Steve Adler

Representative from Austin City Council – Steve Adler was elected Austin’s 52nd Mayor in December 2014. After completing his undergraduate studies at Princeton, Adler moved to Austin to work his way through law school at The University of Texas. Like many others, he fell in love with Austin and has made it his home for nearly four decades.

He practiced civil rights law for many years and later founded a successful eminent domain law practice representing landowners. Adler also served nearly 10 years as chief of staff and general counsel for Texas State Senator Eliot Shapleigh, working primarily on school finance, equity and access issues.

Adler has been deeply involved with, and chaired, many Austin civic and non-profit institutions over the past 20 years. Together with his wife, Diane Land, Mayor Adler is the proud parent of three wonderful daughters.


John Bailey

John Bailey has over two decades of experience as an advocate for sustainable and equitable communities at the national, state, and local levels. Bailey works to ensure that transportation investments and policies benefit people of all ages, abilities, and incomes. Prior to his current role, he was the transportation climate advisor to the City of San Antonio, where he built community and political support for public transit funding, vehicle electrification, and safer streets for people walking, biking, rolling, and taking transit. Bailey has a degree in community studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz and lives in San Antonio, TX.

David Bragdon

David has been at the helm of TransitCenter since 2013, leading its reinvention as a civic philanthropy. He assembled the crew and sets direction for the foundation’s mission to improve urban transportation.

He’s a reformer by nature, who’s led change and organizational improvement in both the public and private sectors. He spent the early part of his career as a maritime and aviation freight dog, and was then elected to two terms as President of the Metro Council, the regional government for the Portland, Oregon area. He drove a taxi cab for a year, jump-seated a 747 freighter into the then-USSR, rode a Dutch container ship up the Strait of Malacca, and twice (once for two minutes in Minnesota and once for five minutes in Iowa) has been allowed to run the engineer’s throttle on a freight train, so he knows how to move big things.


Kate Gallego

Mayor Kate Gallego is a strong advocate for smart business growth and investment – she recently helped land the city’s largest-ever business development deal, a $12 billion semiconductor manufacturing plant that will bring significant economic development for decades to come. She is leading the city to global status as a leader in bioscience, technology, research, and advanced manufacturing.

The Mayor is also leading Phoenix to meet its goal to become the most sustainable desert city in the United States. She has fostered investments in cool solutions, including the nation’s first, publicly funded Office of Heat Response and Mitigation; launched the city’s successful cool pavement pilot; and led the charge toward building the necessary EV infrastructure to support a sustainable future.

Mayor Gallego is the second elected female Mayor in Phoenix history and one of the youngest big city Mayors in the United States. In November 2020, she was returned to office with the highest number of votes ever cast for a mayoral candidate in Phoenix.

A graduate of Harvard University, she earned an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. She was elected to the Phoenix City Council in 2013, representing south Phoenix and the city’s downtown core. Prior professional pursuits include strategic planning and economic development for one of Arizona’s largest utility companies and service in state government, as part of the Governor’s team.

Mayor Kate Gallego enjoys a desert hike and a good read. She is Mom to five-year-old Michael.


Patrick Harris

Patrick Harris is Vice President, External Relations for the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA). As a member of COTA’s leadership team, Patrick manages a team of policy influencers, communications professionals and relationship builders who tell the story of COTA’s transformational change from a public transit authority to a regional mobility services provider. Their role is to help media, policymakers and public influencers at the local, state and national levels better understand the value of a seamless mobility framework and its role in supporting the prosperity agenda for our growing region and COTA’s direct impact on socioeconomic outcomes for the region.

Patrick has more than 20 years of experience in public policy and corporate communications, most recently as vice president of government affairs for a trade association serving the financial services industry. Before that, he served in different capacities in the Ohio General Assembly, two state agencies, and the administration of former Ohio Governor Bob Taft.

Patrick attended University of Phoenix to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in business management. He earned a master’s degree in marketing and communications from Franklin University in 2007.


Zach Hernandez

Zach Hernandez is the Director of Analytics at AlphaVu, a market intelligence and data analytics firm based in Washington D.C. serving public infrastructure agencies across the country. During his six years at AlphaVu, Zach has worked with numerous transportation agencies providing guidance on strategic public engagement in ballot measure environments using machine learning and data visualization techniques. Zach graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a B.A. in Anthropology and wrote his thesis on the Planning, Policing, and Practices of Public Transportation in Bogotá, Colombia. Zach was named one of Mass Transit Magazine’s 40 Under 40 in 2019.

Matt Hogan

Matt Hogan has worked for the Democratic nominee in the past four U.S. presidential elections, polling in both the primary and the general election for President Joe Biden, as well as for President Obama in his 2012 re-election campaign. In addition to his work at the presidential level, Matt has polled for candidates at all levels of government, from mayor to the U.S. Senate, and is proud to have been part of the teams that helped elect Ayanna Pressley (MA-7) and Tom O’Halleran (AZ-1) to Congress. Matt has also worked with the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), and has extensive experience polling on issues such as healthcare, education, tax policy, immigration, and election reform.

