Click the inductee’s name to learn more about them.
J. Barry Barker (2020)
Celia Kupersmith (2020)
Dr. Beverly Scott (2020)
Paul Jablonski (2020)
Grace Crunican (2021)
Delon Hampton, Ph.D., P.E. (2021)
Arthur T. Leahy (2021)
Stephen E. Schlickman (2021)
Joseph Calabrese (2022)
Mattie “M.P.” Carter (2022)
Jim Srygley (2022)
Gary C. Thomas (2022)
J. Barry Barker
J. Barry Barker retired Dec. 1, 2018 after more than 40 years advancing public transportation at the national, state and local levels and nearly 25 years as executive director of the Transit Authority of River City in Louisville, KY. Throughout his long and distinguished career, Barker has held leadership roles on APTA’s board and many committees over 30 years. Upon his retirement, in a proclamation from APTA, he was cited for his “many significant accomplishments for public transportation and the customers we serve,” including his positions of chairman, Legislative Committee; vice chairman for Legislative Affairs; chairman, Sustainability Committee; and vice president, Marketing and Communications Committee.
For 34 years, Celia Kupersmith has been a major force in the growth and development of the public transit industry. To this day, multiple systems and riders alike benefit from her efforts to foster ethical leadership, improve service quality, enhance multimodal coordination, and elevate transit as a key network component. In predominantly multi-modal settings, she has served as a planner; marketing director; MPO chief; bus, rail, and ferry manager; general manager; and executive recruiting consultant. She has been very active in APTA throughout her long career. While working at the RTC in Reno, NV, she served as vice chair of APTA’s Small Operations Committee and, later, as vice chair of the Human Resources Committee within APTA’s Executive Committee. In that role, she led the effort to develop operational mechanics for Leadership APTA, ultimately serving for years as chair of that program. She remains involved as a member of the Human Resources Committee to this day.
Dr. Beverly Scott
Dr. Beverly Scott is recognized as a trailblazer, a thoughtful and inspirational leader and a passionate advocate for the betterment of the public transportation industry through her efforts to ensure training and opportunities are made available to young and disadvantaged individuals, many of whom have gone on to become leaders in their own right. Scott has held key leadership roles in some of North America’s largest public transportation systems in Texas; New York, NY; New Jersey; Washington, DC; Rhode Island; California; Georgia; and Massachusetts. Her dedicated service to APTA dates to the earliest stages of her career. She has been a tireless advocate for the association and has served on many committees, including as APTA chair, chair of the Legislative Committee, Diversity Council and Award’s Committee, to name a few.
Through a career that spanned more than 40 years in the public transportation industry, Paul Jablonski was a champion for transit. His influence and expertise was felt at transit agencies across the east coast, the Midwest, the west coast and overseas. He nurtured new transit systems, turned broken systems into winners, and was committed to learning and sharing knowledge to help others succeed. Jablonski was deeply involved in APTA, serving as an at-large director on the APTA Board of Directors, co-chair for the Public Transportation CEO Coordinating Council Leadership and was a member of an additional 14 committees. Under his leadership, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System won APTA’s Most Outstanding Transit Agency of the Year award in 2009. In 2014, APTA honored him as Outstanding Transportation Manager of the Year.
Grace Crunican’s retirement as the general manager of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in 2019 was the culmination of a four-decade pioneering transportation career. Grace’s career has steadily demonstrated how to build a more resilient, sustainable and equitable future for public transportation. Grace has always understood that public transit organizations need to be as varied as the communities they serve, and she continually ensured that women and minorities have a voice at the table.
Grace’s introduction to public transportation began in college where she served as a volunteer intern for Portland (OR) Mayor Goldschmidt. Her journey would take her to local, state and national positions. In addition to leading BART, she served as FTA Deputy Administrator; Director, Seattle Department of Transportation; Director, Oregon Department of Transportation; Director, Surface Transportation Policy Project; and Professional Staffer, Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee.
Grace has always been a strong, tough leader who isn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves. She joined BART in 2011 when it was struggling to retain riders after the recession, and had just experienced a 5.5 percent drop in riders. Under her tenure, the number of riders grew 24 percent by 2015. She also shifted the agency’s focus from expansion efforts to reinvesting in its core infrastructure. She oversaw the procurement of BART’s $2.6 billion fleet of new train cars, and led the successful passage of Measure RR, a $3.5 billion bond measure to repair and upgrade BART’s aging infrastructure.
She was a champion for building programs and policies that provide avenues for the best talent to emerge. She launched the first BART Leadership Academy and Mid-Managers Training programs. Upon her retirement, the BART board renamed it the Grace Crunican Leadership Academy to honor her vision.
