Page 1

Spring 2017

A publication of the Conference Of Minority Transportation Officials

In this issue

Perspectives on the New Congress & Administration Celebrating Women Who Move the Nation Recap Meet National Conference Chair Kim Avery BWI’s Ricky Smith: COMTO Member on the Move COMTO Announces Two New Chapters The Women Who Make COMTO Go



table of Contents comto Board of Directors

National Chair Warren Montague 1st Vice Chair Freddie Fuller II 2nd Vice Chair Dianne T. Mendoza, Ph.D. Secretary/Treasurer Loretta Kirk At-Large Members Tanya Adams Sharmyn Elliott Clinton Forbes Mark Gale Emille Williams Council of Presidents Representatives

3 Message from the Chairman 3 Message from the President 4 P  erspectives on the New Congress and Administration 8 Women Who Move the Nation Recap 10 M  eet Kim Avery, Chair of the 2017 National Meeting & Training Conference 11 Industry Partner TRB

Frank Mesa

12 M  ember on the Move: Ricky Smith of BWI

Council of Presidents Alternate

13 Making COMTO Go

Meshelle Howard

Gwendolen Gray Immediate Past Chair

15 Youth Spotlight

Roosevelt Bradley Board Advisor

16 Announcing New Chapters

Adelee LeGrand, AICP

20 Membership Benefits


is a publication of the Conference Of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) COMTO Mission Statement COMTO provides opportunities in the transportation industry for minority participation and advancement, through advocacy, training, and professional development. 100 M Street, SE Suite 917 Washington, DC 20003 202.506.2917 | Articles may not be reproduced without the publisher’s written permission. Publisher: A. Bradley Mims Editor: McMillon Communications Design: Gloria Marconi Illustration & Design © 2017 All Rights Reserved


COMTO | Moving the Nation

From the Chairman

Dear COMTO Family:


   his spring it is my great pleasure to announce new developments that will continue to enhance the growth and development of our long-honored organization. Strategic thinking and planning are critical elements of successful management. The COMTO Board has approved and put in place a new Strategic Plan that will take us through 2020 and prepare us to celebrate our Golden Anniversary with pride in 2021. This document presents long-term goals, objectives and tactics that will broaden our base of membership; generate outreach to more modes of transport; maintain and attract partners and sponsors; and motivate a new generation of industry professionals. The plan details actions that address performance, productivity, advocacy and training services, as well as branding and increased visibility for COMTO. Its focus is on

identifying the most critical factors affecting our membership base and the transportation industry as a whole, and it suggests the most effective and efficient means to address them. You can read it HERE With this plan in place, we are also gratified to tell you that we have confirmed the appointment of A. Bradley Mims as our President and CEO who will implement, enhance and accelerate our strategies. For the past eight months, Brad has served efficiently and effectively as interim President. There is clearly no better candidate to take the helm and pilot this organization forward. Learn more about his impressive background HERE. As always, let’s revere our history, celebrate our present, and plan our future.

Warren Montague

Warren Montague National Board Chairman

From the President Dear COMTO Friends and Colleagues:


s the weather turns warmer, I invite you to turn your thoughts to COMTO’s upcoming 2017 National Meeting and Training Conference which is planned for July 14-18 in Detroit, MI. Detroit is rolling out the red carpet for us! You can register for the conference right now HERE. I also invite you to meet Kim Avery, President of the COMTO Michigan Chapter and our exceptionally capable Conference Chair, on page 10 of this issue of Accelerate. Kim is the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Field Services Director in Lansing, MI. Our Conference title this year is “Smart Transportation: The Next Frontier.” Our focus will be on preparing our members for new technology and revolutionary innovations in all modes of transport. We are planning for strong attendance, high quality continuing education sessions, a robust program from our Leadership Institute, a full schedule of

activities for our CITY interns and input from national, state and local transportation officials and business leaders. For example, one of our panels will feature former Secretaries of the U.S. Department of Transportation who will discuss and answer questions about the past, present and future of the industry. We have invited Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to open the Conference and share information and insights on national developments in the industry, including plans for the expected infrastructure upgrade. Mark your calendars! In Solidarity,

