Freese and Nichols and Transportation Team Take Home WTS Awards for Diversity and Innovation

Freese and Nichols was recognized with two awards at the 19th Annual Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) – Heart of Texas Chapter Transportation Gala held in Austin on June 17. Individually, Andrea Bryant, Transportation Design Engineer, Austin, received the chapter’s Innovative Transportation Solutions Award for her work as a female leader and Project Manager of the City of Austin North Lamar Boulevard Improvements, which proposes a multimodal facility for vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists and is part of the City of Austin’s 2016 mobility bond program. As a firm, Freese and Nichols was the recipient of the WTS Heart of Texas Chapter Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award, a recognition of our firm’s contributions and support of the advancement of women and minorities in the transportation field.


The 19th Annual Women’s Transportation Seminar – Heart of Texas Chapter Transportation Gala theme was Boots and Bling, and our team dressed accordingly! From left: John New, Kelsey Calvez, Will Huff, Tricia Hatley, Chris Dulac, Andrea Bryant, Parker Kallman, Madelyn Krieger, Ellen Maas, Karla Madriles-Ortiz, Bregger Garrison, and Kirstin Garrison


Tricia Hatley (left), Executive Vice President of Operations for Freese and Nichols, and Andrea Bryant (right), Transportation Design Engineer, accepted the awards at the ceremony.

WTS Innovative Transportation Solutions Award

The WTS Innovative Transportation Solutions Award is given annually for significant projects or initiatives led by a woman. Andrea is leading a mostly female design team as well as a team of 16 subconsultants for the City of Austin’s North Lamar Boulevard C3 and C4 projects. The North Lamar C3 project is a 3.5 mile, $60M multi-modal major arterial project that includes full-depth reconstruction of the roadway to add pedestrian and bicycle facilities and median access control from Rundberg Boulevard to Parmer Lane and is one of the largest projects included in the City of Austin 2016 Mobility Bond. The North Lamar Boulevard C4 project is a 1.0 mile, $6M project to add shared-use paths and a bus lane from Parmer Lane to Howard Lane.

The team has worked diligently to resolve several project challenges, including utility conflicts, constrained ROW and drainage issues, and is excited to help improve safety and mobility in Austin through the project. This project has allowed a large group of women opportunities to gain meaningful transportation design experience and prominently showcase the strength of women engineers.

WTS Heart of Texas Chapter Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award

Freese and Nichols has established metrics-based goals and a DEI committee to be more inclusive in our recruitment, community outreach, leadership diversity, training, communication, and corporate/strategic initiatives. We take steps to cultivate relationships with minority professional organizations and higher education institutions in diverse regions and encourage employees to actively participate and take leadership roles in organizations like WTS that promote diversity and inclusion for traditionally underrepresented groups.

Each year, Freese and Nichols conducts an extensive annual, anonymous employee engagement survey, then takes prompt, measurable action in response to concerns raised. Most recently, these actions have included expanded paid maternity and paternity leave and additional dependent care benefits to support the diverse needs of employees. Freese and Nichols also formally integrates diversity and inclusion into its mandatory leadership training and celebrates the achievements of female and minority leaders through the company’s internal intranet page and external social media sites.