COMTO’s Celebrating Women Who Move the Nation (CWWMN) awards recognizes the outstanding contributions of women who are leading and advancing America’s transportation industry. Hosted annually in Washington, DC during the month of March, in observance of Women’s History Month, this signature COMTO event celebrates women from all modes of transportation representing all sectors of the industry.
COMTO inaugurated the Celebrating Women Who Move the Nation awards in 2012, starting a new tradition of recognizing the accomplishments and influence of today’s outstanding women in transportation. COMTO has honored over 75 women with this award to date.

Thank you for your support of CWWMN. The event is now POSTPONED. Please contact info@comto.org for additional information or questions.

2020 Keynote Speaker

Phillip A. Washington, CEO, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)

Phillip A. Washington was unanimously selected CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) by the Metro Board of Directors on March 12, 2015.

As Metro’s CEO, Washington manages a balanced budget in excess of $7 billion, is responsible for overseeing between $18-$20 billion in capital projects and provides oversight of an agency with 11,000 employees that transports 1.2 million boarding passengers daily on a fleet of 2,200 clean-air buses and six rail lines. Metro is the lead transportation planning, programming and financing agency for LA County. As such, it is a major construction agency that oversees bus, rail, highway and other mobility-related infrastructure projects – together representing the largest modern public works program in North America. Washington is also engaged and partnering in all facets of transportation and infrastructure in LA County including aviation, goods movement, freight/railroads, water, public works, housing and transit-oriented communities (TOCs). Read his full bio here.

2020 Honorees

Regine Beauboeuf, Vice President and Program Manager, HNTB Corp.

Regine is a Vice President/Program Manager at HNTB where she currently manages the Innovate Mound Road project in Macomb County, Michigan. She also lends her support to the delivery of the Michigan office’s Owners Rep Consultant (ORC) contracts and our business development strategic planning.

Regine has more than three decades of experience in the transportation and infrastructure field, spanning both public and private sectors. She began her career at Michigan DOT where she worked in Project Development on mega projects such as US-31, I-94 Detroit, I-75 Oakland Co, M-59, M-6 and US-131. After leaving MDOT, she’s held a variety of roles in the private sector including mega Project Manager and Area Manager. She’s led teams working on VE Studies, environmental documents, procurement documents, and alternative delivery of massive public infrastructure projects. Her project resume includes Deputy Project Manager responsible for the engineering program for the $4.5 billion Detroit River International Crossing (now called Gordie Howe Bridge), as well as PM/Design Manager for the Quebec Autoroute 25, a $500M project and the first transportation P3 in the Province of Quebec. Regine also served as a Procurement & Technical Advisor to INDOT on the $2.5B Ohio River Bridges project.

In the community, Regine is involved in several organizations. She’s a past board member of ACEC/Michigan, the Michigan State Board of Licensed Surveyors, chair of the Michigan State Board of Professional Engineers, and is the current President of COMTO Michigan. Regine is also an active member of The Renaissance (MI) Chapter of the Links, Incorporated, a non-profit group of professional women of color dedicated to community enrichment and sustainability. She was recently elected to the Michigan Women Forward Board of Trustees overseeing the Michigan Women Foundation and the Michigan Women Hall of Fame, and is a member of Leadership America, class of 2020.

Mayor Sharon Weston Broome, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Sharon Weston Broome is a firm believer in achieving progress through inclusion, innovation and information.
Since taking office, Mayor Broome has placed a heavy focus on improving the quality of life for citizens while building resiliency through infrastructure improvements. She has focused on addressing transportation, drainage, public safety, education, economic development and revitalizing neighborhoods. 

Mayor Broome is the first female Mayor-President of the City of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish. She previously served as a Baton Rouge Metro City Council Member, a Louisiana State Representative and a Louisiana State Senator. 

While serving in the legislature, Broome became the first woman to hold the leadership positions of Speaker Pro Tempore in the House and President Pro Tempore in the Senate. 

Mayor Broome has been recognized for her service and leadership by several organizations. She was selected for the inaugural class of the Bloomberg-Harvard City Leadership Initiative. Mayor Broome was recently appointed co-chair for the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative and serves on the advisory board for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. 

She has been recognized for her service and dedication to Baton Rouge. Mayor Broome was recognized by the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the American Heart Association, Every Child Matters, and the National Congress of Black Women. 

Mayor Broome has earned awards for her exemplary efforts in her community. She has received the Luminary Award from Links Incorporated LA Capitale Chapter, the Baton Rouge NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award, Girl Scouts Louisiana East 2017 Women of Distinction Award and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. (Lambda Kappa Kappa Chapter) 2017 Citizen of the Year Award – just to name a few. 

Broome holds a B.A. in Mass Communication from the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse. She is a 2019 recipient of UW-L Alumni Association’s Maurice O. Graff Distinguished Alumni Award. Mayor Broome received her M.A. in Communications from Regent University. The mayor has served as an adjunct instructor at the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge Community College and Southern University.

Faith and family are priorities for Mayor Broome. She is a member of United Christian Faith Ministries Church and is happily married to Marvin Broome. They are the proud parents of three children and have three grandchildren.

