On January 12, 2022, Raven Gambrell, Office Principal for HDR’s Columbia, SC office and Lee Tupper who co-leads the office’s young professional group, were invited to give remarks to the South Carolina General Assembly as part of the annual SC Engineers Day at the state capitol building.
As the Inaugural President and a founding member of the South Carolina Chapter of Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS-SC), Raven was chosen to speak on behalf of the organization and share her insight and expertise in the industry. In her remarks Raven noted that we are in an extraordinary moment in history when unprecedented funding for infrastructure improvements has converged with a workforce shortage. This has created a perfect opportunity to look outside of the typical candidates to increase and diversify the transportation industry. She went on to explain that WTS-SC is at the forefront that work with programs to create a pipeline into transportation such as developing a Transportation patch for the Girl Scouts and giving away two scholarships to high school students.
“As a woman in a male-dominated industry, I was drawn to WTSSC’s mission to attract, retain, connect and advance women in the transportation profession. Our organization comprises engineers, communication specialists, planners, logistic coordinators, and any professions related to the transportation industry. This brings a rich tapestry of perspectives to our work and shows there is space and opportunity for women with a variety of skillsets to establish themselves in the industry.”
Lee, who spoke on behalf of the SC Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (SCSITE), shared similar sentiments regarding the importance of establishing a pipeline into the industry. In his remarks he stated, “The greatest effort of our SC Section is providing annual scholarships to college seniors at the Citadel, SC State, University of South Carolina, and Clemson with interests in transportation. Many of these students are now leaders and business owners in our SC transportation community today.”
As the Immediate Past President of SCSITE, Lee has been involved with ITE for over a decade and has held a number of other roles in the organization including Secretary and Vice President. He is passionate about ITE’s mission to provide the global community of transportation professionals with the knowledge, practices, skills, and connections to serve the needs of their communities and help shape the future of the profession and transportation in the societal context.
“ITE helped to introduce me to the transportation industry as a student member and continues to support me as a practicing engineer to improve our communities through the transportation field. ITE provides technical knowledge, professional development opportunities, improved industry understanding, networking events, and the opportunity to progress our industry which is critical during this time of technological change,” he said.
Together, Raven and Lee made an impact on the attendees of the event. They impressed upon the audience the critical role that transportation and engineering plays in keeping communities connected and extended an open invitation to anyone with an interest in finding fun and engaging ways to get involved in the field. As representatives of HDR, WTS, and ITE they demonstrated the vibrancy and innovation that passionate subject matter experts bring to engineering.
To learn more about the South Carolina Chapter of WTS visit their website at www.wtsinternational.org.
To learn more about ITE visit their website at www.ite.org
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