Brian Alberts

Brian Alberts is the Senior Director – Safety and Advisory Services at the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) where he leads all safety-related policy and standards work for the association. He is the staff advisor for the Rail Safety, Bus Safety, and Safety Coordinating Committees as well as the Commuter Rail Safety Subcommittee. Brian has over 18 years of experience in the transit and rail safety fields and is the manager of APTA’s Safety Audit and Peer Review Programs. Prior to APTA, Brian was a Senior Program Analyst in the Federal Transit Administration’s Office of System Safety. Brian received his Master of Public Policy (MPP) degree from the George Washington University and is a graduate of the 2018 Leadership APTA Class and the 2020 Eno Transit Senior Executive Program. He has also completed all requirements for FTA’s Transit Safety and Security Program (TSSP) and Public Transportation Safety Certification Training Program (PTSCTP) Certificates as well as the World Safety Organization’s Certified Safety Executive (CSE) Program.

Kathy Brittin

Kathy Brittin is the Director of Risk & Absence Management for Bi-State Development in St. Louis, MO, where she has been working for over 8 ½ years. She is responsible for Bi-State’s insurance programs, self-insured casualty and workers’ compensation claims management and absence management which includes FMLA and Sick time.

Kathy has over 30 years’ experience in Risk Management, primarily in the transportation industry. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Iowa Wesleyan College and her Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation from Insurance Institute of America. She currently serves on the APTA Risk Management Committee as Secretary and is on the Board of Directors as Treasurer for the Missouri Self-Insurance Association (MSIA). She served over fifteen years in various positions on the Board of Directors for the St. Louis Chapter of the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS). She is also a member of the Missouri Public Risk Management Association (PRIMA).

Kathy has a seventeen year old daughter that keeps her busy with many activities.

Lou Brown

Lou Brown is an experienced and dedicated transportation system safety engineer with more than 48 years of government and industry broad-based management and engineering expertise in many modes of transportation including: transit safety, automotive and aviation safety. Lou is currently the Program Technical Safety Lead assigned to the Jacobs Sanford, Florida, office where he provides oversight of the CFRC/SunRail Positive Train Control (PTC) Implementation for FDOT in Sanford, FL. Previously, Lou was the Assistant Chief Safety Officer for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) where he oversaw all safety and security certification for large scale WMATA projects such as the Dulles Silver Line Project. Lou has been the Chair of the Safety Coordinating Council since 2018 and was one of 35 members nationwide who participated in the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Mobility and Recovery Task Force in 2021. In his spare time, Lou is a professor with San Jose State University where he teaches a graduate course in Transportation Safety Management. Lou has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Drexel University and a masters in aviation management from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. Lou is also a registered Professional Engineer in Florida, Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.

Carl Buck

Carl Buck has 30 years of Transit Industry experience (working for Alstom, GE Transportation, and Harmon Industries) as a Project Manager, Software Engineering Director, Product Marketing Manager, Control Center Solutions Director, and Integrated Systems Specialist. During this time Carl has managed deployments of centralized train control (transit, freight and mining rail), SCADA, and passenger information systems to worldwide customers across North America, South America, UK, Australia, India, and China.

Presently Carl is working for Armand Consulting (ACI a division of Transit Systems Engineering (TSE)) and holds a TSSP for rail and is actively providing safety and security certification services as well as communications/systems design services to the transit industry,
Carl is also a member of the APTA Safety Committee and APTA Control & Communications Security Working Group and has co-authored the “APTA Recommended Practice for Securing Control and Communications Systems in Rail Transit Environments” (published and evolving).

Michael Carman

  • Attended Eastern Kentucky University – Political Science
  • Worked at CSX for 20+ years – Multiple positions
  • Worked at Bombardier Mass Transit for 2 years – Manager of Train Operations
  • Working at Jacobs for 3 years – Director of Operations for the Central Florida Rail Corridor
  • Memberships:
    • American Association of Railroad Superintendents
    • American Public Transportation Association
    • Assocation of American Railroads Positive Train Control Interoperability Committee
    • Interoperable Train Control Configuration and Change Management Team
    • Interoperable Train Control, Positive Train Control Support Team
    • Florida Public Transportation Association

Brian Clem

Brian Clem is an enthusiastic goal-driven safety professional with Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation DBA (IndyGo) in Indianapolis. He is accountable for IndyGos risk and safety program, claims handling, insurance underwriting, drug & alcohol program, and emergency response. He is an optimistic, task-driven professional that seeks to understand before being understood. A leader that believes that prioritizing the safety of employees and the public is mission one. Brian earned his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University from the school of public and environmental affairs in 2000. He has over 20 years in safety systems and 12 years of public transportation claims resolution. He holds a “TSSP” and his “PTSCTP”.

