WTS Portland recognizes Erin Ferguson with New Voice Award

May 15, 2012

Erin Ferguson’s commitment to making transportation safer for motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and mass transit users is one of several reasons the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) Portland chapter is presenting her with its New Voice Award today.

Erin, an engineer in Kittelson & Associates, Inc.’s Portland office, earned her civil engineering degree from the University of Portland. Soon after joining KAI, she helped co-author the first edition of the Highway Safety Manual (HSM). Erin attended graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, where she continued to pursue her interest in research. Today, she remains active nationally in the safety arena as a member of the Transportation Research Board Committee on Highway Safety Performance ANB25 and the Committee on Safety Data, Analysis, and Evaluation ANB20.

Erin helped create course materials and is a co-instructor in day-long and multi-day workshops teaching how to apply and integrate the HSM and other safety resources into planning, design, operations, and maintenance projects. She has taught agencies in Arizona, Alaska, California, Oregon, Florida, Maryland, and Utah. For the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), Erin assisted in developing and conducting webinar modules, providing an introduction to safety analysis fundamentals and the HSM Predictive Method.

“Erin’s technical abilities, thoughtful and practical approaches, and professionalism have led to her already serving as a Deputy Project Manager on many significant projects,” says Susan Wright, KAI Associate Engineer, who nominated Erin for the award.

“Erin routinely provides guidance to her co-workers and clients on how to integrate the HSM into roadway safety management, road safety audits, design deviations, and alternatives analysis,” Susan wrote in the nomination. “This includes providing technical oversight and quality assurance. She also provides direction on identifying crash trends and countermeasures as well as guidance on interpreting and communicating analysis results to project stakeholders.”

Susan adds that she has been impressed by Erin’s commitment to volunteering for WTS as well. The New Voice Award recognizes a chapter member who has been in the profession for less than five years, is an active member of the WTS chapter, and shows promise in making a contribution to the transportation industry.

Erin says she joined the Portland chapter because it is a vibrant, well-organized forum for networking, learning, and sharing information.

“It’s a chance to meet peers and colleagues that work for other agencies and firms and get to know them in a more casual environment,” Erin says. “In a professional environment you’re kind of restricted to interacting with somebody just on a particular project or issue, and you don’t always get a chance to learn from them. In a setting like the WTS events, you have a chance to meet a wider variety of people in the profession and exchange stories.”

Erin admits she was surprised and humbled to learn about the New Voice Award.

“I was very flattered that Susan nominated me. There’s such as a strong class of peer colleagues that are coming through the profession with right now, so it’s pretty amazing,” she says.

The WTS Portland chapter hosts monthly informational luncheons and special professional development events such as leadership workshops, roundtable discussions, and awards programs. In addition, the chapter provides scholarships for women who want to pursue careers in the profession. Click HERE to learn more about WTS International and HERE to for more information about WTS Portland.

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