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Who's Doing What in the Industry

Passenger Transport
announces the following hirings and promotions in public transportation agencies and business members. Items appear in People on the Move in the order in which they are received.

Editor's Note: This version of the story does not include graphics that appear in the print edition. To see these graphics, click here.

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, WA—The Community Transit Board of Directors has selected Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring as its chair. Snohomish County Council member Stephanie Wright was named vice chair and Stanwood Mayor Leonard Kelley was named secretary.

BLAIRSVILLE, PA—Steven Laich has been named director of operations, transit division, for Penn Machine Co. Prior to joining the company, he was general manager of Universal Stainless in North Jackson, OH, and served in several management and staff positions with Allegheny Technologies Inc.

NEW YORK CITY—Peter M. Zuk has joined Hill International as senior vice president with Hill’s Project Management Group.

Zuk comes to Hill after senior leadership positions with some of the largest owners and firms in the construction industry, including chief executive officer of Zuk International, managing director of international governmental services for AECOM, chief programs officer for the London Underground and vice president with Kiewit Construction Company. He also was an assistant attorney general in Massachusetts.

HARRISBURG, PA—The Capital Area Transit (CAT) People with Disabilities Advisory Committee has elected Robert Philbin, CAT director of public information and customer experience, its chairman.

Charles Carr, a disability advocate and customer of the Center for Independent Living of Central Pennsylvania, will serve as vice chairperson and ­Dauphin County Attorney Guy P. Beneventano is pro bono legal advisor and committee secretary.

WASHINGTON, DC—Longtime rail professional Thomas Downs has been named chair of Network Rail Consulting Inc., the international consultancy arm of Network Rail.

Downs, who served Amtrak as chairman and chief executive officer, CEO and president, has worked in rail for more than three decades. He began his career as a White House Fellow in 1977-78, serving as an executive assistant to then-DOT Secretary Brock Adams. Most recently, he was a member of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board of Directors for four years, the last two as its chair.

NEW YORK CITY—WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff announces the following appointments:

Lisa Maurath has been named area manager of the firm’s Los Angeles transportation and infrastructure office. Maurath rejoined the firm in 2009 as operations manager in Los Angeles after a previous eight-year tenure in the Minneapolis and Chicago offices. She has more than 30 years of experience.

Roger Heebner has been named freight rail market principal in the company’s Philadelphia office. He has more than 43 years of experience, most recently as a vice president and freight rail market sector leader with another international firm.

Samuel F. Minnitte Jr. has been named transportation and infrastructure area manager in the company’s Baltimore office. With more than 33 years of experience, Minnitte joined WSP | PB in 2014 after a tenure as director of the Maryland DOT Office of Planning and Real Estate.

CINCINNATI—Thomas Stringer Jr. has joined Cincinnati Metro as senior vice president of operations/chief operations officer.

Most recently, Stringer was senior manager of service delivery for the Jacksonville (FL) Transportation Authority. Earlier he was a regional vice president and general manager with Keolis Transit America and MV Transportation and held leadership roles with the Charlotte Area Transit System, McDonald Transit Associates Inc. and Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority.

OMAHA—HDR has announced the following appointments:

Peter Gertler has joined HDR’s strategic consulting team as vice president, based in Oakland, CA. Gertler, chair of the APTA High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Committee and a member of the APTA Board of Directors, previously was director of business development for Autodesk and earlier held leadership roles with two other large North America-based architectural/engineering firms.

Heather Catron, an HDR vice president and four-year employee of the firm, has been promoted to federal transportation director from her previous position as transportation environmental services director. Based in Portland, OR, Catron has more than 23 years of industry experience, including as a program manager for Oregon DOT.

Scott Goehri has been named director of professional services for HDR’s transportation business group. He has more than 32 years of industry experience, 20 with HDR, and served most recently as freight railroad market sector director.

PEORIA, IL—CityLink promoted Emily Watson to director of marketing and public relations. She joined the agency in 2012 as part-time marketing assistant and became a full-time employee in 2013.

CLEVELAND—The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Board of Trustees has re-elected George F. Dixon III and Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough as president and vice president respectively.

Dixon, a former APTA chair, joined the board in 1992 and was first elected its president in 1994. He is believed to be the longest-serving board president ever for any transit system in Ohio.

Clough joined the board in 1999 and has served as vice president since 2011.

HOUSTON—The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) Board of Directors welcomed three new members appointed by the city of Houston: Carrin Patman, the new board chair, and members Lex Frieden and Troi Taylor. The city also reappointed Sanjay Ramabhadran and Christof Spieler to the board.

Patman, the first woman to lead the METRO board, has practiced trial law at Bracewell LLP for more than 30 years. Frieden, who teaches at the University of Texas and Baylor College of Medicine, is a longtime disability rights advocate, one of the founders of the independent living movement in the early 1970s and a drafter of ADA. Taylor has eight years of experience in healthcare development and seven years of life sciences and higher education experience.

FRANKLIN, TN—Stanton Higgs, business development and operations director with the TMA Group, has been appointed to the Tennessee Public Transportation Association Board of Directors. Higgs joined the TMA Group in 2010 and has more than 20 years transportation experience, working previously with Gray Line Nashville and Gray Line San Francisco.

ROCKFORD, IL—Stephen K. Ernst has joined the Rockford Mass Transit District (RMTD) Board of Trustees for a four-year term, succeeding 23-year member Michael Wilcop.

Ernst served six years as executive director of the Rockford Metropolitan Agency for Planning, the MPO for the region. Earlier he worked for the city of Rockford, starting in 1979 as a transportation planner and moving up to city traffic engineer.

NEW YORK CITY—John O’Grady, who has served since 2015 as MTA New York City Transit’s (NYC Transit) interim senior vice president of capital program management, has been named to the post on a permanent basis. He succeeds Fred Smith, who retired.

O’Grady has worked for NYC Transit for more than 27 years, most recently as vice president of capital program management. In 2013, he oversaw infrastructure and facilities/recovery and resiliency in a position created after Hurricane Sandy flooded parts of the system.

SAN ANTONIO—Jeffrey C. Arndt, president and chief executive officer of VIA Metropolitan Transit, recently received the inaugural Secretary Ray LaHood Award presented by the San Antonio Chapter of WTS International to honor a man who is an outstanding role model and has contributed to the advancement of women and minorities in transportation.

Other employees recognized by the WTS chapter were Hannah Santiago, strategic planner II, Member of the Year, and Christina Castaño Bradshaw, strategic planner II, and Christine Viña, project manager, urban design, who received the Innovative Transportation Solutions Award for their work on the VIA Villa development.

ORANGE, CA—The Southern California Chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) recently honored three public transit officials with the Outstanding Transportation Executive Leadership Award at its first Women Leaders of Southern California Transportation Award ceremony.

Honored were Beth McCormick, general manager of the Orange County Transportation Authority’s Transit Division; Debra Johnson, deputy chief executive officer, Long Beach Transit; and Stephanie Wiggins, deputy chief executive officer, Los Angeles Metro.

WALNUT CREEK, CA—Ray Akkawi has joined the Walnut Creek office of Stantec as a senior project manager. He has more than 28 years of experience and previously was project delivery manager for the ­Alameda County Congestion Management Agency.
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