About 20 chapter members had a fantastic time learning from and talking with Annick Beaudet, Assistant Director of the Austin Transportation Department, at July's Lattes and Leadership. During the conversation, Annick shared five cornerstones or core values to focus on in developing a successful career in transportation: 1) Be curious and put in work; 2) Be confident ("Someone's gotta do this job, it might as well be me."); 3) Build relationships (Be helpful, it comes back to you.); 4) Develop what you're good at; and, 5) Trust your gut and take risks. Sometimes your career progression looks more like a jungle gym than a ladder. It's OK to take lateral moves or pay cuts to get where you want to go.
Members and friends of the WTS-HOT Chapter gathered on August 22nd to hear from Karen A. Friese, P.E., Founder and President of K FRIESE + ASSOCIATES, a civil engineering consulting firm providing project engineering services to public entities from their offices in Austin, Round Rock and San Antonio. Karen provided the audience with insights into her approach to establishing her own business and the importance of maintaining good relationships with both her clients and her employees. She shared how having the ability and space to take risks is essential to the growth of her company and her professional development as a leader. Karen also stressed the need to be intentional in surrounding yourself with people with diverse backgrounds and skills who will provide a dynamic team and atmosphere to promote personal and professional growth.
The inaugural WTS Heart of Texas professional mentoring program kicked off this year provided an opportunity to network and learn about key career development topics in small group and one-on-one formats. We hope that our mentors and mentees benefitted from the program and want to sincerely thank them for their time and contributions. Our inaugural class of 2018 mentees and mentors are listed below along with our program topics and speakers. We look forward to growing the program in 2019 - be on the lookout for announcements to come in January! Feel free to contact 2019 program co-chairs Lindsay Wood ( Lindsay.Wood@wsp.com ) and Melanie Norrell ( Melanie.Norrell@aecom.com ) with any questions.

Mentors: Stephanie Messerli, PE (Jacobs), Scott Haywood (HNTB), Wendy Travis, AICP (Garver), Susan Fraser, PE (TxDOT), Cinde Weatherby, Lindsay Wood, PE (WSP), Kammy Horne, AICP (HNTB), Dottie Watkins (Cap Metro), Jon Engelke, PE (AECOM), Melanie Norrell (AECOM), Shari Cannon-Mackey, CEP (Burns & McDonnell)

Mentees: Bridget Faust, PE (AECOM), Lauren Taylor (WSP), Laura Friello, PE (Garver), Erin Graham (Michael Baker), Bethany James, PE (Alliance Transportation Group), Emily Weigand, PE (Jacobs), Jordan Smith (Cap Metro), Geetha Chandar (TxDOT), Janelle Carey, AICP (HNTB), Karla Brawner, PE (Halff & Assoc.)
Over 130 chapter members and partners attended this year's event at Sterling Event Center to network with each other and join in honoring our region's leading partners in improving mobility. Each honored agency provided remarks highlighting how they work together and collaborate with other partner agencies in the region to fund, plan or implement projects that improve mobility and safety in transportation. Honored speakers included: Will Conley (CAMPO); Wade Cooper (Capital Metro); Rob Spillar (City of Austin); Mike Heiligenstein (CTRMA); Mark Jones (Hays County); Judge Sarah Eckhardt (Travis County); Heather Ashley-Nguyen (TxDOT Ausitn District); and Terry Cook (Williamson County).
The chapter is pleased to have hosted more than 125 attendees and speakers at its 11th Annual Professional Development Seminar on Friday, September 21. The theme focused on the skills essential for the Effective Management of People and Projects. We thank our speakers for providing their tremendously valuable insights to those in attendance. 
Master of Ceremonies – Marc D. Williams, P.E., Deputy Executive Director, TxDOT
Opening Session: Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Workforce
  • Catlin D’Alton, AICP - Senior Planner, Capital Metro
  • Anthony (Tony) Kimmey, P.E. – Texas Infrastructure Practice Lead, Burns & McDonnell
  • Sonya Alexander-Harry - Senior Business Process Consultant, City of Austin
Session II: Succeeding at Project Managemen t
  • Darrin Jensen – Adj. Professor, St. Edward’s University and TxDOT
  • Maureen Melis Wakeland, P.E., PMP – Director, Program and Project Delivery, Information Management Division, TxDOT
  • Michael Rhodes – Waco District Environmental Coordinator, TxDOT
Session III: Creating and Nurturing Strong Client Relationships
  • Dee Anne Heath – Director of External Affairs, CTRMA
  • August Martin, LEED AP, ENV SP - Principal Consultant/Sustainability Strategist, ERM Environmental Resources Management
  • C. Brian Cassidy – Managing Partner, Austin Office, Locke Lord LLP, and Chair-elect of Austin Chamber of Commerce
Keynote Address – Leadership Development: Mary Flanagan, President and CEO, HERdacity
As I finish my term as Chapter President, I am very proud of what our team of Board Directors, Committee Chairs, volunteers, partners and sponsors, and members have accomplished to support the mission of WTS as well as benefit the transportation industry in our community. Over the last two years, just some of my favorite accomplishments of our team have been:

1.       To grow our public-sector partnerships – we added CTR, Williamson County, Travis County and City of Austin as new partners to our long list of agency affiliates and partners
2.       Increase our scholarship awards substantially to nearly $30,000 annually – we could never have accomplished this without the support of our sponsors!
3.       Kick-off our inaugural mentoring program – Kammy and I were thrilled with the participation we had in its first year and can’t wait to see it grow as a way to give back to our members

I can’t think of a better organization to get involved in to form an amazing network of support, build leadership and communications skills and serve our transportation community. And we always need more help – so please find a committee to join and volunteer! 

