The Southern California Regional Chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) recently added one of Balfour Beatty’s own to its Board: Shannon Lawrence, inclusion and diversity manager, has been appointed secretary for the Chapter’s 2018-2020 term.
Founded in 1971, COMTO was created to provide a forum for minority professionals in the transportation industry. Through advocacy, information sharing, training, education and professional development, COMTO ensures that underrepresented individuals, businesses and communities have opportunities to thrive in the transportation industry. Together, COMTO and its member firms work to influence transportation locally and across the country. As both a national and regional COMTO member, Balfour Beatty has many opportunities to develop relationships with small businesses in the community and ultimately improve the quality of joint transportation projects across the country.
As the secretary for the COMTO Southern California Regional Chapter, Shannon will be the guardian of all Chapter records – including member contact information, official correspondence and meeting minutes. Shannon previously served as the COMTO Chapter’s co-chair for the events and scholarships committee. In this role, he helped to determine the recipients of annual scholarship funding and planned events such as the scholarship awards gala, women’s recognition gala and annual legislative briefing.
In addition to regular networking and educational events, COMTO’s annual scholarship program is a critical component of the organization’s strategic planning. Nationally, the organization awards over $100,000 in scholarship funding to minority graduate and undergraduate students each year. COMTO also connects future transportation industry leaders with businesses for internship opportunities that benefit both parties. “It’s important to make sure that young people with interest in the transportation industry have the opportunities to gain experience,” Shannon explained. “Helping young people in underserved or marginalized communities gain relevant work experience helps them deliver the best product to us and therefore helps us to deliver the best products to our clients.”
Nominated for the position by Joe Reed, Balfour Beatty’s vice president, Alternative Delivery and affirmed by other members of the Board, Shannon is excited to continue his partnership with COMTO and affect positive change in the Los Angeles community. “I am excited to take on this new role,” Shannon said of his appointment. “I am humbled by Joe’s nomination and the support from the Board’s current president, Gwendolen Gray, to serve in this capacity. It’s an honor to do so.”
Shannon is in good company with the many professionals who lead COMTO to ensure that people in underrepresented and marginalized communities have opportunities to build transportation systems in their own neighborhoods. “COMTO ensures that members of all communities are respected and heard,” Shannon explained. “It’s hard for businesses to thrive in broken local communities without support. COMTO provides that support and ensures that they are included in the delivery of projects that benefit the community at large.”
“Over the years, we have worked closely with COMTO in support of its mission to aid in the professional development of minority transportation professionals through networking, training and education,” said Joe Reed, vice president, Alternative Delivery. “As a frequent sponsor of COMTO events, Balfour Beatty has had many opportunities to connect with the local subcontractor and subconsultant community in southern California to build relationships and improve the quality of our project pursuit teams. As the secretary for the COMTO Southern California Regional Chapter, Shannon will strengthen those relationships and increase our engagement in the area as we pursue and win transportation projects across the state.”