Passenger Transport - February 21, 2014
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NEWS HEADLINES

King County Metro Launches New BRT

King County Metro Transit in Seattle introduced its fifth RapidRide Bus Rapid Transit route, the E Line, on Feb. 15.

The existing bus route it replaces is the second most popular in the system, providing 12,000 rides each weekday.

The RapidRide E Line covers 11 miles on one of the most congested traffic corridors in the region. It operates every 5-15 minutes, 24 hours a day.

“Just like our existing RapidRide service, the E Line will carry more riders more efficiently,” said Metro General Manager Kevin Desmond. “And thanks to Federal Transit Administration funding, about 40 percent of the E Line’s capital cost, including buses and station improvements, will be covered.”

King County Metro received more than $25 million in FTA grants for new coaches, passenger and pedestrian improvements, and dedicated lanes on the route.

The agency also worked with the cities of Seattle and Shoreline to support investment and economic development along the Aurora Avenue corridor.

RapidRide is expected to contribute to that development by spurring housing and commercial/retail activity.

Amenities of the new service include 60-foot, articulated hybrid-electric vehicles with free Wi-Fi, off-board fare-card payment, real-time “next bus” signs, and shelters with improved lighting.

The F Line, Metro’s sixth RapidRide line, is scheduled to begin service in June.

Metro anticipates that, with the addition of the E Line, ridership will grow by 50 percent to 5.4 million annual rides within the next five years. The corridor will see an overall 25 percent increase in service with the introduction of BRT.

Melaniphy Participates in Transportation Summit


APTA President & CEO Michael Melaniphy, second from left, participated in a panel on transportation and health care during the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Second Annual Transportation Summit on Feb. 20. He described the efforts of the National Center for Mobility Management to maximize transportation access to health care facilities. "Each year, we see about 3.6 million appointments that are missed because of transportation issues,” he said. “If we’re able to enhance and improve that transportation connectivity, people can get to those appointments and they can stay healthy."

Other panelists included, from left, Dr. Patrick Quinlan, Ochsner Health System; Dr. Damon Kralovic, Cleveland Clinic; John Gray, Healthcare Distribution Management Association; and moderator Janet Kavinoky of the chamber.

DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx, who presented the keynote address, said that Congress should look for a new funding source for transportation projects as income dwindles from the motor fuels tax, adding: "We should stop aiming just to get the Highway Trust Fund level again. We should aim to cut into a bigger piece of our infrastructure deficit by investing more - now."

Transportation Sec. Foxx to Give Keynote at Legislative Conference

U.S. Transportation ­Secretary Anthony Foxx will give the keynote address at the Opening General Session of APTA’s annual Legislative Conference, March 9-11 in ­Washington, D.C., a meeting focused on federal funding, congressional updates, regulatory activities, DOT initiatives, and APTA’s ­legislative recommendations for the reauthorization of MAP-21, among other issues.

Secretary Foxx is scheduled to give remarks on Monday, March 10, at the JW ­Marriott Hotel in downtown ­Washington, D.C., in a session that includes a ­question-and-answer period.

The conference features five additional General Sessions:

Reps. Bill Shuster (R-PA), chairman, House ­Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I), and Earl ­Blumenauer (D-OR), member, House Committee on the ­Budget and its Committee on Ways and Means, will lead a morning March 11 General ­Session on federal issues affecting public transportation.

At the afternoon March 10 General Session, Joseph C. Szabo, FRA administrator, and Therese McMillan, FTA deputy administrator, will provide an update of DOT’s key modal activities.

Key insider congressional staff will present a ‘View from the Hill” at the afternoon March 10 General Session. Panelists from the Senate are Devon Barnhart, Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security, Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; and Homer Carlisle (invited) and Rachel Johnson (invited), both with the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

Panelists from the House are Andrew Brady and Helena Zyblikewycz, Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, and Mike Friedberg, Subcommittee on ­Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials, all with T&I.

Charlie Cook, editor and publisher of The Cook Political Report and columnist for National Journal, will share insights on politics and the congressional legis­lative agenda at an afternoon Welcome General Session Sunday, March 9.

The conference also will feature a panel discussion, “Priorities for the Next Transportation Authorization Bill: A State and Local ­Prospective,” which will address how state and local elected officials are building and enhancing regional transit systems as innovative partners with the federal government. Panelists are Alderman Robert Bauman, ­Milwaukee Common Council; William Euille, mayor, Alexandria, VA, and board member, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority; Steve ­Farley, ­Arizona State ­Senate, Tucson; and Hans Riemer, ­councilmember, Montgomery County, MD.

The popular musical troupe, the Capitol Steps, return for a ­luncheon presentation that puts the “mock” in democracy, and the conferences closes with a reception on Capitol Hill with lawmakers and staff members.

For details and to register, click here.

 

 

 

 

Rep. Bill Shuster 

Rep. Earl Blumenauer 

FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo 

FTA Deputy Administrator Therese McMillan 


 

Honolulu Rail Wins Two Federal Legal Judgments

In separate decisions announced Feb. 18, two federal courts ruled that the Honolulu Rail Transit Project had done everything necessary to comply with applicable federal laws and is allowed to move forward.

A panel from the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Oahu’s elevated rail project complies with environmental, historic preservation, and other laws. At the trial court level in the same case, Judge A. Wallace Tashima ruled that the project had looked at all alternatives regarding the rail route.

Dan Grabauskas, chief executive officer, Honolulu Authority for Regional Transportation (HART), said: “We are pleased that both the Ninth Circuit panel and Judge Tashima ruled in our favor. These rulings reaffirm that we properly complied with the environmental process and studied all prudent alternatives. This is a great day not only for HART, but also for taxpayers of the City and County of Honolulu, who will be relieved to know we have finally come to the end of this costly legal battle.”

He added: “These rulings were essential to keeping the project moving so that we can complete all the necessary work, studies and property acquisitions in the City Center area. This will allow us to bring this project in, as promised, on time and on budget.”

Tashima also ruled that the project had properly considered and rejected a route involving an underground tunnel and ending at the University of Hawaii’s Manoa campus, as an alternative to the selected elevated route ending at Ala Moana Center. He lifted an order blocking construction and most property acquisition activities in the City Center section of the project, which extends from Kalihi to Ala Moana Center.

Sun Metro Hosts Mobile Constituent Meeting

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) conducted a mobile Town Hall meeting in El Paso, TX, on two Sun Metro routes Feb. 7 to meet with constituents who might not otherwise be able to attend regular monthly meetings.

O’Rourke boarded a full bus at Sun Metro’s Downtown Transfer Center and took questions from the passengers, returning to the center on board a different route. The congressman, along with Sun Metro staff, spoke with constituents about a planned transfer center that will be part of a 30-acre Transit-Oriented Development. The future development, which received a $10.3 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant, will feature a modern, seven-acre transportation hub with a variety of passenger amenities. In addition, passenger raised such topics as water conservation, drug laws, healthcare, military funding, and veterans affairs.

This is the second mobile town hall Sun Metro has hosted with O’Rourke.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke, right, listens to constituent concerns during a rolling Town Hall meeting on board a Sun Metro bus.

