Women’s Transportation Seminar names Multco 2015 Employer of the Year

June 10, 2015

The Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS), the professional organization to advance women in transportation, named Multnomah County as the 2015 Employer of the Year.

The WTS also named Multnomah County’s Kate McQuillan as the winner of the New Voice award for her promise in the field. Kate oversees the county’s Bike and Pedestrian Program, including Safe Routes to School.

From left, Karen Schilling, Planning director, Sandra Prock, Roads Engineer, Ian Cannon, Interim County Engineer, Joanna Valencia, SR Transportation Planner, Commissioner Diane McKeel, Megan Neill, Bridge Engineer, Katherine McQuillan, Transportation

Commissioner Diane McKeel accepted the county award at the WTS spring event June 2 in Portland.

"As a commissioner and the chair of the East Multnomah County Transportation Committee, I’ve seen firsthand the leadership and contributions of women in the field,’’ she said.“I am very proud to announce that our broad efforts to recruit, retain and promote women in the field has been recognized.’’ 

At Multnomah County, women direct the Transportation Planning and Land Use Planning and Human Resource Divisions in the Department of Community Services. Karen Schilling manages the Transportation Planning Program. Joanna Valencia staffs the East Multnomah County Transportation Committee, oversees project development and the Capital Improvement Program.

Nine women also work in Road and Bridge Engineering including Jill Wolf, the Sellwood Bridge project administrator, and five engineers who lead or are involved in projects. The engineers include Megan Neill on the Burnside Bridge, Sandy Prock on Cornelius Pass Road, Carly Clark and Emily Miletich on the Sellwood and other bridge design work, and Elizabeth Buchanan on the county’s Americans with Disabilities Act program.

Attracting women to job areas where opportunities have been limited doesn’t just happen, McKeel said. Across the county, people are working to provide access by creating pathways, networks and providing resources for interested women to meet the challenge. This includes apprenticeship opportunities for non-traditional workers, flexible work schedules and assessments that encourage women who may not see their transferable skills.

WTS Chapter President Susie Wright and Ted Stonecliffe present the award to Commissioner McKeel June 2.

The county also has several training programs including a Leadership Academy that helps develop a diverse pool of candidates for future executive level jobs and ongoing classes for employees who want to become managers.

A complete list of the 2015 winners is here.