Smart Transportation: A Look Back and Staying Ahead was the theme for this year’s Florida Section of The Institute of Transportation Engineers Annual Meeting that was co-sponsored by the South Florida Chapter of Advancing Women in Transportation (WTS). During the 2014 Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet and Annual Recognition Awards held at the Embassy Suites Hotel, WTS honored those who support the transportation industry, the WTS organization and its goals.

This year’s categories included the 2014 Employer of the Year, Member of the Year, the Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award and Woman of the Year. 2014 Employee of the Year, honoring businesses or agencies for their support of the goals and purpose of WTS, was awarded to the City of Fort Lauderdale’s Diana Alarcon, Director of the City’s Transportation and Mobility Department. Acknowledging a WTS member who has made extraordinary contributions to the success of the organization, 2014 Member of the Year was awarded to Natalia T. Lercari, P.E., LEED Green Associate, Project Manager and Traffic Section Leader with McMahon Associates, Inc. Recipient of the 2014 Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award was Julie Ruffolo, Managing Partner of Adept Public Relations. The award serves to recognize organizations, companies and innovative individuals that are broadening their multi-cultural initiatives, changing corporate cultures and philosophies. The evening’s final award was presented to Robyn Chiarelli, Executive Director of the Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association, for 2014 Woman of the Year Executive Director, honoring a woman who is an outstanding role model in transportation.

The WTS Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award was named for the African American woman who changed the course of history on December 5, 1955, after refusing to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. The WTS Diversity Leadership Award recognizes astute organizations, companies and innovative individuals that are broadening their multi-cultural initiatives, changing corporate cultures and philosophies.

As recognized by this award, Ms. Ruffolo has proven that one organization can make a difference, exhibiting boldness in their support and promotion of diversity, inclusiveness and multi-cultural awareness within the organization and the transportation industry. “My team and I are extremely active in the South Florida region committed to philanthropy and volunteerism with local non-profit and neighborhood organizations”, said Julie Ruffolo, Managing Partner with ADEPT. “Its an honor to be associated with Rosa Parks who is such a historical figure for minorities and women”, concluded Ruffolo. Ms. Ruffolo is a member of Broward League of Cities, the Advancing of Women in Transportation (WTS), the National Association of Professional Women, the Riverwalk Trust, Envision Uptown, Inc., the Historic Stranahan House Museum and the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce.

“This award is being presented to an individual that has demonstrated outstanding efforts and initiatives in facilitating professional opportunities for women and minorities”, said Jessica Josselyn, Associate Planner with Kittelson & Associates, Inc. and President of WTS South Florida. “Julie has contributed significantly to promoting diversity, inclusion and multi-cultural awareness”, commented Josselyn.

Building the future of transportation through the global advancement of women is the WTS Mission. The WTS Vision is to promote lifelong careers in transportation—attracting, retaining, and advancing women in transportation. It is recognized worldwide as a network of transportation subject matter experts.

ADEPT focuses on providing strategy and public relations consulting services to public and private clients. ADEPT is a small, minority and women-owned U.S. Department of Transportation certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), a State of Florida certified Small Business Enterprise (SBE) and a Broward County Business Enterprise (CBE) providing strategic communications, public involvement, outreach, stakeholder coordination, influence marketing and branding services.

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