 

NYC Transit Reopens Dyckman Street Station

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) marked the end of a two-year rehabilitation project at MTA New York City Transit’s (NYC Transit) Dyckman Street subway station with a recent ribbon-cutting ­ceremony. The station is located in Upper Manhattan.

The $31 million project includes the addition of a new state-of-the-art elevator from the station mezzanine to the southbound platform, along with major repairs to its interior and ­exterior finishes.

NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco said, “We have been able to fully rehabilitate this historic station improving the structural aspects and customer amenities while retaining the unique architectural features that have made this station so visually special.”
The station originally opened in 1906 with a design unique in the system, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The station on the 1 subway line now has new concrete platforms, a refurbished Fort George Tunnel Portal, new platform windscreens, new canopies that include salvaged wood rafters, and a refurbished control area with restored historic finishes: wood frame windows, mosaic tiles, granite floor tiles, plaster ceiling, ceramic wall tiles, replicated cast iron guardrails, and restored mosaic tile signage at the platform level. New cast iron lighting fixtures were installed at the entrance and platform level, designed to reflect the historical era of the originals.

According to NYC Transit, the new Dyckman Street elevator is the first of its kind to be installed in the system. It features an energy-efficient, reliable, machine room-less elevator system. This type of elevator uses conventional steel cord ropes as cables operated by a motorized traction hoisting machine installed at the top side wall, eliminating the need for a machine room.

 

Cutting the ribbon at the rehabilitated Dyckman Street Station, from left: New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco, New York State Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa, New York State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, and George Fernandez Jr., chair, Community Board 12-Manhattan, which represents the neighborhood.

New, Acting GMs Named

Ballard, The T (Fort Worth)
Paul J. Ballard, chief executive officer since 2002 of the Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and the Regional Transportation Authority of Middle Tennessee (RTA), is joining the Fort Worth Transportation Authority as its next president and chief executive officer, effective April 14.

Ballard has served as chief executive or general manager of several public transit systems. He has also been president of two national transit management firms and operated or consulted on transit operations in 38 U.S. cities in 19 states.

“This is the executive we want to lead The T at this point in time,” said T Board Chair Scott Mahaffey. “His experience will be valuable to us as we navigate the next few years.”

“I am looking forward to working with the Fort Worth transportation board, management team, staff, and city officials to implement the T’s transit goals,” Ballard said.

For APTA, he is a member of the Bus and Paratransit CEOs Committee, Commuter & Intercity Rail Legislative Subcommittee, Legislative Committee, Member Services Committee, Commuter Rail CEOs Subcommittee, Commuter Rail Committee, High-Speed & Intercity Passenger Rail Committee, and Rail Transit CEOs Subcommittee.

Hakim, NJ Transit
New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ Transit) in Newark has named Veronique Hakim, executive director, New Jersey Turnpike Authority, to succeed James Weinstein as its executive director. Weinstein announced that he is stepping down effective March 2.

Before joining the turnpike authority, Hakim worked for more than 23 years at the New York Metropolitan Trans­portation Authority, first as special counsel and later as senior vice president and general counsel.

Weinstein headed NJ Transit since 2010. He served as the state’s transportation commissioner from December 1998 to January 2002. He is a designated transit system member director on the APTA Board of Directors and a member of the Authorization Task Force, Bus and Paratransit CEOs Committee, Commuter Rail CEOs Subcommittee, Legislative Committee, and Rail Transit CEOs Subcommittee.

Fjelstul, GRTA
The Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) Board of Directors in Atlanta appointed Kirk ­Fjelstul as acting executive director, effective Feb. 21, after Jannine Miller announced her resignation Feb. 17. Miller has headed the authority since 2010 and is leaving to accept a senior management position with a major ­corporation headquartered in the Atlanta area.

Fjelstul joined GRTA in 2000, serving most recently as deputy director. He ­previously served as interim executive director in 2010.
He is a member of the APTA Legal Affairs Committee.

IN DEPTH

Leadership Training to the MAX: How Three Peer Agencies Make it Work

BY KATHERINE REYNOLDS LEWIS, Special to Passenger Transport


When a crippling ice storm hit Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) last December, stranding 95 light rail vehicles, Marvin Hurt, manager of rail fleet engineering, knew that DART could benefit from the expertise of public transit agencies to the north.

“I immediately got on the phone with my colleague in Denver, because they have snow and ice on a daily basis,” said Hurt, who quickly learned all about ice cutters that could be mounted on the vehicle’s pantograph to slice through ice and free stuck cars. “Less than 24 hours later he sent me pictures, points of contact, where we can move forward with the pantograph.”

Hurt had the benefit of a close relationship with counterparts in Denver who had participated in the Multi-Agency Exchange (MAX) program, a cross-agency leadership development and learning exchange offered jointly by DART, the Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD), and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Los Angeles Metro).

Not only did Hurt’s Denver colleague help troubleshoot the immediate challenge posed by the ice storm and put him in touch with counterparts in ­Chicago, Hurt received advice on the optimal mix of heated and non-heated ice cutters, which helped him put together a procurement for ice cutters that will be mounted on eight vehicles.

“We will definitely be prepared” for the next storm, Hurt said, adding that his participation in MAX not only gave him an expanded network for trouble shooting, but also a broader understanding of DART’s overall goals and an exposure to top-level executives. “It’s all upside in terms of all the wonderful things that are good about the program.”

How it Works
MAX began in 2011 when the heads of the three agencies were chatting about the challenges of workforce development, retention, and running a public transit agency. “We are all obviously competitive but at the same time we’re all after the same thing: to grow people and to provide a service to our community,” said Gary Thomas, DART’s president and executive director.

The three general managers appointed internal coordinators to create a program that brings together eight or nine middle managers from all areas of each agency to share best practices and develop a network for future partnerships and knowledge sharing.

“This is a collaborative program focused on sharing the knowledge of today’s experienced workforce through that collaboration and candid interaction,” RTD General Manager Phillip Washington said. He reiterated the program’s three overarching goals:

* Provide a better understanding of transit best practices,
* Create future public transit leaders by giving employees more exposure to their own agencies and peer agencies, and
* Leverage best practices to minimize the learning curve and speed implementation.

Every year, each agency head selects a new group of participants to spend four days in each city learning about that agency and getting to know each other. The program is a mix of information sessions, networking, and hands-on opportunities or “field trips.”

The first year of the program concentrated on light rail and bus operations, safety, security, facilities, human resources, and capital programs. The second year, MAX expanded to include labor relations, negotiations, special events, marketing, and asset management, Washington said.

Participants receive training materials—including slide presentations, manuals, and reports—via flash drives and Google Drive, which are subsequently shared with all employees at the three agencies. The MAX organizers schedule the meetings around special events when possible, such as Denver’s event to sign a $1 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement attended by a number of dignitaries.

It takes time to build the trust needed to share the details of past failures, which is what true innovation is built on. “A lot of times you’ll get in a room at a reception or a conference and you’ll talk about the successes, what’s going right. Oftentimes you don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty of what didn’t work and why it didn’t work,” Thomas said. “That’s what this group has the opportunity to do.”