Jan Prisby Bryson, Chairwoman, BenchMark Management

Jan Prisby Bryson is a strong, courageous and compassionate Atlanta businesswoman. She is the Chairwoman, Founder and immediate past President of BenchMark Management where that strength and courage has brought years of major growth to the engineering, construction and program management services company. BenchMark, founded in 2003, is a combination Female Business Enterprise and Minority Business Enterprise (FBE/MBE).

For those unfamiliar with Ms. Bryson, she shows up. For everyone. Her 20 years in business and government affairs, especially promoting minority inclusion in federal, state and municipal governments, has helped a lot more than BenchMark’s growth. Jan, the builder that she is, has constructed diverse economic, racial, and social business relationships that raise everyone’s prospects and profiles.

Ms. Bryson’s holds her own in the male-dominated construction space. She served from 1997 to 2003 as Vice President of Government Affairs for TOC, Inc., a company that provided full professional architectural, engineering, construction management and general contracting services from concept through final design of projects that were primarily related to the City of Atlanta Consent Decree.

In addition, Ms. Bryson has served on numerous boards, steering, planning and fundraising committees and has worked on many federal, state and local political campaigns including serving as State Director for the presidential campaigns of Al Gore and John Kerry and as the Campaign Manager for Citizens for Clean Water 2008. Never one to say it can’t be done, five years ago, Ms. Bryson co-founded WICERS, a groundbreaking annual conference offering educational and networking opportunities for women in construction, engineering and related services. Ms. Bryson has also been the recipient of many awards, including the Atlanta Business League’s top 100 Black Women of Influence, the United Negro College Fund Distinguished Service Award and NARAL Georgia Pro Choice Award. Recently Ms. Bryson was awarded, Entrepreneur of the Year by the Atlanta Business League and was inducted into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame in Atlanta.

Ms. Bryson attended Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio.

Dr. Christine Darden, Former NASA Aerospace Engineer and “Hidden Figure”

Christine Mann Darden is a native of Monroe, NC and a graduate of Allen High School in Asheville, NC. She has a BS Degree in Mathematics from Hampton Institute (now University) in Hampton, VA, the MS Degree in Applied Mathematics from Virginia State College (now University) in Petersburg, VA, and the D.Sc. Degree in Mechanical Engineering from George Washington University in Washington, DC. Darden also holds a Certificate of Advanced Study in Management from Simmons College Graduate School of Management in Boston, MA.

After nearly 40 years of service, Dr. Darden retired from NASA Langley Research Center in March 2007 as a member of The Senior Executive Service. Her final assignment at Langley was as Director of the Office of Strategic Communications and Education (OSCE). Darden also previously served as Director of the Aero Performing Center Program Management Office (APCPMO), as a Senior Program Manager in NASA’s High Speed Research (HSR) Program Office, and for nearly 30 years as an internationally known researcher in high-speed aerodynamics and sonic boom research. Prior to her NASA career, she taught high school mathematics.

Darden is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and a Past Secretary of its Technical Committee on Aero-acoustics. She has also held membership in several honor or technical societies.

During her NASA career, Darden authored over 57 technical papers and articles, primarily in the areas of sonic boom prediction, sonic boom minimization, and supersonic wing design. She is recognized as an international expert in these areas. Darden has been recognized with dozens of awards and honors—including two NASA Medals, the Black Engineer of the Year Outstanding Achievement in Government Award and the Women in Science & Engineering Lifetime Achievement Award. Darden and her husband Walter have three daughters, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Linda Darr, CEO, American Council of Engineering

Linda Bauer Darr’s career spans over 30 years focusing primarily on transportation and infrastructure policy. In her current role, she works with a federation of 52 state and regional organizations. ACEC is the business association of the nation’s engineering industry.

Prior to ACEC, Linda served at the helm of two other trade associations: one for the railroad industry and one for the moving and storage industry. Her association work began at the American Trucking Associations heading up ATA’s international trade policy. From there she was appointed to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Budget and Programs at USDOT in the Clinton Administration presiding over a $50 billion budget and helping the President build initiatives to drive development in the Mississippi Delta. Post-DOT, she spent 7 years overseeing policy, communications, and research at the American Bus Association. Linda serves on the Board of the University of Denver Transportation Institute, the Management Committee of the Americans for Transportation Mobility Committee and the Transportation Construction Coalition and sits on the US Chamber’s Committee of the top 100 trade association CEOs.

Linda has proudly served as ACEC’s CEO since August 2018 defending the interests of its 5,600 member firms that drive the design of America’s built environment and its transportation, water and energy infrastructure.

Julie Green, Vice President, New York Region, LTK

Julie Green is an outstanding woman in a leadership position in the transportation industry who has consistently advanced the industry for over 25 years. Julie is Vice President for LTK’s New York Region where she is responsible for all rail vehicle and systems engineering projects and staff in the region. Julie is also responsible for oversight of LTK’s national provision of expert consulting support on procurement of rail vehicles and systems. Julie has been involved in a number of signature transportation projects during her career including Amtrak’s Acela train, Europe’s Eurostar train, Houston Metro’s first LRT system, SEPTA’s Key Card system and most recently multiple major subway car projects for NYCT.

