Jennifer Toth, MCDOT director and county engineer
The Maricopa County Department of Transportation joins with organizations across the county to recognize National Women in Construction Week, March 6 to 12, 2017. Nationally, women make up only 9 percent of construction workers according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The focus of Women in Construction Week is to highlight the contributions and growing role that women make to the construction industry, as well as, raise awareness of the opportunities available for women in the industry.
Roadway construction is one of the core functions of MCDOT. In honor of Women in Construction Week, we highlight a few of the many women whose contributions help MCDOT deliver a seamless transportation system through its roadway and bridge construction projects.
Jennifer Toth: County Engineer
Jennifer Toth, MCDOT director and county engineer began her career more than 20 years ago as an engineer in training at the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). She transitioned into a construction engineer role working on highway projects across the state. Eventually, she moved into project planning, project management and later administration, becoming Arizona's state engineer. Toth joined MCDOT as director and county engineer in 2014.
Her advice to others looking to join the transportation industry — “Stay self-motivated, challenge yourself and challenge others. If you do not challenge yourself, you will not gain new knowledge that you may need in the future. Turn your challenges into learning experiences, understand what you take away from those experiences, and then pass it on.”
Lisa Ruane: Construction Engineer
Lisa Ruane, construction engineer has worked in the construction industry, primarily for Departments of Transportation, for more than 35 years. She began her career with the Pennsylvania DOT in 1982. At MCDOT, she manages transportation projects through the construction process by working with MCDOT's contractors and consultants to provide oversight for construction progress.
Ruane said she appreciates that every day is different and each job brings new challenges. “It's not the same job day-in, day-out. The types of projects, construction teams and project challenges are always changing. There is nothing to get bored with in construction.”
Elvira Seta: Inspector
Inspector Elvira Seta joined Maricopa County 15 years ago. Prior to working at the County, Seta worked in Industrial Inspections and received her PhD in chemistry. As a MCDOT inspector, Seta oversees that MCDOT's contractors, subcontractors and everyone involved with a roadway project is following the laws, policies and specifications of each project. She makes sure that everything is done in a safe, timely and fiscally responsible way.
Seta said she loves being part of the MCDOT team because it gives her the opportunity to serve the residents of Maricopa County. “I love the feeling I get when I drive somewhere and pass one of my projects. Sometimes I just check in to see how the finished project is holding up. It makes me feel proud, being part of something very important.”
Kelly Roy: Utility Coordination Branch Manager
Kelly Roy, MCDOT's Utility and Railroad Coordination branch manager began her career in the construction industry 17 years ago. At MCDOT, she manages a team of experienced professional coordinators who ensure that conflicts with utility lines on projects are resolved.
Roy said the best parts of her job are learning something new every day and the relationships she builds. She enjoys the unity and the feeling of success when all partners on a project work well together to complete projects, while serving the community.
Her advice for women who are interested in joining the construction industry: “Don't look at yourself as a 'woman' in the job but as part of a community of people who make a valuable contribution to transportation. Always keep a sense of humor and understand that advice from others should not be taken personally, but professionally.”
Annette Hatfield: Materials Tester & Inspections
Annette Hatfield, materials tester and inspector has worked in construction for 17 years, 10 of those at MCDOT. Hatfield works both in the MCDOT materials lab and out in the field to test concrete, asphalt and soils to make sure the materials used on MCDOT projects meets the County's quality standards.
Hatfield enjoys the challenge of finding the differences in materials, especially in how they are applied in different areas of the county. Hatfield encourages other women to join the industry. “Try it out. You may just like it.”