As Women’s History Month comes to a close, InfraTalk America is proud to recognize the incredible achievements of women throughout the transportation industry. At a time when women’s representation in the industry is still lower than it should be, it is crucial to recognize the courageous women who have broken numerous barriers.
Below are four women who have made a lasting impact on the transportation industry:
Last year, Paula Hammond, Senior Vice President of WSP USA, became the first woman chair of American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). Before this, Hammond spent almost 35 years at the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). From 2007 to 2013, Hammond served as the agency’s first female Secretary of Transportation. During her tenure, she was a champion for efficient freight movement, transparent performance management, and long-term safety. She also led one of the first state DOT climate risk assessment and adaptation plans and was instrumental in the delivery of a $16 billion infrastructure investment plan. Her commitment to building a strong transportation future resulted in her founding the Paula Hammond Leadership Academy. The program provides opportunities for under-served youth to obtain attainable paths to good-paying careers in engineering and construction through personalized mentorship.
For more than 35 years, Susan Martinovich has dedicated her career to the advancement of the transportation industry. Martinovich recently made history when she was elected as the first woman president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in 2011. Before this role, Martinovich served for more than 28 years at the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) in various positions, including six years as director. During her tenure, she was instrumental in the transformation of NDOT and the implementation of communication strategies that helped promote transparency and accountability.
Senator Elizabeth Dole’s commitment to public service and her passion for improving the lives of Americans is evident over her entire distinguished career. Senator Dole was the first woman to serve in five presidential administrations, and the first female to be appointed Secretary of Transportation under President Reagan. As Secretary, she prioritized safety and introduced measures such as third rear brake lights and airbags in automobiles. Senator Dole also worked closely with MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) to pass legislation that raised the legal drinking age to 21.
With a distinguished career spanning over two decades and two presidential administrations, Mary E. Peters has left an undeniable mark on the United States Department of Transportation. From 2006 to 2009, she served as Secretary, and from 2001 to 2005, she served as Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration. During her time in office, Peters was instrumental in leading efforts to improve safety and security, reduce congestion and streamline environmental review processes. In addition to her work at the Department of Transportation, she also served as the Director of the Arizona Department of Transportation from 1998 to 2001. In this role, Peters was responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of a $2 billion transportation improvement program. In recognition of her achievements, she was named the Most Influential Person in Arizona Transportation by the Arizona Business Journal.
All four of these women have shattered glass ceilings and will certainly go down in history as trailblazers in our industry. Thanks to their phenomenal contributions and leadership, our transportation system is safer, stronger and more climate resilient. While we still have a way to go in achieving full equity, these women have paved a path forward for generations of women to come. For more information about our Women Leading Innovation in Transportation Infrastructure Series, click here.