Women’s organization hands VIA total of four awards.

The Women’s Transportation Seminar-San Antonio Region  has named VIA Metropolitan Transit “Employer of the Year,” honoring VIA’s mission to connect the community and its work to support women in the workplace.

Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) was founded as an association for the advancement of women in transportation. Each year, it recognizes members and employers who embody the WTS pursuit of transportation excellence through the achievement and success of women. The San Antonio Region Chapter (WTS-SAR) recognized VIA with four of six awards for work done in 2019.

Former VIA Board Chair Rey Saldaña received the WTS Secretary Ray LaHood Award, which was created in 2015 to recognize men who have been key to WTS’ efforts to attract, retain and advance women in transportation.

Ray LaHood served as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation from 2009 to 2013. During his term, he supported WTS International’s mission, and his efforts have accelerated gender diversity to create more opportunities. VIA President/CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt was the inaugural recipient of the Ray LaHood Award in San Antonio.

In addition to this honor, VIA’s Strategic Planner III Christina Castano was named WTS-SAR Member of the Year. Castano served as WTS-SAR 2019 Programs Chair and worked to develop a series of learning opportunities featuring high-profile speakers and topics to educate and engage members and the community about issues affecting mobility in San Antonio.

The WTS-SAR Innovative Transportation Solution Award honors an innovative transportation project led by a woman. The 2019 award recognizes the new VIA Link program and Director of Capital and Service Planning Manjiri Akalkotkar for her work to make the program a success. VIA Link was introduced in summer 2019 as an on-demand transit option in the northeast service zone. The program helped increase ridership, decrease wait times, and lower the cost to deliver service within the zone. As a result of the program’s success, VIA’s on-demand transit options will expand to two new zones in 2021. Another dozen on-demand zones are being studied for future expansion as part of VIA’s Keep SA Moving Plan.

Due to COVID-19 precautions, an in-person awards ceremony is not planned for this year. An event to honor the 2019 and 2020 winners will take place in 2021.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners.