Category Archives: Fall 2015
President’s Letter – Fall 2015
Darlene Cropped

WTS San Francisco Bay Area Chapter President Darlene Gee

Somehow we’ve turned the calendar to the last quarter of 2015 and started the increasing rush that comes with “back to school schedules,” upcoming holidays, and year end activities. And WTS is part of the whirl.

After the success of our Bay Area Leadership Training course this past spring we decided we didn’t want to wait until spring to start a new session. With great efforts by many of our Board members and our excellent facilitators, Dikla Carmel-Hurwitz and Denise Rabius, we started a second 2015 session in mid-September. Over 20 WTS members from the entire Bay Area are working collectively and individually on developing and expanding their leadership skills. Enthusiasm for this program continues to be strong and our Chapter is working toward maintaining this development opportunity for our members as well as developing a second course geared toward the needs and interests of more senior women.

Our “glass ceiling” committee is working hard on updating our Chapter’s earlier work on the status and progress of women in transportation in the Bay Area. Stay tuned for future events where we will continue to share this valuable information.

Our scholarship application process for 2016 awards is underway at our Bay Area universities, so if you know any young women that would be interested candidates be sure to have them look for information on how to apply on our website.

Our annual reception hosting the California Transportation Commission (CTC) and many of our Bay Area transportation leaders will be held this month for our Corporate Partners. This fabulous get together and networking is just one of the many benefits our Chapter’s Corporate Partners enjoy throughout the year. Don’t be left out of these excellent events – our 2016 Corporate Partners opportunities will be announced shortly and your organization can be front and center with WTS next year at many different levels of support. Look for our announcements over the next few months on how you can participate.

While the year will soon be over, WTS still has upcoming programs, celebrations, and professional development opportunities, so stay tuned into WTS through our website, emails, and publications. And most of all, make sure you are a member of the most influential transportation organization in the Bay Area – WTS. A few simple clicks through and you’re there!

Lastly, fall is a great time to curl up with a good book and WTS Leaders Grace Crunican (our own BART General Manager) and Elizabeth Levin have teamed up to provide “Boots on the Ground, Flats in the Boardroom: Transportation Women Tell Their Stories” — a wonderful read full of inspiration from many wonderful women and WTS members throughout the industry. Click on Amazon and get your copy today.

Darlene K. Gee (

WTS-SF Bay Area Chapter President


2016 WTS Awards – Call for Nominations

The Chapter is currently seeking nominations for the 2016 WTS San Francisco Bay Area Chapter Awards! The Awards honor outstanding individuals, employers, and projects and will be presented at the WTS Annual Event in spring 2016. Our Chapter Award winners will be submitted to WTS International for consideration in the International Awards competition. Don’t miss your chance to recognize our outstanding talent in the Bay Area!

The Award Nominations are due by Friday, December 4th.

Click here (link: to submit a nomination.

The 2016 Award Categories are:

  • Woman of the Year: Honors a woman who is an outstanding role model and has contributed to the advancement of women and minorities in transportation.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: This is a Chapter-specific award that honors a woman who has made a substantial contribution to the transportation industry over the course of her career. Honors a woman who has gone above and beyond the criteria for Woman of the Year and has made a lasting impact for women and minorities in transportation.
  • Member of the Year: Recognizes a WTS member who has made extraordinary contributions to the success of the organization.
  • Employer of the Year: Recognizes a business for its support of the goals and purpose of WTS.
  • Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award: Honors an individual, group, or organization that has made significant contributions in promoting diversity and cultural awareness within their organization, the transportation industry, or in a project or activity that supports the goals and mission of WTS.
  • Innovative Transportation Solutions Award: Honors an innovative transportation project or service that improves the quality of life for its users and the community.

The award nominations will be reviewed by a selection panel and the winners will be announced in January 2016.

If you have any questions, please contact Megan Channell, WTS Awards Chair, at or (650) 622-7815.


2015 Chapter Award Winners

Get Involved with the 2016 WTS Annual Event!

Want to volunteer to help plan the event?

Think your company might be interested in a corporate donation?

Have a great auction item that you could share?

If so, please contact the Annual Event Chairs:

Dana Weissman,

Doris Lee,

Save the Date – Chapter Holiday Party on December 10

This year our Chapter’s Holiday Party will be on Thursday, December 10, from 5:30-8:00 p.m. We will be celebrating at the historic Omni Hotel in Downtown San Francisco on the corner of Montgomery and California.

Look for your invitation in early November!

Also, from now until one week prior to the event date, we will be accepting donations for our Silent Auction to benefit the WTS Scholarship Fund. The WTS Foundation awards scholarships to women who are pursuing careers in transportation through undergraduate and graduate programs. You may donate items and services. We also accept monetary donations and can purchase an item for you. For more information, or to donate, please contact Hildegard Dodd at

Upcoming Transportation YOU Events

By: Mydria Clark, Transportation YOU Co-Chair

The Transportation YOU committee met in September to set the strategic direction of our local program. One of our major goals is to have the ability to track the participants in our program so we can demonstrate how Transportation YOU truly encourages girls to pursue careers in transportation-related fields. To accomplish this, we plan to engage a few local schools and form new partnerships for improved continuity and independence of our program. We will also continue our relationship with Girls Inc. of Alameda County.