A. Bradley Mims

A. Bradley Mims President and CEO



news from the hill

Transportation Perspectives on the New Congress & Administration By Rene Y. Banks and Karen Campblin COMTO Legislative Committee C0-Chairs


n January 20, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, and since then, most of his Cabinet nominees have been approved by the U.S. Senate, including the Honorable Elaine Chao as the new Secretary of Transportation. However, although the Administration has repeatedly stated its intent to implement a 10-year, $1 trillion infrastructure program, we have only recently received any detail on particulars of the President’s plan. The role of the Republican-controlled and divided Congress remains unclear. Secretary Chao is most likely the best qualified Cabinet member for her position, having served in the Cabinet throughout the eight-year tenure of President George W. Bush as Secretary of Labor, and served also as Deputy Secretary of Transportation under President George H. W. Bush from 1989 to 1991. After many years in the public sector, Secretary Chao spent time as the top executive for the United Way of America and is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. In her confirmation remarks, the

The Honorable Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation 4

COMTO | Moving the Nation

Secretary emphasized safety as an imperative but also referenced jobs creation, systems modernization, modal innovations, and cost-efficient project delivery, appearing to indicate these factors would play a role in how this Administration would prioritize projects. Former Secretary Foxx recalls that this country has a $90 billion backlog of repairs that need to be done on subways, buses, and rails. However, public transit, which was one of her predecessor’s biggest focuses while working under Obama, is not mentioned in the new Administration’s plan.

Trump Infrastructure Plan The Trump infrastructure plan includes financing programs that feature a requirement for financial ROI, including P3s (Public/Private Partnership), revenue generating projects such as toll roads and airports, and infrastructure bank tax credits for private sector — foreign and domestic — investment in public projects. Indeed, the President met with Japanese Prime Minister Abe on February 10, and on the agenda, it is reported, was

news from the hill

Proposed Budget Cuts In addition, the budget would eliminate $175 million in subsidies for commercial flights to rural airports, and calls for the elimination of nearly $500 million from the TIGER grant program which funds dozens of road, transit and other transportation infrastructure projects throughout the country. Perhaps in one of the more significant actions, the Administration would gut all $2.3 billion in funding for the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts program. Only projects with a funding agreement in place would be spared. Policy position statements from the White House maintain that local governments must take the lead in funding and financing these kinds of projects. Despite Trump’s promise for new

spending on transportation and other infrastructure, his reduced $16.2 billion proposed Transportation Department budget would result in a host of rural and urban communities nationwide losing popular programs.

Effect on Local Projects Perhaps in anticipation of the new funding dynamic taking place at the federal level, more than 30 local referendums for taxes were on the ballot this past November to fund transit projects, including localities such as Los Angeles ($120 billion); Seattle ($54 billion); San Diego ($7.5 billion); San Francisco ($3.5 billion); Santa Clara County, CA ($3 billion); Atlanta ($2.5 billion); and the state of Ohio ($620 million). According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), these ballot initiatives, on a national level, total nearly $200 billion. Other agencies, for example, the RTA in Chicago, MARTA in Atlanta, the MTA in Los Angeles, the MTA in New York City and New Jersey Transit have issued revenue bonds under authority provided by FTA. February 1 brought the first of many full Committee hearings of the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee. Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) convened the hearing, entitled “Building a

The budget would eliminate $175 million in subsidies for commercial flights to rural airports, and calls for the elimination of nearly $500 million from the TIGER grant program which funds dozens of road, transit and other transportation infrastructure projects throughout the country.

Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), a mega-fund valued at over $1 trillion, which has indicated strong interest in potential investment in U.S. infrastructure. However, the President’s spotty record on diplomatic relations throw many anticipated foreign investment sources into uncertainty. In March, the Office of Management and Budget released the Administration’s budget, labeled “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again” and despite the stated intentions to massively invest in infrastructure, there is actually a 13 percent reduction from current funding levels. Reputedly inspired by a report from the Heritage Foundation entitled “Blueprint for Balance”, the Administration’s “skinny budget” calls for massive cuts in popular programs across the board, but proposals specific to transportation include moving the air traffic control function to the private sector, eliminating funding for new transit projects, and ending federal financial support for Amtrak’s longdistance trains.



news from the hill

COMTO wants to see the minority community have a seat at this table, ready to aggressively continue its robust advocacy with the White House, Department of Transportation and with the new Administration’s appointees to head the various modal departments.