Grace has been actively involved in APTA for 30 years. She has served on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee as well as many other committees including the Authorization Task Force, State Affairs Committee, and Diversity and Inclusion Committee and she has chaired the Awards Committee.
A longtime member and former chair of WTS, she is co-author of the book, Boots on the Ground, Flats in the Boardroom: Transportation Women Tell Their Stories.
Delon Hampton, Ph.D., P.E.
Dr. Delon Hampton was a pioneer, particularly in advocating for further professionalizing engineering, by persuading more engineers to pursue graduate degrees. He also encouraged more minorities to pursue engineering as a career and to assume leadership responsibilities.
Delon earned a BS in civil engineering from the University of Illinois-Champaign Urbana in 1954 and went on to earn a Master of Science and Ph.D. in civil engineering from Purdue University. His career spanned 25 years in academia, including professorships at Kansas State University and Howard University. He chronicled his experience and challenges as an African American in the engineering field in his autobiography, entitled, A Life Constructed, Reflections on Breaking Barriers and Building Opportunities, which was published in 2013.
In 1973, while a professor at Howard University, Delon founded Delon Hampton & Associates (DHA) located in Washington, DC, at a time when there were few black-owned engineering companies. Under his leadership, the company grew quickly. One of its first projects was the Navy Yard Station for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. DHA earned a reputation for integrity, excellence and accountability and expanded to include offices in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Memphis, Champaign-Urbana, Silver Spring and Baltimore, and grew to nearly 250 employees at one point.
Delon advocated that people must give back to their professions. For that reason, he accepted leadership positions at professional organizations. He served on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of APTA, chairing the Business Members Board of Governors. He also served as chair of the American Public Transportation Foundation. He was elected the first African American president of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Delon recognized that an excellent education made a big difference in his life and therefore he made a $7.5 million gift to Purdue University to dedicate the Delon & Elizabeth Hampton Hall of Civil Engineering. The hall is dedicated to his aunt who raised him.
Delon’s legacy is realized through the countless students he inspired to become engineers, and the hundreds of notable projects by DHA around the country.
Arthur T. Leahy
Art Leahy was born to serve in the transportation industry. Growing up in Los Angeles, Art’s parents both worked as rail car operators at the Southern California Rapid Transit District (RTD), later renamed LA Metro. When Art started college, he worked as a bus operator there. Thus began a lifelong journey in the public transportation industry—a remarkable journey of accomplishment.
After graduating from college, Art moved out of the driver’s seat and took an entry-level job in the marketing department at RTD. Over a 25-year period, he moved up the ranks, eventually becoming the Chief Operating Officer.
Art got his first chance to lead a public transit organization in 1997 when he was named the general manager of Metro Transit in Minneapolis.
In 2001, he returned to California to become the Chief Executive Officer of the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), where he revolutionized the bus program. He converted the fleet of 600 buses to natural gas and developed a “Putting Customers First” initiative. In 2005, OCTA was recognized as the “Outstanding Transportation System” by APTA. During his eight years at OCTA, ridership grew 22 percent.
In 2009, Art returned to the place where he started his career when he was hired as the Chief Executive Officer at LA Metro. In his six years there, he oversaw one of the largest public works programs in the country’s history. He secured billions of dollars in federal aid; five new rail lines started construction; and new Express Bus Services were implemented. All told, Art oversaw over $20 billion of transportation improvements during, and after, a deep economic recession.
In 2015, Art was named the Chief Executive Officer at the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink). During his four years there, the agency became the first railroad in the country to install and implement positive train control. Art also secured almost $1 billion dollars in funding to revamp commuter rail service.
Art has received numerous accolades over his long career including being named the 2017 APTA Public Transportation Manager of the Year. But Art feels that his greatest accomplishment is the thousands of individuals he brought into public transit, promoted, and mentored throughout his career.
Stephen E. Schlickman
During a 42-year career, Steve Schlickman became a highly respected CEO, advocate, legislative counsel and strategist, and university educator and researcher within the public transportation industry. He has been a tireless advocate for people with disabilities and for creating fair and equitable transit access. His efforts have resulted in billions of dollars in new public transportation funding.
Steve first entered the industry in 1975 as a bus driver, dispatcher, and safety director for the Georgetown University Transportation System (GUTS). After graduating from law school, he restarted his transit career at the Chicago Transit Authority.