Offering Opportunities; Closing Gaps
Los Angeles Metro Chief Executive Officer Art Leahy puts a special emphasis on making sure that about half the group is from operations. “You can go to colleges and recruit accountants and finance and marketing people,” Leahy said. “We always send people from operations, and they come back with a much larger ­perspective about what transit is and where they fit in.”
Looking ahead, about 30 percent of the management of Los Angeles Metro’s operations division (transportation and maintenance, bus, and rail) is approaching retirement in the next five years. Another 10 percent is between 55 and 60 years old with more than 25 years of service.

“The whole industry is approaching a crisis because in the next several years, the baby boomers are going to retire, so there’s going to be a great opportunity for younger people to move up into leadership positions,” Leahy said. “We have a great task in front of us to prepare younger people for those opportunities that may arise.”

All organizations need to develop internal talent as well as looking to recruit and attract future leaders from outside, said George Bradt, author of First-Time Leader and a leadership and workforce development consultant to many Fortune 500 companies.

“You’ve got to take individual people and train, develop them,” Bradt said. “One of the pools of possible successors is certainly the pool of current employees. If you can do it, you have the luxury of having some generalists you can move around: utility players that can slot in.”

At RTD, the MAX program fits in with a broader succession planning program that includes descriptions of career paths in various divisions and a new, 12-month leadership academy—now a prerequisite for participating in MAX.

“In this day and age when we’re not doing pay increases because our budgets are very challenging, the people in our agencies know we are investing in them. That has paid off in all kinds of areas,” Washington said. “You have higher morale, you have this mindset and thought [from staff] that ‘our leadership really takes this seriously and wants us to step into these leadership positions’.”

RTD requires that participants return from MAX with a commitment to share their knowledge not only through presentations to senior management, but also through lunch-and-learn gatherings with other employees. Of the 54 individuals from all three agencies who participated in the program’s first two years, 17 have already been promoted, proof of the positive effect on employees’ career paths.

Thomas was surprised to learn, through MAX, that up-and-coming leaders had limited knowledge about DART’s broader goals and needs, outside their silos. “They had a good understanding of their department but not the overall agency,” he said. “This program helped highlight that for me and allowed us to talk a little bit more about what our expectations were, goals, challenges.”

Share and Share Alike
Dallas participants learned from their Los Angeles counterparts about buying and maintaining compressed natural gas buses. “It revised our specifications, and ultimately we redesigned some of the engine criteria,” Thomas said. “It allowed us to get ahead of that curve and not make a costly mistake.”

DART officials also used suggestions from Denver when implementing a police texting tool, including ways to record police contacts with passengers and responses more directly, essentially adjusting their program prior to rollout based on Denver’s experience. And DART adapted Los Angeles Metro’s program that uses retired Metro professionals as safety ambassadors. At DART, employees who are restricted to light duty may become customer service ambassadors on platforms while also monitoring hot spots.

It’s been a wonderful program for us,” said Gus Espinoza, DART’s manager of passenger amenities, noting that the light duty program enables the agency to manage staff more efficiently, and it lifts the morale of people who are injured. “I’ve had some discussions with some of the light duty personnel,” he said. “They felt like they were really contributing in a meaningful way. We didn’t just put them in a back corner with some papers to be filed.”

The light duty program, which began in May 2013, gives participants the additional benefit of being exposed to the maintenance department and having another possible career path open in the future.

Los Angeles Metro adopted a practice from DART by hiring two recent college graduates to tweet service alerts. The practice has enabled the agency to gain 3,000-plus followers on Twitter, and mainstream media now follow the agency’s service alerts to spread the word farther and more quickly.

Leahy, Washington, and Thomas reject the notion that sending their best managers to competing agencies for the MAX program puts them in danger of being poached. “You can be afraid of the market, but the fact is that you have to play in it,” Leahy said. “We’ve all three found the participants have really had a great experience. They get to know people; they get to network with peers; they get to learn about best practices at the different transit systems.”

Washington agreed. “I don’t mind being the farm team for the industry. It makes for a very vibrant organization, and it makes for an organization [where staff members say] ‘I have a chance to get promoted.’ I’m okay with that.”

Thomas notes that if other agencies don’t want to recruit his future leaders, he’s not doing a good enough job developing them. “The people we put in this program ought to be the best. Everybody in the industry ought to want to hire them,” he said.

Ingredients for Success
The program’s initial success depended on the initiative and prowess of the three coordinators: DART’s Teana Bush, project manager for customer care and service delivery; RTD’s George Kuzirian, manager of education, training, and development; and LA Metro’s Patricia Soto, director of government relations.

“You’ve got to find that person in your organization that takes this opportunity and seizes that moment and turns it into something that really does work,” said Thomas, who’s been impressed at the participants’ experiences. “It broadens each of their perspectives and the windows they’re looking through because they hear what everyone is dealing with, not just their world. It really causes you to have a much better and broader perspective, which at the end of the day makes a great leader.”

The program has been so successful that the partners expanded it in January to include the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). Adding MARTA to the program makes sense because the participating systems are comparable. “All of us have a fairly large base system of day-to-day operations along with a fairly large expansion program, or capital program,” Washington said.

“The MAX program allows MARTA to send our future leaders to engage with and learn from other transit agencies and to share knowledge that we’ve amassed over the years,” said Keith Parker, MARTA general manager and chief executive officer.

“Our intellectual and human capital represents one of MARTA’s most valuable assets,” he added. “MARTA’s participation in the MAX program serves the dual purpose of investing in our employees to reap lasting rewards for our customers for the next 35 years, and beyond.”

The program will kick off in Dallas on March 16, move to Denver in May, Atlanta in July, and reach a finale in Los Angeles in September.

“It’s going to be a great opportunity for MARTA to shine and show that we are a leader in the transit industry,” said Linda James, acting director of training for the agency and MARTA program coordinator. She and her counterparts in the other agencies are planning days of speakers, seminars, and tours of a bus garage, rail facilities, and the integrated operations center.

The average age of a MARTA bus operator is 47, and the agency sees a steady stream of retirement and attrition, said LaShanda Dawkins, interim assistant general manager for human resources. “It is extremely important that we develop future leaders. Succession planning and leadership training and development are at the forefront of our goals and objectives,” Dawkins said. “It speaks to our initiatives to be an employer of choice. We want to attract and retain outstanding individuals.”

Looking ahead, it’s possible the partners might add a private-sector aspect to MAX, Washington said, perhaps to help the agencies better understand procurement and the bidding process from the other side of the table. While the program is too big now to add another public transit agency, he hopes other agencies will launch similar models in different parts of the industry.

“I would like to see MAX programs all over this country, in various regional areas of the country, understanding best practices,” he said. “Look at the number of transit agencies just in the ­Northeast. . . . I know the general managers talk at the Transit CEOs Seminar, but do the middle managers spend a week like we’re doing with this ­program?”

Washington’s question gets to the heart of the challenge MAX was designed to address. By investing in employee development, public transportation organizations can realize significant benefits, especially as a growing number of baby boomers reach retirement age, a number that approaches 10,000 a day—a trend that will continue for the next 15 or 16 years, says the Pew Research Center, a Washington, DC-based nonpartisan center.

