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COMTO Honors WSP USA’s Denise Turner Roth Among Its ‘Women Who Move the Nation’

COMTO Honors WSP USA’s Denise Turner Roth Among Its ‘Women Who Move the Nation’

Denise Turner Roth, national business line executive of U.S. Advisory at WSP USA, a leading engineering, environment and professional services consultancy, was honored by the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) as one of its 10 “Women Who Move the Nation.”

The prestigious annual award recognizes trailblazers who have made outstanding contributions to the transportation industry.

“Being recognized as an honoree for this award is incredibly important to me,” Roth said. “Growing up, access to transportation meant that I could also access better education and, ultimately, this is what put me on a track to building a career in public service. I have since dedicated my career to creating places, infrastructure and experiences that improve the quality of life for all, with a particular emphasis on serving historically underserved, marginalized and disinvested communities.” 

Roth, who also is director of WSP’s Equity Center of Excellence, is the first woman, as well as the first Black woman, to lead a business line at WSP USA. Advisory provides front-end consulting and management services to clients that procure, develop, manage, finance, and invest in infrastructure and property assets.

“Over the course of my career, I’ve learned that as a woman and a woman of color, leaning into my personal experiences and differences is key in this conversation on building equitable access and quality communities,” Roth added. “I encourage women and people of color in this industry to leverage their personal experience, as it is a strength.”

Prior to joining WSP in 2017, Roth served as head of the U.S. General Services Administration, the federal agency responsible for government property management and procurement. In this capacity she led a workforce of 12,000 full-time employees with responsibility for a $27 billion budget that supported the agency’s public buildings service, federal acquisition service and technology services programs. Throughout her career she has led economic development initiatives at the local, state and federal levels and previously was the city manager for Greensboro, North Carolina.

The COMTO event coincides with national observances of Women’s History Month. It celebrates women who succeed in shattering glass ceilings and creating a path forward for future generations in the transportation industry.

“Each year we beam with pride at the selection of honorees, their amazing leadership and dedication to equity,” said Tanya Adams, COMTO Board of Directors chair and WSP senior vice president, Inclusion and Diversity. “Not only are they powerful in their professional accomplishments, but more importantly, in their willingness to give back and inspire the next generation of our transportation workforce.”

The event took place at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery on March 15. The women honored join 132 others who, in previous years, have been recognized and inducted into COMTO’s signature class of transportation industry leaders. Honorees represent transportation professionals across modes, sectors and disciplines in the United States and Canada.

Past recipients of the Women Who Move the Nation Award are former and current WSP employees Alva Carrasco, 2022; Jannet Walker-Ford, 2019; Barbara Arens, 2018; Margaret O’Meara, 2016; and Tracey Bessellieu, 2014.