BOSTON (Jan. 21, 2021) – The Boston Chapter of Women’s Transportation Seminar honored HNTB transportation planner Taskin Sehitoglu with the Rosa Parks Diversity Award. The award recognizes extraordinary efforts or initiatives in facilitating professional opportunities for women and minorities and significant contributions to the promotion of diversity, inclusion and multicultural awareness.
In mid-March last year, Sehitoglu approached Massachusetts office leadership and suggested creating an Inclusion and Diversity Task Force alongside existing office improvement groups focused on communications, professional development and employee engagement. He volunteered to lead the task force with the mission of recommending and/or developing programs, training and resources around inclusion and diversity.
The task force met virtually in June and every month since with a diverse membership of 30 individuals. Under Sehitoglu’s leadership, the group moved quickly on new initiatives, such as a web page with inclusion in diversity resources, a book club and a speaker series. He also led discussions on ways to improve office and company practices and policies.
“In a short time, Taskin’s initiative and leadership has advanced practices, activities and discussions that model diversity, inclusion and multicultural awareness in our organization, with the intention of improving our office, company and industry,” said Anna Barry, program manager and vice president at HNTB. “He has provided significant benefit to all office personnel, particularly women and minorities, by providing information, diverse perspectives and a safe forum to tackle some of our country’s most difficult workplace challenges.”
Sehitoglu joined HNTB in 2017 as a transportation planner and is focused on creating complex transportation models for some of the nation’s largest public transportation systems. In his work, he identifies access to safe, reliable and efficient public transportation as a crucial part of economic equality and racial justice. Inspired by his mother, who herself was an advocate for women and minorities in science, technology, engineering and math fields, Sehitoglu hopes that the increased awareness of Inclusion and Diversity related issues in our industry will lead to projects that provide transportation equity to all users.
In addition to his planning responsibilities with HNTB, Sehitoglu has been a committed volunteer and co-chair of the WTS-Boston Diversity Committee. He also has helped organize WTS events, including 2019’s Diversity in Motion Workshop and 2020’s Diversity TED Talk with MassDOT’s Kenn Turner.