Impetus: March 2016 Newsletter

Message from the President

Dear WTS Community,

Happy spring!  I love this time of year. Even though I love the skiing that winter brings to Utah, I can’t help but get excited for springtime. The warmth of the sun and longer days bring so much energy out in our neighborhoods - families on bikes, runners getting in their training miles for spring races, people working in their yards, and kids playing basketball at the school playground down the street. The hustle and bustle that spring brings to our community is upon us.

The same is true for our WTS Northern Utah Chapter community. Spring is packed with events for our chapter, which our hard-working board of directors and committee members are busy planning. Two of our biggest events will take place in May this year. The 4th Annual Transportation YOU Youth Summit will be held on May 20th. UDOT will again host us at the Region 2 facilities where we will conduct transportation workshops with 40-50 middle and high school girls. Our WTS 8th Annual Gala and Awards Banquet will take place on the evening of May 24th. You won’t want to miss this year’s gala, as our featured guest and keynote speaker will be Seleta Reynolds, General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. The night’s festivities will include awards of $7000 in scholarships to high school and college students studying transportation. Additionally, we will continue to raise money for the coming year’s scholarships by holding our silent auction and raffle.

Beyond the fun events coming up at the local level, WTS International has two of their biggest events of the year on the horizon as well. The WTS Annual Conference will be held in Austin, Texas from May 18-20th. This annual event attracts more than 600 corporate and governmental industry leaders. Topics that will be covered this year include autonomous technologies, transportation funding, shared mobility solutions, innovative data collection, and more. The keynote address will be given by women’s equality activist, Lilly Ledbetter. Last year’s conference in Chicago sold out and if you are interested in attending this year’s conference, register soon. Let me know if you are able to help represent our chapter in Austin with me.

The WTS Northern Utah Chapter also hopes to send one mentor-mentee pair to the Transportation YOU DC Summit from June 22-26th. As we continue to receive generous donations to our WTS Foundation Account through our silent auction, golf scramble, and unsolicited donations, we again have funds to send a high school girl along with a mentor to Washington DC for a week of once-in-a-lifetime tours; meet-ups with White House administrators; and unique breakout sessions focusing on college opportunities, core transportation development components, career planning, and leadership development.

I can’t list all these amazing upcoming events without recognizing that none of it would happen without the generous support from our sponsors, donations to our WTS Foundation account, and the work of our volunteer board of directors and committee members. Thank you to all the companies, agencies, and individuals that support the WTS Northern Utah Chapter with sponsorships and time. We cannot offer meaningful programming, networking, mentoring, and professional development without your help. Thank you!

7th Annual Gala 01
7th Annual Gala 02
7th Annual Gala 03
Counter clockwise from top right: 7th Annual Gala Celebration; 8th Annual Gala Celebration keynote speaker, Seleta Reynolds.

Save the Date:
WTS 8th Annual Gala Celebration

Please save the date of May 24th for our annual gala as we celebrate seven years of the WTS Northern Utah Chapter!

We're pleased to welcome Seleta Reynolds, General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, as this year's keynote speaker. Plan to stay awhile and enjoy hors d'oeuvres and drinks in the company of your colleagues, win raffle prizes, and bid on fabulous silent auction gifts, as we raise money for our scholarship fund.

Keynote Speaker
Seleta Reynolds is General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) appointed by the Administration of Mayor Eric Garcetti. Ms. Reynolds is responsible for implementing Great Streets for Los Angeles, a plan to reduce traffic fatalities, double the number of people riding bikes, and expand access to integrated transportation choices for Angelinos and the region.

Ms. Reynolds has over 17 years of transportation experience throughout the United States. She has advised transportation technology companies like WalkScore, contributed to the state-of-the-practice as an Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals Board Member, mentored young professionals through WTS, and nurtured research on Transportation Research Board committees. Ms. Reynolds serves as the President of the National Association for City Transportation Officials.

Call for Silent Auction Items

Please consider donating items to this year’s silent auction!

During this year’s gala, the WTS Northern Utah Chapter will hold our traditional silent auction. The proceeds will fund scholarship opportunities for deserving young women who seek transportation-related degrees. Successful items in the past have included gift certificates, concert tickets, jewelry, donated services, and art work.

If you have any new and desirable items you would like to donate to our local chapter or have any questions, please contact our Scholarship Chair, Ali Oliver, at 801.815.0945 or via email at Thank you in advance for making this year’s silent auction a success.

2015 Scholarship Award 01
2015 Scholarship Award 02
Two of the 2015 WTS Northern Utah Chapter scholarship award recipients.

Call for Scholarship Applicants

The WTS Northern Utah Chapter Board is pleased to announce our call for scholarship applicants for 2016. This year, we are pleased to announce four scholarship opportunities totaling $6,000 for eligible undergraduate and graduate students from area schools and two opportunities totaling $1,000 for graduating high school seniors. Additionally, local chapter recipients will be eligible to apply for WTS National Scholarship opportunities. Local applications are due March 15, 2016. Additional information can be found on our website at or contact our Scholarship Chair, Ali Oliver, at 801.815.0945 or

Call for Recognition Award Nominations

The WTS Northern Utah Chapter is pleased to announce the call for nominations for 2016 Recognitions Awards. The WTS Recognitions Program celebrates the achievements of individuals and organizations for extraordinary advancements within the transportation industry through honoring an Innovative Transportation Solution, Employer of the Year, and a Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award. Awards will be presented at the WTS 8th Annual Gala. 

