The American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s Transportation Development Foundation (ARTBA-TDF) honored executives from A. Morton Thomas and Associates, Inc. and Lea & Elliot, Inc., the Indiana Toll Road (ITR) Concession Company, and students from the University of Florida and the University of Colorado with “Women Leaders in Transportation Design & Construction” awards.
The association made the announcement Sept. 20. Winners were announced in three categories:
Ethel S. Birchland Lifetime Achievement Award
This award is named after ARTBA’s executive director from the mid-1920s, and is given to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, long-term service in the industry’s public or private sectors and dedication to the advancement of innovation and other women leaders.
Murphy Tuomey, A. Morton Thomas and Associates, Inc.
As principal, board member and senior vice president with more than 30 years of leadership experience, Murphy Tuomey manages the firm’s national operations and its construction inspection and management practice. She has overseen work and staff on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge between Virginia and Maryland, and Virginia’s I-495/95 project. Tuomey is an OSHA compliance expert and OSHA outreach trainer, making her a leader in the field of construction safety. She also established the firm’s Civil Rights Compliance and Reporting practice. Tuomey is a leader in a number of industry groups, and is a Fellow with the Society of American Military Engineers.
Diane Woodend Jones, Lea & Elliot, Inc.
As the firm’s board chair, Diane Woodend Jones is committed to promoting equity and equal access to opportunity for women from diverse cultures, backgrounds, education and interests. Over the past 25 years at the firm, she has led numerous infrastructure projects in the transportation and aviation sectors. As chair of the Women’s Transportation Seminar’s (WTS) International Board of Directors, she helped propel the 7,000-member, 60-chapter organization to all-time engagement and membership highs. She also expanded the WTS leadership program for mid-career and senior women professionals looking to advance in the transportation industry. Woodend Jones serves as trustee on the Mineta Transportation Institute Board, sits on the Eno Center for Transportation Board of Advisors, and is vice chair of the University of Texas and Arlington’s College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs advisory board, where she delivered a 2016 commencement address on diversity, volunteering and mentoring.
The Glass Hammer Award
This award honors companies in the transportation construction industry that have innovative programs and activities directed at successfully promoting women leaders within their organization.
ITR Concession Company LLC
Through efforts to continually improve diversity, ITRCC has promoted numerous women into management positions, where they currently comprise 60 percent of senior management. This year, the firm promoted its first woman executive committee member in its history. The company requires all contractors and third party vendors to participate in setting a percentage of all money spent on Women Business Enterprise. Through those procurement requirements, $2.55 million has been spent with women-owned businesses. Internal fundraising initiatives have also generated financial support for two shelters for abused women and children.
Future Industry Leader Spotlight Award
This award recognized students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate studies at a U.S. college or university who have achieved an outstanding academic record and demonstrated extraordinary leadership skills within and outside of the academic environment.
Deja Jackson, University of Florida
Deja Jackson is pursuing a doctorate in civil engineering, only the third African American woman in the department to do so and the first to specialize in transportation. She is minoring in urban and regional planning as a graduate student and working on a graduate certificate in engineering entrepreneurship. Her research focuses on applying analytical methods to address transportation safety on the nation’s roadways. During a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) internship, Jackson was the first to analyze the agency’s motorcycle crash causation studies, identifying opportunities to apply intelligent transportation systems and connected vehicle technology to improve motorcycle safety. Jackson aims to contribute to meaningful research that will impact our nation’s transportation system and reduce the number of lives lost, and hopes to one day serve as secretary of transportation for a state, or even the country.
Laura Parsons, University of Colorado
Laura Parsons, a recent graduate of the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, plans to pursue a master’s degree in urban and regional planning or public policy and administration, to address how infrastructure can provide vulnerable communities access to resources and spur economic growth. While in school, she has worked for both city and state government and is committed to “enhancing quality of transit for everyone using Colorado infrastructure.” Parsons’ research comparing cities nationwide with similar population density to Colorado Springs helped incorporate a city master plan on bicycle ridership. During an internship at the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Parsons made public presentations about process improvement and change management to the city and county of Boulder, the American Society for Quality and the Project Management Institute.
Since 1985, the ARTBA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt entity, has worked to “promote research, education and public awareness” about the impacts of transportation investment. The Foundation supports an array of initiatives, including educational scholarships, awards, professional development academies, a transportation project safety certification program, roadway work zone safety and training programs, special economic reports and an exhibition on transportation at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.