Event Details

This webinar session was held on Wednesday, December 16, 2015.
  • ​View video and slides from this session.

Session Overview​

This webinar, co-hosted by the Business Member Board of Governors and the APTA Human Resources Committee, featured national experts from academia and the industry. It featured the p-REES Seminar held in July 2015, which was a collaboration between APTA and the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association (AREMA) to bring together the industry and the academic community. Industry leaders spoke on the REES and p-REES programs, p-REES faculty highlighted a few Seminar topics and talked about how this collaborative model can be adapted, and audience members at the July seminar showcased what they learned at the seminar and what they planned to do with that knowledge.


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Lydia C. Grose – Director, Engineering and Design Civil Engineering,  Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA); Chair, APTA Human Resources Committee

LydiaC. Grose is the Director of Engineering and Design – Civil EngineeringDepartment, within the Engineering, Maintenance, and Construction (EM&C)Division of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). Sheserves as Project Liaison to outside government agencies with constructionprojects impacting SEPTA operations as well as Authority initiated projectsrequiring municipal review and support.  With 25 years’ experience in the engineering field, Lydia hasestablished herself as an individual with diverse expertise and knowledge inthe areas of civil engineering, project management, hands-on constructioninspection, and field coordination with maintenance and technical staff. 

Ms.Grose is a graduate of Temple University. She is a member of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials(COMTO), Society of Women Engineers (SWE), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE),a 2007 Leadership APTA Graduate, 2011 Whitehouse Champion of Change, 2013 -2016APTA HR Committee Chair, and a member of APTA’s Board of Directors.​


Jeff Wharton cropped.PNGJeff Wharton – President, IMPulse NC LLC; APTA Board of Directors Member; 1st Vice Chair, APTA Business Member Board of Governors

Jeff Wharton is President forIMPulse NC LLC, the leading manufacturer of Catenary, overhead contact system,hardware in the North America Transit. He has over 35 years of experience intransit.  IMPulse is a founding member ofthe APTA sustainability commitment program and has achieved Gold levelrecognition.

Mr. Wharton currently servesas a Board of Directors member for APTA, First Vice-Chair of the APTA BusinessMember Board of Governors, Board Member for APTF (American PublicTransportation Foundation), Board Member for the Community Streetcar Coalition,and a member of IEEE.  In 2013 he was aWhite House Champion of Change recipient for 21st Century TransportationTechnology Solutions. 

Jeff has authored andpresented many technical presentations, as well as provided testimony beforethe U.S. Congress, House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure.​

Mike Pochop cropped.PNGMike Pochop, P.E. – Vice President, Civil Engineering, Hanson Professional Services Inc,; Past Chair, Education and Training Committee, AREMA

Mike Pochop, P.E., is a vice president and projectmanager for Hanson Professional Services Inc.’s railwaymarket. He has a B.S. in civil engineering from Iowa State University. Duringhis career, he has managed studies, asset inventories, capacity projects,terminal improvements and new branch line extensions, and his projects haveinvolved six of the seven Class 1 railways as well as regional and industrialrailways.

Mike has extensive experience with projectsinvolving railway design and programming. He enjoys customizing and leadingmulti-disciplinary teams for the benefit of private- and public-sectorclientele on urban and rural projects. His projects have successfully addressedchallenges in constructability, permitting, innovative materials, acceleratedproject delivery and international issues. Mike’s responsibilities also haveencompassed extensive public relations and public meeting involvement. He iscomfortable working closely with various local, state and federal agencies.​

Mike Loehr cropped.PNGMike Loehr, P.E. – Americas Transit and Rail Practice Leader, Civil Engineering, CH2M Hill

MichaelLoehr got a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute andis a Professional Engineer in 11 states.

