The Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) Miami Chapter held its second Presidents Gala & Holiday Celebration on Friday, December 6, 2019 at the Miami Airport Marriott, in Miami, Florida. The Gala was hosted by the Chapter President, Aaron Weeks and Radio personality, Traci Cloyd, News Director / Anchor for Cox Media Group, HOT 105, WHQT-FM, served as the Emcee. COMTO President / CEO, A. Bradley Mims, was in attendance and shared national program highlights, his vision and goals for COMTO. Dr. Barbara Carey-Shuler, who is the matriarch of the Miami Chapter and was the political catalyst to assist and support the Chapter Founder, Charles W. George, Sr. in establishing the Miami Chapter in 1986, assisted in the presentation of awards. The gala was well attended by political and community leaders, public administrators, transportation professionals, family and friends. The Gala paid special tribute to the Chapter’s Founder, and the nine other past presidents: Walter Johnson, Eugene Morrison, Frank T. Martin, Marvin Hinton, Roosevelt Bradley, Melissa Rolle-Scott, Fitz McLymont, Seraphin Bernard and Kenneth H. Jones.
The chapter also honored former Commissioner Betty T. Ferguson with a Life-time Achievement Awardfor over 40 years of service to her community. Commissioner Ferguson is the Founder and co-moderator of the Unrepresented People’s Positive Action Council (UP-PAC), a community breakfast forum that has been meeting every Saturday since 1987. She continues to advocate for a Metrorail extension that reaches northward to the Miami-Dade/Broward County line to address the transportation needs of the people in her community.
Also honored was Enrique Crooks who was recognized with the Transportation Champion Award for his efforts in transportation improvements. Mr. Crooks founded EAC Consulting, Inc. (EAC), a Miami-Dade County based engineering firm with locations in Broward, Palm Beach and Orange Counties. EAC has successfully provided transportation engineering services to Federal, State and Municipal transportation agencies.
Deputy Mayor Maurice Kemp was honored with the Community Service Award for his over thirty (30) years and diverse history of community service. As Deputy Mayor, Mr. Kemp uses his knowledge of strategic and capital planning, human services, community planning and development, fire services, public administration, and budgeting to provide direct oversight to the Police, Fire, Corrections, Medical Examiner, Community Action and Human Services, Juvenile Services, and Public Housing and Community Development departments.
COMTO Miami’s Trailblazer Award went to Robert G. Beatty, Esq. Mr. Beatty is the owner of the South Florida Times newspaper and currently serves as its Publisher & CEO. Mr. Beatty also worked for the Miami Herald Media Company where he served as General Counsel, Vice President of Public Affairs, Chairman of Herald Charities and member of the Editorial Board.
Lester Sola, Director and CEO of the Miami-Dade Aviation Department were honored with the Transportation Achievement Award. Miami International Airport (MIA), operated by the Miami-Dade Aviation Department, offers more flights to Latin America and the Caribbean than any other U.S. airport, is America’s third-busiest airport for international passengers, boasts a lineup over 100 air carriers and is the top U.S. airport for international freight. MIA is also the leading economic engine for Miami-Dade County and the state of Florida, generating business revenue of $31.9 billion annually and approximately 60 percent of all international visitors to Florida.
Rhonda Wimberly & Turner Construction Company Miami received the Corporate Partners of the Year Award. Rhonda P. Wimberly was the Community & Citizenship Director for Turner Construction Company in Florida. Wimberly worked as an Assistant Engineer and Assistant Superintendent with Turner construction Company on the $325MM FDOT Miami Intermodal Center (MIC) Rental Car Center. Wimberly was responsible for managing Turner’s diversity programs. Rhonda joined the COMTO Miami Chapter Board in 2008 and served as Board Member At-Large from 2008 – 2012. She served as Secretary from 2012 – 2017 and then as Special Advisor from 2017 – 2019. In addition, she served as the Chairperson of the Chapter’s annual Black History Celebration program, Presidents Gala Awards & Program Book committees. Ms. Wimberly has been very instrumental in the success of several of the chapter activities and programs. Her dedication to promoting diversity, enhancing the professional development of persons of color and forging community partnerships and / or alliances is a testament to her being a true corporate citizen.
