Category Archives: Winter 2015
President’s Letter
Darlene Cropped

WTS San Francisco Bay Area Chapter President Darlene Gee

WTS San Francisco Bay Area Chapter Immediate Past-President Charissa Frank

As we look forward to 2015, our Chapter is transitioning our leadership Board to reflect our biennial elections and committee reorganizations. It’s a time of both excitement for the events to come and gratitude for the exceptional talent and efforts of our dedicated leadership and membership over the past two years.

As the incoming and outgoing Presidents, both of us encourage our members and the Bay Area transportation community to fully engage with WTS in the coming year and take advantage of our programs, networking, professional development and volunteer opportunities that make such a collective difference in our industry. There will be many opportunities to learn, to meet new people, to support young women in their career growth and to give back.

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LightRail Art Coming to Market Street

By: David Oto and Larry Bergeron, Parsons Brinckerhoff 

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Rendering of the LightRail Project on Market Street

Light art is a form of visual art where the main media of expression is light. Following on the tail of the highly acclaimed Bay Lights project, a second light art installation in San Francisco is currently under development: The LightRail art project will incorporate thousands of LED lights above Market Street to illuminate the movement of BART and Muni trains in real-time as they travel underground.

Both projects were driven not only by the passion of the artists, Stefano Corazza and George Zisiadis, who wanted to express their artwork with lighting, but also by the Parsons Brinckerhoff engineering team, who saw their involvement as a unique opportunity to blend new technology into the urban environment. The light art projects were developed by Ben Davis, founder of Illuminate the Arts, a non-profit arts organization, and supported by Parsons Brinckerhoff (electrical circuit and controls design; overhead catenary design), Bleyco (electrical contractor), Kapsch (formerly Transdyn; network interface), and Zoon Engineering (coordination and inspection).

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Transportation YOU Update

By: Jen Mayer and Becca Homa

The Transportation YOU mentoring group and Girls Inc. Eureka! STEM program do field trips to various Bay Area projects and cultural sites on a regular basis. In November 2014, the Transportation YOU mentoring group of young women and WTS professionals visited Alcatraz Island and the exhibit by Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei.

Below is a picture from a prior field trip to the construction site of the Oakland Airport Connector, arranged with the assistance of WTS members and BART.  The project opened Friday, November 21st, just in time for the Thanksgiving rush.

TYOU and Girls Inc. visit the Oakland Airport Connector during construction

TYOU and Girls Inc. visit the Oakland Airport Connector during construction

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Interview with Nancy Whelan, General Manager of Marin Transit District

By: Tam Tran

Nancy Whelan, General Manager, Marin Transit District

Nancy Whelan, General Manager, Marin Transit District

Nancy Whelan is the General Manager for the Marin County Transit District. Prior to joining Marin Transit, she was the founder of Nancy Whelan Consulting, where she and her staff have provided technical and managerial services to transit agencies and municipalities throughout the Bay Area. Nancy is a recognized expert in strategic and financial planning, funding and grants management, capital project development, and organizational development. Prior to moving into the consulting world, Whelan held several executive level positions at both the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). For a three-month period she was the Interim General Manager of SFMTA.

Nancy Whelan earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of the Pacific and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California.

  1. How did you get involved in transportation?

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From Driving the Bus to Driving the Deal

By: Lorraine Lerman

Ana Rivas

Ana Rivas

The WTS-SF Mentorship Program is completing its sixth year. For this newsletter, we highlight a “mentee” who completed the program in 2013 and has achieved many recent notable accomplishments. In this interview, Ana Rivas, Superintendent of Bus Transportation at San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans), shares major career milestones, her experience in the mentorship program, and key lessons she applies in her everyday life that help make her a successful, happy, and well-rounded professional.

Ana Rivas started out as a bus operator 18 years ago, and at the time of this interview was in Washington D.C. visiting Congress as part of a transit leadership training session. Ana herself says, “In a million years, I never imagined my career would take me to the halls of Congress!”  WTS talked to Ana about the trajectory of her career.

