WASHINGTON, D.C.— A company founder and CEO, a vice president at WSP USA, a women-led engineering firm and a Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) intern are 2021 honorees of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Foundation’s “Women Leaders in Transportation Design & Construction” awards.
The awards were presented in three categories Sept. 27 at the association’s National Convention, held in Pinehurst, NC.
Ethel Birchland Lifetime Achievement Award
This award is named after a top ARTBA executive 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.
Denise Cooper, president and CEO, Cooper Engineering and a past president of the Southern California Contractors Association (SCCA)
Cooper founded the 55-employee firm that bears her name in 1987, building concrete barrier rails for roads, highways, and bridges for both small and-large-scale projects throughout southern and central California. Despite the pandemic, Cooper doubled revenue between 2019-2020 and expects to grow another 15 percent this year. As secretary, treasurer, vice president, and president of the Southern California Contractors Association, Cooper ran many of the office’s executive operations, while successfully leading the search for a new executive director. She is a member of the National Association of Women in Construction and the National Association of Women in Business. As SCCA president, Cooper wrote editorials for SCCA’s magazine, one of which was about training young women in a career in construction. “As I mentor teenage girls, I often share with them that life is about relationships,” she wrote.
Deborah Brown, vice president and director of alternative delivery for national advisory services, WSP USA
For more than 25 years, Brown has provided transportation industry leadership in the public finance and implementation aspects of the public-private partnership (P3) delivery model. In her current role, she leads and manages a team of professionals who advise organizations on implementation of P3 and innovative financing solutions. As an ARTBA member for more than 20 years, and currently first vice president of the association’s P3 Division, Brown actively works to include diversity, equity and inclusion and broaden gender and race participation in panels and conferences.
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.
T3 Design Corp., Fairfax, VA
Launched in 2006, T3 Design remains a women-owned engineering firm with 30 employees. To develop and promote women leaders, T3 invests in professional development and the firm encourages staff to take on leadership positions within industry associations. T3 has a effective, all-female executive team and has established a plan to identify and promote the next generation of women shareholders. This results in a company where employees see every day that all roles are open to them, and at T3, there is no glass ceiling.
Future Industry Leader Spotlight Award
This award recognizes 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.
Victoria Farberov, intern, Colorado Department of Transportation
Farberov recently completed her master’s in management at the University of Surrey and has earned a bachelor of science in business administration from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She was a process improvement intern for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), which has helped her develop an appreciation for the transportation industry. Farberov worked on an interagency improvement effort between CDOT and Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI). This cross-agency improvement project worked to improve processes that both agencies use.
About the Foundation
The ARTBA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt entity, “promotes 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 certificate program, roadway work zone safety and training programs, cutting-edge economic reports and an exhibition on transportation at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
A new website is available at www.artbafoundation.org.