Brian is married to his wife Sarah and has two 16-year-old twins Isaac and Laynie. He enjoys serving as a trustee in his church and serving others.

Joseph DeLorenzo

Joseph “Joe” DeLorenzo is FTA’s Associate Administrator for Transit Safety and Oversight and Chief Safety Officer. The FTA Office of Transit Safety and Oversight administers a national transit safety program and monitors program compliance to ensure safe, reliable and equitable transit service in accordance with FTA policy and regulatory requirements. The office implements and oversees safety standards for all modes of public transit in the United States.

Before joining FTA, Mr. DeLorenzo served as the Acting Associate Administrator for Enforcement for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Agency’s Director of the Office of Enforcement and Compliance, where he was responsible for policy and program development for the Agency’s enforcement and compliance program.

Mr. DeLorenzo comes to the FTA with more than 30 years of experience in the transportation industry. Mr. DeLorenzo’s career includes over 15 years of in-field experience that extends to managing training and education related to Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety and Security as Director of FMCSA’s National Training Center. In that role, he was responsible for a wide range of Commercial Vehicle Safety training for Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies in the areas of Commercial Motor Vehicle and Hazardous Materials Safety and Security, Criminal Interdiction and professional development.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Sociology and a Master’s in Public Policy and Management.

Michael Echols

Michael A. Echols (Mike), is CEO of Max Cybersecurity LLC. He previously spent 14 years in critical infrastructure protection and cybersecurity leadership at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) until 2017. Mike led several White House national security and stakeholder engagement risk initiatives. In 2015, Mike was the point-person for President Obama’s Executive Order 13691 on Cyber Threat Information Sharing. While at DHS he also Chaired interagency committees related to GPS, convergence, risk management, cyber risk in government contracting, and assessed the cybersecurity of the nation’s small businesses. Mike was Chairman of the Communications Sector where he led national risk assessment efforts across wireline, wireless, cable, broadcast and satellite. Mike was also the Designated Federal Official for the President’s NSTAC – 30 CEO level members from Defense, IT and Comm Sector companies making recommendations to the President. Mike Chaired the Network Security Information Exchange consisting of cybersecurity experts from Canada, UK, Australia, Canada and the U.S. He also served as the U.S. Representative to the NATO CCPC in Brussels. Mike led classified and unclassified information sharing programs with corporate member’s revenues accounting for 10-15% of U.S. GDP. Mike now leads the APTA CCSWG where the group recently produced a recent OT Cybersecurity Maturity Framework for Transit.

Ed English

Ed is CEO of ELERTS in Massachusetts. ELERTS provides its See Say incident reporting system to over 35 transportation organizations in North America.

Alice Fang

Alice Fang is a project consultant for Hatch, a multidisciplinary management, engineering and development consultancy in transportation, infrastructure, and energy sectors. She is specialized in system assurance and has been working in this area for 5 years. Prior to system assurance, Alice held various positions in research, engineering design and system engineering. She published 8 peer-reviewed papers and obtained more than 20 patents for her work. Her solid engineering and research background has helped her grow quickly into a lead role in the system assurance discipline. She provides in-depth knowledge and experience in system safety and reliability engineering to transit agencies.

Alice is a Licensed Professional Engineer in Massachusetts and Texas, Certified Project Management Professional by Project Management Institute, Certified Reliability Engineer and Certified Quality Auditor by American Society for Quality.

Brent Fransen

Brent Fransen is a Technical Sales Manager with Miller Ingenuity finding innovative solutions with a boots on the shop floor approach. Brent has been working as a supplier to the freight rail and transit industries for over 9 years with most of his experience in manufacturing.

