April 30, 2024

WTS Heart of Texas names Friello Member of the Year and Johnson Man of the Year

Two Garver standouts were recognized at the WTS Heart of Texas (HOT) Chapter’s 20th Annual Scholarship and Awards Gala on April 26.    

Laura Friello, PE, was named Member of the Year while Stephen Johnson, PE, was named Man of the Year. They were nominated by fellow members of the chapter.    

Friello, a Central Texas Transportation Project Manager, was lauded as “a consummate professional, respected and trusted within the chapter and by industry peers” and “a dedicated problem solver who’s always happy to help.” Johnson, Garver’s Central Texas Transportation Team Leader, was praised as “the epitome of what it means to advocate for the advancement of women within the transportation industry and to further the overall mission of WTS.”    

Both have served the organization for nearly a decade. Friello is President Elect and current Vice President of the chapter and has served in the past as Secretary, Treasurer, and Scholarship Committee Chair. She is a passionate advocate for increasing diversity within the board and double chapter membership,  championing these efforts throughout her time with WTS.    

The first man to join the WTS HOT chapter board, Johnson also served as a Scholarship Committee Co-Chair, where he advocated for WTS scholarship programs to fund educational opportunities for the next round of women leaders in the transportation industry.     

Friello and Johnson have also both played active roles on the TransportationYOU and Gala committees; in addition, Friello is also involved with the Corporate Partner and Members Event, as well as  Professional Development, Mentorship, and Programs Committees.   

“Laura and Stephen have done so much for the Heart of Texas chapter and for women in transportation in Central Texas,” said fellow WTS member and Garver Southwest Regional Director for Transportation Wendy Travis, AICP. “Their commitment to the WTS mission to advance women in the transportation industry is evident in their service to and support of the chapter, in their work at Garver, and in their volunteer work outside the office. I can’t think of two people more deserving of these honors.”     

 Throughout her career, Friello has been an active member and leader of the local ASCE branch and TSPE chapter and cultivated connections with multiple infrastructure industry entities to improve Texas roadways. She is a graduate of Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce’s 2023 class of Leadership Cedar Park, a nine-month program dedicated to building new connections, strengthening existing ones, and bettering the community.  

Johnson’s volunteer work outside of Garver and WTS further demonstrate his dedication to advancing women and promoting equity in transportation, as well as his dedication to his local community. He has volunteered as a mentor for senior civil engineering students at the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Society of Professional Engineers’ national annual MathCounts competition.  A graduate of the Leadership Cedar Park program and former member of Cedar Park’s Mobility Master Plan Advisory Committee, he currently serves as a City Council-appointed member of the City of Cedar Park’s Community Development (Type B) board.   

Garver is a long-time supporter of the WTS HOT Chapter, and several Garver employees have had a hand in the chapter’s growth.  Travis is a past chapter leader and currently serves on the WTS HOT Foundation board along with Jason Reynolds – Garver’s TX Survey practice leader. Transportation Project Manager Stephanie Russell serves on the Professional Development Committee and Shelby Shockley is currently a mentee in this year’s  mentorship program. 

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