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WSP USA’s Adams Elected to COMTO National Board Chair

Tanya Adams
Tanya Adams
CHICAGO, IL — Tanya Adams, Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity at WSP USA, an 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.

“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.

Throughout her more than 30 years in the transportation industry, Adams has been an 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."

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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."

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 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.

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