Oct 22, 2020
ARTBA Presents Industry Leaders Awards for Industry Contributions
The American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) has honored a number of individuals and companies with awards recognizing their contributions to the industry. The awards were presented at ARTBA’s national convention on October 20, 2020, held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ARTBA Award
David Zachry, CEO of San Antonio-based Zachry Corp. and a long-time volunteer leader in ARTBA, is the 2020 recipient of the organization’s highest honor—the “ARTBA Award.” Established in 1960, the ARTBA Award recognizes individuals for outstanding contributions that have advanced the broad goals of the association. Recipients have included more than 25 U.S. senators or representatives, two U.S. secretaries of transportation, several governors, and dozens of top leaders and executives from government and the private sector of the transportation construction industry.
Zachry is being recognized for more than 30 years of professional success at Zachry Corp. and for his ARTBA volunteer leadership service as a two-term (2015-17) chairman, senior vice chairman, first vice chairman, vice chairman at large and vice chairman of the Transportation Development Foundation.
Zachry helped develop and advance an innovative revenue and tax reform package aimed at increasing federal transportation infrastructure investment by providing long-term stability for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). The HTF is the source, on average, of more than 50 percent of highway and bridge capital investments made by state governments annually.
He launched the Safety Certification for Transportation Project ProfessionalsTM (SCTPP) —the construction industry’s only internationally-accredited safety program. The SCTPP seeks to significantly reduce the number of safety incidents that occur in and around U.S. transportation project sites. Nearly 500 industry professionals have earned the certification credential since its late 2016 launch.
Zachry also played a major role in moving the ARTBA Women Leaders Council strategic plan forward.
ARTBA’s Women Leaders Awards
A chief state transportation engineer, a vice president at HNTB Corp., two transportation policy project managers, and a women-led civil engineering firm are the 2020 winners of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Foundation’s “Women Leaders in Transportation Design & Construction” awards.
Ethel Birchland Lifetime Achievement Award
This award is named after a top ARTBA executive from the mid-1920s and 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.
Meg Pirkle, chief engineer, Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT)
Pirkle has been with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) for more than 30 years and has been chief engineer at GDOT since January 2015 – the first woman to hold the job. She oversees management of the agency’s statewide Engineering, Construction, Operations, P3 and Intermodal Divisions. During her term as assistant to the chief engineer, Pirkle took on the enormous role of managing daily operations of the federal stimulus program and successfully guided GDOT’s implementation of the $930 million initiative, meeting every national deadline and criteria. She spearheaded the initiatives to implement the governor’s Winter Weather Taskforce recommendations for the Department.
Mary Jane O’Meara, vice president, HNTB Corp.
O’Meara is a collaborative, innovative senior transportation leader with a proven track record of leading and working with diverse groups, including city, state and federal transportation officials to accomplish complex goals. Her more than 40 years of experience includes two decades working for the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), serving as operations manager and director of the Tobin Memorial Bridge. She is also a past president of the International Bridge, Tunnel, Turnpike Association (IBTTA).
At HNTB, O’Meara plays a major role in growing the firm’s toll practice. She continues to be a strong advocate for professional development and serves as an active mentor to many professionals in the transportation community. She is a longtime member of the Women’s Transportation Seminar, Inc. (WTS), having held various leadership positions, including Boston chapter president, Boston chapter board and WTS International president.
In 2015, O’Meara joined a prestigious list of women who’ve made a difference in the transportation industry and was featured in the book, Boots on the Ground, Flats in the Boardroom: Transportation Women Tell Their Stories by Grace Crunican and Elizabeth Levin.
The Glass Hammer Award
This award honors companies in the transportation construction industry that have innovative programs and activities directed at successfully promoting women leaders within their organization.
Morton Thomas and Associates, Inc. (AMT), Rockville, Md.
Women have held influential leadership positions with A. Morton Thomas and Associates, Inc. throughout the firm’s 65 years. AMT was co-founded by A. Morton Thomas, PE, LS and his wife Georgia Thomas, who served as chief financial officer until 1983 when Christine Teates became president.
As one of the first female presidents of a civil engineering firm in the mid-Atlantic region, Teates worked to continue elevating female presence in the A/E/C industry. The objective of empowering female employees remains firmly embedded in AMT’s company culture and is reflected in the diverse roles and contributions of women across departments. With 12 female licensed professional engineers, more than 20 female staff within marketing and operations, and representation on the board of directors, AMT boasts more female management than it ever has. AMT female project managers and marketing managers have been at the helm of many of the projects recognized for engineering excellence and innovation.
Future Industry Leader Spotlight Award
This award 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.
Peyton Gibson, University of Colorado, Denver
Currently the Associate Program Officer at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, D.C., Gibson collaborates with leading industry, academic and public sector experts to advise the federal government on issues of the built environment. She is pursuing her master’s degree in Transportation Engineering at the University of Colorado Denver.
Gibson’s career goal is to help American communities live higher quality, happier lives in sustainable places by influencing the design and policies of transportation and the built environment. The research topics she covers at work and in school range broadly from the economics of bike lanes and sidewalks to national appliance energy efficiency standards and management of nuclear waste sites.
Smita Yamgar, Columbia University
Smita Yamgar’s strength is in construction project management. While pursuing her master’s at Columbia University, she was selected as the representative for the Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics Department and represents the Engineering School as a delegate at the Interschool Governing Body of Columbia. Throughout her tenure at Columbia University, she has demonstrated her leadership skills while proving herself as tenacious, undaunted student. Yamgar is the first woman to receive Indian Government Scholarship for her graduation. Prior to enrolling in the master’s program at Columbia, Yamgar completed her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from a top university in India, seizing the Gold Medal Award for achieving the highest grades in engineering. Finally, she has seven years of field experience in transportation, infrastructure, residential, commercial, power plants and industrial construction projects.
ARTBA Contractor Safety Awards
Transportation construction companies from three states were also recognized at the event, for their outstanding employee safety programs.
The annual ARTBA “Contractor Safety Awards” were created to promote worker safety and health as core values of the transportation design and construction industry.
The contractor finalists were competitively selected, based upon their accident and injury rates on work sites as reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as well as their Experience Modification Rates (EMRs) as determined by their insurance carriers. Finalists from three different categories, based on the personnel hours worked in the previous year, were invited to make a presentation before a panel of industry judges Oct. 15-16.
Winners were selected based on demonstration of key principles of safety excellence including management commitment, employee participation, incident investigation, auditing, planning and risk assessment.
The size categories are companies with 1) less than 500,000 personnel hours worked in the previous year; 2) 500,000 – 1,000,000 personnel hours; 3) Over 1,000,000 personnel hours.
The Awards were presented as follows:
- Under 500,000 personnel hours (small) = W.W. Clyde, Orem, Utah
- 500,001 – 1 million personnel hours (medium) = Great Lakes Construction Company, Hinckley, Ohio
- Over 1 million personnel hours (large) = Sterling Construction Company, Inc., The Woodlands, Texas