Georgia Department of Transportation Board Member Ann R. Purcell was recently honored as one of Engineering Georgia magazine’s list of “100 Influential Women in Georgia Engineering.” The magazine is known as the official statewide magazine of Georgia’s engineering industry.

Ann Purcell, a native of Ricon, represents Congressional District 1 in southeast Georgia, which includes the ports of Savannah and Brunswick and the entire Georgia coast. Purcell was elected to the State Transportation board in 2013 and previously served as board chair and vice chair. She is a community and civic leader who served 18 years in the Georgia House of Representatives where she chaired the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, and served on numerous other committees. Purcell is a tireless advocate for her district, and her efforts have been recognized both locally and statewide. She is a graduate of Georgia Southern College.

Engineering Georgia

For the fifth consecutive year, Engineering Georgia magazine has included women of the State Transportation Board (STB) and the Georgia Department of Transportation (Georgia DOT) in its annual listing of “100 Influential Women in Georgia Engineering.” The Georgia DOT is well-represented with four STB members and five Georgia DOT team members, who were nominated and selected by their peers and leaders for this recognition.

The State Transportation Board is comprised of 14 congressional districts each represented by a board member elected by a majority of a General Assembly caucus from their congressional district. Board members serve staggered five-year terms and guide the planning, development and management of the department and critical transportation projects in the state of Georgia.

Georgia DOT aims to deliver a transportation system focused on innovation, safety, sustainability and mobility. The Department prides itself on its diverse and well-trained workforce and is proud to recognize the achievements of these women.

Other women recognized who are affiliated with Georgia DOT include:

Emily Dunn, who represents Congressional District 9 on the STB, was elected in 2011. Dunn is currently serving as board chairman. Dunn is owner of Tom’s Amusement Company, Inc. and is known for her civic involvement.

Stacey Key, who represents Congressional District 5, joined the STB in 2013. She is president and CEO of the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council (GMSDC) and serves on various boards, including the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Midtown Alliance.

Dana Lemon, represents Congressional District 13. She has served on the STB for 18 years and was the first woman elected to the board. Lemon is president of W.D. Lemon & Sons Funeral Home and co-hosts a local TV talk show, Community Spotlight.

Meg Pirkle, P.E. is the first woman to serve as chief engineer for Georgia DOT. Pirkle oversees the management of Georgia DOT’s engineering, construction, project management and P3 program delivery. She is a registered professional engineer.

Jannine Miller was nominated by Governor Brian Kemp and confirmed by the Georgia House and Senate Transportation Committees in 2020 to serve as Georgia DOT’s planning director. Previously, she worked with former Governor Sonny Perdue. She ran the Center for Innovation and Logistics at the Georgia Department of Economic Development and has been involved with GRTA and ARC.

Kathy Zahul, P.E. is the assistant director for strategic and systems planning. She has been with the Department for 28 years. She has held a variety of roles in construction, state aid and bridge maintenance. Most recently she was the District Engineer for Georgia DOT’s metro Atlanta district. Zahul is a licensed professional engineer.

Hiral Patel, P.E. is the director of the Division of Engineering, a position she has held since 2015. She has been with the Department for over 20 years. Patel is a licensed professional engineer.

Kimberly Nesbitt joined the Georgia DOT in 1999. She worked as a civil engineer technologist in traffic operations. Then worked her way up to her current position of state program delivery administrator. The Office of Program Delivery is responsible for approximately 1,000 projects.

The magazine also recognized State ITS Engineer Emily Dwyer as one of the 50 “Women in the Know.” Dwyer has been selected as someone most likely to bring positive change and innovation within their industries.

Friend of Bulloch

Grice Connect extends our congratulations to Mrs. Ann Purcell on this well deserved recognition. Ann Purcell has been a friend to Georgia Southern University and Bulloch County for years, first as a State Representative and now with the DOT.