Kevin Garben

Kevin has over a decade of experience in the rail and transit technology industry. Kevin’s experience includes traction power, signaling, safety, security, and track inspection technologies. At Railworks’ Technology Services, Kevin partners with companies like Miller Ingenuity to bring valuable solutions to the North American rail and transit market.

Jodi Godfrey

Jodi Godfrey is a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida (USF), where she works on the Transit Safety and Workforce Development Program. Ms. Godfrey received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from USF. Jodi is a member of the International Women in ITE Task Force, the secretary of the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) Standing Committee on Transit Safety and Security (AP080), a member of TRB Women and Gender in Transportation Committee (AME20), a member of the TRB Committee of Light Rail Transit Systems (AP075), and the secretary of the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Bus Safety Committee. Jodi was named an International ITE Young Leader to Follow in the inaugural class of 2021. Ms. Godfrey was also awarded the 2021 Florida/Puerto Rico ITE Rising Star Award. Jodi is passionate about safety, improving diversity in the transportation industry, and fighting to end human trafficking. Ms. Godfrey has published work related to employee safety reporting, crashworthiness and crash energy management of transit buses, onboard technologies to reduce accidents and incidents, National Household Travel Survey trend data analysis, the role of public transit in natural disaster response, attracting and retaining women in the transportation industry, training initiatives to reduce accidents and incidents, and more.

Svetlana Grechka

Svetlana Grechka has been with the Regional Transportation District (RTD in Denver, CO) for 24 years. She holds her professional engineering license and has a Master’s Degree from the University of Colorado at Denver.

Throughout her career at RTD, Svetlana has worked on a wide range of projects, aiding in the ongoing progress of public transit in the Denver metro area. Some of her previous work includes design and construction of transportation hubs, rail and bus rapid transit corridors.

Numerous times Svetlana attended the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and Transportation Research Board (TRB) conferences presenting on various technical subjects.

Dharm Guruswamy

Dharm is the Public Transit Safety Expert and Principal Systems Engineer at MITRE. He has 25 years of professional experience all in or touching public transportation. Before joining MITRE earlier this year, Dharm was a Safety Specialist with FTA’s Transit Safety & Oversight Office for over seven years. Dharm was involved in FTA’s Direct Safety Oversight of WMATA from start to end, and worked in the Safety Policy Office on industrywide safety hazard analysis. He holds masters degrees in both City Planning & Transportation Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a bachelors degree from the University of Maryland. He also holds a TSSP-Rail from the Transportation Safety Institute.

Polly Hanson

To strengthen and improve public transportation, Ms. Hanson coordinates with APTA stakeholders to develop transit security, risk and emergency management standards and policies. Hanson performs peer reviews and assists with safety audits and serves as an advocate for transportation security as well as a source matter expert on transit security, risk and emergency management issues and concerns. Ms. Hanson serves as the Vice-chair of the TSA Surface Transportation Security Advisory Committee and represents passenger rail and mass transit on the DHS cross-sector coordinating council.

Previously Ms. Hanson was the Chief of Police for AMTRAK where she led a national police department responsible for protecting over 30 million passengers and 20,000 employees.

Polly began her career at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) where she progressed through the ranks of the Metro Transit Police Department. As the Chief of the Metro Transit Police, Polly led a tristate police department and directed the response to the terrorist attacks in Madrid and London.

Polly received her Masters degree in Applied Behavioral Science from Johns Hopkins and her Bachelors degree in Communications from Temple University. Polly has her FTA TSSP and PTSCTP certifications.

Polly is the recipient of WMATA’s Carmen E. Turner Award, was a COMTO Women Who Move the Nation. Ms. Hanson is a member of the Operation Lifesaver, Inc Board of Directors.

Todd Hirt

A 1987 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, with a Bachelor of Science Civil Engineering. I started my career with the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) in Field Survey. In 1999 I accepted a position as Diagnostic Team Leader in the Department’s Railroad Engineering and Safety Division. In 2000 I joined Operation Lifesaver as a volunteer and in 2001 became New Jersey Operation Lifesaver State Coordinator. In 2007 I graduated from Farleigh Dickenson University as a Certified Public Manager, and in 2012 became the Supervising Engineer of the Railroad Division. In my career experience with the NJDOT Railroad Division, I had influence on 1019 rail crossings in the State of New Jersey. In 2021 I retired from the NJDOT and New Jersey Operation Lifesaver. In 2022 I became the Transit Consultant for Operation Lifesaver Inc.

Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones is a Principal, Eastern Region for ADS Systems Safety Consulting, LLC with over 20 years providing safety management support . Kevin helps to lead a team that is responsible for assuring compliance with the federally mandated Safety and Security requirements for rail transit agencies, including safety & security certification of design and build of projects.

Prior to entering consulting, Kevin was the Senior Rail and Facilities Safety Specialist for the Port Authority of Allegheny County, now Pittsburgh Regional Transit. During his 10 years of experience there, Kevin oversaw the safety of a light rail system with 83 LRV’s and 30 miles of track, including 2 system extensions and a new LRV procurement. Kevin also had safety responsibilities for railcar maintenance employees, and facilities, rights of way employees and power and signal employees. In addition to light rail safety, Kevin also has safety oversight of 2 inclined planes (funiculars).

Kevin is a Senior Associate Staff Instructor for TSI and has been actively teaching for 15 years. He is also actively involved in APTA where he currently is the Vice Chair of the Rail Safety Committee and Chair of the APTA Recommended Practice for Safety & Security Certification.

Kevin holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Safety & Environmental Management from Slippery Rock University and has earned the TSSP designation. In additional to the PTSCTP for Bus and Rail, Kevin has earned the designation of Certified Safety & Security Director and Certified Safety Executive from the World Safety Organization.

Rex Jorgensen

Rex joined the Alliant Insurance Services team in 2018. His focus is entirely on public entity clients in Arizona and across the country. Clients include transit agencies, self-insured pools, and other organizations with large commercial fleets.

Rex has over 25 years’ experience in commercial property and casualty insurance. He started career with a global insurance broker in Washington, D.C. conducting in-depth client risk assessments and placing property and casualty coverage for clients in the public entity, transit, technology, education and other industries. He continued this work in his hometown of Phoenix until 2007 when he joined an independent risk management consulting firm. As a consultant, Rex performed outsourced risk manager responsibilities for public and private entities including: insurance program oversight, contract review, coverage analysis, litigation management, training and vendor management.

Rex received a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of Arizona. He earned the Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation and is a licensed Property & Casualty broker. He is active in several professional organizations including APTA, local and national Public Risk Management Association (PRIMA).

In his spare time, Rex enjoys being active with his family including hiking, golf, cribbage, backgammon, and seeking adventures on the backroads of Arizona.

Thomas Joyce

Thomas Joyce has been with Alliant for five years and is a broker on the Public Entity Cyber team. As such, he has a wealth of experience working with cyber insurance underwriters, wholesale brokers, consultants, and vendors. He services public entity clients of all kinds, including hospitals, cities, counties, universities, schools, and transit districts. Thomas is a licensed Property and Casualty retail broker and has obtained Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designations and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Jim Keane

Jim Keane has been with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for over 46 years and is currently the General Manager, Agency Operations Safety and has over 34 years’ experience in Risk Control and Risk Financing. The Agency Safety Management Team, led by Jim, is responsible for the safety of those people using, traveling through or living nearby Port Authority facilities. Working collaboratively with the Agency’s Treasury, Law, Public Safety, Engineering and Line Departments, Jim is responsible for limiting exposures to the self-insured reserves, and controlling and managing risks to the organization’s three major insurance programs, OCIP, Operational Liability, and Property programs. Jim has extensive experience in Aviation, Construction, Rail, Marine, Tunnels, Bridges & Bus Terminal Operations. Currently, Jim is the APTA Risk Management Committee Chairperson, serving previously as Vice Chairperson and Secretary and has also held Chairperson, Vice Chair and Secretary leadership positions on the Airports Council International-North America Risk Management Committee. Jim is also a dedicated adult educator and is associated with Rutgers and Fairleigh Dickinson Universities and is also a US Department of Transportation, Transportation Safety Institute Associate Instructor.

