photo of a car with headlights shining driving down a road

Session No. 6F

Mentoring vs. Sponsorship

Moderator: Silvia Scheuermann, P.E., AECOM

  • Panelist: Katherine Kelleman, Chief Executive Officer, Port Authority of Allegheny County
  • Panelist: Orla Pease, P.E., P.T.O.E., Vice President, Digital & Innovation, DCS Americas 
  • Panelist: Judy Hricak, Vice President and Chief Communications Officer, Gannett Fleming
  • Panelist: Yassmin Gramian, Executive Deputy Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

Speaker Bios

A 29-year veteran of the firm, Judy Hricak is the first person in the 100+ year history of Gannett Fleming to serve as Chief Communications Officer. Previously, she was the first person to serve as the Chief Marketing Officer. In her current role as the CCO, she is responsible for leading the planning, development, and implementation of the Gannett Fleming global C-Suite communications strategy. Includes oversight for media relations; executive communications; crisis communications and crisis response; digital/online communications; thought leadership campaigns; community relations; graphics and multimedia; and special event planning.

She also serves as a senior counselor and coach to the executive team and primary sponsors for change management initiatives across the organization, including changes to business processes, system/technology, job roles, and organizational structure. Hricak works in partnership with the executive team to develop and grow the change management competency and capabilities for multiple employee segments including primary sponsors, sponsorship coalitions, managers, project managers, and employees.

A champion of diversity and inclusion, Hricak co-founded and launched the award-winning employee resource group Connected Women at Gannett Fleming in 2017, with a mission to create a culture that empowers, supports, and mentors women to achieve career and personal success at Gannett Fleming. Now in its third year, Connected Women at Gannett Fleming has more than 70 Connected Ambassadors around the globe, uniting female employees across operations. In 2018, Hricak launched Connected Allies, a powerful subcommittee of Connected Women chaired by Gannett Fleming’s National Director for the Water Business Line. Its mission is to drive best-in-class Allyship across the firm. Hricak serves as an executive sponsor and mentor for Military Veterans at Gannett Fleming, the firm’s newest employee resource group focused on creating a culture that recognizes the skills, contributions, and value that military veterans bring; fostering veteran recruiting and career growth; and supporting veterans and their families.


Yassmin Gramian, P.E., serves as the acting secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) where she oversees programs and policies affecting highways, urban and rural public transportation, airports, railroads, ports, and waterways. She manages PennDOT's annual budget which is invested in Pennsylvania's approximately 120,000 miles of state and local highways and 32,000 state and local bridges. Under her leadership, the department is directly responsible for nearly 40,000 miles of highway and roughly 25,400 bridges.

She also has oversight of the state's 11.8 million vehicle registrations and 10.3 million driver's licenses and IDs.

Drawing on her years of technical expertise as an engineer in the transportation and infrastructure industry, she is focused on developing these forward-looking strategies that deliver innovative solutions for communities and transportation networks across the Commonwealth. 

Gramian has more than 30 years of experience in operations, design, and management of transportation infrastructure systems, including highway, tolling, bridge, and railroad projects. She brings to her role at PennDOT strong working relationships with transportation authorities and governments across the Pennsylvania region, including the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Philadelphia International Airport, Delaware River Port Authority, SEPTA, AMTRAK and the City of Philadelphia.   

Prior to joining PennDOT she served as a senior vice president and business development director for a leading international engineering firm. She was responsible for growth of the company’s transportation and infrastructure sector in the Northeast Region. 

She previously served as senior vice president for a global architecture, civil engineering and construction management firm, with responsibility for operations across Pennsylvania — namely in Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh. Known for leading with an “all-in” approach to solving challenges, Gramian also has experience at other well-known regional and global engineering firms 

In her career, she was responsible for several signature projects, including Philadelphia’s Roosevelt Boulevard Multi-modal Corridor Program, SEPTA Subway Concourse Improvement Project, Amtrak’s Keystone Corridor Infrastructure Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, PATCO Ben Franklin Bridge Track Rehabilitation, PennDOT’s Central Susquehanna Valley Transportation Project’s US-15 Susquehanna River Bridge, and Philadelphia Airport Terminal F Modernization. Her work in Pennsylvania has resulted in numerous awards, including 2013 Best Project award by Engineering News-Record Mid-Atlantic and multiple awards from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania. 

Gramian earned master’s and bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering from the University of Michigan and completed the Tuck Management Training Program at Dartmouth College. Gramian is a professional engineer in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and Florida. She previously served on the boards of PhilaPort (the Port of Philadelphia), American Council of Engineering Companies of PA, the March of Dimes Annual Transportation, Building & Construction Awards Luncheon, Transportation Management Association of Chester County, Policy Committee of Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association, and Bridge Committee of Association of Pennsylvania Constructors.

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Thursday, December 12, 2019

3:30 to 5:00 p.m.

Room 208

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