Julie has demonstrated her on-going commitment to diversity and inclusion since she started her career at LTK in 1994 through her recruiting, mentorship and volunteering practices, as well as all subcontractor interactions. Julie has been an active board member of COMTO New York since she transitioned to the region in 2016. She initially brought her organizational and fundraising skills as Chair Friends of COMTO New York and currently holds the position of Chapter Treasurer. Julie has been an active member of WTS since the early 1990’s, was an active board member of the Philadelphia March of Dimes 2013-2016, and is a current Board Member of New York Public Transit Association (NYPTA).

Julie grew up in England, holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from NKI School of Engineering and an MBA in Strategic Management from the Norwegian School of Business (both schools located in Oslo, Norway). She holds a Professional Engineering (PE) license in PA, NY, DC, MD, MI and VA, has attained her Certified Smart Card Industry Professional (CSCIP) credential from the Smart Card Alliance and holds a patent for Automated Fare Collection Systems.

Shannetta Griffin, Chief Commercial Officer, Columbus Regional Airport Authority

As Chief Commercial Offi cer of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority – which operates passenger focused John Glenn International, cargo-focused Rickenbacker International and general aviation airport Bolton Field – Shannett a oversees total revenue generation, including passenger and air cargo development, airline and tenant affairs, concessions management, parking and ground transportation, real estate and the country’s seventh largest foreign-trade zone.

When first arriving at the Columbus Regional Airport Authority in 2017, Shannett a drove capital planning, development and business diversity as Chief Development Offi cer. Many of the diversity success stories she led resulted in the organization receiving the 2019 Inclusion Champion Award from Airports Council International-North America.

To her credit, the Indianapolis Airport Authority received the same award from ACI-NA in 2016 when
Shannett a was their Senior Director of Planning and Development.

Shannett a is passionate about diversity and inclusion and believes that leveraging the strengths and resources of multiple partners leads to creating bigger wins and opportunities for all involved. Wherever her career path leads, she devotes herself to her life purpose of advancing women and minorities in transportation and mentoring youth to become professionals in the fi eld. Along the way, she willingly shares her philosophy: “It’s not about the numbers, but the lives you change!”

In addition to her recent Ohio and Indiana leadership positions, her professional journey encompasses
many other achievements and accolades.

Helen McSwain, Senior Vice President, Rohadfox Construction Control

Helen Tift McSwain is Senior Vice President and National Transit Director at Rohadfox Construction Control Services Corporation. Where she directs the national strategy and transit operations for the 43-year-old minority and woman-owned firm. Ms. McSwain’s 30-year transit career spans across public and private sectors. Prior to joining Rohadfox, she served as Vice President and Regional Director at Atkins North America. Her public agency career includes executive leadership at the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (Atlanta) and METRA Commuter Railroad (Chicago).

Her commitment to mentoring is exemplified through her legacy of volunteer leadership to COMTO City Internship and Youth Symposium; WTS International Transportation You Program, APTA Emerging Leaders Program, Georgia Supplier Diversity Corporate Mentor Protégé Program, FIRST Robotics; Dr. Lonnie Johnson STEM Activity Center; and Atkins Global STEM Outreach. She is a recipient of the ATKINS Global Achievement Award for her efforts promoting STEM awareness for girls in underserved communities.

Ms. McSwain civic leadership engagement includes the Board of Trustees for Clayton State University (Atlanta, Ga), Clayton Economic Development Board of Directors; Atlanta Regional Commission LINK Delegate, Atlanta Executive Women’s Build-Habitat for Humanity, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Throughout her career she has held local and national leadership positions supporting the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMT0), American Public Transit Association (APTA), and Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS).

Anita Miller, Chief Employee Relations and Administrative Officer, MTA

In April 2015, Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast appointed Anita L. Miller to the newly-created position of Chief Employee Relations and Administrative Officer for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).

In this capacity, Anita is responsible for the administration of human capital management activities such as setting the strategic direction for labor relations, human resources, training, benefits and pension programs throughout MTA. As the chief labor contracts negotiator for the MTA, Anita is also responsible for briefing and advising the MTA Chairman and the MTA Board on all significant labor-employment related issues, negotiating over 60 collective bargaining agreements, drafting labor relations policies, and representing the agencies before the National Mediation Board and the Presidential Emergency Board.

During her career in public transportation, Anita has held the positions of Vice President of Labor Relations, Assistant Vice President of Research and Training, Labor Attorney and Labor Relations Hearing Officer. Anita’s prior experience includes serving as Chief of the Employee Disciplinary Division for the New York City Housing Authority and Labor Relations Analyst for Beth Israel Medical Center.

In February 2000, Anita received a Proclamation from the City Council of the City of New York for implementing “lasting change” in both the labor and legal advocacy arenas. During her 12-year tenure as a legal advocate and labor leader with Legal Services for New York City, Brooklyn Branch, and Co-President of the Legal Services Staff Association, Anita’s history of fighting for indigent New Yorkers and workers’ rights as a former legal services advocate and labor leader, provided her with a resourceful background to meet the challenges of representing the Nation’s largest public transportation agency during challenging times. She recruited and leads a diverse group of talented and dedicated subject matter professionals that advance the mission of the agency to safely and efficiently transport millions of riders to and from their point of destination.

