Women in Transportation: Supporting the First WTS Iowa Chapter
It’s official, the WTS Iowa Chapter received its charter in August 2019 after 10 months of planning and coordination. The chapter’s formation was initiated by the Iowa DOT’s goal of filling anticipated vacancies and supporting women interested in pursuing a career in transportation. After Iowa DOT shared their vision, HR Green’s Senior Transportation Project Manager, Stacy Woodson, PE, and Highway Project Engineer, Megan Anderson, PE were inspired to join the cause helping other women in transportation create meaningful connections.
WTS International was founded in 1977 by a group of pioneering women in the field of transportation who realized that women’s careers would benefit from professional development, encouragement, and recognition to support their advancement in transportation professions. Now, after more than 40 years of growth and development, WTS is an international organization with more than 6500 members (including women and men) and 79 chapters.
“The driving mission behind WTS is to support women within transportation,” said Woodson. “Currently 47% of the US workforce is comprised of women, yet only 13% of the transportation industry is.”
The WTS Iowa Chapter held its kick-off meeting in June 2019 discussing the purpose of WTS, the benefits of an Iowa Chapter, the challenges women in the transportation profession face, and mentoring opportunities. Anderson reported a great turnout with over 120 people attending the event held in Ames, Iowa with attendees spanning a broad spectrum of professional backgrounds.
In addition to developing a new resource for women in transportation, Anderson and Woodson want to encourage greater participation in WTS Iowa and guide women to the many benefits and programs provided by the organization, including mentorship programs and networking opportunities.
Both women hope that WTS Iowa will better connect transportation professionals in the region. They believe the chapter will help to advance women in the transportation industry by reaching out to them early on in their careers.
Woodson and Anderson expressed appreciation to Iowa DOT Director Mark Lowe, InTrans Director Shauna Hallmark, as well as to the WTS Kansas Chapter for providing support and helping to navigate the WTS chapter formation process.
The WTS Iowa Chapter will hold its next event on October 21, 2019, in Ankeny, Iowa with the topic of developing your personal brand.