Vijay Khawani

Vijay Khawani is the Executive Officer in the Risk, Safety, & Asset Management department at Los Angeles Metro. He has been with the agency for 30 years. His responsibilities include managing and implementing the overall activities and programs of Bus and Rail Safety, Construction Safety, and assisting with managing the Risk Management, and Asset Management functions at Metro. He developed Metro’s PTASP and is involved in training the Metro team about the safety plan and in implementing it. He is also responsible for overseeing the activities of the department to ensure conformance with goals and objectives of reporting units, providing technical advice and policy recommendations on matters related to Metro’s transit design safety, construction safety, operations safety, and risk mitigation strategies, overseeing compliance with State & Federal agencies’ rules and regulations, and providing overall direction in the management, studies, investigations, and analyses of major capital safety enhancements at the direction of the CEO or Board of Directors.

Chris LaRue

Chris has over 23 years of relevant multi-modal transit experience which includes transit system safety & security, system integration and testing, safety & security management, readiness for service planning, design criteria certification, safety & security field validation, project quality management, transit planning, transit operations & management, contract management, transit service planning, FTA compliance, procurement, budget development, agency coordination, and policy development.

As a former public-sector transit official, Chris understands the unique needs and challenges for agencies managing FTA-funded projects.

Michael Long

Mike Long is the FRA Director of Outreach Programs and Engagement. As such, he is responsible for safe rail operations, as well as outreach to the rail industry, associations and labor. Mike was the Senior Safety and Operations Manager for the Short Line Safety Institute prior to returning back to FRA in 2018. From 2003-2014, Mike served the FRA in a variety of positions, culminating with Regional Administrator, where he oversaw five states in the Midwest, and included long distance passenger and commuter operations, every Class I, and many Class II and III railroads. Prior to his first stint at the FRA, Mike was Sr. VP-Compliance with G&W Railroad Services, Inc., experiencing first-hand the safety environment of short line and regional railroads. Mike is a Marine veteran, deploying to Desert Storm in the early 1990s.

Stewart Mader

Stewart Mader is a policy program analyst for the Office of System Safety at the Federal Transit Administration. He serves as program manager for the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP) Technical Assistance Center. Mr. Mader also supported the Transit COVID-19 Response Program, which provided information and support to help make transit safe and support COVID-19 response and recovery.

Prior to joining FTA, Mr. Mader founded VaxTransit to promote more than 580 public transit providers connecting communities to vaccines, and was formerly the first Chief Customer Officer for NJ Transit. He also helped the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey establish the PATH Riders Council, and he led the council as chair and chief spokesperson.

Mr. Mader created the Transit Standards project, New York & New Jersey Subway Map, and New England Transit Map to elevate the importance of design in the transit experience. His writing on transit policy is published by CTAA, Mass Transit, Mobility Lab, Philadelphia Inquirer, and other publications. He holds a BS in Chemistry from University of Hartford, and an MS in curriculum development and instructional technology from University at Albany.

Cyrell R. McLemore

Cyrell R. McLemore has 23 years of experience managing grant programs, conducting program oversight and managing transit projects on the State and Federal level. He currently serves as a Senior Inspection Specialist for FTA’s Office of Transit Safety and Oversight, Office of Safety Review.

Previously, Mr. McLemore served as a General Engineer in FTA’s Region V Chicago office. As an Engineer, he was responsible for several major capital investment projects throughout the Region. His responsibilities also included management and oversight of various transit programs delivered to Transit agencies and State DOT’s in the Region.

He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), certified Contracting Officers Representative (COR II), earned a Transit Safety and Security Program (TSSP) certificate and a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering Technology from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN.

Jessica Mefford-Miller

As CEO of Valley Metro, Jessica Mefford-Miller is responsible for the operations and expansion of the regional public transportation system in metropolitan Phoenix. Mefford-Miller has 20 years of experience in transportation. Most recently, she served as Executive Director for Metro Transit where she led a team that delivered bus, light rail, paratransit and microtransit across the St. Louis metropolitan region. During her career, she has focused on social equity, environmental sustainability, delivering excellent customer experiences and contributing to thriving regional economies.

