orangecountywts@gmail.com

P.O. Box 10177 Santa Ana, CA 92711-0177

Featured Members

WTS-OC is honoring the vast talent and expertise our membership provides to the transportation industry in Orange County and beyond. Every quarter, two WTS-OC members or corporate partners will be featured.

Please congratulate and introduce yourself to our featured members at our next event

To nominate a current WTS-OC member or corporate partner to be featured, email us at orangecountywts@gmail.com

Melinda Cruz.jpg

What is your educational background?

I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering with a specialization in Transportation Systems Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.

 

Why did you choose a career in transportation?

In all honesty, I have been interested in a career in transportation for as long as I can remember. Between the awestruck effect of watching a brand-new bridge being erected, to taking any and every opportunity to travel by rail, it was only natural that I would first pursue a career in Civil Engineering and shortly thereafter fall in love with the study of transportation.

What is the most challenging project you have worked on and why?

The most challenging project I have worked on would have to be Link Union Station (Link US) that will transform Union Station from a “stub-end track” station into a “run-through track” station. A major project component is to design a viaduct with up to 10 run-through tracks over US-101 with limited state right-of-way, and in coordination with concurrent projects. Amongst the challenges this component requires highway realignment, modifications to adjacent tracks, utility relocations and drainage modifications.

What attracted you to WTS?

I was introduced to WTS through the WTS Mentorship Program. I was fortunate enough to join in the midst of moving from Phoenix, AZ, and changing my career path from a Traffic Engineer to a Transportation Engineer. I started at a new company knowing relatively little about the local industry or the major stakeholders. WTS immediately provided me the opportunity to get to know not only professionals in the field, but also industry leaders who share a common goal to advance women’s careers in the field of transportation.

 

What impact has WTS made on your life?

The biggest impact WTS has had on my life is providing me lifetime mentors and friendships. WTS has connected me with remarkable individuals I would otherwise not had the opportunity to meet. In addition, these connections have given me perspective about the value I bring to this field and the confidence to develop my career path.

Why would you encourage others to join WTS?

In my experience, WTS is an excellent organization to connect all individuals in the transportation industry – engineers, planners, marketing professionals and state and local officials, to name a few. In addition, WTS regularly provides opportunities through luncheons and conferences to learn about important topics and projects within the field.

 

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

I am fascinated by travel – not just the destination, but the modes of transport to get me there. I have traveled to 15 countries (and counting) and would have to say my favorite experience was taking the Shinkansen (bullet train) in Japan in the winter.

WKE, Inc.

Melinda Cruz

Allison Jenney Headshot - Crop.png

What is your educational background?

MFA, Creative Writing; BA, English with Certificates in Literature and Creative Writing

 

Why did you choose a career in transportation?

I think transportation chose me. I was attending Chapman for graduate school and applied for a graduate position with the university's magazine. They gave the paid position to someone else but asked if I'd still want to write for them. I said yes.

That "yes" would lead me to work a story at Angel Stadium, where a contact there would later email me saying: "I know you're in school, with Chapman Magazine, and at Disney, but I gave your information to someone who's looking for someone with your background."

I knew nothing about transportation, but was curious and went for the opportunity. Three and half years later, here I am!

 

What is the most challenging project you have worked on and why?

I wouldn't necessarily say there was one specific challenging project. Within marketing/business development, maintaining and coordinating proposal requirements and documents can get overwhelming when there are multiple pursuits out at once. I think in those moments of stress, and feeling that it's all happening at once, I forget that my job comes down to checklists. The Client has a request of items they want addressed, and we make sure we check those items off and present ourselves in the best way we can. So, if I can remember to remind myself (haha) that this "in-the-moment-big-deal" is checks off from a list, then I can breathe again, and get checking!

What attracted you to WTS?

While at WKE, Inc., a fellow coworker suggested I become involved in WTS, and I'll forever be grateful for her push and WKE's support. I became a mentee within the Mentoring Program and was intrigued by the people involved who practiced what they preached. WTS has a mission, and our Orange County Chapter does its best to see that mission through to its fullest. I love that.

I'm fortunate now, that Mott MacDonald is also a big supporter of the organization. I think it's also telling when not only the people within the organization are excited by its value, but also the community around the organization provides such support as well.

 

What impact has WTS made on your life?

FRIENDS. Work-real-life-adult-friends. I genuinely cherish the relationships I've made from those I've met within WTS. I cannot even imagine who I'd be right now if it weren't for these women and men.

 

Why would you encourage others to join WTS?

The drive the organization has to push its mission. WTS truly wishes to promote and advance women within the industry, and from networking opportunities, to professional development courses, the organization provides a plethora of resources to take advantage of to further develop oneself.

 

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

I enjoy running solely for the joy of running. Reading is also a favorite past time.

I'll forever be a Disney Cast Member at heart and can easily be distracted if there is a Disney anything nearby. I'm a passionate Angels fan, who has a current love-hate relationship with the franchise and this 2018 season.

And, if you've heard any rumors about me seeking out Kit-Kats during the work-day...they're all true.

Mott MacDonald, LLC

Allison Jenney