Public transit agencies that beef up their thinning ranks today by identifying and nurturing aspiring leaders will help ensure that their workforces are innovative, prepared, and robust in the years to come.

10 Start-Up Tips
So you want to start a program like MAX? Here are 10 tips to get started:

1.  Choose a go-getter to coordinate the program internally, someone who will make it happen and ensure success.

2.  Select participants from all areas of the agency, with an emphasis on areas and job functions where retention is a challenge or where a potential labor shortage looms.

3.  Pick partners that are about the same size, with similar challenges and ­operations.

4.  At the same time, find partners that are sufficiently different that they can share unique experiences, practices, and knowledge.

5.  Plan agendas that include substantive networking opportunities and hands-on visits, not just days filled with workshops and presentations in a conference-room setting.

6.  Match participants with their counterparts in the other agencies—those who hold the same job or perform similar functions.

7.  Make sure participants share their new knowledge broadly across your agency by ­making presentations to senior management and through informal information conversations with peers and other employees.

8.  Keep a database of best practices and knowledge sharing that anyone in the ­partner agencies can access.

9.  Develop leadership and management development programs specific to your agency. It should be one tool in your toolbox of employee and leadership ­development.

10.  Participate in other employee development programs, including Leadership APTA, the new Early Career Program, and the Mid-Level Managers sessions at the annual bus and rail conferences and the Annual Meeting & EXPO.


Build Your Workforce with APTA
APTA offers several programs to help public transit agencies and businesses build, develop, and strengthen their workforces—from the front lines to the “C suite”—to help ensure the sustainability and success of the public transportation industry.

Leadership APTA is the association’s premier professional development program to develop and support experienced managers and others aspiring to hold senior and executive leadership positions in their organizations, the public transportation industry, and APTA.
As such, each class reflects a diverse, broad-based group of highly motivated and dedicated industry professionals from among APTA’s membership.

The Leadership APTA Committee annually selects 25 individuals to participate in the year-long program, which includes skill-building workshops, conferences, executive roundtables, class leadership projects, teleconferences, online meetings, and other web-based events. The program is in its 17th year.

The Early Career Program (ECP) is a professional development program for individuals who have three to five years of work experience in the public transportation industry, including one to two years of management experience.

A task force composed of public transportation leaders selects up to 25 individuals for the year-long program, which focuses on skill-building workshops, roundtable sessions, online collaboration, and a virtual mentorship component that pairs program participants with the industry’s senior leaders. The program is entering its second year.

The Mid-Level Managers Magnification Program (MMM) meets in conjunction with APTA’s major conferences: the Bus & Paratransit Conference, the Rail Conference, and the Annual Meeting & EXPO.

hTe program is specifically designed for mid-level managers who are new to APTA conferences or those who are new in their managerial role. Sessions include workshops, small group discussions, senior-level briefings, and networking opportunities. More than 400 mid-level managers have participated in the program since its launch in 2012.

APTA has recently expanded its focus with the addition of several programs for the front-line workforce, specifically designed to respond to the industry’s ­unprecedented need to hire and train skilled operators and technicians. The ­programs are based on APTA industry-wide approved training standards required to create sustainable and skills-based training programs.

Under the leadership of APTA’s Human Resources Committee, many front-line workforce programs will be highlighted at the association’s upcoming conferences and in a webinar series that features successful practices and initiatives.

For details about front-line programs, contact Pamela Boswell. For details about Leadership APTA and the MMM, contact Joe Niegoski. For information about ECP, contact Rachelle Jezbera.

APTA MEMBER PROFILE

Meet Richard Kwasneski!

Richard Kwasneski
Chairman of the Board
Pace Suburban Bus, Arlington Heights, IL
Member, APTA Transit Board Members Committee

How many people are employed at your agency?

There are 1,568 employees at Pace.

How long have you been involved in the public transportation industry?
I became involved in public transit when I joined the Pace Board of Directors in 2002.

How long have you been an APTA member?
My APTA membership also began in 2002 when I joined the Pace board.

What drew you to board service in public transportation?
Before I was appointed to the Pace board, I was the mayor and a village trustee for the Village of Lemont, in Chicago’s southwest suburbs. I enjoy public service and really enjoy watching all of the changes occurring in the transit industry.

There has been so much advancement in technology—it’s been particularly exciting because that’s an area in which Pace has invested heavily. We were one of the first transit agencies to implement a GPS-based Intelligent Transportation System, and we also developed multiple coordinated dial-a-ride projects in our service area through computerized dispatching.

Beyond all of that, however, it’s the service we provide to people. Attending public hearings and other outreach meetings and talking with our customers keeps me focused on the profound effect our service has on people’s lives. There are people who would not be able to work, attend school, or be a part of their community if they didn’t have Pace service.

What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource? Which one helps you do your job?
Without a doubt, networking with other agencies has proven invaluable to Pace. We’ve been able to learn from the experience of other agencies to do everything from developing communications plans to implementing our Bus on Shoulders service on Interstate 55.

We did an extensive amount of research on hybrid and CNG-powered buses in order to make the best, most cost-effective decision for the agency. Any ­general manager or board member understands the tremendous amount of pressure involved in committing millions of public dollars to the purchase of buses that need to stay on the road for at least 12 years. Needless to say, we need to do it right. Learning from other agencies helped us make what we feel is the right decision.

Please explain why or how this has helped.
To answer that, here’s a quick story about how networking helped us get our Bus on Shoulders service to the implementation stage: By presenting an implementation plan based on the experience of Metro in Minneapolis/St. Paul and Cincinnati Metro, we were able to convince some skeptics and other stake­holders that this was a worthwhile effort that could be done safely.

It has been two years since our shoulder-riding program began and ridership has tripled to roughly 1,000 riders per day on the two routes. I don’t know if we could have gotten the project off the ground without being able to learn from, and point to, the successful operations of these other agencies we were able to easily reach through APTA.

What do you like most about your board service?
There are two things I talked before about—seeing first-hand how the service we provide has a positive impact on the lives of so many of our customers, whether it’s providing mobility for a person with a disability or helping everyday commuters save money versus driving. There’s a great feeling that comes from seeing how the work we do benefits our customers.
The other thing I enjoy is seeing how our employees rise to meet a wide variety of challenges. Pace is fortunate to have so many tremendously dedicated employees who have the experience and talent to manage unusual challenges, ranging from floods and blizzards to funding issues and more.

What is unique about your agency? What would readers be surprised to learn?
I think what tends to surprise people the most about Pace is the size of our agency. Although we’re a suburban agency and relatively small compared to our sister agency, the Chicago Transit Authority, we’re consistently among the 10 largest bus fleets in North America and have annual ridership totaling around 39-40 million despite not serving a central business district.

Our service area spans six counties and is roughly the size of the state of ­Connecticut. We are responsible for ADA paratransit operations in both Chicago and the suburbs and have been told that ours may be the largest paratransit operation in the world. We’re continuing to grow in terms of ridership, fleet size, and service levels and will continue to aggressively seek opportunities for continued positive change and growth.

MEET THE APTA STAFF

Meet Laticia A. King!

