photo of a car with headlights shining driving down a road

Session No. 3F

Session Title: Re-Branding the Transportation Professional:  A Workforce Challenge*

Session Description: As Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAV) become more prevalently used along our nation’s roadways, it is increasingly important that educational institutions produce students with the competencies to not only perform entry-level task, but transition into a “new” career that is transforming the Civil Engineer to a TSMO (Transportation System Management & Operations) Engineer. With the current shortages in the ITS, Traffic Engineering and Transportation Planning workforce, and the emergence of increasingly complex systems and technologies (such as CAV), alignment between workforce needs and education curriculum is essential.

Session Objectives:

  • Define the current, and future, competencies required for an entry-level ITS/TSMO position in the workforce.
  • Explore the continuum of TSMO education
  • Identify/Discuss existing tools (from the ITS PCB Program and partners), best practices, and strategies that high schools, two-year colleges, and universities use to help build the future TSMO workforce.
  • Identify any unmet educational needs, define solutions, and set action-items to address the unmet needs.


Moderator: Anthony Castellone, P.E., PTOE, PENNONI

*Session to end with short panel discussion moderated by Dr. Martin Pietrucha.

Speaker Bios

Mary Kay Babyak became the Consortium’s Executive Director in 2016. She was promoted to the post after serving as Senior Director of Programs & Organization, leading several of the Consortium’s key initiatives and helping plan and implement overall organizational strategy.

Since assuming her current role, Mary Kay has spearheaded an initiative designed to bring business and community support to school districts seeking to improve career learning and ensure students all benefit from the kinds of experiences needed to build career awareness and skills that aren’t formally taught. She was motivated to do so in the belief that all students have amazing potential and can all develop it given the right opportunities.

Previously, she oversaw the Forum for Collaborative Leadership and Innovation, which the Consortium offered earlier in the decade to bring together teams of educators from districts working to create cultures of excellence in their schools while developing their own leadership capabilities. As part of the Forum’s focus on personalization, Mary Kay led the Consortium’s MAPS (My Action Plan for Success) initiative, which was designed to help schools give all students a process and the adult support they need to develop viable plans for post-secondary education and careers.

Prior to joining the Consortium as Director of Initiatives in 2007, she was co-director of the APEX Consortium, which was based at Duquesne University and provided professional development for K-12 educators. For 12 years before founding APEX, Mary Kay worked with the Council for Basic Education in Washington, D.C., directing the national program of Fellowships for Independent Study in the Humanities.


Gina Barrett is a Program Director who organizes our career exploration program for high school students, The Future Is Mine (TFIM) and oversees the Be a Middle School Mentor program that we offer in three districts in partnership with United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

One of those people who connects easily with others, Gina has a talent for reaching into the community to continually expand the network of businesses, organizations and individuals who can bring opportunities and experiences to the youth in our partnering districts.

Prior to joining to the Consortium in 2001, she served as Office Manager and Production Assistant for Quest Fore, a marketing communications firm in Pittsburgh that provided videography services, among others. She is a graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.


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Thursday, December 12, 2019

8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Room 105

Note: Select presentations are available in PDF format for download by clicking on the highlighted link for each title. If a link is not shown, the presentation was too large to be uploaded to the website.



The Transportation Engineering and Safety Conference (TESC) attracts professionals from throughout Pennsylvania, the mid-Atlantic region, and the country. It is an authoritative source of information on pressing issues from some of the foremost experts in transportation today.

Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute

201 Transportation Research Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4710

Phone: 814-865-1891