One of the many community service initiatives Anita is passionate about is the New York State Mentoring Program and its impact on the next generation. For two succeeding years (2017-2019), under Anita’s leadership, supportive mentor relationships were forged with students at risk of dropping out of school. The MTA has been recognized as the leading public agency in New York State to participate in this robust mentoring program under the auspices of Matilda Raffa Cuomo, Pro Bono Chair.

In May 2017, Anita received the T.J. Martell Foundation “Women of Influence” Award, an organization committed to research programs for ovarian and breast cancer. Having been raised by her father after losing her mother to breast cancer at the age of 10, Anita recounts the influence and inspiration of her father that have impacted her tremendously, both personally and professionally.

Anita presently serves as an Advisory Board Member for the COMTO, New York Chapter.

It was later in her professional career that she attended law school, which was a special milestone to celebrate with her dad. Anita ultimately received her Juris Doctorate from Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo, School of Law and a Bachelor of Science in Politics, Economics and Society from the State University of New York-College at Old Westbury. She is admitted to the New York State Bar.

Anita is married to the Hon. David J. Bryan and resides in Addisleigh Park, New York.

Jennifer Mitchell, Director, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation

Jennifer Mitchell was appointed in January 2018 by Governor Ralph Northam as the Director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), the state agency responsible for funding and oversight to public transit systems, and passenger and freight rail programs across the Commonwealth. She was previously appointed to this position in January of 2014 by Governor Terrence McAuliffe.

In her time with DRPT Jennifer has led several high priority transportation initiatives for the Commonwealth, including a recently announced $3.7 billion deal with CSX to construct the Long Bridge and dramatically expand passenger rail in the Commonwealth; legislation that provided dedicated funding and governance reforms for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA); new sources of transit funding from High Occupancy Tolling projects in northern Virginia and Hampton Roads; creation of the Metro Safety Commission; developing more rigorous and transparent allocation processes for statewide transit funding; extending passenger rail to Roanoke; and opening the “Pulse” Bus Rapid Transit system in Richmond, VA. She also serves as a member of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, and as a board member on several transit agencies across the Commonwealth.

Jennifer has over twenty-five years of experience in the transportation industry, where she has specialized in the planning and implementation of public transit projects, with a particular emphasis on developing strategic financial plans and advancing major projects through planning, design and construction.

In 2018 she was named by Railway Age as a Woman of the Year, and received the 2017 Distinguished Public Service Leadership Award from the Virginia Transit Association. She also received Woman of the Year by the Women’s Transportation Seminar chapters in Washington, DC and Central Virginia in 2016. She previously served on the Executive Committee for APTA and is on the Women’s Transportation Seminar Foundation Board of Directors.

Nicole Nason, Administrator, Federal Highway Administration

Nicole R. Nason’s tenure as Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration began on April 22, 2019. In this role, she leads a Modal Administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation that is responsible for the Nation’s $49 billion Federal-aid Highway program.

Previously, Ms. Nason was Assistant Secretary of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Administration, from December 2017 to March 2019. She also previously served as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Overseas Building Operations and as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State.

Ms. Nason has served in numerous roles in Washington, D.C., notably as Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at the U.S. Department of Transportation (2006–2008), where she was a two-time gold medal winner, the department’s highest honor. She also served as DOT’s Assistant Secretary for Government Affairs (2003–2006). At NHTSA, her many achievements included overseeing new seat belt rules for school buses, rulemaking for electronic stability control systems, and new car seat safety regulations. Under her watch, NHTSA developed the first-ever criteria for crash test ratings for the Five-Star Safety Ratings program and held the first-ever bilateral with the government of the Republic of China on regulations for motor vehicle safety. During her previous tenure at USDOT, Ms. Nason made numerous appearances on national television news programs, testified frequently before Congress, and advocated at the United Nations in Geneva for harmonizing motor vehicle testing.

Previously, Ms. Nason served in the legislative branch as counsel for the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and as press secretary for Rep. Porter Goss (R-Fla.).

A black belt in karate, Ms. Nason founded Project Koe (KOH-ee) in Connecticut in 2014, empowering women and improving health and fitness using traditional Japanese martial arts techniques.

She has also served two terms on the national board of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and on the board of directors of Shakespeare on the Sound. Her media experience includes a TEDx Talk at American University on finding inner power.

Ms. Nason earned a B.A. in political science and government at American University and a J.D. at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

Angie Rivera-Malpiede, Chairman of the Board, Regional Transportation District (RTD)

Angie is an avid mass transit advocate, and she is dedicated to establishing sustainable transportation options that are inclusive across all socioeconomic levels. Recognizing her leadership ability, passionate advocacy for transit, and emphasis on community and equity in transportation investments, in January, 2020, Angie was elected as Chair of the RTD Board by her board colleagues at The Regional Transportation District (RTD). She becomes the first Latina to hold this leadership role in the history of the agency. She believes transportation access is vital for health and wellness. She advocates for bicycle lanes, affordable bus passes, and ride share programs.