The nomination should describe how the project or service, organization, or individual meets the listed criteria. Please send supporting materials or questions to our Recognition Chair, Callie New, at callie@wfrc.orgNominations are due by COB, Friday April 1.
Please see below for nomination criteria for each of the three awards:

Innovative Transportation Solution

  • Describe an outstanding local project or service whose transportation element has contributed to the success of the initiative.
  • How does this project or service supports one or more key community values, such as improved accessibility to key services, employment, or other opportunities?
  • How has this project or service overcome obstacles to build its project or provide its service?
  • Describe how this project or service has made a difference in the lives of its users.

Employer of the Year (Public or Private)

  • An organization that has enhanced the transportation industry through its commitment to excellence and quality in its services or products.
  • An organization with an outstanding record of affirmative action in hiring and promoting at all employment levels.
  • An organization that supports continuing education of its employees.
  • An organization that encourages women students to enter the transportation field by providing internship opportunities.
  • An organization that has supported WTS.

Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award

  • Exhibits extraordinary efforts or initiatives in facilitating professional opportunities for women and minorities.
  • Contributes significantly to promoting diversity, inclusion and multi-cultural awareness within their organization, the transportation industry, or in a project or activity that supports the goals and mission of WTS.
Night Skiing And Boarding at Brighton
FrontRunner With Dr Joanna Ganning
Night skiing and snowboarding event at Brighton Resort.
UTA FrontRunner event with Dr. Joanna Ganning.


The Programs Committee didn’t let winter stop the drive for us to get outside. Ten attendees braved the cold at Brighton Resort for a fantastic night of skiing and snowboarding under the lights on January 20th. Fresh snow during the day made for soft falls and sent Kyle and Alex into the woods with only a head lamp to guide them. Many thanks to Paul Dowler, our fearless and no excuses leader, for the idea and follow-through. Carpooling helped reduce the number of cars on the road that night and we found it to be much easier to find a parking space when traveling at off-peak times. Congratulations to us.

Then, on February 25, a group of 16 attendees took to the rails on UTA’s FrontRunner service to learn how commuter rail can shape land use development from Dr. Joanna Ganning. This was a first time ride on FrontRunner for at least one of our attendees. Dr. Ganning shared her knowledge about residential development around commuter rail stations during the train ride and then we all enjoyed a great time networking at Twiggs in Farmington’s Station Park development. Thanks to the Katherine Daly and Jordan Baker of the Metropolitan Research Center for the upfront arrangements, Travis Perry for telling us in the inside scoop of Station Park, and Lynda Jensen who set us up with great appetizers even though she wasn’t able to attend.

Our chapter continues its monthly (first Thursdays!) Breakfast Club, which many of us enjoy. We’ve explored small, eclectic places, such as Eggs in the City and Café Niche, as well as breakfast hotspots, including the Original Pancake House and Mimi’s. This is an attend-as-you-like event and is strictly a fun and informal way for us to get together. It’s BYOBreakfast and you can be invited if you send your email address to Lynda Jensen at and request to be included on the list.

The Programs Committee is proud to announce the launch of a book club in 2016. This will be a member-driven, “one-and-done” club. Ashley MacMillan has chosen the book, “Boots on the Ground, Flat’s in the Boardroom” by Grace Crunican and Elizabeth Levin, and will facilitate the first round of the club. Pick up a copy of the book and enjoy it over the spring months. Email Ashley at if you plan to participate in the book club. The participants will meet during the first week of April to discuss the book over appetizers and beverages. At the commencement of the book club in April, a new member can volunteer to choose the next book and run the following cycle.

We are already excited to plan the Second Annual Scholarship Golf Scramble for all skill levels, which is set for September 9th at the River Oaks Golf Course. Mark your calendars and get your teams together. We all had a great time last year and are able to offer additional scholarships this year, due to our successful fund-raising efforts at the event.

We are always open to new ideas, and if you have one, contact a member of the committee, or better yet, plan a one-time event with the full help and support of the Programs Committee - we call this the ‘One and Done’ Program. You are welcome at any time to participate with the Breakfast Club, help on the Programs Committee, or provide event ideas by contacting our Programs Director, Kerry Doane, at

General Mentoring and Point B

Our first chapter-sponsored professional mentor-mentee pair (Mardi Pearson and Amanda Harris) launched their mentoring activities in the first quarter of 2016. Though they receive support and guidance from the Mentoring Program, the pair has the freedom to determine their meeting schedule and specific activities. Thus far, both parties report finding the experience highly rewarding. If you are interested in serving as a professional mentor or are looking for such a mentor, please contact our Mentorship Director, Sheri Ellis, at

The Mentoring Program continues to work with the University of Utah student transportation group, Point B, to engage the students and create opportunities for them to participate more fully in the chapter. Students from Point B have participated in our Transportation YOU (T-YOU) mentoring program for middle and high school aged girls, and led the effort to organize the recent transit program activity presented by the Metropolitan Research Center. We are also working with the students to coordinate their participation in our chapter’s upcoming annual gala and our annual T-YOU Youth Summit, where several of the university students will participate as volunteers and panelists to address questions about the college experience from our youth participants. 