In 1989, Steve became the first director of Chicago Mayor Daley’s Washington, DC, office. There, he managed Chicago’s efforts in support of the Americans with Disabilities Act and was instrumental in helping to achieve federal authorization of the airport passenger facility charge. As executive director of Chicago’s downtown light rail project, he formed and led the New Start Working Group to stave off significant reductions in new starts funding. After a brief time at Parsons Brinckerhoff, Steve opened his own consulting practice.
In 2005, he became the Executive Director of the Chicago area Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). He led the region’s advocacy for a state legislative initiative that staved off devastating service reductions. Steve also formed a coalition of large aging rail systems, called Metropolitan Rail Discussion Group, which advocated for the creation of the FTA State of Good Repair program.
Also, Steve taught a University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) graduate-level course on the funding and finance of transportation projects for 21 years. He mentored numerous urban planning students and graduates in launching their careers in public transportation.
After retiring from the RTA in 2010, Steve became the Executive Director of UIC’s Urban Transportation Center and led the Center’s involvement in three US DOT-funded University Transportation Centers.
Throughout his career, Steve has been an active member of the APTA Legislative Committee, and for the past 11 years, he has co-chaired the Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Affairs. For Steve, APTA has been an indispensable forum to develop the partnerships and coalitions required to address the funding needs of public transportation.
After earning his MBA, Joe Calabrese began his public transit career at the Central New York RTA (Centro) by intentionally learning from the bottom up. This allowed him to gain valuable experience in all facets of the industry. Throughout his career, Calabrese has strongly believed in improving the image of public transit by providing first-class service to customers.
Fueled by an entrepreneurial spirit, and with the realization that the industry lacked the ability to provide good customer information, Calabrese left Centro in 1986 to become co-founder of MetroVision, an organization that provides a real-time information platform for a number of the largest public transit agencies in the U.S. He returned to Centro in 1993 as Executive Director and President, with a focus on improving the image of the agency and enhancing customer service.
In 2000, Calabrese took the helm of the Greater Cleveland RTA, with an early task of leading the $200 million HealthLine BRT, the first nonrail project to receive FTA New Starts funding. This $9 billion economic driver has been credited with having the highest ROI of any public transit project of any mode in North America.
Calabrese was the first to champion the sale of naming rights sponsorships for public transit assets, and to offer a “ride happy or ride free” customer service guarantee, earning RTA the Lexus Customer Service Award. He felt strongly that leveraging best practices of the nation’s most successful companies was critical, leading to the adoption of programs such as “Transit-Stat,” and earning both ISO and Malcolm Baldrige certifications.
While at Cleveland, RTA was named by APTA in 2007 as the Outstanding Public Transportation System and Calabrese was named the APTA Outstanding Public Transportation Manager in 2008.
Calabrese was a key member of FTA’s BRT Taskforce, implemented several high-profile BRT projects, and soon became the industry spokesman for this mode. He urged APTA to help support BRT, leading to the establishment of the APTA BRT Committee, which he chaired for many years.
For APTA, Calabrese has chaired several other committees and has been an active participant on many more. He has also been a member of the APTA Board of Directors and chaired the Metropolitan Rail Discussion Group (MRDG).
Calabrese has served as President of both the New York State and Ohio Public Transit Associations and was an integral member of Board Leadership of the Transportation Learning Center. An extremely effective spokesperson for public transportation, he has testified numerous times before Congress and other legislative bodies on transit issues. Today, he continues to help others by sharing his transit system and BRT experiences as an employee of AECOM.
Mattie “M.P.” Carter
Mattie “M.P.” Carter was first introduced to public transportation in 1991 when she was appointed by the Mayor of Memphis, TN, as a Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) Board member.
Although she was unfamiliar with public transit, M.P. started to vigorously research the industry and meet the people working in it. That’s when she attended her first APTA conference, and she hasn’t looked back since. Soon, she became active with APTA’s Transit Board Members Committee and got to work. She served as Secretary, then Vice Chair, and finally, Chair of the committee. Meanwhile at MATA, M.P. was busy advocating for an increase in funding. Her rallying cry to government officials became, “Investment in Public Transportation is a win-win for everyone!”
In 2009, she became the APTA Chair and used the project “Telling Our Story”, as her theme. She collected stories from all 50 states of how public transit benefits and improves the lives of its riders and their communities, promotes business, and reduces their carbon footprint.
Her tenure as Chair ended with an event on Capitol Hill, with buses wrapped in the “Telling our Story” logo. APTA members and staff were joined by members of Congress and advocates from across the country. They also met with many members of Congress, including the office of the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. It was a historic and spectacular event and served as a model for subsequent advocacy events.
