From aviatrix Amelia Earhart to the first female Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole, women have played an integral role in our nation’s transportation system. Last week, I wrote about the Department of Transportation’s new web exhibit all about women in transportation history: www.dot.gov/womenandgirls.
But it isn’t just these women of the past who have made great strides in transportation. Women are excelling today as transportation policy experts, civil engineers, airline pilots, city planners, and racecar drivers.
And this morning, the Conference Of Minority Transportation Officials honored some of the nation's talented women transportation professionals at their annual “Celebrating Women Who Move the Nation” awards breakfast.
Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth was chosen as this year's Lifetime Achievement Award winner for her service in the Iraq War as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot. And I'm proud to say that Therese McMillan, our own Deputy Federal Transit Administrator, was also among this year's honorees.
Deputy Administrator McMillan started at FTA in July of 2009, after serving as the Deputy Executive Director-Policy at the San Francisco Bay Area Region's Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Since joining the FTA team, she has led a major reassessment and reform of FTA’s Civil Rights responsibilities; has launched a national conversation and research effort to help transit agencies adapt to changing weather patterns and natural disasters; and has overseen the restructuring of FTA’s grants programs.
After President Obama signed MAP-21 into law last year, McMillan played a key role in helping FTA implement the law's transit-related provisions. More recently, she helped develop a streamlined process for FTA's primary capital funding program, New Starts / Small Starts.
“The extraordinary thing was not that this groundbreaking initiative was conceived, led, and delivered by the best women for the job,” she said. “Rather, the effort was implemented by the best professionals for the job, PERIOD.”
Here at DOT, we don’t just hire the best women for the job; we strive to work with the best PEOPLE for the job, and we believe the Department is stronger for the diverse backgrounds and experiences our people represent as a result.
Congratulations to Therese McMillan and all of the 2013 honorees.