21st Century Infrastructure for America,” to consider what infrastructure concepts his committee must consider during the 115th Congress. The committee heard testimony from four of the country’s largest corporations as well as the head of the AFL-CIO. Although the White House had not yet released its budget, Chairman Shuster, in his opening statement, expressed strong support for the President’s general position on the need for infrastructure investment, but it is COMTO’s view that the participants lacked the diversity necessary to gather any substantive input and that additional hearings will be required to hold any relevance and before the President’s plan can be implemented in a meaningful fashion.

Hearings Continuing Committee hearings are continuing on both sides of the Congress, most notably with the March 23 hearing on the Federal Aviation Administration before Senator Roy Blunt’s (R-MO) Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security, entitled “FAA Reauthorization: Perspectives on Improving Airport Infrastructure and Aviation Manufacturing.” Other than confirmation of Secretary Chao and Deputy Secretary Jeffrey Rosen, most senior level positions at the U.S. DOT remain vacant, and at the time of this publication, there are no confirmation hearings on the Senate Commerce Committee docket. The leadership of the House T&I Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee have remained largely intact, and COMTO National will make every effort to ensure that the membership is made aware of these assignments as soon as they are made public.

COMTO | Moving the Nation

COMTO wants to see the minority community have a seat at this table, ready to aggressively continue its robust advocacy with the White House, Department of Transportation and with the new Administration’s appointees to head the various modal departments. About the Authors


enee Y. Banks, President and Chief Communications Officer for G. W. Peoples (GWP), is a rail transportation expert. She coordinates the company’s marketing and internal/external communications. She is also manages the firm’s federal, state and local government relations, including DBE/MBE/SBE certifications, business licenses, annual reports, contractors’ licenses, and tax filings. GWP is the only national African-American owned firm that specializes in heavy and light, railroad and transit construction, maintenance and repair.


aren Campblin, AICP, is Principal Planner for ktcPlan, LLC, a woman-owned architecture and planning firm. She has more than fourteen years of experience as a Community Development Planner specializing in transportation planning, corridor studies, environmental justice, transit development, and scenic highway studies. She has been responsible for the design and implementation of a wide range of public involvement and community coordination programs in support of these transportation studies.

Great Teams. Extraordinary Outcomes.

It starts with great teams. HNTB and COMTO, working together to strengthen infrastructure that meets today’s demands and tomorrow’s needs. TOP ROW















The HNTB Companies Infrastructure Solutions NTTA ROAD Team



Celebrating women who move the nation

Celebrating Women Who Move The Nation Recap

Once again we were honoring a group of glass ceiling-shattering women who are committed to the modernization and renewed investment in our nation’s transportation systems andthe dedicated employees they celebrate and mentor.

—Event Chair Jannet Walker Ford Vice President & General Manager Eastern Region Americas for Cubic Transportation Systems



he Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) held the 6th annual Celebrating Women Who Move the Nation (CWWMN) awards ceremony on March 15, 2017 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC. Close to 500 supporters attended the signature event which recognizes the contributions of women who lead and advance the transportation industry. The eleven 2017 honorees join a distinguished group of over 60 women who have been honored since the program’s inception. Honorees are selected by their demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion, effective advocacy, and their support of small and historically underutilized businesses, in addition to other criteria. Mrs. Juanita Jones Abernathy received the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award. During her riveting remarks, she walked attendees through many of her experiences; from marching to Selma, to being a schoolteacher, to encouraging women’s financial independence. Mrs. Abernathy, the longest serving board member of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) Board, advised attendees to continue to be engaged, attentive, and willing to keep moving forward. “The ball’s in your court,” she challenged, “bounce it any way you want.” “When we selected this year’s 11 honorees, we knew that once again we were honoring a group of glass ceilingshattering women who are committed to the modernization and renewed investment in our nation’s transportation systems and the dedicated employees they celebrate and mentor,” said Event Chair Jannet Walker Ford, Vice president and General Manager of Eastern Region, Americas for Cubic Transportation Systems. COMTO congratulates all eleven women, and their organizations, for continuing to move the nation.

