June 24, 2015
Denver, CO – This summer, the recently-established WTS (Women’s Transportation Seminar) UC-Denver Student Chapter joined forces with the US Department of Transportation Small Business Services to host an inaugural event on “Careers in Transportation and the Women Who Work There.” The event, held at the Denver Public Library on June 24, featured local women leaders talking about their paths in transportation and discussing how women can begin or accelerate careers in transportation.
Panel speakers included:
Sandra Scanlon, Engineer and Owner of SSG/MEP;
Sheila Nessler, Owner of Columbia Sanitary;
Zamy Silva, Senior Manager, Civil Rights Division, Regional Transportation District (RTD); and
Betsy Wagner, AG Technology Sales Manager, Wagner Equipment Co.
(Full speaker biographies are included below.)
On March 11, 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13506 creating the White House Council on Women and Girls to ensure that each federal government agency addresses the needs of women and girls. Ray LaHood, then-Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, launched a pilot program, which evolved into the Women and Girls in Transportation Initiative (WITI). It seeks to address challenges women face, educate women on available opportunities, attract future leaders and retain female participation in the transportation industry. The program is provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.
Sandra Scanlon, P.E., LEED AP – SSG MEP, President
SSG MEP specializes in mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering providing programming, master planning, schematic, design development, construction, documentation, and construction administrative phase services. SSG MEP has designed building systems for new and remodeled facilities that include airports, municipal, police, fire department, educational and correctional facilities, hospitals, medical offices, laboratories, apartments and multi-family housing, offices, retail, restaurants, hotels, resorts, light industrial, theaters, recreation center and pools, parks and recreation and roadway lighting.
Sandra earned a BS in electrical engineering from Valparaiso University and has more than 24 years of job experience. She has served as the Section President of the Society of Women Engineers, where she also won the National Entrepreneur Award and the National Distinguished New Engineer Award. Her company annually sponsors a Women Build Day for Habitat for Humanity and she has served as the event chair for Rocky Mountain GESTEM, an event designed to introduce middle school girls to the exciting possibilities of STEM careers.
Elizabeth B. Wagner – Wagner Equipment, Business Analyst and Ag Tech Sales Manager
Wagner Equipment is the Caterpillar tractor and AGCO dealer for Colorado, New Mexico, West Texas and Mongolia, serving the mining, heavy highway, construction and agriculture industries. Betsy has the role of Business Analyst for the Technology Solutions department, as well as working as Agricultural Technology Sales Manager. Both positions focus on machine control and guidance products, which allow machines to be extremely accurate, increase efficiency and reduce operator wear and tear.
A Colorado native, Betsy returned home after 12 years on the East Coast where she graduated from Syracuse University with a BA in Consumer Studies. She trained with the
USA National Field Hockey Team; coached field hockey at Dartmouth College; and worked on political and philanthropic programs focused on women and children for Hunt Alternatives Fund in Cambridge, MA.
Zamy Silva – RTD, Senior Manager, Civil Rights Division
Zamy is experienced in the civil rights discipline, including: Certification Specialist/Investigator with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; Government Compliance Officer for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA-Boston); Small Business Manager for the RTD Civil Rights Division; and current Senior Manager of the Civil Rights Division at RTD.
She has a Bachelor of Arts and Science in Broadcasting and Spanish, and is proficient in Spanish, Portuguese and Cape Verdean-Creole. Her duties require her to understand, convey and apply federal and state laws, practices, rules and regulations, policies, procedures, guidelines and effective implementation strategies in the areas of Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), Small Business Enterprise (SBE), Minority and /Women Business Enterprise (MBE/WBE), Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), ADA, Language English Proficiency (LEP), Title VI, and Title VII. She has experience in project management, dealing with confidential and sensitive issues, and developing and implementing contract compliance monitoring strategies as well as procurement processes that must comply with federal acquisition regulations .
Shelia Nessler – Columbia Potties of the Rockies, Owner
Shelia’s company provides portable toilet service to construction locations and events in the Denver area and Front Range. Columbia Sanitary’s core business is pumping septic tanks, grease traps, and waste treatment. The septage is processed then applied to the land, thereby improving Colorado’s soils. It’s a practice that has been used as long as mankind has grown crops.
Shelia also was a ground-breaker in the gender equity battle. In 1971, she applied to the Mid-Continent School of Aviation in Kansas City, Mo., to become an aircraft mechanic. Because some teachers were concerned they might have to temper their language, a vote was taken whether or not to admit her. Upon graduation, she went to work for Cessna. She worked on Top Secret military aircraft such as the SR-71, a strategic reconnaissance aircraft, and the U-2, a high altitude reconnaissance plane. By 1989 she had at least 15 years of solid experience when she applied for a mechanic’s job with Boeing – and was rejected while all her male cohorts were hired. She subsequently took Boeing to court and won. She got to pay it forward to other women by requiring Boeing interview all of the women that had been rejected for positions in the previous five years.
(Pictured above (left to right) are: Zamy Silva – RTD, Senior Manager, Civil Rights Division; Joseph Serna – USDOT Small Business Services, Project Director; Shelia Nessler – Columbia Potties of the Rockies, Owner; Sandra Scanlon, P.E., LEED AP – SSG MEP, President; Betsy Wagner – Wagner Equipment, Business Analyst and Ag Tech Sales Manager; Dixie Malone – Denver Public Library, Librarian, whose specialty is Business Research.)