ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA — Tanya Adams, vice president of inclusion and diversity at WSP USA, a leading engineering and professional services consultancy, has been elected chair of the National Board of Directors for the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) for the 2021-23 term.
She is joined on the 10-member board by Ruben Landa, who was elected as an at-large member of the COMTO National Board for the 2021-23 term. At WSP, Landa is the Texas business leader for the communication and public involvement practice and senior communication manager in the Dallas office. He previously served on COMTO’s national board as the Council of Presidents (COP) representative.
“I am humbled and honored that COMTO has entrusted me with this extremely important leadership role,” said Adams, who is based in WSP's Chicago office. “I am committed to making sure that we continue to build upon the great strides this important organization has made over the past 50 years.”
The COMTO National Board of Directors is responsible for working with industry professionals on a national level to develop and enforce strategic plans for the organization. Adams’ two-year term as board president will run through July 2023. She previously served a two-year term as first vice chair of the board.
COMTO’s mission is “to eliminate barriers to maximum participation for minority individuals, veterans, people with disabilities and certified MWDBE [minority, women and disadvantaged business enterprise] businesses through leadership training, professional development, scholarship and internship funding, political advocacy, partnership building and networking opportunities.”
Throughout her more than 30 years in the transportation industry, Adams has been a strong advocate for minority business participation in major public works and infrastructure contracts and projects.
“Diversity is Tanya’s mission in life and her leadership skills, combined with her vast experience in transportation, makes her uniquely qualified for this important national role,” said Lou Cornell, chief executive officer at WSP USA. “She has been at the forefront of making WSP more diverse and inclusive with her ability to bring together the talents of people from many backgrounds who offer a broad range of capabilities and solutions for our clients. WSP is proud of her achievements and fully supports her new role as an industry leader in diversity and inclusion.”
Since joining COMTO in 2007, Adams has served on the corporate advisory council, program and planning committee, Women Who Move the Nation nomination committee and joint leadership committee. In 2016 she was honored as COMTO’s Corporate Executive of the Year and has also been recognized with the organization’s President’s Excellence award.
“On this historic 50th anniversary of COMTO, we will not only be celebrating COMTO’s success as an organization, but also as a family that has defied all odds to achieve something as one,” Adams said. “We started as a few but now we are many—not only in numbers but in talent and creativity. I remain steadfast in my commitment that COMTO will have a seat at the table, leading to the promotion and advancement of people of marginalized backgrounds in all sectors of the industry. Thank you, my COMTO family and friends in the industry.”
At WSP, Adams works with the firm’s business lines, regions and functional groups to create a work environment that produces three key outcomes: a culture of trust that provides safe spaces for sensitive conversations; increased workforce diversity and advancement of WSP diversity talent; and greater support for WSP colleagues who are leaders in underrepresented communities.
Prior to joining the firm in 2006, Adams spent more than 18 years with the Illinois Department of Transportation as an employment specialist.
In 2015, she became the first African American woman to be elected to the board of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Illinois. Adams is a member of the equal employment opportunity committee for the Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association; served as a committee member on the disadvantaged business enterprise focus committee of the Innovation Conference on Asphalt and Transportation committee; member of Hispanic American Construction Industry Association and was formerly secretary of the board of directors of the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce. In 2018 she was named WTS-Chicago’s Woman of the Year.
Landa brings more than two decades of experience in public involvement, public affairs, communications and diversity program management in the architecture, engineering and construction industry to his new role on the COMTO National Board. His background includes developing and managing public involvement and diversity programs on major transportation projects on behalf of agencies such as the Texas Department of Transportation, Houston METRO, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, DFW International Airport, City of Dallas, Houston Airport System, Arizona Department of Transportation and Valley Metro Rail in Phoenix.
Landa has been a member of COMTO for 21 years, having served in leadership roles with the COMTO Houston, Phoenix and Dallas chapters. He was the chairman for the 2016 COMTO National Meeting and Training Conference in Dallas and he is currently the president of the COMTO North Texas Chapter. Landa is also the president-elect for the Great Dallas Planning Council, the lead planning organization in Dallas. He was named a Top Minority Business Leader by the Dallas Business Journal in 2014 and was the WTS Greater DFW Chapter Honorable Ray LaHood Award winner in 2019.
About WSP USA
WSP USA is the U.S. operating company of WSP, one of the world's leading engineering and professional services firms. Dedicated to serving local communities, we are engineers, planners, technical experts, strategic advisors and construction management professionals. WSP USA designs lasting solutions in the buildings, transportation, energy, water and environment markets. With more than 12,000 employees in 200 offices across the U.S., we partner with our clients to help communities prosper. wsp.com
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