Among COMTO Miami’s past presidents is a rich history in Miami-Dade transportation and entrepreneurship. In 1986, when the chapter was formed, Charles W. George, Sr. was the first black Director of Human Resources Administration and Assistant Director for the Metro-Dade Transportation Administration.
Walter Johnson, his successor in 1975, was elected President of the Miami Dade Transit Supervisors Association and working with Charlie Maddox, of the Police Benevolent Association, and Lee Tafel, President of the American Federation of Public Employees, was able to organize the Government Supervisors Association of Florida.
Eugene Morrison was one of the first Black Bus Operators and the first Train Operator in Miami-Dade County. He was a charter official of the Transport Workers Union, AFL-CIO 291 and served as President, 2nd Vice President and Board Member from 1970 – 1979. He also served as the State Treasurer of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute from 1975 – 1980. He currently serves as the President of the Retired Employees Transit Coalition (RETCO). Mr. Morrison’s community involvement is extensive with selfless servc.
Frank T. Martin, served on the Board of Governors of Florida’s State University System (SUS) and was also inducted into the APTA Hall of Fame in September, 2016, a special honor reserved for individuals who have long and distinguished careers who have made extraordinary contributions to public transportation. Martin was cited for his mentorship of emerging transportation leaders and founding the International Rail Rodeo, a skills competition for operators and maintainers. He is the President of Frank T. Martin Consult, LLC a public transportation management consultancy providing transit operations, management, strategic business development and sales services to the public and private sectors.
Marvin Hinton, the chapter’s fifth President, served as General Superintendent of Bus Operations prior to his retirement and his successor, Roosevelt Bradley was the first black Director for Miami-Dade Transit. Under his leadership the chapter grew from 12 to 100 members. Mr. Bradley achieved the highest position in COMTO serving as the organization’s Chairman from 2011 to 2015. He is the President and CEO of Maven Strategies and United Brake Clutch Service, which is the only black-owned manufacturer of bus, rail and track parts in the country.
His successor, Melissa Rolle-Scott, affectionately known as “Miami’s COMTO Queen”, is the first and only female chapter president, and is accredited with establishing a scholarship trust fund, developing professional development workshops and doubling the membership to over 200 during her terms. She is a Dwight D. Eisenhower Transportation Fellow, TCRP TRIP Ambassador Emeritus, TRB Panel Member, Leadership APTA alumnus, and currently serves on the national COMTO Scholarship, CITY Internship, Industry Awards, and Membership committees and serves locally as a Special Advisor on the Miami Chapter Board.
Fitz McLymont, was the chapter’s eighth president. Under his leadership the Chapter received COMTO’s top three awards; Chapter of the Year (2004 & 2008), Thomas G. Neusom Founders’ Award, and the Best Membership Recruitment/Retention Activities Award in 2005. He is the President / CEO of the McLymont GROUP, LLC. Network Management and Information Technology Solutions.
Seraphin Bernard served as the chapter’s ninth president. He served as Chapter President from 2008 – 2010. During his tenure, he worked tirelessly to ensure that COMTO had a voice wherever transportation policy was being made. Mr. Bernard provided valuable information to representatives of many transportation modes and historically underutilized businesses and started awareness on the projects connecting Miami-Dade Transit and the Miami Internal Airport. He is past president of the American Society of Professional Administrators (ASPA) and was recently honored as the “Civilian of the Year” by the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement (NOBLE) Executives, South Florida Chapter.
Kenneth H. Jones, Sr. was the chapter’s tenth president. Mr. Jones was recently promoted to the General Superintendent of Bus Maintenance at the Miami-Dade Department of Transportation & Public Works. Mr. Jones has been a COMTO member since 1996 and has consistently demonstrated a commitment to COMTO and its programs. He has served as the Vice President of the Miami Chapter from 2000 – 2002 and 2008 – 2012. He has also served as President from 2010 – 2017.
Most of the chapter’s past presidents are / were President / CEOs of their own business, a non-profit or other organization.