While at Metro Transit she led a reimagining of its bus system, which improved frequency to more than half of daily riders. She has demonstrated success at reducing carbon emissions by making transit more attractive and accessible. This includes the launch of microtransit and connector services. At Metro Transit, she led a shift toward renewable energy through its battery-electric bus program and partnerships to shift utilities to renewable sources. She has overseen the expansion of St. Louis’s 46-mile light rail system while also supporting public-private partnerships as a way to leverage rail investment with thriving transit-oriented development.

Previously, Mefford-Miller held posts at the National Park Service, the Ohio Department of Transportation and The Ohio State University. She holds a B.S. in Geography from Southern Illinois University, an M.S. in Geography from Texas State University, and is a Ph.D. candidate in Geography from The Ohio State University.

Matt Mitchell

Matt Mitchell is the Transportation Safety & Security Manager for all East Corridor projects and Light Rail Vehicle certification at Sound Transit. Prior to working at Sound Transit, he worked at BNSF Railways and Amtrak.

He also serves as a Major in the United States Army Reserve and currently commands the 647th Expeditionary Terminal Operational Element (ETOE) at Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Washington.

Michele Palmieri

Michele serves as a Broker within the Aon Global Rail & Transit Practice. In this role, her primary responsibilities include broking excess casualty insurance for freight and transit rail systems. In additional, she places casualty coverage for rail related construction projects as well as rail related industry clients. Working directly with clients, she plays a primary role in the development of submissions for presentation to underwriters, for domestic and international insurance markets. She is well known and respected amongst underwriters for her ability to present a client’s risk through underwriting submissions. These documents as well as her long professional relationships in the rail insurance marketplace, help to leverage Aon’s position to achieve the most beneficial coverage and costs outcomes for clients.

Laura Pastor

Phoenix native Laura Pastor is a fifth-generation Arizonan and current member of the Phoenix City Council, having been first elected in 2013 and again to a second term in 2017. She is a graduate of St. Mary’s High School and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from Arizona State University. Her grandparents and great-grandparents worked in Eastern Arizona’s mining communities, and both her parents began their careers as classroom teachers.

For four years, Laura was a classroom teacher herself in the Roosevelt and Isaac Elementary School Districts, working primarily with at-risk students. During that time, she created a volunteer program to provide after-school tutoring and authored an accountability program for teachers, students, and parents.

Currently, Laura is the Community Liaison at Phoenix College. In this capacity, she implements, communicates, coordinates, and administers the community relations activities at Phoenix College with a variety of internal and external communities and partners throughout the local region. 10 years prior to this, she was the Director of Early Outreach at South Mountain Community College and Phoenix College.

Laura is also a current member of the Phoenix Union High School District Governing Board, where she has been a strong advocate for strategic planning and participatory governance for the District.

In 1999, Laura was selected as one of 30 participants in the National Urban and Rural Fellowship. She attended a master’s program at Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs, City University of New York. As part of this program, Laura relocated to Chicago for her master’s practicum with the Board of Education at Chicago Public Schools. There, she organized the National Conference for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans in Chicago and designed and implemented Theater in Public Schools. She also participated in the creation of the Global Educators Outreach.

In August 2000, Laura received her Master of Public Administration degree and joined the City of Chicago’s Office of Language and Cultural Education as the project director for Mayor Richard M. Daley’s innovative initiative Museums and Public Schools (MAPS). She was responsible for a new partnership between nine world-class museums and Chicago Public Schools. Laura administered the operating budget and collaborated with museum presidents, board members, and non-profit organizations to continue the expansion of this program. MAPS served over 10,000 students in grades 2 through 6.

Laura is the current chair of the Economic Development Subcommittee and serves on the Transportation, Infrastructure, and Planning Subcommittee. In addition, Laura serves as the Phoenix representative on Valley Metro RPTA, Valley Metro Board of Directors and the Valley Metro Audit and Finance Subcommittee. Finally, Laura​ serves as co-chair of the Fast Track Cities Ad Hoc Committee​ and is a member of the Workforce Ad Hoc Committee.

She has served as a member of the Encanto Village Planning Committee and is a former member of the Hispanic Advisory Board of Maricopa Community Colleges, the Homeless Task Force, the Maricopa Transportation Advisory Board, and Phoenix Day.

