March 1 , 2011
About the Event
Career Expo sets another record
The 2011 Transportation Career Expo drew more than 100 students eager to learn about transportation-related careers, receive job-hunting tips, and network with potential employers.
The event, held March 1 on the east bank campus in Minneapolis, featured a general-session panel discussion with transportation industry experts presenting career alternatives and preparation strategies.
After opening remarks from CTS assistant director Gina Baas, the panel was moderated by Shannon Tyree of the City of St. Paul, who also chairs the CTS Education and Outreach Council. Panelists were Jim Grube (director of transportation and county engineer, Hennepin County), John Dillingham (president, Alliant Engineering), Amy Vennewitz (deputy director of transportation, planning, and finance for the Metropolitan Council), Don Lawrence (LTL operations manager, Koch Logistics), and Fay Cleaveland (transportation planner, Mn/DOT).
The speakers discussed their backgrounds in transportation and offered tips and advice to the attendees.
“New graduates seeking jobs face a conundrum: they are attempting to gain some experience by getting hired, but no one will hire them without any experience,” Vennewitz said. “So what I would really emphasize is to get an internship—get some type of job, hopefully somewhat in the field you think you want to get into. That’s where you’re going to gain your first set of skills. You’re going to learn how to network, you’re going to learn how to be in a work environment. I think when you’re starting out, that’s the most important thing to focus on—not just your studies, but getting some experience (in any field), and also being open to any opportunity that comes your way,” she said. She pointed out that, although she studied environmental engineering, she’s been in the transportation industry ever since she graduated.
A veteran in the transportation sector, Grube emphasized that networking, such as joining a professional association, can go a long way to helping you land a job—“not only to get yourself started, but to keep yourself going,” he said.
Cleaveland, who is just beginning her career at Mn/DOT, had some helpful advice on networking. “When I was starting out, the issue wasn’t that I didn’t think networking was important, it was that I thought it was terrifying. So think about yourself and your personality and how you like to meet people,” she said. She recommended that attendees think about ways that work for them to make connections with people, such as through organizations, mentorships, or doing informational interviewing through a career center.
Other panelists emphasized the importance of good communication skills. “Communication is so important not just for job-seeking, but also once you obtain a position,” Lawrence said.
Following the Q&A session with the panel, representatives from the 22 exhibitor booths introduced themselves and said a few words about their organizations. Many students brought their résumés and received suggestions from several volunteers including Joe Barbeau and Christina Miller from CTS. An exhibitor fair offered networking and employment-seeking opportunities with the representatives from the public and private sectors and professional organizations.
The annual expo is sponsored by CTS, the Minnesota chapter of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS), the Minnesota Local Road Research Board, Minnesota LTAP, the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Institute, and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals.
- Bolton and Menk Inc.
- Braun Intertec Corp
- Central Corridor Project Office
- CH2M HILL
- Citizens for Personal Rapid Transit
- Hennepin County
- Iteris, Inc.
- Koch Logistics
- Metropolitan Council
- Minnesota Department of Transportation
- Minnesota Society of Professional Engineers
- North Central Chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers
- The Scoular Company
- SRF Consulting
- Trademark Transportation
- URS Corporation
- U.S. Army
- Women’s Transportation Seminar – Minnesota Chapter
- WSB and Associates