I want to wish all of our members, volunteers, guests, partners and supporters happy holidays and best wishes for a wonderful New Year and thank you for supporting WTS.

I especially want to extend my personal gratitude to each of the members of our board (listed below) for your dedication and support. It’s been a pleasure working together and I can’t wait to see what the team will accomplish next year as our incoming President Jackie Sartor and new Executive Board carry the torch. It’s been an incredible experience to have learned from each of these amazing ladies and build a network of support that I can always turn to. 

Thank you 2017-2018 WTS Heart of Texas Chapter Board!

Jackie Sartor (Freese & Nichols) – Vice President… sounding board, right hand, and always willing to help me divide and conquer
Odette Tan, PE (Travis County) – Immediate Past President… my go-to trusted source for advice and support
Erin Gonzales, PE (BGE Inc.) – Secretary… served with dedication and commitment for 4 (FOUR!) years
Vicki Ortega, PE (K Friese & Assoc.) – Treasurer…extraordinaire (seriously, the best treasurer we could have possibly had!!)
Melanie Norrell (AECOM) - Advisory Chair… always willing to volunteer and lend great ideas to almost everything we do
Abby Tomlinson (AECOM) – Communications Chair… and architect/ author of our re-vamped awesome newsletter
Cheryl Goodgame (LAN) – Communications support… lifesaver who took initiative to keep us organized and on top of sending out event invitations and reminders
Caitlin D'Alton, AICP (Capital Metro) – Corporate/ Agency Partnership Chair... source of dependability, organization and professionalism that always impresses me
Haley Norman Siddons, PE (Mobilitie) – previous 2017 Corp/Agency Partnership Chair…served many years on our board and was responsible for growing our partnership program substantially over her term
Erika Esparza (TxDOT) – Gala Chair… fearless leader of the biggest event we host that raised more than ever ($37k!) last year for our scholarship and student programs (it is a HUGE job and she does it with a smile)
Yvonne Garcia Thomas, PE (Raba Kistner) – Membership Chair… provides patience, attention to detail and follow-through that I can always count on
Renee Hurtado, PE (DKS Assoc.) – previous membership chair…a trusted team member for 4 years that juggled many details and somehow stayed on top of them all
Kammy Horne, AICP (HNTB) – Mentoring Chair and WTS Foundation Board Member…we wouldn’t have a mentoring program without your leadership and drive to kick of our inaugural program (great job!!)
Tonia Norman (TxDOT) – Professional Development Chair… meticulous in planning and organizing professional development events that continue to raise the bar
Ashley McLain, AICP (Cox McLain Environmental Consulting) – Regional Council Liaison… long-time supporter of WTS and source of advice in so many of our efforts, including orchestrating our first ever regional webinar series this year
April Sandoval, PE (American Structurepoint) – outgoing Programs Chair… long-time board member that turned our programs into a well-oiled machine where our new problem is exceeding our capacity almost every month
Carine Choubassi, PE (Jacobs) – former Student liaison and incoming Programs Chair… always dependable behind the scenes to take care of critical, but sometimes thankless tasks and always with a great attitude and willingness to help
Jessica Kessinger, PE (WSP) – Recognitions Chair… helps us wrangle in nominations and lead our awards program to recognize deserving professionals that don’t always get credit for the great work they do
Laura Friello, PE (Garver) – Scholarship Chair… served for 4 years with unfaltering dependability and commitment to make a difference in supporting the educational dreams for nearly 30 young ladies who have received scholarships under hear leadership of the program
Shadi Hakimi, PE (Atkins) – Scholarship vice chair…provided scholarship support to help carry the burden of activity and volunteered to step up as chair next year
Natalia Zuniga-Garcia (UT student) – Student liaison and former student chapter president…re-invigorated the student chapter to plan and host great new professional development and networking programs for UT student members
Mary Jo Galindo, RPA (Galindo Environmental) – Transportation You Chair… mentor and champion to bring valuable programs to the students at Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders
Lisa Loftus Otway (Center for Transportation Research, UT Austin) – WTS International Board Member… I don’t have enough space to list the many things Lisa has contributed to WTS over the past decade, but I want to highlight how much I appreciate her endless encouragement in my own path toward leadership and her tireless efforts to be an advocate for so many others

It’s been a privilege,
Outgoing President, WTS Heart of Texas Chapter
Rob Spillar, Director of Transportation for the Austin Transportation Department (ATD), was the featured speaker at the October luncheon. He provided an update on ATD's current projects and programs as well as future activities.
Randy Clarke, President and CEO of Capital Metro, took the floor for our November luncheon. He discussed Capital Metro's latest projects and shared information about Project Connect and it's role in the future of our region's mobility.