Laticia A. King
Program Manager-Communications & Marketing
Communications and Marketing Department

What are the top job elements you focus on the most (your primary responsibilities)?

I’m responsible for marketing and promoting APTA meetings, conferences, workshops, and programs. This process has a lot of components and I:

* develop the yearly upcoming meetings brochure our members receive every January.
* create advertisements that appear in Passenger Transport and other industry publications.
* also write, edit, and produce various marketing and promotional pieces, including electronic messages, brochures, postcards, press releases, and posters.

I am responsible for maintaining APTA’s presence on Facebook and Twitter and, as part of last year’s strategy to expand member communication, APTA’s new video initiative. Through that initiative, I produce videos that highlight ­member benefits and promote APTA events. I produce, edit, write scripts; provide voice-overs; and capture visual footage for many of the videos on the APTA website and our YouTube channel.

I manage all aspects of the annual AdWheel Awards competition, a program that acknowledges the marketing and communications efforts of our members. My duties include conceptualizing the yearly branded look of the program and developing and executing the marketing and communications plan. I oversee the submission process of more than 600 entries, facilitate ­judging, and supervise production of the live show at APTA’s Annual Meeting.

I also manage the Call Center Challenge—a program that recognizes the outstanding efforts of APTA member transit system call center personnel. The live round of the competition takes place annually during the Marketing & Communications Workshop.

Do you have direct contact with APTA members? If so, please talk about recent times you’ve helped out a member.

With the programs I oversee, I’m in regular contact with APTA members, specifically members of the Marketing & Communications Committee. I partner closely with them to ensure the success of both the Call Center Challenge and AdWheel programs. Throughout the year, I often need images of different agencies and organizations for marketing collateral. The members of the Marketing & Communications Committee are always really good about helping me obtain photos.

During APTA meetings, I conduct on-camera interviews with many APTA members for use in future informational and promotional videos.

What initiatives, projects, or programs have you worked on at APTA that you have taken particular pride in completing?
I take pride in my work on APTA’s video initiative. It’s a broad effort that allows me to use all my skills and talents. I have broadcast news experience and received my master’s degree in arts, entertainment, and media management from Columbia College Chicago.

I have participated in APTA’s Learning Organization Working Group, led by Joe Niegoski: a volunteer group responsible for identifying and developing staff development and training programs.

Producing the AdWheel Awards show and exhibit requires a lot of time and effort. It has been extremely rewarding for me to take the live show to the next level. Every year I’m excited to see our members’ hard work and innovative ideas highlighted and honored through this program.

How did you “land” at APTA? How long have you worked here?

I’ve been working at APTA for more than three years. When I saw the position advertised in The Washington Post, I felt that this association would be a good fit for me. I feel really strongly about working for an organization with goals and objectives I believe in. I’m a true advocate of public transportation. APTA members make a difference in people’s lives. Each day I’m excited with the possibilities of the industry and happy that I get to play a small role in it all.

What professional affiliations do you have?

Women’s Transportation Seminar, American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), and a member of the 2012 ASAE Future Leaders Class.

Could you tell us something about yourself that might surprise us?

I started my career in broadcast media, and I have worked in several different news stations in North Carolina, including CBS, ABC, and Fox affiliates. I also spent time in the Online Marketing and Creative Services Department at TV One, a cable and satellite television channel based in suburban Washington, DC.

Many people don’t know that for many years I was a disc jockey. My ­family has owned a mobile DJ company for 30 years; I’ve been spinning music, mixing records, and listening through big headphones for as long as I can remember. I’d love to get back to doing it in my spare time.

Make sure you see Laticia A. King’s video, now that you've read this! 

APTA NEWS

Transit CEOs Seminar Attracts Senior Executives and Deputies

BY LYNNE MORSEN, Director-Program Management

Public transportation agency chiefs and deputies gathered Feb. 8-11 to study management, policy, and funding issues at APTA’s Transit CEOs Seminar hosted by the Regional Transit Authority, New Orleans, LA.

The seminar began with an FTA workshop led by Deputy Administrator Therese McMillan, who spoke about developing a national transportation vision and plan for unified multimodal services, FTA’s safety oversight role, predictable federal funding, good stewardship of resources, and workforce development programs that offer ­“ladders for opportunity” for all.

Other FTA leaders participating were Matthew Welbes, executive director; Thomas Littleton, associate administrator for safety and oversight; Henrika Buchanan-Smith, associate administrator for program management; and Brian Farber, associate administrator for communications and congressional affairs. Allison Fultz of Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell LLP fielded questions on anticipated FTA guidance on asset management systems, an $86 billion backlog on achieving state of good repair, upcoming guidance from the FTA and FHWA on performance ­metrics and management systems, and front-line workforce training.

APTA Chair Peter Varga, chief executive officer of the Interurban Transit Partnership (The Rapid) in Grand ­Rapids, MI, led a session on the millennial generation—individuals in their 20s and early 30s—and public transit. He summarized the findings from APTA’s ­October 2013 report, Millennials & Mobility: Understanding the Millennial Mindset, and moderated a panel of millennial professionals who offered several suggestions:

* Make reliability the top priority. Millennials tend to use mobile apps displaying real-time information. A panelist cited a study showing that passengers waiting for a bus overestimate the amount of time they are waiting by double compared with people who have an app;

* Make way finding signs visible throughout the community so riders understand how to get around;

* Discuss cost savings. A city dweller who grew up taking streetcars and buses said he married a suburbanite who had never used public transit. Their discussions about saving to start a family ­centered on the annual cost of ­owning a car;

* Offer new technology and open data for services, ­mapping, and information. Give it to the public and they can make the apps; and

* Educate younger people by seeking out a few who are familiar with urban planning and land use. They can put you in touch with their contacts. Engage them.

Other factors called important in determining millennials’ mobility choices were convenience, the length of and ­network for the complete trip, and the ability to multi-task when using public transit.

The seminar also featured a separate track of study for executive-level leaders and deputies who aspire to moving into a CEO position.

Attendees also participated in several other discussions. A summary follows:

Utah Transit Authority General Manager Michael Allegra, also a member of the APTA Board of Directors, led a session on funding and financing. ­Phillip Washington, APTA’s vice chair and general manager, Regional Transportation District, Denver, CO, facilitated a session on disadvantaged business enterprises. ­Randall Jamieson and Daniel Smilek, Atticus Consulting Group, discussed aspects of safety performance related to human attention deficiencies. ­Louwana Oliva, vice chair, APTA Human Resources Committee, and assistant general manager, Centre Area Transportation Authority, State College, PA, moderated a session on workforce development initiatives.

The 2015 Transit CEOs Seminar will be held Feb. 7-10 in Phoenix.

 

Panelists at the FTA session on MAP-21, from left: Tom Littleton, Matt Welbes, Therese McMillan, Henrika Buchanan-Smith, and Brian Farber.

Photo by Chris Martinez, Chris Martinez Photography

APTA in March

APTA’s calendar for March showcases a public transit agency, offers interesting data points about the value of public transit, and tracks key APTA events. Here’s what’s up in March:

This month’s photo features the Riverside Transit Agency’s (RTA) Dial-A-Ride program, an origin-to-destination advance reservation transportation service for older Americans and persons with disabilities. The photo, by Jim Dorsey, is provided courtesy of the RTA, Riverside, CA.