Matt holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a B.A. in History from James Madison University. He lives in Cambridge, MA with his wife, daughter, and son.


Kimberly Hudgins

Kimberly Hudgins serves as a Vice President and Government Relations Director for the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Divisions for HNTB, where she provides clients with political solutions across both regions. Kimberly’s passion for politics began during her first internship at the Georgia state capitol and her love of transportation began while serving as Executive Secretary for the Georgia State Transportation Board. Kimberly served as Vice President for Georgians for Better Transportation for three years, bringing cost effective solutions and improved mobility for all transportation modes. For over twenty years she has championed transportation funding in various industry organizations, serving as a board member for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and the Council for Quality of Growth. Kimberly also is an active member of influential organizations in the transportation industry including the Women’s Transportation Seminar, American Council of Engineering Companies, American Public Transportation Association, and American Road and Transportation Builders Association.

Nefertitti Jackmon

Nefertitti Jackmon is a Cultural Strategist and currently works for the City of Austin as the Housing and Policy & Planning Manager for the Housing and Planning Department spearheading their Displacement Prevention efforts. As the former executive director of Six Square: Austin’s Black Cultural District she brought passionate and visionary leadership to the development of projects that preserve, educate and sustain black arts, history, and culture in Central East Austin.

In 2017, Mayor Steve Adler appointed her to serve as the co-chair of the AntiDisplacement Task Force, she also served as a representative for the city with Policy Link All-In Cities Initiative on Displacement. She has spoken on many college campuses, including TSU, HT and UT about gentrification and has become a trusted voice on issues of displacement especially as it relates to the negative impact on authentic black cultural production. She has presented at numerous conferences across the country including in Washington D.C. at the 48th convening of the Congressional Black Caucus.

At present she and her team are developing a portfolio of work to provide tenant stabilization services to vulnerable renters and analyzing the effectiveness of the department’s 15 displacement prevention strategies and collaborating with other City departments to develop a comprehensive city-wide displacement prevention strategy.


Brandy Jones

Brandy Jones, APR, is the Senior Vice President of External Affairs at the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority. In this role, she serves as the organization’s spokesperson and is responsible for overseeing media relations, digital media, employee communications, marketing and advertising, government affairs and community engagement efforts. Mrs. Jones has more than a decade of experience in the PR industry.

Among her numerous volunteer roles, Mrs. Jones serves on the board of directors for the East Central District of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and is the immediate past president of the Cincinnati
PRSA Chapter; board member of Learning Grove, Inc,; member of the City of Cincinnati’s Families and Children Cabinet; and previously served as president of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (Cincinnati Chapter). She is 2016 graduate of C-Change, a Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce Leadership program.

She has been recognized as a “Forty Under 40” by the Cincinnati Business Courier, a “Top 40 Under 40” by Mass Transit Magazine, and is a recipient of numerous PRSA Blacksmith awards for her professional body of work,
including being a member of the 2016 PRSA Communications Team of the Year.

Mrs. Jones holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from Xavier University. She is an Accredited Public Relations professional.


Henry Li

Henry Li is a transformational and dynamic CEO with a tenure of over two decades of extraordinary business acumen driving strategic planning, service excellence and innovation, and fiscal renewal within some of the largest and most complex multimodal transportation systems in North America. He has been recognized as a model of success for transit industry CEOs receiving the “2019 Outstanding Public Transportation Manager of the Year Award” and North America’s “2021 Outstanding Transit System of the Year Award” from the American Public Transportation Association. A well-respected industry leader, Henry is credited with historic turnarounds and establishing many firsts in the transportation industry throughout the years. Henry has earned a reputation as a national change agent, relentlessly pursuing excellence for the advancement of public transportation, even during a global pandemic. Since becoming General Manager/CEO in July 2016, Henry has been credited for the solid, rapid and comprehensive transformation of SacRT, turning it into an award-winning agency.

Quinton Lucas

Quinton Lucas, “Mayor Q,” was sworn in as the 55th mayor of Kansas City on August 1, 2019.

As mayor, Quinton has prioritized making Kansas City’s neighborhoods safer, creating more accessible and affordable housing and public transportation, fostering a healthier community and improving basic services. Quinton created and chairs the City’s Special Committee on Housing Policy.

Born and raised in Kansas City, Quinton has spent most of his life in the city’s urban core. As a child, he moved often and experienced homelessness, sometimes staying with family or friends, or residing in a motel. Despite these challenges, Quinton remained focused on his schoolwork, earning academic scholarships to high school, college and Cornell Law School before returning home to Kansas City.

Since 2012, Quinton has been a member of the University of Kansas Law School faculty, where he served as one of the youngest tenure-track law professors in the country. He is active in the Kansas City community and volunteers extensively in area schools and organizations, including providing mentorship in local prisons.

Mayor Quinton Lucas lives in the Historic 18th and Vine Jazz District, which he previously represented on the City Council.


