2015 Top 40 Under 40: Susan K. Sherwood

Sept. 18, 2015
Susan K. Sherwood, Program Manager, Public Transportation, Wendel Companies

Susan K. Sherwood

Program Manager, Public Transportation

Wendel Companies

  • Alma Mater: Keiser University and University of Phoenix
  • Fun Fact: Sherwood owns and operates a 7.5-acre hobby farm with her husband and two sons
  •  Favorite Book: “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg
  • Favorite TV Show: "Friday Night Lights"
  • Favorite Movie: "Pretty Woman"
  • Favorite Hobbies: Reading, cooking, and canning fruits and vegetables from the farm

Susan Sherwood started at Wendel Companies 10 years ago in the facilities unit, which included all types of structures from the ground up. Previously she worked at a legal firm specializing in land use, environmental law and compliance. Her experience strikes a balance of technical understanding relating to project design and regulatory compliance regarding feasibility and delivery.

As more and more public transit projects came in, in 2012 Sherwood was offered the position of the program manager for the public transportation division. With transit being a very specialty niche, Sherwood had the knowledge of the industry, funding mechanisms and regulations. Construction methodologies and code requirements are much different in a bus facility than it is in a general municipal project.

One of her first projects was the Niagara Falls Intermodal Train Station. She led the acquisition transfer of 29 parcels of land, including swapping property between three railroads and helped implement a project labor agreement through the federal government to drive local economic development.

Sherwood handles the complex funding programs and was intimately involved with the process of securing and bringing them together to fund the project. She also saw the link between historic preservation of a dilapidated structure and a bridge replacement project in order to secure an additional $2.5 million through a transportation enhancement grant, which fueled the first phase of the project.

Working on public transportation project also allows Sherwood and her team to work with the public, as when they do projects, the public is heavily involved and it gives her the opportunity to be active in the community and hear about concerns to help these projects enhance people’s quality of life.

“Public transportation projects are a very specialty niche. They require a certain type of knowledge and understanding of the public transportation industry, public transportation funding mechanisms, rules and regulations …”

“When I’m not working I’m the mother of two little boys that keep me very, very busy — 9 and 4. We live on a hobby farm; it’s produce mostly and a giant pumpkin farm … We have a little farm stand in front of our house and sell them out there. Thousands of pumpkins in the fall; it’s quite a farm.”