COMTO | Moving the Nation

2017 Honorees Juanita Abernathy Board Member Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority Margareth Bonds Senior Vice President & Director State Municipal Government Relations Parsons Thella Bowens President/CEO San Diego International Airport Ginger Evans Commissioner Chicago Department of Aviation Greer Johnson Gillis Director District of Columbia Department of General Services Sharon Greene Senior Vice President HDR Inc. Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim Interim Executive Director Metropolitan Transit Authority–New York Bertha Henry CEO & County Administrator Broward County Loretta Kirk Deputy General Manager Finance & Administration Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Anna McNeill President MCO Construction & Services Terry Solís Principal The Solis Group

celebrating women who move the nation

Mrs. Juanita Jones Abernathy

2017 Celebrating Women Who Move the Nation Honorees Carolyn Malachi

Diana Mendes and A. Bradley Mims, COMTO President/CEO

Warren Montague, COMTO National Board Chairman

n e m o W g n n o i i t t a a r b e N l e e h C t e v o M o h W 2017 CWWMN Steering Committee



national meeting & training Conference focus

Meet COMTO Conference Chair Kim Avery

The training and leadership components of the conference are our highest priority.


lanning for COMTO’s 2017 National Meeting and Training Conference, held July 14-18 in Detroit, MI, is in full swing. Kim Avery, President of the COMTO Michigan Chapter and Chair of the upcoming Conference, is energized by the opportunity to showcase the rejuvenation of her city. “Detroit is being called the ‘Comeback City’ of the nation and we are eager for our transportation colleagues to experience all we have to brag about,” she says. “That includes the new M-1 Rail, or Q-line, that will shortly launch on the city’s famed Woodward Avenue.” But, while that pleasant prospect is high on her list of objectives for the conference, Avery’s overarching goal is for attendees to gain vital information and tools to work with the new technologies that are rapidly evolving in the transportation industry. “The training and leadership components of the conference are our highest priority,” she says. “New smart cars and systems, connected technologies, automated buses and airplanes, streets cars that can talk to traffic signals... these are just a few of the exciting

­—Kim Avery President, COMTO Michigan Director, Michigan Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Field Services


COMTO | Moving the Nation

developments that are being spurred by competition. These fascinating changes are coming our way faster than we realize,” she asserts. For example, she adds, “By 2020 we can expect to see fully-automated cars!” Avery is responding to COMTO’s determination to be able to help shape the conversation about these futuristic changes. “We want our members to be able to lead the way,” she says. “That’s why we agreed that the theme of this conference would be ‘Smart Transportation: The Next Frontier.’” Avery notes that the new technologies will require a keen understanding of the IT components that are required. “The new transportation professional needs to be prepared to conquer this new frontier.” she says. In addition to her leadership role in COMTO, Avery is the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Field Services Director in Lansing. She is in charge of Statewide Construction Operations, Intelligent Transportation, Field Operations, Maintenance Operations, Highway Research, and Emergency Operations. National Meeting and Training Conference registration is now open HERE.

partner focus

from around the world receive the E-Newsletter. I also encourage you to visit TRB’s Transport Research Information Documentation (TRID) database ( TRID is world’s most comprehensive bibliographic resource on transportation research with more than 1.1 million records. If you’re looking for research on a transportation topic and you don’t find it in TRID, then it is probably not available. Finally, I invite you to participate on TRB standing committees, which provide invaluable networking and leadership opportunities. Information on TRB’s standing committees is available online at Those who participate in TRB activities report that it helps build their network of peers, raise their professional profile, and fulfill their desire to help identify practical solutions to real-world problems. Please visit to learn more and get involved in all of TRB’s activities. I hope to see you next year at the 97th TRB Annual Meeting, January 7-11, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

TRB and COMTO: A Mutually Beneficial Partnership By Neil J. Pedersen Executive Director Transportation Research Board

I’m committed to work in close partnership with COMTO and other organizations to enhance the diversity of perspectives and ideas that are shaping the transportation landscape of today and tomorrow.