Mike has over 37 years of transit experience.He is now the Practice Leader – Rail & Transit – Civil Engineering -Americas for CH2M Hill.  Prior to joiningCH2M Hill, Mike worked at Conrail on a variety of significant projects all overthe US.  He designed numerous landdevelopment, rail, and highway projects, including leading a consultant teamseconded into the Virginia Department of Rail & Public Transportation. Mikewas the Project Manager and Lead Rail engineer for Norfolk Southern’s HeartlandCorridor Project, which won AREMA’s W. W. Hay Award for Excellence and a BrunelAward Commendation.

Mike serves on several APTA committees,and chairs the BMBG Workforce Development Committee.  Mike is also a member of AREMA, where he isthe Chairman of Committee 11 and serves on Committee 12. Mike also serves asChairman of the TRB Commuter Rail Transportation Committee (AP070).

Mike has been part of the University ofWisconsin’s Engineering Professional Development instructors team for over adecade, and delivers portions of UW’s Modern Mass Transit and Introduction toRailroad Engineering courses.

Bill Thomsen cropped.PNGBill Thomsen, P.E. – President & CEO,Urban Engineers of New York, P.C.

A Senior Vice President for National Services,William T. Thomsen oversees all of the firm’s offices and geographynationwide, as well as serve as a principal- in- charge of all majortransportation infrastructure programs. Mr. Thomsen has played a key role inthe growth of the firm’s Program Management Oversight practice and serves as anational leader in the management of mega projects, including New York City’shigh-profile One World Trade Center, East Side Access, and Second AvenueSubway.

Thomsen joined Urban Engineers in 1980.His extensive experience encompasses the management/engineering of majorinfrastructure projects. Thomsen earned his Bachelor’s degree incivil/environmental engineering from Clarkson University and Master’s degree inengineering management from Drexel University. He is a registered Professional Engineerin four states and he is a past President of ASCE in Philadelphia. He was alsothe “Transportation Engineer of the Year” in Philadelphia in 1993, and he is apast Chair of the APTA Capital Projects national committee. Thomsen serves as anational leader on a number of other societies, committees and boards,including the CMAA, TRB, SAME, NY Building Congress, and American Society ofCivil Engineers. He is also a member of the Civil Engineering Advisory boardand a former adjunct professor for Temple University.​ 

Chris Barkan cropped.PNGDr. Chris Barkan, Ph.D. – Professor,University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign; Center Director, NURail;Executive Director, RailTEC

Dr. Barkanis a Civil and Environmental Engineering professor at the University ofIllinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), where he also serves as Executive Directorof the Rail Transportation and Engineering Center (RailTEC). Prior to joiningthe university in 1998, he was Director of Risk Engineering at the Associationof American Railroads (AAR) in Washington, DC where he had principalresponsibility for the rail industry’s cooperative research programs inenvironment, hazardous materials and tank car safety.  His current research interests are inrailroad safety and risk and rail line capacity. He has supervised six Ph.D.students and 46 M.S. students, all of them in rail engineering andtransportation subjects.

He isDirector of the National University Rail (NURail) Center, a consortium of sevencolleges and universities focused on rail research and education funded by theUS DOT.  He is Director of UIUC’s AARAffiliated Lab, as well as Deputy Director of the Railway Supply Institute – AARRailroad Tank Car Safety Research and Test Project.  He has led expansion of the rail curriculumand research programs at UIUC and encouraged their development at othercolleges and universities in North America. He completed his B.A. at Goddard College, his M.S. and Ph.D. at theState University of New York at Albany, and held a Postdoctoral ResearchFellowship at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center before beginninghis rail career at AAR.

