I am honored to have been appointed as PennDOT's Executive Deputy Secretary in February 2023, and as I get settled into my new role with PennDOT, I've been reflecting on my time here and how proud I am to be part of such an incredible team.
My career with PennDOT began in 1984, when I joined the department as an Engineering, Scientific and Technical Intern. I progressed through many positions at PennDOT, and I come to this new one after serving as the District Executive at PennDOT District 11 since 2017, and I'm proud to be the first woman to serve as District Executive there.
During my time at District 11, we saw the completion of many critical roadway and bridge projects, but went through our share of challenges, from the Route 30 landslide to the collapse of the City-owned Fern Hollow Bridge in Pittsburgh, and many others. But every time, the very talented PennDOT team rallied and did what we needed to do to respond to the situation and to get people safely moving again.
As I progressed through several positions with the department, I have been continually impressed by the ability and ingenuity of the PennDOT team. No matter where you sit in this organization, you are surrounded by smart, capable people who take their public service responsibilities seriously. Our team across the department works diligently in all conditions and situations to deliver high-quality projects and services to the people of Pennsylvania which includes many of our friends and families.
It's also Women's History Month, and I wanted to also take a moment to recognize the many phenomenal women here at PennDOT. I have had the pleasure of working with many successful men and women, some who acted as mentors and others I had the opportunity to help. In my career, it has been extremely satisfying to watch so many smart and talented women reach management positions as when I started many years ago that was not the case. We've had women Secretaries, Deputies, DE's and ADE's and many more folks who are Managers in the Design, Maintenance, and Construction and even more who are key players in this huge organization. I admire all of these ladies but some who I admire the most are those that have worked their way up in the organization while juggling so many things, including children, significant others, caregiving, health issues etc. but those folks who have learned new trades or gone back to school while working and handling all of these other responsibilities are the real successes to me.
At PennDOT, we have around 11,300 employees, comprised of 76 percent white males, 19 percent females and 10 percent minorities. These numbers are trending in the right direction in terms of increased diversity in PennDOT's workforce, but obviously, we have far to go. There isn't a number or a percentage that we'll reach and say, "well, we've made it! We are now an equitable organization!" This work is ongoing, and it's not as simple as hiring more women or members of a minority group. Once these folks are part of the organization, what are we doing to support them? How are we encouraging upward mobility and helping them break down internal barriers? I'm proud to be part of PennDOT's Council on Inclusive Excellence, which will help tackle these and other important equity issues and I hope we can make a difference not only in the Department but in the Transportation industry so that we can continue to grow but we cannot be successful without everyone listening, learning and working together.
I'm extremely proud and humbled to be the Executive Deputy Secretary, and I'm excited to continue to work with the incredible PennDOT team to help keep Pennsylvanians safely connected but also to continue to share the message of how important you all are to making a positive difference in the Department and the industry.