The American Road & Transportation Builders Association Transportation Development Foundation (ARTBA-TDF) July 26 presented national awards to four individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and dedication to innovation in the transportation construction field, as well as the promotion of women leaders within the industry.

In its second year, the “Women Leaders in Transportation Design & Construction Awards Program” featured two 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: It 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

Dr. Katherine F. “Katie” Turnbull
Texas Transportation Institute (TTI)

Dr. Katie Turnbull has dedicated 35 years to transportation, research, service and education. She joined TTI as an assistant research scientist in 1989 and now serves as its executive associate director, responsible for agency-wide initiatives and management activities. Dr. Turnbull is a recognized expert on high-occupancy vehicle facilities, toll facilities, managed lanes, public transportation, transportation planning, travel demand management and intelligent transportation systems. She has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, and is a frequent speaker at national industry conferences. Throughout her career, Dr. Turnbull has been a leader in numerous industry groups and has mentored hundreds of women who have achieved positions of leadership at TTI and elsewhere.

Ms. Karen Schurr, PE
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Ms. Karen Schurr is a civil engineer with three decades of experience in both the industry and academia. As lecturer at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and previously as an engineer for the Nebraska Division of Roads, she has made many key contributions to the civil engineering profession and America’s transportation network, including the design of interstate highways, publishing research in leading journals, and grooming students for careers in civil engineering. Ms. Schurr served as team design leader for the $82 million I-80/I-680 interchange reconstruction project in Omaha, Neb., which won the 1998 “Engineering Excellence Award” given by the Eastern Chapter of the Nebraska Society of Professional Engineers. She is an active member of the Transportation Research Board and the Institute of Transportation Engineers. Ms. Schurr has also been a leader in promoting innovation within her field, leading research efforts that resulted in modifications to her state’s policies on roundabouts.

Future Industry Spotlight

Ms. Carrie Mohlman
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Ms. Molhman is a graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she is pursuing a master’s of science in civil engineering with a focus on transportation. As a graduate research assistant maintaining a 4.0 grade average, she is conducting research on commercial driver fatigue and compiling commodity flow surveys for counties in Nebraska. She also served as a professional technical worker during a summer internship with the Public Works and Utilities of Lincoln, Neb., where she oversaw sidewalk construction and worked closely with contractors on completed quantities and quality control. In her spare time, Ms. Molhman volunteers with the “Road, Rails and Racecars” afterschool mentoring program for middle school students, which encourages young adults to explore careers in the transportation field.

Ms. Danielle Soriano

Ms. Soriano is a senior at the University of Florida and is working toward a B.S. in civil engineering with a minor in urban and regional planning. In addition to maintaining a 3.74 grade average, she serves as vice president for the school’s Women’s Transportation Seminar and as the campus involvement chair for the Theta Tau Co-ed Professional Engineering Fraternity. She is a member of the local chapters of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers. Ms. Soriano has also worked as an undergraduate research assistant at the university’s Transportation Research Center helping construct traffic networks, analyze traffic data, evaluate computational methodology documents and compare analysis algorithms.

The awards program is a signature initiative of the association’s Women Leaders in Transportation Design & Construction Council, which promotes “leadership and career advancement for women in the industry through mentoring, recognition, educational activities and networking.”