By popular demand, Director Rivera-Malpiede returned to the RTD Board of Directors in November 2018 and took office in January 2019. She represents District C, which is centrally located in the northwest portion of the City and County of Denver and which covers all of Edgewater, portions of northwest Denver, and the areas of Wheat Ridge south of 38th Ave. and east of Wadsworth Blvd.
Angie is Vice President of the Stapleton Foundation responsible for Sustainable Urban Communities, managing the Sustainable Development Initiative, which includes advocacy and programs promoting alternative transportation modes. She is also Executive Director of Northeast Transportation Connections (NETC), a nonprofit that provides transportation solutions to the communities of northeast Denver. Throughout her career, she has focused on building bridges between communities and individuals within communities.

In Angie’s previous stint as RTD Director, she represented District C for two previous terms, initially having been appointed by Governor John Hickenlooper in 2010. During her time in office she oversaw the opening of the new Denver Union Station and the expansion of the FasTracks public transit program, the largest in the nation — that is transforming transportation through the Denver metro region, including the construction of the new University of Colorado A Line to Denver International Airport. She has held positions such as Chair of the Civil Rights Committee, Vice-Chair of the General Managers Oversight Committee, Secretary of the Board, and Member of the Executive Committee.

In 2013, Angie was appointed to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Hispanic Transportation Council and currently sits on the Mayor’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

Prior to her position at NETC, Angie was the Marketing and Public Relations Director for Mi Casa Resource Center for Women, which focused on advancing the economic success of Latino families. Before that she served as Public Relations Coordinator and Co-Chair of the Diversity Team at the Rocky Mountain News, working to connect communities of diversity. She worked with the Girl Scouts Mile Hi Council for twenty years, where she developed programs that served high-risk girls and now serve as national models. She held the position of Public Relations and Fundraising Director for the Denver Center for Crime Victims, now the Center for Trauma and Resilience.

She has received numerous awards and recognition including The Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG)’s Employer Champion, for spearheading Northeast Transportation Connection’s work in being a commute resource in the community. Way to Go Champions are individuals or organizations that demonstrate leadership in promoting or advocating commute options other than driving alone. Additionally, for her many efforts in community development, Malpiede was inducted into the Cesar Chavez Leadership Hall of Fame at the 2015 Denver Public Library, National Hispanic Heritage Month Latino Awards.

Created in 1969, The Regional Transportation District develops, operates and maintains a public transportation system that meets the transit needs of close to 3 million people in the 2,340 square mile district eight-county service area in the Denver Metro region. RTD’s buses, rail lines, shuttles and additional services provide approximately 100 million annual passenger trips.

“As a former General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the Regional Transportation District and one who has known Angie for 15+ years, I can testify to Angie’s outstanding leadership in the transportation industry and her incredible advocacy for poor and disadvantaged communities. She has been a champion for the less fortunate and a champion for equity in transportation investments. She is truly a woman who is moving the nation and deserves to be recognized by the National Conference of Minority Transportation Officials as a “Woman Who is Moving the Nation,” Phillip A. Washington, CEO, Los Angeles County Transportation Authority.

Suzanne Shank, President and CEO, Siebert Williams Shank & Co., LLC

Suzanne Shank is President, CEO and a co-founder of Siebert Williams Shank & Co., LLC, a full-service investment bonding firm offering debt and equity origination services to a wide range of Fortune 500 companies and debt underwriting for municipal clients nationally. A 30+year veteran of the financial services industry, Ms. Shank has positioned the firm to hold the distinction of being the top ranked minority- and woman-owned investment banking firm in the country.

Prior to her financial services career, Ms. Shank was a Structural Engineer for General Dynamics, Electric Boat Division, working on noise mitigation projects.

Ms. Shank is active in various industry and civic organizations and serves on several boards. She serves as a Director of Pensare Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ:WRLSU), CMS Energy (NYSE:CMS) and Consumers Energy’s Boards of Directors and is on the boards of the Skillman Foundation, the Bipartisan Policy Center Executive Council on Infrastructure, Wharton Graduate Board of Trustees, and Spelman College Board of Trustees among others. Ms. Shank serves on the SEC’s Fixed Income Market Structure Advisory Committee.

Ms. Shank has won numerous awards and honors throughout her career including receiving the Savannah College of Art and Design 2020 Woman of Vision Award, receiving the 2019 TechTown Entrepreneur of the Year Award, named a 2019 Newsmaker by Crain’s Detroit, 2017 Shot Caller Award presented at the BET Black Girls Rock! Ceremony, the Austin Koenen Career Achievement Award by the Municipal Forum of New York in 2017, and the 2016 Freda Johnson Award for Trailblazing Women in the Private Sector by The Bond Buyer. Ms. Shank was inducted into the Academy of Distinguished Engineering Alumni at Georgia Institute of Technology. Ms. Shank has been recognized by U.S. Banker Magazine as one of the “Top 25 Women in Finance”, by Black Enterprise Magazine as one of the “50 Most Influential Black Women in Business” and one of the “75 Most Powerful Blacks on Wall Street” and by Women in Public Finance as “She’s Our Hero”. Ms. Shank was selected by the Wharton School of Business from among 100,000 graduates as one of its “125 Influential People and Ideas”. She has appeared  on Wall Street Week, CNBC and Bloomberg TV. 

Ms. Shank is a graduate of the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania with a Master of Business Administration degree in Finance, and the Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.

