Ahlborn Named Woman of the Year by Transportation Group

Tess Ahlborn has been named Woman of the Year by the Michigan chapter of WTS, an international organization dedicated to the professional advancement of women in transportation.

Ahlborn, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Michigan Technological University, will be accepting the award and giving the keynote speech at the awards ceremony, set for March 14 in Hartland.

Also being honored is Michigan Tech’s Transportation Enterprise, which uses industry-sponsored projects as a framework for student learning. The program is receiving the Innovative Transportation Solutions Award, in part for its students’ efforts to expand transit services in the Houghton/Hancock region.

In addition, two Michigan Tech civil engineering undergraduates, Sarah Reed of De Tour Village and Ellen Nightingale of Stevensville, will be awarded scholarships.

The Woman of the Year is chosen based on demonstrated leadership in the transportation field and outstanding contributions to the industry. She must also have contributed to the advancement of women and minorities and advanced the reputation of women in the industry through her achievements.

Ahlborn is an expert in structural concrete, including high performance and ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC), particularly as it relates to prestressed concrete bridges. She was a founding member of the North American UHPC Working Group, established to develop guidelines for UHPC use in America.

She is a Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) Fellow, only the third woman to be so recognized, and was the first woman on the industry’s Technical Activities Council. To introduce more women to the industry, she initiated the Women in PCI event, which has been held annually since 2005. Ahlborn was named PCI’s 2010 Distinguished Educator for her contributions to improving concrete-design course work during her years at Michigan Tech, where she routinely supports programs that encourage women and minorities to pursue careers in transportation.

Ahlborn is director of the Center for Structural Durability, a Michigan Department of Transportation Center of Excellence, and has worked extensively with government and industry partners to improve the resiliency of the nation’s infrastructure. Among her many other accomplishments, she led the successful effort to designate the Mackinac Bridge as an ASCE National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

Previous WTS Women of the Year include former Governor Jennifer Granholm and Senator Debbie Stabenow.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.