he Transportation Research Board (TRB) hosted its 96th Annual Meeting from January 8 to 12, 2017, achieving a new attendance record of more than 13,000 who participated in some 800 sessions and workshops. Each year, the TRB Annual Meeting provides transportation researchers and practitioners a place to discuss practical and transformational transportation research. While TRB may be best known for its Annual Meeting, what many people don’t realize is that they can be active with TRB throughout the year. TRB convenes volunteer experts through more than 200 standing committees; manages research through its Cooperative Research Programs; and advises the nation with independent, evidence-based, and non-partisan policy studies. The entire organization is driven by more than 7,000 volunteers. Diversity and inclusion are essential to the success of the Transportation Research Board. As a TRB volunteer, I witnessed how an inclusive environment fostered more creative solutions to solve transportation challenges. As TRB Executive Director, I’m committed to work in close partnership with COMTO and other organizations to enhance the diversity of perspectives and ideas that are shaping the transportation landscape of today and tomorrow. We welcome the participation of COMTO members in TRB activities! I encourage members of COMTO to subscribe to the TRB E-Newsletter, a free weekly electronic service designed to keep individuals up-to-date on TRB activities and to highlight selected transportation research-related activities taking place at the federal and state levels, and within the academic and international transportation communities. More than 67,000 people

—­­Neil J. Pedersen



members on the move

BWI’s Ricky Smith: A COMTO Member on the Move

We have a strong commitment to keeping women and minorities businesses and professionals aware and up-to-date on all the opportunities that arise here. We work to assure that they are not only supported and inspired, but optimistic about their chances to participate.

­—Ricky Smith CEO Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport



hen it comes to movers and shakers, there’s no better model than Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport’s CEO Ricky Smith. Smith is just two years into his tenure in this position and the airport has a very positive story to tell. It is accurately touted as the busiest in the area, outpacing both Reagan (DCA) and Dulles (IAD) airports. Expansion construction is booming, with a new Concourse D and E connector completed; additional international gates are being added to accommodate new traffic; and extensive growth in food and retail concepts is in the works in those areas. Additionally, Smith is proud of the airport’s track record as a significant employment and economic driver in the market. As such, he says, “We have a strong commitment to keeping women and minority businesses and professionals aware and up-to-date on all the opportunities that arise here. We work to assure that they are not only supported and inspired, but optimistic about their chances to participate.” He adds, “We also work to assist minority contractors to be successful once they become a part of the airport community.” Smith notes that the airport environment can be daunting to business owners, particularly in food and retail concessions areas. The bidding process is complicated, there is significant upfront money needed, and staffing can be a challenge. However, he encourages more WBE and DBE businesses to pursue those contracts. “In many contracting areas of the airport — like professional services, construction or project engineering — the job has a finite period; a beginning, middle and end. But, with concessions, businesses have an opportunity to

COMTO | Moving the Nation

establish themselves for years and generate significant revenue and growth.” Smith’s commitment to DBEs is, in no small way, influenced and informed by his membership and the leadership roles he has played in COMTO. A participant for more than 20 years, he has served on COMTO’s National Board of Directors, including as Chairman. “My goals for the BWI airport and the COMTO mission often intersect in many ways,” he says with a smile.

making comto go

Brandi Williams

Brandi Williams is COMTO’s National Program Director, a job to which she brings patience, balance and the ability to multitask. “It does require that you be able to juggle smoothly and efficiently,” she says with a smile. “And, you are often dealing with a wide spectrum of people from all backgrounds and career levels.” Her particular love at COMTO is the oversight role she has with the organization’s youth programs. “I have a background in developing and managing youth-centered programs,” she notes. “I understand and can empathize with the uncertainty some might feel as they plan for their futures.” COMTO, she says, is committed to succession planning and offers leadership support and tools to help fast-track millennials in the industry.

And, she adds, “No matter where you are in your career, COMTO has something to offer its members. It can be the opportunity to share stories and best practices with those new to the industry, networking to advance your career or business, or training programs to hone your professional or leadership skills.” Prior to joining COMTO, Brandi coordinated an international human rights membership association, managed global grant-making projects, and managed a national financial literacy program for teens. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, and Master of Arts in International Studies from DePaul University in Chicago. Brandi was asked to relate an anecdote that she has shared with very few people. She recalls a reception she attended with former boss Sir Tim Berners-Lee, credited with inventing the World Wide Web.” Tim was at the back of the crowded room and when he was ready to leave, rather than push through, he just walked out the back door—which turned out to be the emergency exit! He triggered the silent alarm behind the bar and I had to calm nervous staff and jittery security.”

Introducing the Women Who Make COMTO Go

COMTO membership and involvement, is an excellent means to network, to build relationships and to get the training you need to advance your career. It’s very satisfying to be a part of this organization.


ou may have talked to them on the phone and by email; you’ve probably seen them moving through events and activities, making decisions and sharing directions; and you’ve glimpsed them behind the scenes providing impetus quietly and efficiently. You may have even shared a pleasant conversation or a quick smile with them on occasion. Now it’s time to get to know a little bit about the energetic and dedicated women who make COMTO go.