2019 Honorees

2019 COMTO Celebrating Women Who Move the Nation Honorees
Trudy Bartley, Associate Vice President, Community Relations, Ohio State University, Office of Government Affairs

Trudy Bartley, an executive at The Ohio State University, is chairing the Franklin County Commissioners’ poverty assessment and strategic plan. She is Associate Vice President for Community Relations within the university’s Office of Government Affairs, where she heads economic and community development projects and special initiatives.

Bartley has a long record of community service and government leadership. Before joining OSU, Bartley served as the executive director of Partners Achieving Community Transformation (PACT), an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to the comprehensive redevelopment of the Near East Side neighborhood of Columbus. In her capacity at PACT, Trudy was responsible for spearheading the strategic implementation of the Blueprint for Community Investment, a detailed master plan focused on revitalizing the Near East Side.

Bartley also previously worked in the Ohio Department of Development. Throughout her tenure with the department, she served in three positions: Chief Operating Officer, Interim Director of the Minority Business Enterprise Division, and Federal Stimulus

Coordinator. Prior to that, she was President of Diversified Development Group, a minority real estate development company and worked as deputy director for the City of Columbus for 11 years.

In addition to her work with Franklin County, Bartley also serves currently as the Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Central Ohio Transit Authority, and is on the boards of the United Way, Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County and the Mid- Ohio Regional Planning Commission.

Honorable Joyce Beatty, Congresswoman (D) – Ohio

Congresswoman Joyce Beatty is a native Ohioan with a strong history of connecting people, policy and politics to make a difference. Since 2013, Beatty has proudly represented Ohio’s Third Congressional District.

She sits on the exclusive House Committee on Financial Services and serves on three Subcommittees: Diversity and Inclusion (Chair), Housing, Community Development and Insurance, and Oversight and Investigations. The Financial Services Committee oversees the entire financial services industry, including the nation’s banking, securities, insurance, and housing industries. As Chair of the newly created Financial Services Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion, Beatty will lead efforts to ensure the financial services industry works better for all Americans.

A committed public servant, Beatty also serves as vice-chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and is an influential member of the Bipartisan Congressional Bus Caucus and Democratic Women’s Working Group. Beatty has dedicated her life to making an impact in Central Ohio and in the lives of all Americans, including leading the charge to secure the $40 million Smart City Challenge to transform Central Ohio’s transportation network and $37 million to help launch the Central Ohio Transit Authority’s (COTA) CMAX Bus Rapid Transit line that will connect more than 331,000 residents and 170,000 workers to their jobs, healthcare, schools, and communities.
Prior to her service in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congresswoman Beatty was Senior Vice President of Outreach and Engagement at The Ohio State University and a member in the Ohio House of Representatives for five terms. During her tenure in the Ohio House, she rose to become the first female Democratic House Leader in Ohio’s history.

A sought after public speaker and the recipient of numerous awards, Beatty was previously named one of Ebony Magazine’s 150 most powerful African-Americans in the United States.
Congresswoman Beatty is active in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., The Links, Inc., National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Columbus Urban League, The American Heart Association, and Sophisticates.

Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, Board Member, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Jacquelyn Dupont Walker the youngest of 5 children born to Rev. King Solomon Dupont and Eleanor Jiles Dupont in Tallahassee, Florida. Early in life she was impacted by the models an entrepreneurial and visionary father (an AME Itinerant Elder, civil rights leader and logging truck company owner) and a maternal grandfather (a local AME church leader, shoemaker and farmer) who taught her self- determination and self- reliance. Her mother (public school teacher) and maternal grandmother (seamstress and homemaker) modeled educational excellence, nurturing a family, and volunteering in under-supported causes. All instilled in “Jackie” the importance of knowledge, skills, and human values needed in the context of a strong faith and a commitment to community service.

A pioneering Black graduate of Florida State University, earned a Bachelor of Science degree, holds the Master of Social Work degree from Atlanta University, has done post-graduate studies (credentialing) as a developer at USC (U.S.C. Commercial Dev. program), substance abuse advisor (Washington University in Maryland). Licensed clinician (LCSW) in California, holds national certification (ACSW).

Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, founding president of the Ward Economic Development Corporation, Los Angeles which has built/remodeled/managed low income housing in the city (120 apartments for seniors at Ward Villas, 91 units of family and singles housing at Tuelyn Terrace, 6 scattered sites and 60 senior apartments at Rosa Parks Villas which is Phase I of Crenshaw Gateway – a mixed use community). Currently, WEDC has two projects in pre-development – Rosa Parks II, a multi-family community and Casa De Rosas, a campus for formerly homeless single-parent veterans.

Civic/ Volunteer involvements: Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed her to the LA County METRO board in 2013, the only non-elected official member. Gov Jerry Brown appointed her to Baldwin Hills Conservancy where she continues to serve. Other service: California Housing Partnership Corporation Board, LA City Council Re-Districting Commission (1999), Charter Commission for City of Los Angeles (2000), Housing Authority of Los Angeles, Service on LISC National Board of Directors.

After over 40 years in various professional responsibilities, she is one of most highly respected and influential lay persons in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, a lifelong member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, has been an active member of Ward A.M.E Church in Los Angles for 39 years.

She is married to Buford “Sonny” Walker, they have raised and nurtured 8 children and 24 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren.

