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Who's Doing What in the Industry

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NEW YORK CITY—MTA New York City Transit announced the appointment of Alex Elegudin as its first senior advisor for systemwide accessibility.

Elegudin uses a wheelchair as a result of a spinal cord injury in 2003. He earned a J.D. from Hofstra University Law School and, in 2011, co-founded Wheeling Forward, a nonprofit organization with a mission to help people with disabilities integrate into the community by learning to overcome barriers. In 2014 he co-founded the Axis Project, a multidisciplinary center specifically designed to empower and motivate people with disabilities. In 2015, Elegudin became the accessibility program manager of the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission.

CLEVELAND—The Board of Trustees of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) elected Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough as its president and the Rev. Charles Lucas as vice president.

The Cuyahoga County Mayors and City Managers Association appointed Clough to the RTA board in 1999 and he was elected vice president in 2011; he is the longest-serving board member. Lucas joined the RTA board in 2016 and was reappointed in March of 2018, representing the city of Cleveland.

ST. CLOUD, MN—Kevin Wood, senior vice president, manufacturing and facilities, with New Flyer, has announced his retirement after 45 years in bus manufacturing. He will be succeeded by ­Margaret Lewis, senior vice president, quality assurance and continuous improvement.

Also, Jennifer McNeill has been named vice president, sales and marketing, succeeding Paul Smith, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

MIAMI—Brightline, the nation’s only privately owned, operated and maintained intercity passenger rail system, has named Jeff Swiatek its chief financial officer; Ravneet Bhandari, chief commercial officer; Michael Cegelis, executive vice president of infrastructure development; and Jeff Schappert, senior vice president of technology.

Swiatek has more than 25 years of experience in international corporate finance, strategy and business development, including 15 years with AIG. Bhandari previously was CEO and co-founder of LodgIQ, a technology startup that developed revenue management software for hotels. Cegelis, a 40-year construction industry veteran, comes to Brightline from American Bridge Company, where he was a senior vice president. Schappert most recently was the marketing and sales business solutions officer at Amtrak.

FARIBAULT, MN—Thom Peebles is joining ABC Companies as vice president of marketing. He succeeds Ashley Cornell, who has served as marketing lead for the past three years and will become vice president of strategic accounts.

Peebles has worked in marketing for more than 20 years, most recently as vice president of marketing, North America, for JCB, a U.K.-based manufacturer of construction and agricultural heavy equipment.

STOCKTON, CA—The Sierra Club Mother Lode Chapter recently honored Donna DeMartino, chief executive officer of the San Joaquin Regional Transit District, as its Outstanding Public Official of the Year in recognition of her leadership in developing zero-emission, all-electric bus transportation in Stockton. Margo Praus of the Sierra Club chapter presented the award.

KANSAS CITY, MO—Joe Peterson has joined the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority Board of Commissioners, representing the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, KS. Peterson is transportation supervisor for the Turner Unified School District.

ALLENTOWN, PA—Melissa M. Gemelli, a CPA and director of paratransit services with the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority, has been named to a two-year term on the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs Council.

DALLAS—Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) announced the promotion of Nicole O. Fontayne-Bárdowell to executive vice president and chief administrative officer. She joined DART four years ago as chief information officer and succeeds Chief Financial Officer David Leininger, who retired earlier this year, in the top administrative role.

NEW YORK CITY—WSP USA announced the appointments of Julie D’Orazio as national market leader for transit and rail, based in New York City, and Deborah Dagang as district operations manager for Northern California, based in San Francisco.

D’Orazio, also a senior vice president of the firm, will provide leadership and direction for the firm’s transit and rail business. She has three decades of management and analytical design experience on public transit, railroad and highway projects.

Dagang previously was vice president and manager of projects at an international professional consulting and engineering services firm. She is past president of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of WTS.

WASHINGTON, DC—Operation Lifesaver Inc. has announced three state coordinators for the nonprofit rail safety education organization: Jeffrey Pitcher in Maine, Alan Stouder in Ohio and Kathy Zander in North and South Dakota.

Pitcher has more than 25 years in the railroad industry and has been a volunteer with Operation Lifesaver since 2010. Stouder has been active with Operation Lifesaver for 17 years as a volunteer, coach and Rail Safety for Emergency Responders course instructor; he worked 41 years with Norfolk Southern Corporation. Zander joined the North Dakota Safety Council, which administers the Operation Lifesaver of the Dakotas program, in 2011 and in 2017 she helped coordinate the program.

CHICAGO—Maggie Walsh, vice president of HDR, has been named to a two-year term as chair of the WTS International Board of Directors. She has served the organization in many positions at both the local and national levels, including president of the WTS Chicago Chapter.

SEATTLE—Sound Transit announced the appointment of Kimberly Farley as deputy chief executive officer. She will work alongside current Deputy Chief Executive Officer Mike ­Harbour until his planned retirement late next year.

Farley worked 10 years for Washington State DOT until 2014, as director of operations for the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program. More recently she has played leadership roles on major private sector capital projects.

ORANGE, CA—The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) has promoted Jennifer Bergener to the newly created position of chief ­operating ­officer. Her more than 20 years of ­public transit experience includes 15 years with OCTA in a variety of roles. She also has served as managing director for the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor Agency, managing agency for the state-supported, Amtrak-operated Pacific Surfliner intercity passenger rail service.

NEW ORLEANS—Los Angeles Mayor LaToya Cantrell has appointed Laura B. Bryan and Fred Alford Neal Jr. to the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority Board of Commissioners.

Bryan recently transitioned into the mayor’s office to lead Cantrell’s new Office of Transportation. Previously she worked in the New Orleans City Council office as land use advisor for Cantrell, then a councilmember.

Neal is a senior planner with Villavaso and Associates, a firm specializing in urban planning, land use planning and environmental policy. He is also a founder and board member of RIDE New Orleans, a nonprofit organization and civic coalition.

DES MOINES, IA—The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) has named Matthew Harris business and community partnerships manager and Luis Montoya planning and development manager.

Harris joins DART after working for the Iowa Arts Council, and Des Moines Performing Arts. Montoya previously was director of livable streets for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority.

SAN BERNARDINO, CA—Suzanne Pfeiffer has joined Omnitrans as director of human resources. She succeeds 19-year employee Marjorie Ewing, who is retiring.

Pfeiffer has more than 30 years of human resources experience in both the private and public sectors, most recently as chief human resources officer at C-TRAN in Vancouver, WA.

ELYRIA, OH—Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC has named 28-year employee Mike ­Pogorelc vice president, supply chain excellence, based in Huntington, IN. In 2015, he was interim managing director for KB India—part of the Knorr-Bremse Group, Bendix’s parent company.
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