Beth Osborne

Beth is the Director of Transportation for America. She was previously at the U.S. Department of Transportation, where she served as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy since 2009. At DOT, Beth managed the TIGER Discretionary Grant program, the Secretary’s livability initiative, the development of the Administration’s surface transportation authorization proposal, and the implementation of MAP-21. Before joining DOT, Beth worked for Sen. Tom Carper (DE) as an advisor for transportation, trade and labor policy, as the policy director for Smart Growth America and as legislative director for environmental policy at the Southern Governors’ Association. She began her career in Washington, DC, in the House of Representatives working as a legislative assistant for Rep. Ron Klink (PA-04) and as legislative director for Rep. Brian Baird (WA-03).

John Rowley

John Rowley is the founder of CounterPoint Messaging, a message, media and digital firm based in Nashville.

His first work was in radio and television in Burlington, Iowa. Since then, Rowley has worked on over 500 political campaigns for Democrats in 47 states – winning 91 percent of his campaigns. He has worked with candidates from President and governor to city council. Rowley has worked with 20 Members of Congress.

Rowley has provided political analysis on MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, FOX Business, Fox News and NPR.

His firm has won 50 Pollie Awards for excellence in political advertising. His commercials have been featured on NPR, PBS, CNN, FOX, MSNBC and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. His firm’s work has been covered by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

For corporate clients, Rowley handles branding, advertising, video production and crisis management.


Bemetra Simmons

Bemetra Simmons is the president and chief executive officer of the Tampa Bay Partnership.

Simmons previously served as the chief strategy and operations officer for United Way Suncoast, where she led core operations functions, including finance and information technology, and community investment for a five-county region. A former banking executive, Simmons also worked as the Florida Managing Director at Mutual of Omaha Bank and held leadership roles at Wells Fargo and BB&T.

She currently serves on the board of commissioners for the Tampa Housing Authority, the executive committee for the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce and the Community Tampa Bay board. She is a 2013 Leadership Tampa graduate and a member of Leadership Florida Cornerstone Class XXXVIII. The Tampa Bay Business Journal named her an “Up and Comer” in 2013 and a finalist for its businesswoman of the year award in 2017. She is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Simmons is the daughter of an Air Force Chaplain and has lived in ten states and two countries. She attended Christian Brothers University in Memphis, TN, on a basketball scholarship and received a B.S. in business administration in 1997, and her MBA from Wake Forest University in 2004.

Along with her twin sister, Demetra, Simmons co-founded Corporate Homie, a career, lifestyle, and advice company and podcast dedicated to assisting professionals in navigating the waters of corporate America.

Simmons and her lovely wife Abeba live in Tampa with their dog, Charlie.


Lynda Tran

Lynda Tran serves as Director of Public Engagement and Senior Advisor to the Secretary. A longtime organizer and communicator with over two decades experience in policy, advocacy, and campaigns, Lynda returns to DOT after co-founding 270 Strategies, where she developed public engagement strategies for clients across the globe – including the Environmental Defense Fund, Oxfam America, United Way Worldwide, FAMM, the Black Economic Alliance, and the Economic Security Project. Recently, she was a senior strategist for Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy and served on the Board of Advisors for Higher Ground Labs and Battleground Texas. A CBS News Political Contributor through the 2020 cycle, she previously led teams for Organizing for America, then-Governor Tim Kaine, and SEIU.

Dottie Watkins

Dottie first began her transit career in 1994 – driving buses part-time while she attended the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to her current role she was the agency’s Deputy CEO, and before that Chief Customer Officer/Chief Operating Officer, and before that, CapMetro’s Vice President – Bus Operations and Maintenance. She has been responsible for all aspects of the agency’s contracted bus operations through active monitoring of service quality and contract compliance.

Dottie holds a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Texas and a Master of Business Administration from St. Edward’s University. A native Austinite, Dottie regularly enjoys trips to the pool with her daughter and plays French Horn in a local community band.


Mary Ellen Wiederwohl

Mary Ellen was appointed as President and CEO of Accelerator for America immediately after serving as Interim President and CEO of the Louisville Housing Opportunities and Micro-Enterprise Community Development Loan Fund, Inc. (LHOME), a Community Development Financial Institution. She previously served for eight years in the administration of Louisville, KY Mayor Greg Fischer, who also served as the President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors during that time. As Chief of Louisville Forward, Mary Ellen led economic and community development in the city, and Louisville Forward was named a Top Economic Development Organization by Site Selection Magazine for six straight years. Prior to that role, she served as Mayor Fischer’s Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief of Strategic Initiatives. During her city tenure, Louisville experienced more than $17 billion of new capital investment, made substantial new investments in affordable housing, and introduced industry-leading innovations in talent development and the future of work. Mary Ellen’s leadership included oversight for the development and implementation of the city’s Strategic Plan, the Vision Louisville 25-year advanced plan, the Move Louisville strategic multi-modal transportation plan and the city’s first sustainability plan.

Before joining Louisville’s City Hall in 2012, Mary Ellen served in public and private sector advocacy roles. She earned her MA in Political Science and a BA in Music and Political Science from the University of Louisville.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email