During the strategic planning session, we developed the following list of activities to complete this coming year:

  • Field trips: We plan to take the girls in the program on four field trips. Two trips will be project or client site visits and two will be university tours. The field trips will be scheduled around the girls’ days off from school.
  • Girls Inc. programs: WTS members will judge Building Contests, which are a part of Girls Inc.’s STEM program and serve as speakers for the organization’s Career Days.
  • Mentoring Program and DC Summit: We would like to match three mentor and protégé pairs this coming year. Mentoring provides the girls with a special source of inspiration and enables them to set a more focused path to accomplishing their goals. In June, our Chapter will sponsor one of the pairs to participate in WTS International’s DC Summit.
  • Engineers Week Classroom Program: Each February, in celebration of Engineer’s Week, WTS volunteers will visit classrooms to inspire students to consider engineering as a career path. The volunteers will present their background to the students and facilitate a fun, hands-on activity.

We have an exciting year ahead of us, and we need your help to make these programs successful for the girls! To find out more about how you can participate, please attend one of our volunteer kickoff meetings in October (to be posted on the website and promoted via email). You can also contact our Transportation YOU co-chairs, Jennifer Mayer ( and Mydria Clark (

Reception for Jim Hartnett and Nick Josefowitz
Ian Choudri, Parsons, congratulating SamTrans GM Jim Hartnett

Ian Choudri, Parsons, congratulating SamTrans GM Jim Hartnett

On July 15, the Chapter celebrated the recent appointments of two key officials in the Bay Area transportation industry. The event was held in the historic City Club of San Francisco to honor Jim Hartnett and Nick Josefowitz. Jim Hartnett was recently appointed as the General Manager/CEO of the San Mateo County Transit District, a post that includes General Manager of the bus and transit agency SamTrans, Executive Director of the commuter rail system Caltrain, and Executive Director of the San Mateo County Transportation Authority, which administers the proceeds of a half-cent sales tax for transportation projects. Prior to joining Caltrain, Mr. Hartnett was on the Redwood City City Council for 15 years. He served more than 10 years on the Caltrain and SamTrans boards of directors and the past four years on the California High Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors.

Nick Josefowitz was elected to the BART Board on November 4, 2014. Director Josefowitz represents District 8, which includes portions of San Francisco. He launched RenGen Energy, a company that developed and built renewable energy power plants. He quickly grew the business, building over $100m of solar power plants and providing thousands of homes and businesses clean electricity. He worked closely with communities and local governments to create consensus and generate well-paying local jobs. He was appointed by Mayor Ed Lee to the San Francisco’s Environment Commission, and helped bring low-cost loans to San Franciscans looking to upgrade their homes to make them more comfortable and energy efficient. He is also an advocate for significantly improving the speed, reliability, and frequency of buses on Geary Blvd.

BART Director Nick Josefowitz and his wife Tali Rapaport, Lyft

BART Director Nick Josefowitz and his wife Tali Rapaport, Lyft

The event included introductions from Shirley Harris, Chair of the SamTrans Board, and Tali Rapaport, Vice-President of Product at Lyft and Nick’s wife. We wish Jim and Nick continued success in their new positions.

Let’s Toast to Women’s Equality Day!

San Francisco & Oakland

Women’s Equality Day fun

Women’s Equality Day fun

Chapter members and friends gathered in downtown Oakland and in San Jose on August 26 to recognize the day in 1920 that the 19th Amendment was certified by law, giving women the right to vote. A hearty toast commemorated how far women have come in almost a century and celebrated our own achievements to close the gender gap and continue the fight for equality. To mark this momentous day, the San Francisco and Oakland members chose to celebrate the event at a local bar called Dogwood, a woman-owned establishment. The evening for the harmonious crowd of transportation groupies proved to be fun and enjoyable.

“Acronym” Mixer

September 10, WTS South Bay joined forces with an assortment of civil engineers and planning and urban professionals from ASCE, SBTOA, YPT, and AEP for the inaugural “acronym” mixer. More than 80 people attended the networking happy hour at Billy Berk’s in Downtown San Jose.

Coastal Cleanup Day
WTS volunteers show off their collection efforts

WTS volunteers show off their collection efforts

On Saturday, September 19, 2015, seven WTS members and their families participated in the Port of Oakland’s cleanup event at East Creek Slough in Oakland. “I had been intending to participate in a cleanup event for a while, and the WTS participation gave me the opportunity (and a little push) to get involved,” said Maria Tribelhorn.

The WTS group joined millions of volunteers worldwide in celebration of International Coastal Cleanup Day, during which they removed trash and debris from coastlines to protect wildlife and beautify our local waterways.

Do you have suggestions for a volunteer event in which WTS members can participate? Contact Mydria Clark at or 510-612-7264.

Road Charge Pilot Program
Carrie Pourvahidi presented on CTC’s Road Charge Pilot Program

Carrie Pourvahidi presented on CTC’s Road Charge Pilot Program

At a WTS-SF lunch time professional development program on September 21, speaker Carrie Pourvahidi, Project Manager for the  California Transportation Commission presented the history and status of the Road Charge Pilot Program which state leaders believe is a plausible way to raising money for California roads. It seems the fuel tax we have relied upon so long is close to being replaced by a user fee, since more people are driving hybrid and electric cars and taking public transit. Attendees learned the tax revenue is dropping so low it no longer keeps pace with higher labor and material costs for road, bridge, and highway improvements. Last fall, in looking for a solution, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 1077, creating the California Road Usage Charge Pilot Program to study the implications of a road charge model by January 1, 2017. Fellow advocates see the road usage charge concept as being based in equity – a way to engage everyone in paying their fair share for road maintenance regardless of the type of vehicle they drive.

The pilot is intended to map out key elements of a distance-based charging system including how mileage is tracked and options for payment systems. Critics see the program as one more invasion into citizen’s privacy. A lively discussion of the proposed user charge plan continued past the lunch time, with Carrie fielding many questions from the participants.

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