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American Public Transportation Association

 Board Members Program

  • Transit Board Members Seminar Program - Last updated July 17, 2012

All events will be held at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel. Please note that this is a preliminary program and is subject to change.

* Sessions and events for both board members and support staff.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

1 – 5 p.m.


2 – 3:15 p.m.

Transit Board Members Committee Meeting

Chair Crystal Lyons

You are welcome to attend this meeting, one of three convened each year: during this July seminar, in conjunction with the APTA Annual Meeting in September/October, and the Legislative Conference in March.

3:30 – 4:30 p.m.

This is APTA: Maximizing Your Membership*

Your best industry resource; how to get involved in leadership on a national scale

The American Public Transportation Association is widely recognized as the voice of the transit industry. This session will focus on the many resources available to you as a member and cover everything you want to know about getting involved in your association to gain the full value of your membership. Find your unique path to work with colleagues from all over the U.S., Canada, and the world.


  • Michael P. Melaniphy, president & CEO, APTA


  • Crystal Lyons, chair, APTA Transit Board Members Committee, member, APTA Executive Committee, and board member, Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority, Corpus Christi, TX
  • Greg Evans, member, APTA Executive Committee, and president, Lane Transit District, Eugene, OR
  • Flora M. Castillo, CHIE, vice chair, APTA, and board member, New Jersey Transit Corporation

6 – 7 p.m.
Salon A

Welcoming Reception*

Mix and mingle…renew friendships and meet new colleagues at this high-energy gathering that is sure to set the tone for a week of networking and learning more about public transportation and your leadership style.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Today’s Presiding Officer:

  • Crystal Lyons, chair, APTA Transit Board Members Committee, and board member, Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority, Corpus Christi, TX

7:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.


7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
Grand Foyer

Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 9:45 a.m.
Grand Salons BC

Opening General Session
Public Transportation Takes Us There*

Warm to a ‘Hotlanta’ welcome from MARTA, the City of Atlanta, and APTA

Whether it’s creating jobs, helping to lead the way towards energy independence, improving quality of life, or protecting the environment, public transportation plays a significant role in taking us there. Come join us to discuss industry priorities and the latest governance and business practices. Host Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority will show us the meaning of Southern hospitality.


  • Michael P. Melaniphy, president & CEO, APTA

  • Gary C. Thomas, chair, APTA, and president/executive director, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Dallas, TX

  • Frederick L. Daniels, Jr., vice chair, APTA Transit Board Members Committee, chair, Transit Board Members Program Planning Subcommittee, and chairman, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Atlanta, GA

  • Honorable Kasim Reed, Mayor, City of Atlanta

  • Beverly A. Scott, Ph.D., general manager/CEO, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Atlanta, GA

  • Rhodetta Seward, chair, Board Support Subcommittee, APTA, and executive services director, Intercity Transit, Olympia, WA

  • Dr. Valarie McCall, board member, American Public Transporation Foundation; APTA Transit Board Members Committee Region IV Representative; vice chair, APTA Transit Board Members Committee's Legislative Subcommittee; and member, Board of Trustees, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, Cleveland, OH

10 – 11:30 a.m.
Grand Salons BC

General Session
Handling Difficult Conversations*

Framing your communications, modeling the behavior & achieving the best outcome

In leading by example, how do leaders discuss difficult issues and build strong relationships? Effective communication leads to positive outcomes. Learn about your individual approach and gain powerful perspectives and tools to improve the way you handle difficult conversations and create resolutions to move everyone forward. This session will be led by author and consultant, Tami Gaines, who earned five-star ratings facilitating the 2011 board support workshop. The interactive work will give participants the confidence to deal with difficult conversations promptly, with less stress and anxiety and with greater successful outcomes. From before the conversation, during, and after, participants will receive real-world guidance on using our proven process for having the most challenging communications. You will also have the opportunity to practice 'difficult conversations' during role plays set within a safe, supportive training environment.


  • Tami C. Gaines, principal, Sage Enterprises LLC, Montclair, NJ

11:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Grand Salons BC

General Session
Funding, Financing & Revenue Sources*

Ideas that are catching-on across the country: summary of 2011-2012 board member/CEO webinar series

Join this session to hear the highlights of ideas presented via webinar by board members and CEOs from systems in Atlanta GA, Los Angeles CA, Grand Rapids MI, Denver CO, Denton County TX, Philadelphia PA, Tampa FL, Seattle WA, San Diego CA, Pittsburgh PA, and the Washington DC area – plus officials from organizations such as the Federal Transit Administration and the Center for Transportation Excellence.  This summary includes income sources from  property tax, vehicle registration fees, road tolls, state commissions, sales tax and borrowing from its future revenue stream, contracting services, the Federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA)  loan program, public-private partnerships (PPPs), station naming rights, and more. 

