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WE Local Event: Albuquerque Keynote Speakers

Introducing our keynote speakers for the Albuquerque WE Local Event.
WELocal Event: Albuquerque Keynote Speakers - WELocal

Evelyn Cortez-Davis

Opening Breakfast & Keynote | February 25, 2022 | 7:45 am MT

WELocal Event: Albuquerque Keynote Speakers - WELocal


Join Evelyn Cortez-Daviss, P.E., BCEE, on a journey as she tells her story of transformation from an undocumented immigrant to Director of Water Engineering at LADWP, the largest municipal utility in the U.S. Hear how she overcame her initial fear of fear of math, and how she learned how to use her voice, develop her personal brand, and persevere through what she describes as a “28 year long and winding road” to follow her desired path and reach for her goals. This keynote will surely leave you inspired and motivated.


You will

  1.  Gain a new perspective on the experience of undocumented immigrants’ experiences that challenge stereotypes
  2.  Learn about navigating the challenges of “being first”: from catching up academically to navigating language barriers to voluntarily tackling and overcoming your biggest fears, and; (3) you will gain knowledge through examples of how to amplify others’ voices and to leverage the power of the personal brand to achieve goals.


Evelyn Cortez-Davis, P.E., BCEE, is a first-generation immigrant from El Salvador and was the first person in her family to graduate from college. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from UCLA in 1992 and has been a professional civil engineer for over 29 years. As Director of Water Engineering and Technical Services at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, her team designs and delivers water system infrastructure projects to bring reliable water service to the 4 million residents of the City of Los Angeles. She has a 17-year-old daughter and is the author of the book “December Sky – Beyond My Undocumented Life” about her family’s immigration story.

Jennifer Toth, PE

Saturday Breakfast Keynote | February 26, 2022 | 7:45 am MT

Description:WELocal Event: Albuquerque Keynote Speakers - WELocal

A revolution of technology is changing the way we move. Connected and automated vehicles, intelligent transportation systems and artificial intelligence are already changing how you drive. With the recent passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, transportation infrastructure in the US will receive investments exceeding $110 billion to revitalize roads, replace bridges, and invest in transportation technology projects. This landmark bill brings into sharp focus transportation engineering and the workforce needed to transform our infrastructure. Maricopa County, Arizona, home to one of the largest transportation hubs in the nation, will need plenty of talented, trained engineers to plan, design and build the future of transportation in the Greater Phoenix area. But, in a time when recruiting qualified engineers is already a struggle, how can transportation officials take steps to ensure we have our best and brightest ready for the challenge? In this keynote, Jennifer will share her experiences in state and county transportation and her quest to develop the workforce of tomorrow, today. She will highlight different award-winning employee development programs and discuss the importance of relationships as a foundation for career advancement.


Jennifer Toth is Director for the Maricopa County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) and concurrently as the County Engineer. She has experience in a variety of public works projects including planning, design and construction projects. She is a leader in building coalitions and partnerships with a diverse constituency and is well versed in leading change, innovation and process improvement. In addition, Jennifer lent her expertise to Hurricane Katrina relief efforts providing support to the ESF-14 Cross-Sector Business and Infrastructure team. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Houston and a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of New Mexico.

Rita Gonzales

Power Hour Luncheon | February 26th, 2022 | 11:45 am MT

WELocal Event: Albuquerque Keynote Speakers - WELocal


As the Nuclear Deterrence Modernization and Future Systems Associate Labs Director and Chief Systems Engineer for Sandia National Laboratories, Rita A. Gonzales ensures systems level execution of Life Extension Programs and Alterations while serving as the primary Sandia interface with leadership at Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories, Kansas City National Security Campus, and Pantex Plant regarding changes to nuclear weapons modernization programs and potential new systems. Rita earned her master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University and her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from New Mexico State University. She is an active community member and currently serves as a member of the New Mexico State University Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.


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