Women Leaders Honored At ARTBA’s Milwaukee National Convention

Three women are honored as leaders in the transportation design and construction industry

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The American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s Transportation Development Foundation (ARTBA-TDF) honored two individuals for their outstanding professional accomplishments and commitment to the promotion of women leaders in the transportation construction industry, and recognized a university “rising star” for her academic and on campus achievements. 

Now in its third year, the “Women Leaders in Transportation Design & Construction Awards” features these categories: 

  • The Ethel S. Birchland Lifetime Achievement Award: Named after ARTBA’s executive director from the mid-1920s, it 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.
  • The Future Industry Spotlight 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.

Ethel S. Birchland Lifetime Achievement 

Anne Edwards-Cotter, CCM: Cotter Consulting, Inc. 

Anne Edwards-Cotter is fourth-generation contractor and engineer who founded Cotter Consulting in 1990. Under her leadership, the company has grown to a staff of over 90 program management, sustainability, and engineering professionals working in the buildings, healthcare, aviation, and transportation industries. The company’s transportation group—led by two women in both Illinois and Wisconsin, respectively—grew over 425 percent between 2000 and 2011. She is member of many professional organizations, including ARTBA chapter affiliate, The Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association, where she was instrumental for introducing the “Emerging Leaders Program” that has graduated 12 female transportation professionals. Edwards-Cotter also serves as president of the Road Builders Charities, which raises funds to support of local engineering students and chairs the Board of Trustees for Mother McAuley All-Girls High School.

Susan Martinovich, PE: CH2M HILL 

Martinovich joined CH2M HILL as director of the firm’s North America Highways and Bridges business after 28 years with the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) where she began as a college intern and rose the ranks to deputy director, chief engineer, and—finally—the first woman director in 2007. She managed an annual operating budget of $700 million and led the day-to-day operations of the agency and its 1,800 employees. She also established NDOT’s “Pioneer Program” and is known as an outspoken proponent of design-build as an alternative project delivery method. Martinovich was recognized in 2012 as a “White House Champion of Change” for developing innovative ways to help grow and expand the transportation industry. She is involved with numerous professional organizations and in 2011 was elected the first female president of the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO).  She has served as a professional mentor to many young women engineers—several of whom now hold NDOT leadership positions and is a regular presenter at the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS).


Future Industry Spotlight

Lisa Larsen: Texas A&M University - Texas Transportation Institute 

Larsen is pursuing her doctorate in transportation engineering at the Texas Transportation Institute.  While maintaining a 3.8 grade point average, she is conducting research on transportation planning, travel behavior and travel surveys on the “Travel Survey Program” and the “National Household Travel Survey” (NHTS) for the Texas Department of Transportation.  She served as the 2012 president of the Texas A&M University Institute of Transportation Engineers Student Chapter, and was a recipient of a 2012 Eisenhower Fellowship, the 2012 Houston Chapter- Women’s Transportation Seminar Overly Graduate Scholarship, and the 2011 University Transportation Center for Mobility “Student of the Year Award.”  Larsen is planning to become a transportation engineering faculty member at a top-notch university.  Her research interests include mileage-based user fees, managed lanes, and travel surveys.