Share ideas from your organization with your colleagues in an open exchange during the lunch time discussions to follow. For APTA members, the webinar PowerPoints and audio MP3 files are now available at in the Resource Library.

Arthur Guzzetti,
Vice President-Policy, APTA

12 – 1:45 p.m.
Buffet: City Halls Foyer

Regions I, II & VII
David M. Stackrow,CPA
Bernard Blanchet

Regions III & IV
Karl Birkholz
Dr. Valarie McCall

Region V
Randall Chrisman
Savannah 1

Region VI:
Greg Evans

Board Members Luncheon by APTA Region

Enjoy this energetic discussion about funding, financing, and revenue sources.

Take your buffet lunch into a breakout room to join your group for an open discussion of ideas on the economic vitality and sustainability of your transit agency.

  • Region I: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island
  • Region II: Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Washington DC, North Carolina, South Carolina
  • Region III: Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Region IV: Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota
  • Region V: Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Iowa, Missouri
  • Region VI: Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Washington, California, Alaska, Hawaii
  • Region VII: Canada

2 – 3:15 p.m.
Grand Salons BC

APTA Chair & President’s Roundtable

The national perspective

First, participate in 'report-outs' from the luncheon small-group discussions.  Board members will then talk with APTA's chair and president/CEO about the chair's initiatives including member value, agility, and thought leadership to make APTA the best organization it can be and help you to take full advantage of all the benefits.  Come with questions and comments on APTA's Business Plan, initiatives, and vision for the future - and your part in it - plus implementing the new transportation bill, "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP21)," operating funding, and more.  Find out how you can take your leadership skills to a national scale by becoming even more active in APTA committees.


  • Gary C. Thomas, chair, APTA, and president/executive director, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Dallas, TX

  • Michael P. Melaniphy, president & CEO, APTA

3:30 – 5 p.m.
Grand Salons BC

Conversations with Legislators & Elected Officials

Getting your point across

As transit board members, we represent our agencies and advocate on matters integral to our operation in front of elected officials. Learn more about communicating with these local, state, and federal elected officials and their key staff members.  This panel of experts will discuss how to frame your issue clearly for a smooth, effective discussion.  Come to share what you know and hear how others stay on message to realize their goals.


  • Dr. Valarie J. McCall, member, Board of Trustees, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, Cleveland, OH


  • Rhonda Briggins-Ridley, senior director, office of external affairs, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Atlanta, GA
  • Brad Alexander, senior vice president, state government relations, McGuireWoods Consulting LLC, Atlanta, GA
  • Florence W. Prioleau, Esq., partner, Crowell & Moring LLP, Washington, DC
6 –9 p.m.

Georgia Aquarium Tour and Dinner

Enjoy the world's largest aquarium!  MARTA has arranged for transit board members, board support staff, and their guests to enjoy a very special evening inside the Georgia Aquarium.  Buses will leave the hotel at 5:30 p.m. near the door at Andrew Young International Drive.  Returning, buses will leave the aquarium at 9 p.m.  For those who need to leave earlier, a small van will be stationed at the aquarium.

6-7 p.m.  Private Self-Guided Tour:  See the underwater viewing tunnel, endangered species through the largest aquarium viewing window in North America.

7-9 p.m.  Catered Dinner:  Wolfgang Puck Catering will serve a delicious dinner in the unique Arctic Room with its floor-to-ceiling window into the beluga whale tank.  Make sure you say hello - they'll be expecting you.

For a preview,

Monday, July 23, 2012

Today’s Presiding Officer:

  • Frederick L. Daniels, Jr., vice chair, APTA Transit Board Members Committee, chair, Transit Board Members Program Planning Subcommittee, and chairman, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Atlanta, GA

7:30 – 9 a.m.
Grand Foyer

Continental Breakfast

8 – 8:45 a.m.
Grand Salons BC

Transit Board Members Committee Meeting: Election of Officers

Chair Crystal Fortune Lyons

Learn more about the candidates for the offices of chair, vice chair, secretary, and the regional representatives. According to the committee bylaws, there is one vote per transit system and board members must be members of the committee in order to vote. If you will attend and intend to vote, please make sure you are on the committee roster as a member or contact APTA’s Lynne Morsen, 202-496-4853 to join the Transit Board Members Committee.

9 – 10:15 a.m.
Grand Salons BC

Moving Beyond ADA Compliance to Great Customer Service

How to make ADA everyone’s job

Recruiting new riders and offering the best possible customer service is the mission of organizations as their services create jobs, facilitate transportation to jobs, help attract business development, and build communities.