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Work/Life Fit Panel Discussion

The professional development committee sponsored its second 2014 event on October 30, 2014 at Arup’s San Francisco office. Moderated by Coach Allison, the event featured a panel discussion on work/life fit experiences, techniques, and lessons learned from a panel of busy and successful Bay Area women. The panel shared how they manage health, work, friends, family, hobbies, and other interests by fitting a sustainable balance of work into their lives and their lives into their work. Roughly 40 participants got an opportunity to ask questions about bringing harmony to individual situations.

Panelists included:

  • Rebecca Kohlstrand – Vice President, Parsons Brinckerhoff
  • Jessica Manzi – Senior Transportation Coordinator, City of Redwood City
  • Meghan Mitman – Associate, Fehr & Peers
  • Dianne Steinhauser – Executive Director, Transportation Authority of Marin
WTS Student and Younger Members – Career Development Roundtable

RoundtableTwenty students and young professionals attended the WTS Student and Younger Members’ Career Development Roundtable held at UC Berkeley on November 3, 2014. Viktoriya Wise from the San Francisco Planning Department moderated an open discussion among students, young professionals, and panelists Liz Brisson at the SFCTA, Diana Dorinson at Transportation Analytics, Terri O’Connor  at CDM Smith and Britt Tanner at the SFMTA. Discussion topics ranged from the value of mentorship and understanding organizational cultures to how to strategically develop technical and leadership skills. The event also offered participants time after the roundtable discussion for networking and additional Q&A, which resulted in more lively conversations.

Participant Gina Arias, of Parsons Brinckerhoff, remarked afterwards:

“The conversation was very helpful. Sometimes I just need a refresher and reminder of the things that I should be doing or that I have put on the back burner for far too long. It is always a pleasure to speak with other people in my industry and to learn talking points and public speaking skills just by watching.”

Interested in more events for students and younger members? Look out for more fun, educational, and career development events in 2015.

WTS San Francisco Hosts Annual Holiday Party

Annual 3The San Francisco Bay Area Chapter hosted its annual holiday party at the Lake Chalet in Oakland overlooking beautiful Lake Merritt on December 3, 2014. This year we introduced a silent auction to help raise money for the WTS Fund, which provides substantial scholarships to numerous students in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as contribute to Transportation YOU, the youth mentoring summit held in Washington DC each year. In total, WTS raised over $2,500, thanks to the charitable contributions and gift donations. WTS provided plaques recognizing all the support from both our Corporate Partners and Public Agency Partners. Read More…

WTS-SF’s Flagship Leadership Program – Applications due February 14, 2015

The Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) San Francisco Bay Area Chapter has created an innovative Women’s Leadership Program that will provide a unique opportunity for women in transportation to step into their power, own their strengths, and develop their leadership presence and signature style.  Participants will develop strategic thinking about their career paths (values, goals, and mindsets); identify and create the essential ingredients for high functioning teams; and establish skills for ongoing success (self-coaching, peer support, and action plans).  The program is designed to be a catalyst for leadership training that will be highly regarded within the transportation industry.  At the end of the three-month program, participants will receive certificates of accomplishment.

Download an application

Organizations can expect to benefit from the Women’s Leadership Program because its graduates will learn the skills necessary to become influential, confident women leaders who are effective and can make immediate contributions to strategic objectives and priorities.  Read More…

WTS San Francisco 2nd Annual Transportation Executives Regional Forum (TERF)

Scott’s Seafood, Oakland, CA | February 3, 2015 | 5:30 p.m.

Following the success of last year’s event, the WTS SF Bay Area Chapter is hosting its exclusive Transportation Executives Regional Forum. This year’s panel will consist of: Ben Tripousis (CAHSR), Randy Iwasaki (CCTA), Ed Reiskin (SFMTA), Debbie Hale (TAMC), Carolyn Gonot (VTA) and Grace Crunican (BART). Moderating the event will be Kate Miller, Executive Director of the Napa County Transportation and Planning Agency/Napa Valley Transportation Authority. The event is geared towards discussing key issues and topics within the Bay Area Transportation community as well as improved dialogue between agencies and consultants while increasing the Chapter’s visibility and significance. The WTS SF is eager to host the event and is looking forward to the dialogue and discussions between our local executives and the attendees.

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