She resides in Phoenix with her husband, Henry Cotto, a former major league baseball player and minor league coach. They have four children, Henry Jr., Claudia, Eduardo, and Sophia.

Ronald Pavlik

Ron Pavlik serves as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Surface Operations. Ron works directly with the five Regional Security Directors and the five Headquarters Division Directors, ensuring and aligning surface transportation security priorities for the four modes of land-based transportation: mass transit, freight rail, highway motor carrier and pipeline. Prior to joining TSA, Ron served as the Chief of Police with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)/Metro Transit Police Department. During his over 26-year tenure, Ron served in various leadership positions across the department, to include patrol, operations and administration prior to being sworn in to serve as the Chief of Police in 2013.

Mario Richard

Mario is the Regional Director & Actuary of our Pacific Region for the Actuarial & Analytics Practice. Mario and his team provide actuarial support in all aspects of analyzing and managing clients’ total cost of risk. He serves many Aon clients as an actuarial consultant for reserving and other projects, across various industries.

As an actuarial consultant and member of the leadership team, he works collaboratively with clients to explore innovative solutions to managing risk, utilizing expertise from all areas of Aon.

Kenneth F Reed

Ken has worked in public transit since 1998 and has been with OTRP since 2003. He is responsible for the oversight of all loss control, training, and risk auditing activities. Prior to his employment with OTRP, he served as General Manager at Butler County Regional Transit Authority in Hamilton, Ohio. Ken spent twelve years (1994 – 2005) as an elected member of Trenton City Council, a community of 11,000, situated in SW Ohio. From 2011 until 2018, he served on the Board of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) which provides public transit service to the Greater Cincinnati Area. Since 1994, he has served on the Board of the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments, which coordinates regional transportation planning in the Greater Cincinnati region. Ken holds a BSBA from The Ohio State University in Marketing/Transportation Logistics and has post-graduate designations of Associate in Claims and an Associate in Risk Management for Public Entities from the Insurance Institute of America (IIA/CPCU).

Adrian Ruiz

Adrian Ruiz retired as a Lieutenant from the Phoenix Police Department in October 2014 after proudly serving 23 years. Adrian attributes her time as the Phoenix Police Department Transit Enforcement Unit Lieutenant, to her success in being selected as the Director of Safety and Security for Valley Metro in 2014. As the Director assigned to Safety Security and Quality Assurance, Adrian manages a division serving all of light rail in three cities as well as the east valley bus service. Adrian holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arizona and a master’s degree in Organizational Security Management from Webster University. Adrian is a graduate of Valley Leadership Institute Class 35 and is a Certified Public Manager from Arizona State University, Bob Ramsey Executive Education. Adrian has been involved in the security planning of various special events in the Metropolitan area and recently received her WSO-CSSD and PTSCTP certification.

John Ryall

John has over 11 years of experience in Polycarbonate glazing. His role is to support the development of safe, compliant, and competitive solutions for transit authorities and other industries with a focus on safety glazing.

Tim Schultz


  • 10 years of experience at Wabtec Corporation
  • Principal Systems Engineer, Signaling
  • Wireless Crossing Requirement Development
  • Training and Customer Support
  • Wireless Crossing Testing
  • Locomotive Interface Testing
  • Two Patents – Wireless Crossings (Five Pending)
  • 10 years of experience at Rockwell Collins
  • Senior Systems Engineer
  • Data Link Systems
  • JTRS – GMR Military Radios
  • JTRS – HMS Military Radios
  • Requirement Development
  • Triage/Troubleshooting
  • Secret Security Clearance
  • 8 years of experience in Civil Engineering and Business
  • Consulting
  • Training
  • Sales Seminars
  • Customer Support
  • Product Installation

P.J. Skarlanic

P.J. Skarlanic joined the Alliant Insurance Services team in 2005. Since joining Alliant, P.J’s focus has been on public entity clients, providing brokerage services for all lines of coverage. Within the public sector, transit is a particular area of expertise for P.J., serving as the broker for several transit districts across the country with all major modes of transit.

P.J. has been a property and casualty insurance broker since 2002, where he began with Arthur J. Gallagher, working on non-profit and large commercial accounts. After spending three years with Gallagher, P.J. moved to Alliant and begun working primarily with public entity clientele, including both insurance brokerage and Joint Powers Authority program administration.

