BROWNWOOD – March is Women’s History Month, and Thursday, March 8, marks International Women’s Day. This month, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) celebrates women of the Department who serve the citizens of Texas and make TxDOT’s mission statement “Connecting you with Texas” a reality. These women work alongside men, often breaking stereotypes from years past.
Jessica Tiner moved to the Brownwood area about 11 years ago in search of better employment opportunities. She may be small in stature and a little quiet at times, but she works hard as a general maintenance technician in the Brownwood District’s Brown County Maintenance Office. This can be very physical work, such as lifting heavy debris off of roads, including tires and illegally dumped trash; filling potholes; driving heavy equipment; or flagging traffic through a work zone in the scorching Texas heat, just to name a few. “She is a hard worker, if I could hire ten just like her, I would,” Brown County Maintenance Supervisor Calvin Milburn said of Tiner.
Raised around boys, Tiner stated she understands men, and is not intimidated working with them. She stated, “Men are not so different from women – they like to chat and have a good time, just like us.” She works as a team with other crews without consideration of what gender is present. She enjoys her coworkers, and stated, “they are good people.” Sometimes the other crews tease her for being the “poster child” for women with the idea that “anything boys can do; girls can do better.”
Working in what some still consider “a man’s job,” Tiner takes pride in leaving a legacy. She stated that when people see her working alongside the road or driving heavy equipment, “They will see that there is a woman working here and I hope to inspire young girls.” As for parents of girls, she advises, “Don’t limit your daughters, let them know they can do anything!”
Tiner is a single mom and states that working for TxDOT has given her not only opportunities as a woman, to make a decent wage and enjoy great benefits, but also that the Department has been a wonderful environment in which to work.
“Nothing compares to what TxDOT has provided for me. In the past, I missed a lot of my daughter’s growing up and now I can be at her activities,” explained Tiner. “They really want us to take care of ourselves and our families. Tiner now serves on the district’s safety committee. “My supervisors offer so many opportunities to me,” she said. “I want the chance and they have not yielded in any way to help me to succeed. It is really cool being with TxDOT.”
Another woman of note at TxDOT is Engineer in Training (EIT) Hannah Anter. Hannah is a 2019 graduate of Tarleton State University who works at the district’s Eastland Area Office. At the time, she was one of only three women in the TSU Engineering Program. Having passed the Texas Board of Professional Engineers Principles and Practices Exam (PE Exam) as well as the Fundamental of Engineering Exam (FE Exam), Anter is now working to achieve her final two years of experience in order to obtain her Professional Engineer’s License. To obtain this license requires a minimum of four years of experience.
Anter stated that TxDOT has helped her be better prepared for her career. “There are so many trainings and opportunities, especially at the Eastland Area Office, that I may not have experienced working in the private sector,” said Anter. Although the private sector can at times pay a little more, Anter said, “To me, TxDOT was an attractive place to work with better benefits, a flexible schedule, and its family-oriented work environment.
What Anter enjoys most is the variety of construction projects she has experienced while working in the district. She has been able to experience a lot of different things in a very short period of time and enjoys that it is not the same thing every day. “I’ve been given a lot of opportunities to manage,” said Anter. “Typically, at this phase as an EIT, you do not get many opportunities, but working at this office, I have gotten to do design work, project management, and I am getting to work on people management skills, and surveying. So, I am getting to do a very broad base of work, which is helping me to grow,” she explained.
Most recently, she was the project manager for a bridge demolition on Interstate 20. This allowed her to design the work and participate in the public outreach for the project. “It was all encompassing. I got to do it from start to finish, a lot of people do not get to see their designs through,” she said.
As far as career goals, Anter wants to achieve her PE License, keep growing and learning the aspects of engineering and eventually become a TxDOT district engineer one day with all the steps in between.”
Anter explained how she values the support within the Brownwood District, but especially from other women in the district. “It is awesome how all the women of the district are supportive of each other. It is nice to have that partnership (not just from other women). People are very supportive, and super nice,” said Anter. “It is nice having the environment where everyone is building each other up and encouraging each other to do better. It is something you don’t always see at other places.”
There are 26 women currently employed in the Brownwood District. Working many roles such as construction record keepers, human resources, public relations, administrative assistants, accounting, maintenance technicians, traffic safety education, auditing, engineering, geographic information systems, right of way, and more, they play a big part of what makes the district successful. For transportation news and updates in the Brownwood District, follow @TxDOTBWD on Twitter.
The Texas Department of Transportation is an equal opportunity employer. TxDOT is responsible for maintaining 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail, and public transportation across the state. TxDOT and its over 12,000 employees are committed to working with others to provide safe and reliable transportation solutions for Texas by maintaining a safe system, addressing congestion, connecting Texas communities, and being a Best-in-Class state agency. Find out more at www.txdot.gov.