­—Lauren Gunn Membership Coordinator

Lauren Gunn

Congratulations are due to COMTO’s Lauren Gunn who, after only a year with the organization, was recently SPRING 2017 | ACCELERATE


making comto go

COMTO has an amazing network of transportation professionals, engineers, construction planners and managers across a broad spectrum of fields.

—JaLissa D. Coffee Director of Operations

promoted from Administrative Assistant to Membership Coordinator! “Working with the members has been my favorite part of the job,” she says. “They are doing great things, making a difference in the industry and in their communities.” COMTO membership and involvement, she says, “is an excellent means to network, to build relationships and to get the training you need to advance your career. It’s very satisfying to be a part of this organization. Lauren has a background in development and fundraising. She is a recent graduate from Howard University with a degree in Political Science. “There’s one thing that few people know about me,” she said when asked. “I played soccer for 14 years growing up and I am currently training for a Spartan Race.”(Sponsored by Reebok, the Spartan Race Challenge is held in venues all over the world and is considered the world’s best obstacle race.)

JaLissa D. Coffee JaLissa D. Coffee is COMTO’s Director of Operations and Logistics. She handles office management, event production and chapter outreach. It’s a big plate with a lot on it, but the work is extremely satisfying, she says. “I love getting to know the members, hearing their opinions and working with 14

COMTO | Moving the Nation

them to make positive changes and to encourage growth for their chapters and for the organization as a whole,” she says. “COMTO has an amazing network of transportation professionals, engineers, construction planners and managers across a broad spectrum of fields.” COMTO’s advocacy for women and minorities participation in the powerful and lucrative transportation industry is particularly inspiring, she says. “Membership is unquestionably valuable to those who want to get ahead in their careers.” Eminently qualified for her job, JaLissa has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Organizational Communications from Xavier University in Cincinnati and a Master of Education Degree from the University of Missouri in St. Louis. She also has more than 8 years of experience in event and meeting planning, including a stint at The White House! We asked her to share an anecdote from her life that few people know about her: “Well,” she recalls with a grin, “I grew up with three older brothers. One of them forced me to learn the words to the very complicated old-school song Rappers Delight when I was little. I don’t know why I can still remember the whole thing!”

focus on youth

CITY Internship Program


OMTO’s Careers In Transportation for Youth (CITY) Internship Program provides minority college students with a unique opportunity to gain professional and practical experience in the transportation industry. The CITY Intern program, designed by industry professionals, seeks to prepare the best and brightest youth to become leaders, decision makers, and change agents in the industry. The CITY Intern Program is a 10-week paid internship open to rising college juniors, seniors, and first year graduate students from all academic disciplines. The program is designed to develop interns’ professional and teamwork skills, and provide opportunities for leadership and decision-making. This program is overseen by the CITY Program Committee. To become a CITY Intern host or program sponsor, please contact Brandi Williams at

National Scholars Program


OMTO’s National Scholarship Program supports our strategic goals to ensure the continuing legacy of minorities in transportation. COMTO awards close to $100,000 annually in national scholarships to minority graduate and undergraduate students pursuing careers in the transportation industry. Scholarships are funded through COMTO corporate partners and local chapters. This program is overseen by the National Scholars Committee. Applicants are encouraged to contact their local COMTO Chapters to inquire about annual local scholarship offerings. To become a corporate partner or sponsor a national scholarship, please contact Brandi Williams at

COMTO Youth Leadership and Scholarship Initiatives



announcing new chapters

Welcoming the new Seattle and Palm Beach COMTO Chapters


COMTO washington


hen Everette Adams and his wife Gretchen, founders of Systems Consulting, LLC, a transportation planning, design and construction management firm (www., were recruited in 2010 by COMTO Colorado, they became big fans of the organization. Little did they know their commitment to COMTO would later spark the decision to start a chapter in Washington State. “Of particular interest to us was the opportunity to build industry relationships and alliances; support pathways for future generations interested in transportation and for continuous professional development,” says Mr. Adams.