UTA Jordan River Service Center 01
U of U Traffic Lab 01
UTA Jordan River Service Center 02
U of U Traffic Lab 02
T-YOU's field trip to the UTA Jordan River Service Center.
T-YOU's field trip to the University of Utah's Traffic Lab.

Transportation YOU

In January, the T-YOU group took a field trip to the Utah Transit Authority’s Jordan River Service Center where we learned about the maintenance of TRAX vehicles and saw how they are cleaned nightly (including a ride through the light rail vehicle “car” wash!). Additionally, we viewed the control room, where the TRAX trains are tracked and managed, and the cameras at TRAX stations are monitored. We learned what happens in the event of an accident, and how UTA responds and re-routes trains and buses to accommodate passengers. Special thanks to Teresa Jessen, Assistant Manager of Light Rail Vehicle Maintenance, for hosting us.

In February, the University of Utah’s Traffic Lab hosted our group and PhD students, Ivana Tasic and Anusha Musunuru, informed us of their studies and how they apply to real-world traffic and transportation solutions. The students had the opportunity to design streets using StreetMix software and then tested their driving skills in the driving simulator. They definitely need additional practice.

We continue to work with Point B and Salt Lake City on the Paint the Pavement project. The students conducted traffic counts at the chosen intersection and we are refining the design and working with artists to polish it so we are ready to paint in the spring!
In March, we are planning a field trip with Salt Lake City’s transportation division to try out the new bike lanes on 200 West and 300 South. In April, we will visit the air traffic control tower at the Salt Lake International Airport to learn how the Federal Aviation Administration manages air traffic.

Finally, our fourth annual T-YOU Youth Summit will be held at UDOT’s Region 2 facilities on Friday, May 20th. This event draws 40-50 attendees from multiple middle and high schools and is a day-long event with a lot of fun transportation activities. We provide lunch, snacks, t-shirts, and swag for the students. We welcome any contributions (monetary or “swag”) from agencies and businesses to help support this event. We have had tremendous support in the past and are thankful for the contributions that have led to the success of this event.

Young Professionals Committee

The Young Professionals Committee (YPC) hosted a post-holiday social hour in January at Gracies’ in downtown Salt Lake City. We saw some new faces and some regulars. The next YPC event will occur on March 9; the Young Lawyers Division has invited young professionals involved in many organizations, such as WTS, ASCE, and ULI, to join them in a networking social.

The YPC is always up for new ideas for events and discussion topics relating to career development. We want to know what we can do to help you succeed professionally. If you have an idea, please share it with us!

The YPC is looking for new co-chairs!  The two-year term for Alex and Amanda is coming to an end and will provide an opportunity for two volunteers to get involved and grow the program. If you are interested, please contact Young Professional Co-Chairs, Amanda Harris at or Alex Roy at

2016 Corporate Sponsorship Drive

Many thanks to all of the firms who have supported our chapter over the years. We appreciate you!

We are once again offering local firms an opportunity to be a part of our diverse transportation organization in 2016. We have just finished our seventh year of delivering transportation-oriented programming that provided great networking opportunities, informative speakers, and interactive forums.

As a 2016 Sponsor, you will receive special recognition at the WTS 8th Annual Gala with our featured guest and keynote speaker, Seleta Reynolds, General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, as well as all other events throughout the year.

A quick recap of the 2015 WTS programming events offered to sponsors, members, and guests that corporate sponsorship supports:

  • Tour of GeoStrata Geotechnical Lab – January 2015
  • The “Goods” in Movement of People and Goods – February 2015
  • Avalanche Safety for Roadways in Little Cottonwood Canyon – March 2015
  • 7th Annual Gala at the Museum of Fine Arts– April 2015
  • Electric Vehicle Owner Workshop – May 2015
  • Salt Lake Valley Overlook Trail Hike – June 2015
  • Summer Member Social Paint Mixer – August 2015
  • First Annual Scholarship Golf Scramble – September 2015
  • Professional Development Workshop; “Learn Your Buttons and Others’ Too” – October 2015
  • What Makes People Walk; Measuring Urban Design – November 2015
  • Member Appreciation Breakfast – December 2015
  • Breakfast Club – 1st Thursday of every month

Please consider sponsoring the WTS Northern Utah Chapter in 2016 at any level!  In addition to firm recognition at events, paid memberships are included with the Platinum (four memberships), Gold (two memberships) and Silver (one membership) sponsor levels.

Sponsorship information materials were mailed to firms in February and if you have any questions or would like an information packet mailed to your firm, please contact Sponsorship Director, Mardi Pearson, at 801.560.1440, or Sponsorship Committee Chair, Katie Kourianos, at 435.650.4030,

Copyright © 2016 WTS Northern Utah, All rights reserved.

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