​(March 3, 2021) – In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) is proud to announce a project team of 30 women has been honored with the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) International 2020 Innovative Transportation Solution Award for the Baltimore Chapter.    

“This project team is a perfect example of how MDOT SHA empowers and embraces women in the engineering field,” said Joseph Sagal, MDOT SHA Deputy Administrator for Operations - Hanover. “Thank you to WTS International for recognizing what we already know to be a remarkably talented group of engineers.”    

MDOT SHA Engineers Meredith Spicer and Virginia Collier of MDOT SHA and Pamela Destino of the firm Whitman, Requardt and Associates, LLP (WRA) managed the I-695 Transportation Systems Management & Operation (TSMO) Design/Build project. It requires innovative congestion relief along an almost 20-mile corridor of I-695 in Baltimore County and was the first project in Maryland to utilize Part-Time Shoulder Use, an innovative congestion-relief strategy.  Besides meeting Governor Larry Hogan’s commitment through the Innovative Congestion Relief Program, the project also had to make the best use of existing infrastructure to improve mobility within the corridor.   

“This was an amazing project to be involved with,” said Virginia Collier, Project Manager. “Instead of being the only woman in the room as frequently occurs with engineering projects, there were many times when there was just one man in the room or on the call, surrounded by a team of strong, competent women.”  That strength and competency was needed for the various challenges the COVID-19 pandemic created for this project, including having to become 100% virtual.    

“While it was a challenge, it turned out to be one of the most fun projects to date in my career,” said Pamela Destino of the firm WRA. “It truly epitomized WTS’ mission by connecting and advancing more than 30 women in the transportation industry in Maryland.”    

Meredith Spicer became a project manager during the pandemic and is looking forward to finally meeting Pam and other team members in person.    

“This is by far one of the best teams I ever worked with, where we experienced various challenges as we shifted into the virtual world; and handled multiple calls weekly to manage the demanding procurement schedule,” said Spicer.    

Along with Collier and Spicer, the MDOT SHA project team members included Lisa Shemer, Jessica Pilarski, Sara Al-Najjar, Karen Arnold, Rebecca Chojnacki, Allison Grooms, Anne Elrays, Erin Kuhn, Carole Delion, Lisa Sirota, Fran Ward, Brandi McCoy, Patrice Emezie, Alicia Brandys, Janet Frenkil, Chrissy Brandt, Rebecca Howell-Crew, Catherine Robbins, Belinda Cavey, Shelley Brunelle, Ashley Ross, Karen Kalbaugh, Celine Kalembo, Ayende Thomas as well as many others supporting this project in the consultant roles.    

“Our organization works to advance women in the transportation industry year-round, and this unique, entirely women-led team exemplifies our core mission,” said Eileen Sien, WTS Director-at-Large.     

A virtual award ceremony was held for the winners in December.  The project has now been submitted for the WTS International award competition in May. 

Editor’s Note

From intersection improvements to widening and new interchange construction, MDOT SHA is investing in projects to enhance the commute and daily travel for millions of Marylanders.  MDOT SHA maintains more than 2,500 bridges and 17,000 miles of non-toll state roads – the interstate, US and state numbered routes in Maryland’s 23 counties.