Meshelle Howard, Director Of Civil Rights & Fair Practices, Maryland Transportation Authority

Meshelle M.V. Howard, MCA, the Director of Civil Rights and Fair Practices with the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) is truly a “Woman Who Moves the Nation”. As the Director, Meshelle provides managerial oversight for the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Small Business Reserve (SBR), Veteran Small Business Enterprise (VSBE), Title VI Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII Civil Right and EO Contract Compliance.

Meshelle began her career in the transportation industry over twenty years ago at the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), the headquarters for five transportation modals (MTA, MVA, MAA, SHA and the Port) and the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA).

She works tirelessly to strengthen the participation and knowledge of small and minority businesses for certification and participation on state contracts. In recognition of her efforts, she has received several awards. Most recently, she was a recipient of the 2018 Black Wall Street Lifetime Achievement Award for her work with Small Businesses, Vital Magazine’s 2018 Humanitarian Award for Small Business Education and Outreach, 2017 WTS Rosa Parks Diversity leadership Award, and 2016 Maryland Live Black History Hero Award for Tireless work with and in the Small, Minority and Women Owned Business Communities.

Prior to joining state service Meshelle, served in the United States Army in the Panama Invasion, Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and the Somalia Invasion.

Meshelle is a member of and volunteers in several organizations, which serve the community and the State of Maryland such as Catholic Charities, Maryland Public Purchasing Association, Women in Transportation (WTS) and the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO), where she was the President of the Maryland Chapter (2015-2018), member of the COMTO National Strategic Planning Committee (2014-Present) and a COMTO National Council of Presidents representative (2015-2018). In 2018, she chaired the very successful and largest attended COMTO conference.

Meshelle holds a degree in Business Administration, and other certifications and certificates in areas of Contract Compliance, Procurement, Minority and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Programs (MBE/DBE), the Minority Business Enterprise Advisory Council Certification Board (MBEAC), Leadership and Management.

Debra Johnson, Deputy CEO, Long Beach Transit

Debra Johnson is a public transit executive with over 25 years of diversified, progressively responsible leadership experience. She is a transformative leader who has coached, motivated and developed teams; established business systems, processes and organizational structures; increased agency efficiency, strengthened financial results; and enhanced system safety and service quality.

Ms. Johnson has worked for transit agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington, D.C., as well as in Southern California, where she currently is the Deputy CEO at Long Beach Transit in Long Beach.

Ms. Johnson holds a Master’s in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s in International Relations. She is an alumna of civic leadership programs in San Francisco and Long Beach, and the Eno Center for Transit Leadership’s Executive Development Program.

Community service is paramount to Ms. Johnson, as exemplified through her work with communities through initiatives and progressive programs relating to education, family, health and business as a lifetime member of Alpha Kappa Sorority, Incorporated. She has also tutored and served as a role model for inner city youth through programs such as Big Brother/Big Sister, Junior Achievement and Project COOL in Oakland, CA.

She has mentored young professionals through WTS San Francisco, APTA’s Early Career Program, COMTO’s Emerging Leaders Program and served on the Boards for Workforce Investment San Francisco and Urban Habitat, which advances policies to create a just and connected Bay Area for low-income communities of color.

Ms. Johnson is an active member of industry-based associations including COMTO Southern California, WTS-LA and the California Transit Association. She is a charter member of the Zero-Emission Bus Resource Alliance, and serves on the Downtown Long Beach Business Alliance Board of Directors.

In 2014, she was appointed by former Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx as a member of the US DOT Intelligent Transportation Systems Program Advisory Committee.

Mack, Gabriele, Vice President, Economic Inclusion and Supplier Diversity, Jacobs

Gabriele M. Mack, Vice President, Economic Inclusion and Supplier Diversity, Jacobs

As Vice President for Economic Inclusion and Supplier Diversity, Gabriele provides leadership, strategic direction and expertise in carrying out JACOBS’ corporate vision for economic inclusion and supplier diversity.

In this role, Gabriele develops relationships with Small and Diverse Business Enterprises, clients, industry partners, and small business advocates to achieve customer socio-economic objectives. Gabriele works with internal and external teams to promote and integrate best practices for local economic inclusion, diverse business utilization, workforce diversity, capacity building programs, and community engagement on large capital infrastructure projects. Prior to joining Jacobs 25 years ago, Gabriele served in the public sector; developing and managing municipal programs to support diverse businesses development.

Gabriele is a strong advocate and voice for inclusive policies and practices in the engineering and construction industry and is a nationally respected leader in her field receiving numerous recognitions for utilization and development of diverse suppliers. Throughout her career, Gabriele has held leadership positions with organizations dedicated to diversity and inclusion including: serving as Board Member and past Chair of the National Corporate Council for the National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA), Corporate Board Advisor for the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials’ (COMTO), Board of Directors and member of the Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC), Member of Women’s Transportation Society (WTS) and member and award recipient of the American Contract Compliance Association (ACCA).

Gabriele believes in the power of diversity and inclusion and the value it brings to our business, our clients and the communities we serve. As a leader in JACOBS Operational Centers of Excellence, Gabriele is focused on building a global initiative to align with JACOBS’ corporate vision and core values to create a business culture that respects inclusion and diversity and supports our corporate vision to build a more connected and sustainable world.

