The AAUW of Oregon Breaking Barriers Achievement Award 2024 Recipient

Jenifer Willer, City Engineer for Eugene, Oregon

The AAUW Eugene-Lane Branch nominee is the recipient of this year’s Breaking Barriers Achievement Award. Jenifer Willer is a stellar example of a successful woman in a male-dominated field. Receiving the American Public Works Association (APWA) award as one of the Top Ten Leaders of 2022 increased her local visibility. She used multiple interviews and news articles to promote the need for women in engineering.

Jenifer also created and received budget approval for a new city Equity and Accessibility Analyst position in the Engineering Division. The position leads efforts to implement the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Transition Plan for the public right of way, provides training to staff, and supports the equitable implementation of city projects.

Jenifer has many professional technical and managerial accomplishments, such as spearheading an environmentally friendly sustainable pavement preservation program and connecting directly with city residents to ascertain how to improve things, furthering inclusion. To support Eugene’s Climate Action Plan, Jenifer obtained approval and funding for a Climate Action Analyst position within her department. This position provides a dedicated, focused resource to identify ways to implement the plan, such as where and when to plant trees and identify strategies and tools to reduce greenhouse emissions for projects.

13th Avenue protected bikeways in Eugene, Ore. Photo from City of Eugene

Eugene’s dedicated bike lanes are another significant public works project led by Jenifer and her team. These new lanes are creatively engineered to prevent cyclists from riding on sidewalks or the wrong way in an auto lane and improve traffic safety for drivers and cyclists.

Jenifer embodies professionalism, expertise, and personal dedication to improving the quality of life in her community through the advancement of public works services and technology. She has demonstrated the ability to succeed in her chosen field and to encourage and mentor new civil engineers. She has worked to educate others and continually seeks opportunities to talk about the field and its importance to all in their daily lives and their communities. Jenifer’s work at the City of Eugene supports AAUW of Oregon’s sustainability, equity, diversity, and inclusion goals.

Jenifer continues to reach out to the community with interviews and articles – to educate the need for women engineers. She emulates all the leadership qualities promoted by AAUW – communication skills, leadership skills, facilitation skills, inclusivity, collaboration, and partnerships. She is a role model for women and girls in much more than her engineering career!

AAUW of Oregon proudly recognizes Jenifer Willer as a “breaker of barriers!”

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