As passengers with disabilities are valued customers for public transportation, agencies are thinking beyond cost considerations and ADA compliance and adopting more customer-oriented service and marketing approaches. These include such initiatives as ensuring that customer service for passengers with disabilities is everyone's job in the organization and making fixed-route service more attractive to paratransit customers. APTA’s Transit Board Members ADA Subcommittee will host this session on practices that work for all customers, operating inclusively, and creating new models of service.


  • Dolores Nason, vice chair, Access Services, El Monte, CA


A Commitment to Access: From Board Policy to Staff Implementation

  • Crystal Lyons, chair, APTA Transit Board Members Committee, and board member, Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority, Corpus Christi, TX

  • Lamont C. Taylor, board member, Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority, Corpus Christi, TX

Customer Service Initiatives for Paratransit, Bus & Rail

  • Catherine Hudgins, chair,  Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Washington, DC


10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Grand Salons BC

Leveraging Assets
Debt and innovative financing

Based on their unique roles, a lawyer, financial advisor, and investment banker each will provide an overview and guide to debt and innovative financing programs for operating and capital expenditures. As the structure and authority of boards varies by agency, this session will provide fundamental tools and general information to assist directors and commissioners in making strategic decisions.  The session will explain what financial reporting should be presented, a market overview, options to consider when deciding on a debt program, and other legal and financial matters directors should understand.


  • Frederick L. Daniels, Jr., vice chair, APTA Transit Board Members Committee, chair, Transit Board Members Program Planning Subcommittee, and chairman, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Atlanta, GA


  • Desrye Morgan, director, Wells Fargo Securities/Southwest Public Finance Group, Houston, TX
  • Adrian Patrick Patterson, senior associate, Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P., Houston, TX
  • Karlos Allen, vice president, Rice Financial, Houston, TX

12 – 1:30 p.m.

Public Transportation Pays Off:  Making a POSITIVE difference
Best practices for opportunities in job creation, business development, and leveling the playing field

For every $1 billion invested in public transportation, more than 36,000 jobs are supported. Public transportation provides jobs with good wages that stay in local communities and supports local businesses, including small businesses.  Investment in public transportation flows to private-sector transit industry manufacturers and their suppliers.  This panel will share best practices that create, expand, and monitor partnerships with local businesses that lead to the creation and retention of local jobs. Topics include discussion of outreach, certification, mentor/protégé programs, and technical assistance.  Join this luncheon program to hear more about how increased transit investments revitalizes business districts and leads to future economic vitality.  See how board members have taken the lead in promoting growth.

Huelon A. Harrison, chair, Business Member Small Business Committee, APTA, vice chair, American Public Transportation Foundation, and principal, Legacy Resource Group, Dallas, TX

Rosa Navajar, chair, Awards Committee and secretary, Transit Board Members Committee, APTA, and vice chair, Fort Worth Transportation Authority, Fort Worth, TX

Alvin J. Nichols, board member, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Washington, DC

The Honorable Amna Seibold, Mayor, East Grand Rapids, and board member, Interurban Transit Partnership, Grand Rapids, MI

Barbara Peery, consultant, Khafra Engineering, Atlanta, GA

Luncheon sponsored by S.L. King Technologies and Hands On Management LLC.

1:30 – 4:30 p.m.

MARTA Technical Tours

You are invited to sign up for the tour of your choice at the host information desk in the APTA registration area in the Piedmont Room at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel.  Buses will depart from the hotel door near Andrew Young International Drive.

Tour 1: MARTA Showcases its Energy Saving Solar-Powered Canopies at Laredo

Fortified with a $10.8 million federal grant, MARTA developed the largest solar canopy installation in Georgia and the second largest structure of its kind at a U.S. transit system. The 4,888 integrated, photovoltaic panels generate enough electricity to offset a significant portion of the facility’s annual electricity consumption. Other benefits include lowering bus fuel consumption, reducing the need for air conditioning, and enhancing the general work environment for MARTA operators, maintenance and facilities personnel. This “green” project was funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s TIGGER program and has the same environmental benefit as planting more than 285 acres of trees a year.

As part of MARTA’s sustainability initiatives, this facility also houses one of two regional compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations. MARTA operates 347 “clean-fuel” CNG buses which reduce carbon monoxide by 95 percent. Come and tour this intriguing facility and enjoy the cool benefits of MARTA's solar canopy and CNG fueling station.