P.J. holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from San Diego State University. He has also earned the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and Associate in Risk Management (ARM). P.J. is a licensed Property & Casualty retail broker. He is active in several professional organizations, including American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and Public Risk Management Association (PRIMA).

Amelija Sorg-Taylor

Ms. Sorg-Taylor currently serves as a Transit System Safety Specialist at AECOM. She has seven years of experience serving clients in the public transportation sector, including working directly for transit agencies as well as State Safety Oversight Agencies (SSOAs). Throughout her career, Amelija has provided expertise in federal-mandated safety and security programs throughout the U.S. She has supported several SSOAs in reaching and maintaining the required MAP-21 certification for oversight. Additionally, she has supported transit agencies in developing and providing guidance on Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans (PTASPs) as Federal requirements have evolved towards the implementation of Safety Management Systems (SMS).

Jerry Specht

Current Position:  Senior Director, Product Management – Wabtec Corporation


  • North Dakota State University – 1999 – Bachelor of Science Electrical Engineering
  • Engineer in Training – 1999 – North Dakota State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors (Certificate No. 9307)


  • 1 year experience at Wabtec Corporation: Senior Director, Product Management
  • 22 years of experience on BNSF Railway Co. in the following capacities: Track laborer, Welder, Grinder, Machine Operator; Intern; Corporate Management Trainee; Signal Supervisor; General Construction Supervisor; Manager of Special Projects; General Signal Supervisor; Assistant Division Engineer; Manager of Signal; Director of Signal Engineering

AREMA Committees Historical and Current Participation:

  • Current Participation: Communications, Signals, and Information Technology – Functional Group Vice President; Chair of Membership Committee; Publications Committee; Seminar Review Committee; Committee 36 – Highway Grade Crossing Warning Systems; Committee 37 – Signal Systems; Committee 39 – PTC
  • Prior Participation: Membership Committee; Nominating Committee; Communications & Signals – Board of Directors

Lisa Staes

Ms. Lisa Staes is the Associate Director of USF’s Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) and also serves as CUTR’s Director of Transit Safety and Workforce Development Programs. She is the CUTR project manager for FTA’s Transit Standards Development Research and Safety Research Demonstration Evaluation projects, where she is actively involved in transit research and stakeholder involvement activities. She also leads the Center for Surface Transportation Testing and Academic Research (C-STTAR) consortium of universities in support of ENSCO’s management and operation of FRA’s Transportation Technology Center and the expansion of the research, testing, evaluation, and training across modes at the site. She was the lead consultant on TCRP Synthesis SA-45 – Onboard Technologies to Prevent Transit Bus Incidents and TCRP F-27 – Characteristics and Elements of Non-Punitive Employee Safety Reporting for Public Transportation. Research topics include transit assaults, collision/crash energy management for transit buses, simulator training and its impact on transit safety, training and certificate programs and elements of success, rural and senior mobility initiatives, and transit development and mobility systems planning.

Susan Tierney

Susan serves as Communications Manager for Valley Metro, the regional public transportation agency in Phoenix, Arizona. In her role, she primarily manages agency internal and external communications including media relations, public relations, crisis communications, rail rider safety app, podcasts and social media activities for the Valley’s regional transit services and expansion. In addition, she conducts special outreach and public relations events and campaigns that help to position Valley Metro and transit more favorably among local communities, businesses and residents, as well as the national transportation industry.

She has served as the Public Information Officer for bus and transit services and Public Relations/ Marketing Coordinator for local rideshare programs and the Clean Air Campaign efforts. Experience with transportation and air quality began at the Orange County Transportation Authority in southern California as Senior Project Manager where she developed traffic mitigation campaigns. In 1994, she directed the countywide marketing and public relations efforts for the opening of Metrolink, the commuter rail service between Orange County and Los Angeles.

Susan has served as a board member for the WTS Metropolitan Phoenix Chapter from 2011-2017 including President, Immediate Past President, Vice President, Secretary, Nominations Chair, as well as providing support for Transportation You. She is a member of the AZTech Media and Communications Task Force and the Public Relations Society of America. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications and Human Ecology from Kansas State University.

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