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Dr. Leslie McCarthy, Ph.D., P.E. –Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Villanova University,College of Engineering

Dr. Leslie McCarthy has been an AssociateProfessor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at VillanovaUniversity since 2009 and teaches a number of courses at the undergraduate andgraduate level related to transportation (including railway engineering). She conducts research on railroad infrastructure, rail-highway safety,and construction project delivery.  She worked for several years atFederal Highway Administration and while there, administered the Local PublicAgency program for Florida which interacted often with railway/highway-relatedprojects. She is a licensed Professional Engineer in the states of New Jerseyand Pennsylvania.​

Natalie Cornell cropped.PNGNatalie Cornell – Director, BusinessDevelopment, LTK Engineering Services

Natalie Cornell is the Director ofBusiness Development for LTK Engineering Services, an engineering firm that specializedin the rail business.  She manages all ofLTK’s external activities.  Prior tojoining LTK, she was a Vice President at LECIP Inc, where she managed allaspects of business for the railcar LED lighting division. In addition, sheserved as VP of Sales & Marketing where she was responsible for the salesof fare collection systems.  Prior toLECIP, Ms. Cornell was VP of Marketing & Communications at Sg2; a SeniorManager at Accenture’s Transportation practice; a Manager in AT Kearney’sTransportation practice; and a Senior Trade Advisor at the Canadian ConsulateGeneral in Chicago.

She has a BA fromCornell University and an MBA from Northwestern University.  She serves as Chair of APTA’s BusinessMembers Procurement Committee, the Procurement Steering Committee Co-Chair, amember of the Board of Directors, and as Secretary of the Rolling StockEquipment Technical Forum.​

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Dr. Candace Brakewood, Ph.D. – AssistantProfessor, Civil Engineering, City College of New York

Dr.Candace Brakewood is an Assistant Professor in the Department of CivilEngineering at the City College of New York. Her interests includetransportation planning, public transportation, and intelligent transportationsystems. Her research focuses on understanding how new information andcommunication technologies can be used to improve public transportationsystems. Prior to working in the transportation field, Candace was a PatentExaminer at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria,Virginia. She has a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Georgia Institute ofTechnology, dual Master of Science degrees in Transportation and TechnologyPolicy from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Bachelor of Science inMechanical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.​

Xiang Liu cropped.PNGDr. Xiang Liu, Ph.D. – AssistantProfessor, Civil Engineering, Rutgers University

Dr. Xiang Liu is an AssistantProfessor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) atRutgers University. He is also affiliated with the Center for AdvancedInfrastructure and Transportation (CAIT), which is a US DOT-designated NationalUniversity Transportation Center (UTC).

Xiang’s railroad research areasinclude statistical modeling of train accident risk, hazardous materialstransportation risk management, and track infrastructure inspection/maintenance. His research on rail safety has received awards from theInternational Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) and the TRB Railroad OperationalSafety Committee.  In addition toresearch, he teaches railroad engineering courses at Rutgers University andadvising Rutgers’ first AREMA Student Chapter. Xiang received his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois atUrbana-Champaign, and a B.S. from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China.​ 

Jess Guerra cropped.PNGJess Guerra – Chairman, AdvancedTransportation & Manufacturing, Los Angeles Trade Technical College;Director, Transportation Workforce Institute

JessGuerra is an Associate Professor of Diesel, Alternative Fuel & HybridVehicle Technology and Chairman of the Transportation Technologies Departmentat Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, where he is also an alumnus.

Guerra spent the first several years ofhis career in the transportation industry working with large truck fleets wherehe honed his technical training and experience in running a heavy-duty vehiclemaintenance facility.  In addition, hegained six years of experience working for the Los Angeles County MetropolitanTransportation Authority (Metro), where he expanded his expertise inalternative fuels and transit bus shop supervision.

In 2008, Guerra was awarded the “FullCircle Award” by Green Technology, a non-profit initiative designed to informgovernment efforts toward sustainability. He was also named LATTC’s 2011 CTE Facultyof the Year.

Guerra serves as theChairman for the California Council on Diesel Education and Technology. He alsoserves on Southern California Regional Transit Training Consortium’s Board ofDirectors.​

Target Audience

Those interested in learning more about the p-REES partnership between APTA and AREMA, such as engineering faculty and industry consultants.


Formore information on this webinar, please contact:

Pamela L. Boswell
Vice President-Workforce Development & Educational Services
(202) 496-4803

Joseph W. Niegoski
Director- Educational Services


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