M.P. Carter’s board member role extended from 1991 to 2014 and during that time, she never stopped advocating and encouraging funding for public transit. When asked what her motivation was for supporting and advocating for funding for public transit without complaining for 23 years, her answer is always a quote from Maya Angelou, “If you don’t like something, change it, if you can’t change it, change your attitude, don’t complain.”
Jim Srygley has had a long and distinguished career in public transportation, and has been an active member of APTA for more than 50 years. His interest in transportation dates to a graduate engineering project at Stanford University at which he had been awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship in Engineering Economic Systems—one of the first multidisciplinary programs combining engineering, statistics, economics, and computer science.
Using his advanced design capabilities and leadership, Srygley made significant contributions to the efficiency and safety of public transportation.
In 1970 he founded S & A Systems, Inc. and developed the concept for the FLEETWATCH System. He has been a pioneer in the design and application of computer hardware and software to monitor transportation equipment and processes, which has completely transformed the transit industry. He holds several United States patents for transit-related products he has designed.
Srygley has been responsible for equipment and software that is currently in use by more than 85 transit agencies throughout the United States. In addition to equipment in bus garages, vehicle-mounted equipment based on his designs is installed on over 30,000 buses, rail cars, paratransit vehicles, and non-revenue vehicles. These products provide tools which allow agencies to operate more efficiently, reduce road calls and overall maintenance costs, accurately schedule safety inspections, and quickly detect fluid leaks in vehicles and underground tanks.
In his early career, Srygley served as an advisor where he developed mathematical and computer simulation models to assist in planning and implementation of rail and fixed guideway systems, including projects for BART, MARTA, Denver RTD, and the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. Based on his experience with large-scale computer programs, Srygley provided his expertise in the implementation of the first computerized Run Cutting and Scheduling (RUCUS) program for agencies in Minneapolis and Cleveland. He also assisted the Dallas Transit System (predecessor of DART) in implementing the Service, Inventory, and Maintenance System (SIMS) programs.
Srygley was a major contributor to a multitude of APTA committees and task forces, with his quiet and effective presence. He was an active member of the Business Member Board of Governors and was awarded Business Member of the Year in 2010. While on the Awards Committee, he was instrumental in developing the scoring criteria for transit systems still used today.
Gary C. Thomas
Gary Thomas’ public transit career literally started from the ground up as a project manager overseeing the design and construction of a Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) bus park and ride facility only a few years after the agency was formed. Working on a variety of DART projects as a consulting engineer, he moved from the contractor side to become the agency’s Senior Vice President of Project Management and was responsible for all capital projects and construction to bring modern, multimodal transit to North Texas. Three years later he was chosen by the DART Board of Directors as President/ Executive Director, holding that position for almost 20 years—the longest tenure of anyone in that role at DART and one of the longest in the transit industry among large multimodal systems.
As President/Executive Director, he set the vision for the agency’s 4,000 employees, emphasizing customer service and a commitment to stewardship of agency resources. There is likely no DART employee— and any number of elected officials or community leaders—who has not heard him say DART’s job is to “move people safely, efficiently and effectively and help them get where they want to go.”
Under his leadership, DART doubled its light rail system—twice—to become the nation’s longest, at 93 miles. The agency has been recognized for innovation in developing a progressive clean fuels program for its bus fleet, advancing new models for local bus and paratransit service, and customer-facing communications technology and service. DART is also a recognized leader in the global advancement of the Mobility as a Service (MaaS) movement with its use of targeted demand-response transit service matched with new customer tools for a more equitable fare payment system and trip planning.
Gary’s contribution to the transit industry and the development of the next generation of leaders has been widely recognized. In 2016, he was named APTA Outstanding Public Transportation Manager. In 2009, the Texas Transit Association recognized him as Outstanding Public Transportation General Manager. The Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) selected him as Executive of the Year in 2009, and one year later the Texas Department of Transportation presented him with the Friend of Texas Transit Award.
While serving as DART President/Executive Director, his industry colleagues elected him APTA Chair in 2011-2012. He also served as chair of Rail~Volution and the South West Transit Association (SWTA).
Texas Tech University, where he graduated with degrees in engineering and architecture, honored him as Texas Tech Distinguished Engineer in 2016 and as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2018.
During his tenure at DART, the agency was recognized at all levels of the industry including APTA, SWTA, the Texas Transit Association, Regional Hispanic Contractors Association, Black Contractors Association, Design-Build Institute of America, MetroRail (Outstanding Transit System-Americas), and Light Rail Awards (Tramways and Urban Transit).
After retiring from DART in 2021, he joined Jacobs as the Transit Market Director–Americas.