Elsa Ortiz, Board President, AC Transit

Elsa Ortiz was elected in November 2006 and is serving her fourth term on the AC Transit Board of Directors, representing the City of Alameda and portions of Oakland and San Leandro. Until her retirement in December 2014, Ms. Ortiz worked as an attorney and policy consultant to former Presidents of the State Senate Don Perata and Darrell Steinberg on issues affecting Indian Nations, and previously was Chief of Staff and Special Assistant to former California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer during his tenures as State Senator and Attorney General. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree with honors and teaching credentials from the University of California at Berkeley and her Juris Doctor from John F. Kennedy College of Law. She has also served on the Transbay Joint Powers Authority Board of Directors and currently serves on the Alameda County Transportation Commission. Ms. Ortiz served as President of the Board of Directors in 2011 and 2012 and during her tenure on Board spearheaded the development and adoption of the District’s Buy American Goods policy, advocated for fiscal reform and worked to make sure buses are a key element in the construction of a Bay Area transportation network for the 21st Century. She remains committed to providing the best service possible to riders.

J. Somer Shindler, Managing Director, Planning And Development, Corporate Real Estate (CREE), United Airlines

Somer Shindler is the Managing Director of United Airlines, Corporate Real Estate Planning + Development teams where she leads over 50 planning and project management professionals. Having joined the United team in 2016, Somer has oversight of the project portfolio for Hub and Line station facility and construction related projects. Additionally, the Planning and PMO Controls teams are part of Somer’s organization and work to establish and maintain standards, processes and tools for consistent execution of United’s portfolio of facility and construction related projects and develops long term master plans for United’s airport growth strategies.

Somer is an aviation professional with 20 years of planning, design and construction experience. Prior to United, Somer held the acting role as Senior Vice President of Airport Infrastructure Management at Denver International Airport, where she oversaw Maintenance, Asset Management, Environmental and was Senior Director of Planning and Development.

Somer started her aviation career as a Project Manager within Corporate Facilities at Southwest Airlines, running various construction projects. She worked as a structural engineer before her tenure at Southwest Airlines. Somer is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, with a degree in Architectural Engineering.

Jannet Walker Ford, Vice President & General Manager, Eastern Region, Americas, Cubic Transportation Systems

Jannet Walker Ford serves as the vice president and general manager, Eastern Region, Americas for Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS), a leading global integrator of payment and information technology and services to create intelligent travel solutions for transportation authorities and operators.

Walker Ford is responsible for the delivery and operations of CTS programs including the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s AFC 2.0, Atlanta’s Breeze Card system and Miami’s EASY Card systems. She also oversees programs such as the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Maryland Transit Administration as well as Autoridad de Transporte Intregrado and Metropolitan Bus Authority in Puerto Rico.

Walker Ford currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), American Public Transportation Foundation-Vice Chair, Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville-Vice Chair, Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) International and WTS Foundation-Vice Chair. She is a member of Leadership Florida, the Bold City Chapter (FL) of the Links Incorporated, the IT Senior Management Forum and the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials. She is also a graduate of Leadership APTA and the ENO Executive Leadership Program.

With two decades of leadership experience in the transportation industry, specifically in aviation, tolling, and public transport, Walker Ford strives to inspire women and minority professionals to pursue roles in transportation as well as science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
Walker Ford has received recognitions from the Professional Achievement Technology Award for Industry from the National Women of Color’s STEM Conference, Philadelphia’s Women of Substance and Style, Technology Association of Georgia – Women in Technology’s Woman of the Year, and Outstanding MBA of the Year by the NBMBAA. She has been named one of the “50 Most Powerful African Americans in Business” by the Atlanta Business Journal, “Atlanta’s Most Influential Business Leaders” by Who’s Who and a “Top 100 Women of Influence” by the Atlanta Business League

Carol Wise, Executive Vice President, Chief Operations Officer, DART

Carol E. Wise is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended the University of Pittsburgh receiving her undergraduate and graduate degrees. Carol was mentored early in her career by Jenny Laster 1st black female Vice President of Human Resources at the American Public Transportation Association and Carmen E. Turner, 1st black female General Manager at Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and in the nation. Both, women were very active members of COMTO in the 80’s. Jenny recruited Carol to work at a transit consultant company right out of college. It was at that transit company where she met a cadre of young, gifted and highly educated black men and woman from across the country. They had a passion for public transit and wanted to make a difference to the community. She never forgot those lessons of friendship, professionalism, social consciousness, and mentoring. In her transit journey, she has intentionally incorporated those lessons in her work where ever she has gone in transit. She has been building and designing programs of excellence and mentoring employees.

Carol has had opportunities to participate in the 1st Leadership APTA program, Eno Executive Leadership, TRCP – Transit Missions to Asia and Australia. Carol worked at New Jersey Transit, Central Ohio Transit Authority, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, South Jersey Transit Authority, Aegir Systems Incorporated, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and ATE Management Company. In her current position at Dallas Area Rapid Transit she serves at the Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer. When, Carol is not managing day to day activities at DART she is engaged in the Human Trafficking program, establishing job opportunities at DART for the homeless and advancing DART’s “5 Star Service Program: A Journey to Excellence” a program created by her and being modeled by other transit properties across the nation.

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