The Illinois native was the oldest child in a modest household where both parents worked. The first in her family to attend college, she enrolled at Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois, where she earned a bachelor’s degree.Married and the mother of two daughters (now adults), Rooney was unable to attend college until her children were older. “I struggled to get my degree, for I had the responsibilities of a home and a family. I learned to juggle priorities and I learned from my mistakes. My first husband and I grew apart, and finally divorced. But I learned and became stronger, more mature. I realized that public service was a part of who I was.”Rooney began a career with the Illinois Department of Transportation in 1999, where she rapidly moved upward to the regional level.She met and married James “Casey” Rooney in 2003. In mid-2006, they relocated to Arizona when he became the economic development manager for the City of Cottonwood. She became an administrator with the Central Yavapai Metropolitan Planning Organization (CYMPO). She had that position until April 2010, when she was recruited as a senior staff member to assist local public agencies for ADOT.Rooney worked first as a project office manager, then as a senior division administrator. Ultimately, in 2015, she became local public agency section manager. She directed a staff of eight people in providing oversight compliance to more than 120 cities, counties, towns and tribes eligible for federal funding. Being accountable for programs averaging $150 million a year was a part of her responsibility.Residents of Prescott Valley since 2006, the Rooneys have been active in community organizations. She has dedicated time to the Emmanuel Lutheran Church, the Salvation Army, the Yavapai College Foundation and the Town of Prescott Valley Arts and Culture Commission.
When the Town of Prescott Valley had a vacancy on Town Council with two years left on the term, she was one of 11 to apply. She was selected and has served more than a year.
“People ask me how it’s going. My response: ‘It agrees with me,’ for I can use my ethic of hard work and honesty to serve my constituents. I also have learned enough that I am ready to declare my candidacy for The Arizona House of Representatives in Legislative District 1. But I truly am flattered to have been selected by WTS as this year’s award winner.
The Arizona chapter of WTS is one of two in the state, the other being Tucson. WTS is an international organization serving the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. With more than 6,500 members, WTS emphasizes creating and providing professional programs, networking opportunities and access to industry and government leaders in transportation. QCBN
By Ray Newton, QCBN
Published from Quad Cities Business News