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American Public Transportation Association

 Innovative Teaching and Collaborative Partnerships

Event Details

This webinar session was held on Wednesday, September 16, 2015.

Session Overview

This webinar, co-hosted by the TRB Standing Committee on Education and Training and the APTA Human Resources Committee, featured national experts from academia and the industry. This webinar brought to light academic and industry accomplishments in advancing the uses of innovative technologies in the classroom - for the benefits of young learners, students, and adult learners. It also talked about the rewards and outcomes of innovative partnerships with higher education, industry, and local communities. 


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Paul Larrousse, Director, National Transit Institute; Vice Chair, Higher Education Subcommittee, Rutgers University, New Jersey

Prior to becoming director of the National Transit Institute in July 2000, Mr. Larrousse served as the general manager of the Madison Metro System in Wisconsin beginning in January 1989. He joined Madison Metro in March 1987, initially serving as the assistant general manager. Before Madison Metro, Mr. Larrousse served as the initial general manager and led the start-up of the Waukesha Metro Transit System in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He assumed this position in June 1981. He has also held management positions for the Wayne County Michigan Paratransit System, the York Pennsylvania Transit System and served as the transit planner for Middlesex County, NJ


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Dr. A. Emily Parkany, P.E., Managing Director, Mid-Atlantic Transportation Sustainability, University Transportation Center, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

Dr. Parkany not only manages but also helps to coordinate research within the Center for Transportation Studies. Her experience includes intelligent transportation systems. Her previous positions include research analyst with the Center for Automotive Research, management consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton, and non-profit government contractor with Noblis. She was also assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at both Villanova University and University of Massachusetts. Her Ph.D. is in Transportation Science from the University of California at Irvine. She holds a Master’s degree in civil engineering from UCI and a Master of Science in Transportation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering is from Columbia University. She is a licensed professional engineer in Pennsylvania and holds the Professional Traffic Operations Engineer certificate.


Rebecca Townsend.jpgDr. Rebecca Townsend, Professor and Chair, Communications & Humanities Department, Manchester Community College, Community Colleges, Community Students, Community Engagement: A Public-Engagement Strategy that Works

Dr. Townsend is widely published in her field. Her scholarship on public policy and communication has appeared in national journals, and she has presented at and co-chaired conferences around the country. She is a member of several scholarly associations including the Eastern Communication Association and the National Communication Association. Among her many honors, she was named a White House Champion of Change for Transportation Innovation in 2012. At MCC, she has developed and established new courses as well as created a new associate in art degree in interpersonal and organizational communication. She serves as the faculty coordinator for the college’s Institute for Community Engagement and Outreach. She has helped affiliate MCC with the National Issues Forum network, the only college or university in Connecticut to do so.

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Garrett Wheat,
Teaching Associate, LADOTD Leadership Development Institute, An Immersive Virtual Learning Environment for Teaching Work Zone Safety

Mr. Wheat evaluates training needs, designs, develops, and teaches training materials for LA DOTD Leadership Development Program for students. He serves as a specialized expert on a project basis for individual technical area, and partners with other state agencies or institutions to develop job-related training materials. He prepares detailed lectures and visual aids for use in a classroom environment to help teach target populations on materials developed using various methods of presentation. He conducts train-the-trainer presentations during implementation conferences.

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Chen-Fu Liao, Center for Transportation Studies Research Scholar, Senior Systems Engineer, Department of Civil Environmental and Geo Engineering, University of Minnesota, Gridlock Buster- Using Games to Educate

Mr. Liao works in the Minnesota Traffic Observatory (MTO) in the Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering (CEGE) department on several transportation studies using advanced sensing and communication technologies for Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) applications. His research interests include connected vehicle technology, assistive technologies to support navigation for the visually impaired, Weight-In-Motion data quality analysis, surface freight performance measures, incident decision support systems, transportation accessibility, transit performance analysis and modeling, and adaptive signal priority strategies. He has also developed ITS interdisciplinary initiatives for undergraduate and graduate courses, as well as several web-based educational modules for transportation-related CEGE courses. 

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Jess Guerra, Associate Professor, Department Chair, Advanced, Transportation & Manufacturing, Los Angeles Technical Trade College, Los Angeles, CA, An Innovative Partnership Model Which Works to Address a Workforce Challenge Facing Transit Agencies Today!

Mr. Guerra spent his first six years in the transportation industry working with large truck fleets, where he honed his technical training and experience in running a maintenance shop.  With six years of experience working for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, he expanded his expertise in alternative fuels and transit bus shop supervision. Mr. Guerra currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Southern California Regional Transit Training Consortium (SCRTTC), and also as the Vice Chairman for California Council of Diesel Education and Technology, a council formed by the California Air Recourses Board, which provides training on emission regulations enforcement for Diesel vehicles.

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Marion Jane Colston, Director, Strategic and Organizational Planning, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, An Innovative Partnership Model Which Works to Address a Workforce Challenge Facing Transit Agencies Today!

Ms. Colston has held various organizational development and training positions with both public and private sectors. She served as Chief Officer of Subway-Elevated for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), Contract Liaison for the Delaware County Office of Services for the Aging, and several management positions at Metro. Ms. Colston sits on two Transportation Research Board Standing Committees, as well as on a Transportation Research Board Panel. She served as the 2nd Vice-President for the San Fernando Valley Leadership Institute and currently is the President of the Southern California Regional Chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO). In August 2014, Marion was named to the Board of Directors for the Southern California Regional Transit Training Consortium. Ms. Colston has a Master's of Education from Antioch University, and a Bachelor of Science Degree from Cheyney State University.


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Cherie Sprague, GPHR, SPHR, Senior HR Executive, Denver Regional Transportation District, Denver RTD Partnerships with Community Colleges

Ms. Sprague holds an MBA in finance from the University of Colorado and a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of West Florida. She has more than twenty years of organizational development and human resource expertise and has been vice president of human resources and organizational development in a variety of culturally diverse organizations. Ms. Sprague teaches courses in the area of human resources with Regis University. Her professional affiliations include the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), serving as Colorado's first state director; the Colorado Human Resource Association (past president and Colorado Human Resource Professional of the Year); Corporate Coach University, and WorldAtWork. She presently serves on the National Employment Committee for SHRM. She served on the board of directors of Comprecare, Inc. (now FHP) and the Human Resource Certification Board. Currently Ms. Sprague is a member of the Junior League of Colorado Springs, the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, and has served as a member of the Chamber's Business Initiatives Group.

Target Audience

Those who have an interest in innovative teaching and collaborative partnerships.


For more information on the webinar, please contact:

Pamela L. Boswell
Vice President, Workforce Development and Educational Services

Joseph W. Niegoski
Director, Educational Services
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