Tour 2: Lindbergh Transit- Oriented Development & Armour Rail Yard

MARTA is at the forefront in developing 'Live, Work, and Play' communities through transit- oriented development (TOD) and improving the area’s quality of life and economic base. You are invited to tour Lindbergh City Center, MARTA’s nationally recognized flagship TOD. Lindbergh boasts 47 acres of current and future mixed-use development. You will see the residential component of the project alongside retail establishments, office developments, public art installation/sculpture, and a variety of restaurants as well as the nearly million-square-foot office towers for AT&T. 

After the Lindbergh TOD tour you will tour MARTA’s state-of-the-art Armour Yard Maintenance Facility. The modern Armour Yard started operating in 2005 and occupies approximately 33 acres including an enormous 175,000 sq. ft. maintenance shop.  Key points of interest include the air compressor shop for rebuilding the entire fleet of air compressors; the cleaning platform that provides optimal staging for the daily cleaning process; and the life cycle asset reliability enhancement (LCARE) – a capital program that provides a mechanism for performing mini overhauls/rebuilds of various rail vehicle subsystems, eliminating the need for large multi-million dollar overhaul/rehabilitation projects. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Today’s Presiding Officer:

  • Rosa Navejar, secretary, Transit Board Members Committee, and chair, Awards Committee, APTA, and vice chair, Fort Worth Transportation Authority, Fort Worth, TX

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
Grand Foyer

Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 9:45 a.m.
Grand Salons BC

Collaboration to Leverage Transit Funding

Capitalizing on available funding opportunities by working with other agencies

How are transit systems collaborating with other agencies such as housing or health services agencies to leverage available funding opportunities? TIGGER grants, TIGER grants, Choice Neighborhood grants, and formula funding are all opportunities available to transit organizations. Successful grant applications depend on strong collaborations. This panel will bring conversations with conference attendees on how to create strong collaborations that can help create competitive grant applications.


  • Alison A. Hewitt, immediate past chair, Transit Board Members Committee, APTA, and president/CEO, Alison A. Hewitt & Associates, Tampa, FL


  • Yvette G. Taylor, Ph.D., regional administrator, U.S. Department of Transportation Region IV, Atlanta, GA

  • Edward Jennings, Jr., regional administrator, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Region IV, Atlanta, GA

  • Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr., managing principal, The Ford Transportation Group LLC

10 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Grand Salons BC

Succession Planning

Conversations about the board's role

The time is right to talk about succession planning.  APTA's extensive workforce efforts have led the way to the identification of methods to recruit and retain employees at all levels of the organization. APTA committees are exploring opportunities to recruit veterans, young professionals, and front line employees, and to introduce transit as a career to students of all ages. As APTA’s Workforce Development Task Force is defining the next steps in APTA's human capital development plan, it is also time to examine the role that transit governing boards can play. 

A governing board's  role in setting policy and in employing the chief executive implies a clear role in the succession planning of an organization- with the understanding that the crafting and execution of succession plans will fall to leadership at all levels of the organization.
This interactive session will explore the ways that board policy can help guide the succession planning in today's transit organizations. It will identify ways that the board's process in the hiring of the chief executive may serve as an example to employees, and will explore succession planning in the context of industry workforce initiatives.


  • Dr. Barbara K. Gannon, executive vice president, Eno Transportation Foundation, Washington, DC
  • Alison A. Hewitt, immediate past chair, Transit Board Members Committee, APTA, and president/CEO, Alison A. Hewitt & Associates, Tampa, FL

12 – 2 p.m.
Grand Salons BC

General Luncheon*

Transit Governance and Operations in the Megaregion: A Look Forward

Public transportation opportunities to link metropolitan areas

This keynote presentation will address the development and management of transit services across, within and between metropolitan areas.  It will encompass extended regions and examine market opportunities for transit in providing seamless transport within and between cities in large metropolitan areas, or across borders or geographic jurisdictions in a new expanded region or megaregion.  These extended regions require transit agencies to rethink governance, technology, operations, and transit finance.

Ross has worked with government, corporate, and nonprofit organizations on research projects in transportation and infrastructure, as well as regional science (megaregions). She is the author of Megaregions: Planning for Global Competitiveness, Island Press, 2009, and serves as principal investigator on a number of research efforts funded by the United States Department of Transportation to assess the impact of megaregions on both the methodological and operations of current transportation planning practice and administration. She consulted with the Obama administration on the first ever White House Office of Urban Affairs and is on the Board of Directors of the Auto Club Group. She served as the first Executive Director of the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority and is a former board member of the Metropolitan Atlanta Regional Transit Authority.


    • Dr. Catherine L. Ross, deputy director, National Center for Transportation Productivity and Management, Harry West Professor of City and Regional Planning, and director, Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA


Invitation to 2013 Transit Board Members Seminar & Board Support Employee Development Workshop

Beverly S. Silas, board member, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Austin, TX 


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