WTS International, the association for the advancement of women in transportation, is adding a sixth award to its roster of annual award opportunities recognized throughout the transportation industry: The WTS Secretary Ray LaHood Award, which will be awarded to a man each year. The new award, essentially a “man of the year” award, has been created to recognize men that have been key to WTS International’s efforts to attract, retain, and advance women in transportation. WTS has long called for men to take an active role in bringing more women to the industry and to help women achieve the highest levels of leadership. “Who better to help us achieve the WTS mission—to build the future of transportation through the global advancement of women—than men?” said Marcia Ferranto, WTS president and chief executive officer. “When men make up 50% of WTS International’s membership, we will move the needle.”
Male membership at WTS is currently just over 15%. The new recognition will be awarded across all 53 professional chapters in addition to the premiere award presented at the WTS Annual Awards Banquet each year. The decision to name it the WTS Secretary Ray LaHood Award was an easy one, according to Ferranto. “The impact that men have on the advancement of women was clearly illustrated during former Secretary LaHood’s term,” said Ferranto. “All over the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, we will be carrying on his legacy. We are honored that he has accepted that this recognition bear his name.” LaHood served as Secretary of the US Department of Transportation (DOT) from 2009–2013. During his term, he supported WTS’s mission, and his efforts have accelerated the gender diversity issue toward more opportunities. One of these efforts is WTS’s Transportation YOU program. The program is the joint effort of WTS and DOT that led to LaHood’s signing of a memorandum of understanding in 2010 to create programs that encourage girls aged 13–17 to pursue an academic path that leads to a career in transportation. Access www.wtsinternational.org for further details.