Did you know? Approximately 83 percent of older Americans say that public transit provides easy access to the things they need in everyday life.

APTA events: Legislative Conference, Washington, DC, March 9-11; Revenue Management Summit, New Orleans, March 16-18; Public Transportation and Universities Conference, Champaign, IL, March 29-April 1.

AROUND THE INDUSTRY

UTA’s ‘RideClear’ Provides Free Rides

In an effort to improve air quality by promoting public transportation use, the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) has partnered with UCAIR, the Utah Clean Air Partnership, to offer free seven-day passes through March 31 under the RideClear program.

“We looked at the air quality issue and felt like we had a unique opportunity to do something to help,” said UTA General Manager Michael Allegra. “We hope people take advantage of this program, especially on days when the air is really bad. Taking any cars off the road during times when the air stagnates in Utah is good for everyone.”

“UCAIR is focused on educating, encouraging, and empowering everyone to take actions that can improve our air quality,” said Ted Wilson, UCAIR executive director. “We recognize that the majority of our emissions come from mobile sources, and transit can be a big part of the solution in this arena. With this program, UTA is enabling individuals to make a different choice in how they get around, which in turn improves air quality. It is extremely rewarding to be able to support such a program.”

UTA explained that winter is an especially critical time for air quality. During periods of cold temperatures and clear skies, a layer of cold air settles underneath a layer of higher, warmer air. Particulate matter and other pollutants emitted by automobiles become trapped within the cold air layer, creating unhealthy air quality conditions.

Ann Arbor Board Approves Five-Year Improvement Program

The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (TheRide) Board of Directors unanimously adopted a Five-Year Transit Improvement Program to improve connectivity among municipalities in the agency’s southeastern Michigan service area.

“The board understands that public transportation is essential to promoting vibrant communities that are attractive to employers and employees, places where connections can happen, where productivity and creativity increase, and where professional networks foster collaboration and innovation,” said TheRide Chief Executive Officer Michael G. Ford.

The program—created with input from riders, the public, community leaders and organizations, and elected officials—includes an additional 90,000 service hours per year, which would represent a 44 percent annual increase over existing services. If more local funding is secured, the program will enhance current operations and routes and increase public transit access in underserved areas through more destinations, more frequent service, more direct service, later weekday and weekend service, and redesigned routes over the next five years.

The board’s adoption of the program does not include a proposal for funding. That determination will be part of ongoing discussions between TheRide and local government officials. Authority officials said they are considering a recommendation to place a 0.7-mill, five-year property tax increase proposal on the 2014 ballot for residents in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Ypsilanti Township.

If the board and voters approve the millage, it would generate $4.3 million for new and expanded services annually through 2019.
State and federal matching funds would help fund the improved services proposed in the plan: Every $1 spent by local taxpayers would generally receive a $2 match. The agency would also help pay for improved services through fares and purchase-of-service agreements with communities not in the service area.

VCTC and County Partner to Expand Bus Service

The Ventura County Transportation Commission, Ventura, CA, began offering additional service recently on its popular Heritage Valley route. The route now operates with five additional morning trips and three additional afternoon/evening trips.

VCTC Executive Director Darren Kettle explained that the new service is part of a strategy to enhance bus service in the region through strategic partnerships with the county and the cities of Fillmore and Santa Paula.

Ventura County is funding the service extension on a trial or demonstration project basis, and will join with VCTC to evaluate its performance in July.

RTC’s Club Ride, Employers Partner to Promote Green Commutes

Club Ride Commuter Services, a free program sponsored by the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) that partners with area employers to promote greener modes of getting to work, had its most successful year in 2013 for recruiting new partners, reporting of round-trip commutes, and overall positive environmental impact.

“Club Ride is successfully changing the valley’s perception of alternative modes of transportation by making them more accessible and appealing to commuters,” said Tina Quigley, RTC general manager. “With greater participation, we are reducing traffic, improving our air quality and saving commuters money. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

The program added more than 5,600 new commuters and 20 new employer partners in 2013, including some of Southern Nevada’s leading ­businesses. It now partners with more than 250 employers in the Las Vegas Valley.

Program participants recorded 967,844 clean commutes, which kept an estimated 5.8 million vehicle miles off area valley roads, a distance equal to 236 trips around the world.

Club Ride also used new technologies to make recording commutes easy for participants by installing 42 touch screen kiosks at 36 partner worksites, which have increased reporting among employees by as much as 350 percent, and by introducing a smartphone app. In addition, the program allows participants to log their commutes via ­VeriFone, by text and phone, and online.

For details, click here.

AASHTO Marks Centennial with Commemorative Website

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is commemorating its centennial this year with a special website.

Based on the theme “A Century of Achievement for a Better Tomorrow,” the website traces the association’s history since its founding in 1914 as the American Association of State Highway Officials. (“Transportation” was added to the name in 1973.) Historic photos, summaries of major association activities and their impacts, trivia, and links to a monthly newsletter are all part of the site.

PSTA Paratransit Driver Saves Passenger’s Life

The Pinellas ­Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), St. Petersburg, FL, recently recognized Care Ride paratransit driver Robert Parissi for performing CPR on one of his passengers.

Last month, Parissi arrived to pick up 80-year-old Klaus Gansel at his home. He saw the man suddenly slump ­forward in his wheelchair. “I wasn’t sure if he was asleep or on medication, so I shook his shoulder to see—and he didn’t respond,” said Parissi. “I checked for breathing and a pulse and as soon as I realized that he didn’t have one, I took him out of the chair, laid him on the ground, and started doing compressions.”

After a few minutes, Parissi realized that his cell phone was still in the vehicle. “I ran to the van as fast as I could, grabbed the phone, and ran back to continue the compressions,” he said. After a few more minutes, he managed to call 911 while continuing CPR. Emergency responders soon arrived and transferred Gansel to an ambulance.

During the previous year, Gansel had undergone chemotherapy and radiation therapy for lung cancer, which placed stress on his heart. He lived an ­additional five days.

“We knew it was coming and it wasn’t a surprise,” said Gansel’s widow Diana. “But we can’t thank Robert enough for what he did—he gave us another week with Klaus.” She said employees of the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit called Parissi’s efforts “perfect.”

All Care Ride drivers receive intensive and ongoing training on how to administer CPR, but Parissi said this was the first time he had ever needed to use it.

“This whole thing has been incredible. You never know how you’re going to react when something like this comes up; you just hope you get it right,” Parissi said, crediting his CPR instructors and their attention to detail during his training sessions.

 

PSTA Care Ride operator Robert Parissi and Diana Gansel, whose husband Parissi revived.


 

TriMet Partners with Zipcar

Portland’s Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) recently joined the Zipcar car sharing network to expand availability of vehicles at three TriMet park-and-ride facilities.

Zipcar will make available a total of six vehicles as a new option for MAX light rail riders to complete the “last mile” of their trips.

