FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: MDOT Public Affairs
Jim Joyner, 410-865-1030
MDOT Team Receives Man, Woman, Member and Employer of the Year Honors,
and Innovative Transportation Solution Award
HANOVER, MD (December 15, 2022) – Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Secretary James F. Ports, Jr., received the Ray LaHood Man of the Year award yesterday from the WTS Baltimore Chapter, which cited his dedication to mentor and encourage women and minority candidates to pursue careers in transportation. WTS International, formerly the Women's Transportation Seminar, promotes advancement of women in the transportation industry.
MDOT representatives received five top honors at WTS Baltimore's annual awards luncheon. Tonya Dorsey, Director of Human Resources and Workforce Development at the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA), was named Woman of the Year; MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) was selected as Employer of the Year; MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration's (MDOT MVA) Customer Connect modernization received the Innovative Transportation Solution Award; and Jamie Richardson, MDOT MTA Manager of Project Development, was named Member of the Year.
“Over my career, I've received a lot of awards, but this is one of the ones I'm most proud of because it's about mentoring – mentoring women and minorities for job opportunities and opportunities to help them advance their careers." said Secretary Ports. “That's a big part of who I am, and I'm so proud and humbled to be recognized and receive this prestigious award. More importantly, to see some of the women and minorities I've mentored over the years also receiving awards, and being able to share the stage with them, that for me is probably the biggest thrill."
The Ray LaHood Man of the Year award is named for the former U.S. Secretary of Transportation (2009-2013), and is presented to “a man who has led by example in seeking opportunities to advance and advocate for women in his own organization and who has actively ensured that women are able to compete for key positions of authority within that organization."
Secretary Ports was praised by WTS Baltimore for his work to mentor women and encourage them to pursue career advancement and leadership roles. Secretary Ports' career in public service spans more than 30 years, including transportation posts at the local, state and federal levels and service as an elected representative in the Maryland General Assembly.
“Jim has promoted and mentored women throughout his entire career, and has surrounded himself with bright women who provide diverse perspectives because he understands that makes for the most successful organization," said WTS Baltimore President Veronica P. McBeth. “He's a hands-on leader who always makes time for people."
As Woman of the Year, Director Dorsey was cited for her work to cultivate employee growth and engagement, and for recruitment and support programs that have led to a 90% retention rate at MDTA.
Her nomination noted her work during the pandemic to assist MDTA toll collector staff affected by the agency's transition to all electronic tolling. Director Dorsey developed career preparedness activities such as skills development, counseling, mentoring and rotational job opportunities, resulting in successful placement of 189 impacted minority and women staff members.
MDOT MTA Administrator Holly Arnold, who was WTS Baltimore's Woman of the Year in 2021, accepted the Employer of the Year honor for her agency. She noted that while just 15% of top administrative positions across the transportation industry are occupied by women, MDOT MTA has more than double that rate with nearly one-third.
“At every level of MTA, women are trained, encouraged and mentored to dream big, and implement smart ideas that promote and grow the use of transit throughout the region," Administrator Arnold said.
MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer, also a WTS Baltimore Woman of the Year honoree in 2014, accepted the Innovative Transportation Solution Award for Customer Connect, the agency's IT system modernization project that gives all Marylanders greater access to information, enhanced security and the ability to conduct more transactions online.
Administrator Nizer said the development and implementation of Customer Connect spotlights how MDOT MVA valued feedback and input from female members of its leadership team, managers, supervisors and customer agents during the multi-year development of the project.
As WTS Baltimore's Member of the Year, MTA Project Development Manager Jamie Richardson was honored for her work as chair of the chapter's Transportation YOU program, which works to develop the interest of girls and young women in STEM studies. She also leads a partnership with Patterson High School in Baltimore and organizes Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day at the Engineer's Club in Mount Vernon.
WTS International was founded in 1977 and today has more than 8,000 members and 67 professional chapters. The WTS Baltimore Chapter was founded in 1983.