 
  • Scott Yardas, Fluor
  • Doug Woodall, Williamson County
  • Don Toner, THC, Inc.
  • Pete Winstead, Winstead PC
  • Tim Weight, Lochner
  • John Rempe, Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc.
  • Ken Smith, HDR
  • Terry McCoy, TxDOT Austin District
  • Linda Sexton, TxDOT Toll Operations Division
  • Julie DeHoyos, TxDOT Project Finance, Debt and Strategic Contracts Division

Michelle Dippel, a WTS member since 2004, is currently a Vice President at HNTB and is responsible for the firm's operations in Austin, Round Rock, San Antonio, El Paso, Corpus Christi, and Harlingen. She provides leadership in strategic planning, developing strong client relationships, recruiting and mentoring staff, and also supports major project pursuits and delivery. Michelle is based in HNTB's downtown Austin office. 

Michelle began her career as an archeologist but soon discovered her love of NEPA. From toll bridges and toll roads, to cross-country pipelines, urban subways and hurricane recovery projects, over the past 20 years Michelle has been engaged in the planning and environmental clearance of some of the state's largest infrastructure projects. 
Michelle is an active member of the National Association of Environmental Professionals, Transportation Research Board and WTS. She has served as the Treasurer of the Heart of Texas Chapter, a member of the Scholarship review committee, and is a 2016 graduate of the WTS Executive Leadership Program. She earned both Master's and Bachelor's degrees in archaeology from the University of Texas.

Learn more about HNTB online

Shadi Hakimi has been a WTS member since 2000 when she first learned about the organization and its mission through her advisor at University of Colorado, Denver. She gradually became more active with different WTS committees through her support for Transportation YOU, STEM mentoring program and the university chapter. Having experienced education deprivation personally, she is committed to WTS' goals and activities. What has always inspired her personal and professional life through WTS activities is the intelligence, love of education, and talent she's found in individuals that have been hindered due to their environment and life circumstances. At University of Texas in Austin, she continued with the student chapter as a UT chapter board member and played a key role with student activities and professional development of individuals with diverse cultures/backgrounds. 
She is currently leading Atkins's transportation planning group in Texas and has a wide range of expertise including travel demand modeling and traffic engineering. Some notable projects she has recently worked on are the I-35 mobility projects in Austin and the Loop 9 Corridor study in Dallas. She has been the scholarship committee co-chair for the WTS Heart of Texas Chapter for the past two years and looks forward to increasing her involvement with the chapter.

Learn more about Atkins online