“We are always looking at ways to expand transportation options for our riders to get them to their final destination,” said Neil McFarlane, TriMet's general manager. “While TriMet provides convenient transit service throughout the region, our partnership with Zipcar helps give riders more options to travel without the need to have a car full-time.”

Book Examines Boston-New York Rivalry in Subway Construction

A new nonfiction book, The Race Underground: Boston, New York and the Incredible Rivalry That Built America’s First Subway by Doug Most, was recently published by St. Martin’s Press.

In the author’s words: “It’s a non-fiction historical narrative that tells the great story of these amazing cities experiencing enormous growth from immigration and becoming dangerously overcrowded. They looked for relief by expanding their transit systems and eventually digging America’s first subways. Boston opened [its first subway line] in 1897, New York in 1904.”

More information about the book is available at the author's website.

COMMENTARY

Two Columns from DOT's Blog

Yes, We Did: the 5-Year Anniversary of the Recovery Act
BY ANTHONY FOXX, DOT Secretary

On Feb.17, 2009—five years ago—President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In office less than a month, he took a huge step forward in leading this nation out of its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. At the U.S. Department of Transportation, we knew the important role transportation could play in getting the economy back on its feet and when given the opportunity to help through Recovery Act funds, we said, “Yes, we can.” Five years later, DOT is proud to say, “Yes, we did.”

By the first Recovery Act anniversary, we had created tens of thousands of jobs related to construction work across the country—all of which meant paychecks to American workers who could pay their rent or mortgages and feed their families. We improved more than 24,000 miles of highway and 1,100 bridges, tackled more than 700 transit projects, expanded options for bicyclists and pedestrians, reduced congestion and its associated pollutants, and upgraded runways and airports.

By Sept. 30, 2010, we had awarded over $48 billion to more than 14,600 needed highway, road, ­transit, bridge, and airport projects across America. In fact, we were able to stretch our portion of Recovery Act funding to include additional projects because earlier projects were bid below previous estimates.

When all of the work is completed—that’s right, the Recovery Act continues to support good jobs on good projects—we will have:

* Improved nearly 42,000 miles of American road;
* Repaired or replaced more than 2,700 bridges;
* Helped transit agencies purchase more than 12,220 transit vehicles;
* Upgraded or constructed more than 6,000 miles of better performing rail;
* Purchased 120 next-generation rail cars and locomotives; and
* Increased safety and convenience with more than 360 airport and runway projects.

The projects we have supported are much more than abstract milestones. Each one represents good jobs. Each one represents a community benefiting from economic activity stimulated by construction and renovation. Each one represents greater safety. And each one represents improved infrastructure that makes getting from point A to point B easier for people and for the freight that fuels our economy.

In project after project across the country, the Recovery Act has ­demonstrated the powerful dividends of transportation investment: Safety. Employment. Development. Efficiency. Mobility. Environment. Those dividends are very real for commuters using the expanded Caldecott Tunnel in ­California; for passengers and crew benefiting from improved lighting on runways at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-­Jackson Airport; for passengers traveling on higher speed rail between Chicago and St. Louis or ­Chicago and Detroit; for truck drivers passing through Oklahoma City on an improved I-40; and for transit passengers in ­Dallas ­riding the extended DART Green Line.

That kind of achievement does not come without dedicated DOT employees working together on behalf of the American people. But with the kind of dedication I’ve seen at DOT, I know we can do more.

The list of needed projects in every state from Alaska and Hawaii to Maine and Florida is not short. It’s not a question of whether or not we can deliver the benefits of transportation investment to more communities nationwide. With our economic recovery progressing—with the private sector adding jobs continuously since 2010—how can we afford to stop now?


Transit Gives Dallas Area a Ride to Economic Growth
BY THERESE McMILLAN, FTA Deputy Administrator

At FTA, the Dallas-Fort Worth area has become one of our favorite places to talk about. Why? Because in the last 30 years, Dallas has gone from zero miles to the most miles of light rail in operation, anywhere in North America. We can add to that growth the accompanying billions of dollars in economic activity, the tens of thousands of jobs it has created, and the increased property values brought about by expanding transit in North Texas.

So, if a conference I attended last week called “Texans Do Use Transit” seems like a pipe dream, it’s not. Texans do use transit. It’s a fact—known and measurable. And in addition to using transit to get to jobs, medical services, and other destinations, North Texas is using its investment in ­transit to boost economic growth. ­Texans don’t just use transit, they thrive on it. And not just in Dallas; transit expansion is also happening right now in San Antonio, El Paso, Brownsville, and Houston.

And two studies released by the University of North Texas (UNT) last month confirm it. According to UNT, the $4.7 billion spent between 2002 and 2013 to expand light rail generated $7.4 billion in economic activity and ­created $3.3 billion in salaries, wages, and benefits from tens of thousands of jobs.

That period includes the recent recession. As Terry Clower, director of UNT’s Center for Economic Development and Research, affirmed, “Even through difficult economic times, DART has demonstrated its ability to boost the North Texas economy through its capital spending, daily operations, and attracting private investment.”

And once stations are built and operational, the economic benefits continue to flow. A second UNT study released at the end of January indicates that, “More than $5.3 billion in private capital transit-oriented development projects have been built, are under construction, or are planned near Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s light rail stations.”

What’s attracting this development? DART riders. The UNT study shows that office properties located within one-quarter mile of a DART station earn an average 13.9 percent increase in lease rates. Areas surrounding DART stations outperformed comparable locations in property value as well, totaling more than $1.5 billion in valuation compared with roughly $600 million in the control areas.

Those properties include single and multi-family residential development with green space, retail, and office space, and industrial sites—all of the land uses that help make a community a community. As property values climb, DART and the city of Dallas have also worked to make affordable housing part of their vision. By partnering with HUD and other organizations, they are ensuring that residents who live along transit routes aren’t priced out of their homes.

Even better? As the Dallas region continues to grow, DART continues to expand its miles of service and add new stations. In addition to better access to good transit, that also means more jobs, more investment, and more economic growth.

That’s what can happen when we choose to invest in transit, and it’s getting the attention of communities across America. The need to invest in transportation is clear. The benefits of investing in transportation are clear; at FTA, we’re working to bring those benefits to your community.

Both of these columns originally appeared in February in the DOT blog, “Fast Lane."

This “Commentary” section features different points of view from various sources to enhance readers’ broad awareness of themes and views that affect public transportation.

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

Who’s Doing What in the Industry

Ray LaHood
GREENVILLE, SC—Former DOT Secretary Ray LaHood has joined the Board of Directors of P­roterra Inc.

Before his tenure as DOT secretary, LaHood was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois, serving on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee for six years and on the House Appropriations Committee for almost eight years.

Thomas Doll
ELYRIA, OH—Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC announced the promotion of Thomas Doll to vice president, global purchasing excellence. Doll, who joined Bendix in October 2013, is also a member of the Bendix Leadership Committee.

Doll has two decades of broad business experience in global supply chain management. He joined Bendix from Benteler Global Procurement GmbH, where he served as chief procurement officer, based in Paderborn, Germany.

Ashok Kothari, Mario Medina
NEW YORK, NY—Parsons ­Brinckerhoff (PB) has named Ashok Kothari global projects director, based in the firm’s Los Angeles office. He will also continue to serve as PB’s project director for the nine-mile Westside Subway Extension in Los Angeles.