COMTO | Moving the Nation

“From our sea and airports, to our roads and bridges, to our mass transit systems, the transportation industry in the entire Puget Sound region has grown exponentially over the past 30 years,” Adams noted. “For example, an exciting recent development on the mass transit front has been the passage of a 25-year, $54 billion transit capital expansion plan that will enhance connectivity throughout Pierce, King, and Snohomish counties by building more light rail, adding bus rapid transit, and increasing commuter train and express bus service.” When the Adams’ attended COMTO’s 2016 National Meeting and Training Conference, they were further encouraged to vie for a charter by Coral Egnew, Chapter President of COMTO Oregon/SW Washington, Jonnie Thomas, President and CEO at Triunity Engineering & Management, Inc., and Ade Franklin, King County Metro Transit, Adams says. “With the support of Sound Transit

announcing new chapters

comto Palm Beach county


or former Riviera City Council member Bruce Guyton, transit planner for Palm Tran in Palm Beach County, starting a COMTO chapter in the area just made good sense. “We have all the modes of transportation here ­— airport, seaport, strong rail and bus systems — but we didn’t have a multi-modal transportation organization to bring us all together around a vitally important mission,” he says. When he put together an event to gauge interest in starting the chapter, it drew more than 60 attendees including a host of supportive opinion-leaders,

transit dignitaries and elected officials. “It was a great start,” says Guyton with a smile. “In fact, we had 43 people pay dues before we even became official!” Guyton says he was motivated and encouraged to coordinate the planning by COMTO National Board members Clinton B. Forbes, Executive Director of Palm Tran located in West Palm Beach and Mark Gale, Director of the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport located in Ft. Lauderdale Both executives were present at the kick-off event and talked about how the organization has enhanced their careers. Now Guyton, who is president of the new chapter, has a clear agenda for the future. “The top three goals will be to put in place a strong program of training and professional development for members; to schedule opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses to network with decision makers in the transit industry; and to conduct community outreach to other organizations that are committed to make a positive difference in the quality of life for Palm Beach County residents,” he says.

We have all the modes of transportation here ­— airport, seaport, strong rail and bus systems—but we didn’t have a multi-modal transportation organization to bring us all together around a vitally important mission.

CEO, Peter Rogoff and his staff, King County Metro Transit General Manager, Rob Gannon and Sound Transit Deputy Chief of Staff Linneth Riley-Hall, the group initiated the process to establish this new chapter,” Adams said. The new chapter now has more than 40 members and has begun working with business owners, transportation leaders from the DOT, ports, local agencies and the community. “The Washington State Chapter strives to increase minority inclusion in all modes of transportation; provide access to resources and build capacity; and work with educational partners to help create a pipeline of transportation professionals of all stripes — from lawyers to accountants to planners, engineers to mechanics and operators,” says Adams.

­—Bruce Guyton, Transit Planner Palm Tran Palm Beach County



Let’s Connect We’re connecting in ways you wouldn’t have imagined to bring new ideas to life. Connect with us today and join CH2M to make a difference in your life. Visit

CH2M HILL | Moving the Nation 18© 2017 COMTO



membership focus

COMTO is your voice for diversity in the multibillon dollar transportation industry... Join COMTO today!



oin COMTO and enjoy all of the benefits of membership. View membership levels for individuals, students, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs), private sector businesses and transportation agencies on our website l Network with multi-modal transportation leaders, decision makers and professionals l Access up-to-date industry issues and information, contracting and career opportunities

COMTO | Moving the Nation

l Participate in professional and leadership development and continuing education training l Gain mentors who will provide support and guidance for your career or business goals l Advocate on behalf of diverse involvement in the industry with key legislators and government officials l S upport youth programs to create a pipeline of minority professionals and leaders Fill out your membership application at

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff will be rebranding as WSP worldwide, but our commitment to technical excellence and exemplary client service will never change. Our recognized experts will continue to deliver advisory, planning, design and management services to a range of markets, including: • Transportation & Infrastructure • Buildings

• Energy • Water & Environment

We’re excited about our future as WSP USA. Learn more at



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2017 National Meeting And Training conference July 14-18, 2017 Detroit, Michigan Registration Open now at

Save the Date!

Congratulations! Ginger Evans

Commissioner, Chicago Department of Aviation

on receiving the

COMTO Women Who Move the Nation Award


COMTO | Moving the Nation

Accelerate Spring 2017  
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