The ATSS Foundation awarded Roadway Worker Memorial Scholarships to 14 students for the 2023-24 academic year.

The Roadway Worker Memorial Scholarship Program started in 2002 to provide financial assistance for post-high school education to dependents of roadway workers killed or permanently disabled in roadway work zones. The program is competitive and provides scholarships valued up to $10,000 per student each year. Since its inception, the program has awarded 126 Roadway Worker Memorial Scholarships. An additional 26 Chuck Bailey Memorial Scholarships—valued at $1,000 each—have been awarded to applicants who demonstrate a strong commitment to volunteerism. Bailey was a member of the roadway safety industry who died in 2002.

“The goal of the program is to help dependents of workers killed or permanently disabled in a work zone incident navigate a path forward,” said Foundation Director Lori Diaz.

This year’s awards go to three first-time recipients: Nicholas Gray, Leah McCance and Ethan Sollars. Three-year recipient Joann Jones is receiving her second Chuck Bailey Memorial Scholarship.

James Beard – Highland, Ill. James will be a sophomore at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where he is studying construction management. While carrying a full-time class load, James works part time and is active in a fraternity that raises funds to support military charities. James was 8 years old in 2012 when his father, Dennis, was struck and killed by a speeding motorist while setting up a lane closure on Interstate 64 near Fairview Heights, Ill. Dennis Beard worked for Brightway Striping Services Inc. James’ sister, Tessa, also received a scholarship.

Tessa Beard – Highland, Ill. Tessa will begin work toward a master’s degree in social work at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in criminal justice. When not taking classes, Tessa raises her twins, born during the summer of 2021. Tessa was 11 years old in 2012 when her father, Dennis, was struck and killed by a speeding motorist while setting up a lane closure on Interstate 64 near Fairview Heights, Ill. Dennis Beard worked for Brightway Striping Services Inc. Tessa’s brother, James, also received a scholarship.

Nicholas Gray – Centerton, Ark. Nicholas is a first-time scholarship recipient starting his junior year at Doane University in Crete, Neb. He is majoring in agricultural business and natural resources and environmental science and minoring in business administration. He is on the Doane Track & Field Team, participates in agricultural and athletic clubs and works part time. Nicholas was 15 years old in 2016 when his father, Jarrell, was killed while supervising a brush removal crew for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. Jarrell was standing by the brush chipper when a  car struck it, pinning him between the vehicles.

Daniel Hart – Ridge, N.Y. Daniel will be a senior at the State University of New York at Cortland where he studies early childhood education. For a class assignment, he was placed at an elementary school to assist as a teacher’s aide and is also involved in a mental health club. Daniel was 17 years old in 2019 when his father, Thomas, was permanently disabled while working for United Fence on a guardrail installation project. A motorist struck his father’s work vehicle while he was seated inside.

Katie Hutt – Cleveland, Tenn. Katie will be a junior studying architecture at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She works part time with a full-time course load and has been involved with a philanthropic coalition to restore a pre-Civil War cemetery in East Knoxville. Her father, Christopher, was killed in 2006 when she was 3 years old. He was installing a speed limit sign when two speeding cars crashed in the work zone and subsequently struck him. He worked for United Rentals.

Joann Jones – Bluffton, Ind. Joann will be a senior at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland where she is studying to become an astrophysicist. Joann participates in many extracurricular clubs, camps for children and volunteers at numerous locations. Her father, Dale Keith, worked for Anderson Street Department. She was 7 years old in 2009 when he was struck and killed by a motorist while cleaning debris from the road at night after another crash. Joann will also receive a $1,000 Chuck Bailey Memorial Scholarship for her volunteer work.

Mariela Lara – Ojai, Calif. Mariela is transferring to California State University Long Beach where she will study environmental science and resource management. She completed an internship with a nonprofit that helps low-income families get healthy food and has started working part time. Mariela was 14 years old in 2015 when her father, Adan, was killed. He was clearing a road in preparation for an El Nino storm when he was struck by a motorist. He worked for Ventura County Public Works Agency.

Leah McCance – Broken Arrow, Okla. Leah will be a freshman studying elementary education at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee. She is passionate about music, plays trumpet, was drum major for her high school band and volunteers at her church. Leah was 2 years old in 2007 when her father, Joshua, was killed while doing highway maintenance for an Oklahoma Department of Transportation contractor, CP Integrated Services Inc. A motorist swerved across lanes and onto the shoulder, striking him and then his work truck.

Rylee O’Brien – Frederic, Wis. Rylee will be a senior at the Minnesota State University Mankato where she is studying nursing. She has obtained nursing-related certifications, participates in volunteer and nonprofit activities, and accepted a summer internship in labor and delivery. Rylee was 15 years old in 2017 when her father, Robert, was permanently disabled in a work zone incident.

Sydney Parsons – Kelso, Wash. Sydney will begin studying at Lower Columbia College in Longview, Wash., to take prerequisite courses to become a nurse. Sydney works full time as an EMT in Wenatchee, Wash., and enjoys hunting. She was 12 years old in 2016 when her father, Brandon, was permanently disabled in a paving crew incident while working for Lakeside Industries. A motorist went around the pilot car and crashed into the paver and her father.

Alex Perez – Indianapolis, Ind. Alex will be a sophomore studying computer science at Indiana University Bloomington. He plans to work part time and attributes his love of computers and video games to building his first computer at age 9 with his uncle. In 2018, Alex had just turned 14 and was attending his first day of high school when his father, Julian, was struck by a car in a Michigan work zone where he was testing new locating equipment. Julian died the next day. He worked for Digital Control Inc.

Megan Pirelli – Chicago, Ill. Megan attends the Chamberlain University College of Nursing in Chicago, where she will be a third-year nursing student. She has survived multiple health scares and helped her mother through medical challenges. Megan was 20 years old in 2020 when her father, Mark, was struck and killed by a motorist in a work zone on Interstate 80 in Wyanet, Ill. He worked for RoadSafe Traffic Safety Inc.

Ethan Sollars – Rocky River, Ohio Ethan is a first-time scholarship recipient who will be a  freshman at Ashland University in Ohio, majoring in business. He owns and manages a landscaping business, participates in Science Olympiad and enjoys dirtbiking. Ethan was months from turning 15 in 2019 when his father, David, and another worker were struck in a hit-and-run while painting turn lanes on a road at night in University Heights, Cleveland. David died from his injuries a few days later. He worked for TraffTech Inc.

Maycie Walker – Jonesville, Ky. Maycie will be a senior studying communications and minoring in art and psychology at the University of Pikeville. She works part time while taking classes. Maycie had just turned 13 in 2015 when her father, Daniel, was killed. He worked for John R. Jurgensen and was using a jackhammer to secure a concrete divider when a dump truck and a semi-truck collided and struck him.

Find out more about recipients of the Roadway Memorial Scholarship recipients in their own words.

Published Date

June 5, 2023

Post Type

  • News
  • Press Release


  • Scholarships

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