Kothari is a 38-year PB employee and a senior vice president of the firm. He has provided guidance and performed peer reviews of infrastructure projects throughout the U.S., India, Australia, and the Middle East.

Also, Mario Medina has joined PB as senior area manager in the Austin, TX, office.

Medina comes to PB after 28 years with Texas DOT, serving most recently as San Antonio district engineer. Earlier he was director of the Multimodal Section of the agency’s Transportation Planning and Programming Division.

John P. Munoz
CAMBRIDGE, MA—CDM Smith announced the appointment of John P. Munoz as vice president specializing in public-private partnerships (P3) and innovative finance. He is based in the company’s Austin, TX, office.

Munoz has 27 years of experience. Most recently, he led Texas DOT’s competitive P3 procurements and all related credit agreements for the state’s first four P3 projects.

Kim Daughtry, Tom Hamilton, Leonard Kelley, Terry Ryan
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, WA—Four new members have joined the Community Transit Board of Directors: Lake ­Stevens Council Member Kim Daughtry, Snohomish City Council Member Tom Hamilton, Stanwood Mayor Leonard Kelley, and Snohomish County Council Member Terry Ryan. Daughtry and ­Hamilton served as alternate members to the board the past two years.

Re-elected board members include Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling, ­Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring, Mill Creek Council Member Mike Todd, Mountlake Terrace Mayor Jerry Smith, and Snohomish County Council Member Stephanie Wright.

Laurence Krieg, Eric Mahler, Susan Baskett, Gillian Ream, Jack Bernard
ANN ARBOR, MI—Laurence Krieg has been named to the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority Board of Directors representing Ypsilanti Township, which joined the agency’s service area in November 2013.

Krieg is a decorated military veteran who taught at the University of ­Michigan, Washtenaw Community ­College, and Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí in Mexico. He has used and studied public transit throughout Spain, Japan, Israel, Germany, France, England, Canada, and the U.S.

The agency also announced these new board members: Eric Mahler and Susan Baskett, representing Ann Arbor and succeeding David Nacht and Jesse Bernstein; Gillian Ream, city of ­Ypsilanti; and Jack Bernard, appointed by Ann Arbor City Council after the board expanded, providing an additional seat for an Ann Arbor representative.

Elizabeth (Federico) Hynes, David Wright
PASADENA, CA—Parsons announced that two of its employees, ­Elizabeth (Federico) Hynes and David Wright, received recognition in the Engineering News-Record New York (ENR New York) Top 20 Under 40 competition.

Hynes is a planner with experience in environmental impact studies, environmental assessments, alternatives analyses, and National Environmental Policy Act processes.

Wright is a senior engineer in ­Parsons’ rail & transit systems division. Since 2010, he has worked on MTA Long Island Rail Road’s East Side Access project.

Patricia A. Day, Ibrahima Toure, Lance Atencio
LOMBARD, IL—Veolia Transportation announced the appointment of Patricia A. Day as senior director for labor relations and the promotion of Ibrahima Toure to director for business development for the company’s western region.

Day has 25 years of experience ­advising and assisting clients on day-to-day labor issues, including positions as chief labor relations officer for both ­Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and Philadelphia’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. Most recently, she spent five years as vice president for human resources at the University of Scranton.

Toure joined Veolia in 2004 as a bus operator. He served in several positions under the company’s Butte County Association of Governments (BCAG) contract in Chico, CA, becoming general manager in 2010.

He is a graduate of the Leadership APTA Class of 2013 and now serves on the Bus Operations, Information Technology, and Leadership APTA committees.

Also, Veolia named Lance Atencio to succeed Toure as general manager of the BCAG contract. He joins the firm after 15 years with another transportation company, serving most recently as general manager in Salinas, CA, and general manager in Fairfield, CA.

Vince Corrado
DAYTON, OH—The Montgomery County Commissioners have appointed Vince Corrado, retired chairman and chief executive officer of Shook Construction, to the Greater ­Dayton Regional Transit Authority Board of Trustees. Corrado now serves as chairman emeritus of Shook’s board of directors.

Corrado has been involved in community activities throughout his 45-year career.

Rob Rogers
AUDUBON, PA—Johnson Matthey’s Stationary Emissions Control Group appointed Rob Rogers regional sales manager for the southwestern U.S.

Rogers most recently was account manager for an oil and gas catalyst company in ­Oklahoma. He also was an account manager for Valerus Compression Services and regional sales manager for Cold Jet LLC.

William Johnson
FORT WORTH, TX—William ­Johnson has joined the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) as its grants and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise administrator.

Johnson, a previous employee of The T from 1995-99, worked since 2008 as assistant director of the Fort Worth Housing and Economic Development Department. Earlier, he was manager of the DFW International Airport Board’s Small and Emerging Business Department.

Andy Lauzier
ORLANDO, FL—Andy Lauzier, P.E., has been promoted to transportation planning and design director at HDR, based in the firm’s Orlando office. He previously served since 2005 as section manager and managing principal for the Orlando office.

Lauzier has more than 30 years of experience in transportation engineering and design.

Otis Tolbert, Rick DeCoster
CHICAGO, IL—Aon Risk Solutions announced the promotions of Otis Tolbert to a practice leader and Rick DeCoster to lead strategic account manager.

Tolbert, who will continue to serve as resident managing director of Aon’s The Capital operation, which includes Washington, DC, and Baltimore, has spent more than 15 years with the organization.

DeCoster, a 14-year Aon veteran based in Atlanta, has served in both office and practice leader capacities while working with major clients.

Jason Dunn, Ken Reed
CINCINNATI, OH—The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) has elected Jason Dunn as chair of its board for 2014. Ken Reed was elected vice chair.

Dunn is director of multicultural affairs and community development for the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau. He joined the SORTA board in 2012.

Reed, a board member since 2011, is manager of loss control services for the Ohio Transit Risk Pool, where he is responsible for the oversight of all loss control, training, and risk auditing activities. He previously served as general manager of the ­Butler County Regional Transit Authority in ­Hamilton, OH.

Ed Murray, Dave Upthegrove, Mike O'Brien
SEATTLE, WA—The Sound Transit Board of Directors welcomed three new members: Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, King County Councilmember Dave ­Upthegrove, and Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien.

Murray was elected Seattle mayor in November, following years of leadership in the Washington State Legislature, and Upthegrove was elected to the King County Council representing areas of South King County in 2013 following the retirement of Julia ­Patterson.
O’Brien, a public transit advocate and former chair of the Sierra Club’s ­Washington State chapter, was elected to the Seattle City Council in 2009.

Lenora Smith, Kathy Possinger
HARRISBURG, PA—Lenora Smith and Kathy Possinger recently joined the Capital Area Transit (CAT) Board of Directors. Both were appointed by Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse and approved by the city council.

Smith is an attorney and Possinger is executive director of the Community Action Commission.

The CAT board also elected Eric Bugaile chairman, Todd Pagliarulo secretary, and Smith treasurer. Don Geistwhite and Rick Rovegno were elected assistant chairman and assistant treasurer respectively.