In honor of International Women's Day this March, PennDOT's Philly region put the spotlight on the very talented and accomplished Sarah McInnes, who has been a member of the PennDOT family for nearly 27 years.
A Harleysville native, McInnes was recently promoted to senior assistant construction engineer for services. She said at PennDOT she learned what it meant to be a civil servant. “Our leadership encourages flexibility, innovation and movement regardless of your position. I've had amazing opportunities that have shaped me and made me a well-rounded person here."
McInnes started with PennDOT in 1996 as a CET and subsequently joined the geotechnical unit as an entry level engineer. McInnes says she has always had a passion for math and science and that PennDOT always seemed like fate too, as her father worked for the department for many years in construction and as a bridge inspection engineer.
In 2008, McInnes was promoted to district geotechnical engineer and served in that role until her recent promotion in September 2021. Her enthusiasm for PennDOT goes beyond geotechnical engineering. Through her own curiosity and by the mentorship of others, she gained experience and knowledge in a variety of other roles at District 6, which ultimately led to her transitioning into construction.
She said she was fortunate to always experience equality during her time at PennDOT. While there was a little bit of the “old boys' club" mentality she had to dig through, she said that her experience at PennDOT has been an experience of growth. That growth is possible due to the culture here at PennDOT. A culture that allows individuals regardless of any attribute to be who they are and fully grow into whatever role they have.
McInnes holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Syracuse University and a master's degree in civil engineering from Villanova University. During the summers of her university programs, she worked three different PennDOT internships, two in construction and one in the traffic unit.
As we celebrate the accomplishments and lives of women like McInnes, it's important to remember the role we can play in the promotion of equality, equity and human rights. A more equal and equitable world is only possible if we continue to make advancements in human rights not just through laws, but also in our day-to-day life.