Last week, the annual 3-day WTS Conference, featuring a record breaking attendance of over 500 attendees from around the country, was held at Chicago's Swissotel. This conference's goals, are to bring together transportation professionals from all modes to network, learn and advance the place of women in the transportation industry.
(Pictured left to right - Carolyn Grisko (President & CEO, Grisko, LLC), Lisa Marie Alley (Deputy Director of Public Affairs & Press Secretary, California High-Speed Rail Authority), Michael Book (Senior Public Involvement Specialist, HDR Engineering), Amar Rajpurkar (Vice President, HNTB Corporation), and Becky Howe (Senior Civil Design Engineer, Epstein)
Helping organize this event and serving as the co-chairs for all 12 conference sessions were Epsteiners Becky Howe, our senior civil design engineer, and Nicole Firnbach, our bridge design engineer. Becky and Nicole planned sessions that covered three main themes – professional development; partnerships, projects and collaborations; and strategies, tools and innovations.
In addition to Becky and Nicole's planning role, they, along with fellow Epsteiners Dina Levin, our senior civil design engineer, and Jen Palma, our civil design engineer, helped run individual sessions. This position involved kicking off the session, introducing speakers, fielding questions from the audience, etc.
(Clockwise from upper left - Becky Howe, Nicole Firnbach, Dina Levin, & Jen Palma)
The WTS conference also featured keynote speakers including Erin Brockovich, who Julia Roberts played in the Academy Award winning movie about her life, and Vernice 'Flygirl' Armour, the first African-American female naval aviator in the Marine Corps and the first African American female combat pilot in the US Armed Forces.
Lastly, there were also six technical tours of Chicago that highlighted specific transportation related design and engineering triumphs including a visit to the O'Hare Airfield, in which conference members got a first-hand view of Epstein's efforts in revamping O'Hare's runways and taxiways; a CTA Station Art Tour; a River/Movable Bridges Tour; a PACE Bus-on-Shoulder Tour; a Union Station Tour; and lastly, a Divvy Tour.
(CTA Station Art Tour)
Congratulations go out to Becky, Nicole, Dina and Jen for a job well done and for proving yet again, that Epstein is a true leader in developing female leaders in the transportation engineering world!