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COMTO Webinar: Celebrate History-Making at the State DOT Level
February 25 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
COMTO Black History Month Webinar: Celebrate History-Making at the State DOT Level
COMTO celebrates history in the making with our special panel discussion featuring 4 of our African American State Department of Transportation (DOT) leaders. Something that may have been unheard of 50 years ago. We will discuss the progress that African Americans have made in transportation, particularly at the state level, and what we can do to ensure more African Americans continue to thrive in this space. They will also share personal insights into their career journey and their thoughts on COMTO’s 50 years of Moving the Nation!
Phillip A. Washington is the Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. As the CEO of Metro, he leads an agency that runs the United States’ third-busiest transit system with 2,200 clean air buses, six rail lines covering 98 miles and four additional rail projects in construction.
Phil was instrumental in the 2016 effort to pass Measure M — a half-cent sales tax in L.A. County – that will help build 40 major highway and transit projects over the next 40 years and change the face of Los Angeles County. Measure M is the largest modern public works program in North America and includes new rail and bus rapid transit lines, as well as highway, active transportation, state of good repair and local transportation projects for LA County’s 88 cities.
Phil had a distinguished career in the military, retiring as a disabled veteran with 24-years of service in the United States Army. He held the rank of command sergeant major, the highest position a non-commissioned officer could achieve. Originally from the South Side of Chicago, Phil holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Columbia College, and an M.A. in Management from Webster University
Jack Marchbanks served as Assistant Director for Business & Human Resources for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) from July 2017 until his appointment as Director by Gov. DeWine in January 2019.
In his role as Assistant Director, he was responsible for the overall management of the department’s 5,000 employees and the development of its $3.3 billion budget. He provided strategic direction to the statewide administrators of the agency’s finance, human resources, information technology, legal, and communications divisions, as well as the opportunity, diversity and inclusion programs. His duties also included service as a voting member of the State Infrastructure Bank and fiduciary oversight of federal fund transfers from the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration and Federal Rail Administration.
Jack also served as District 6 Deputy Director from June 2016 to July 2017. He previously served in the same position from May 1996 to January 2007. During his long time at the helm of District 6, he oversaw the investment of more than $1.7 billion in surface transportation infrastructure, including the widening of I-71 in Delaware County, the widening of the I-270 North Outerbelt from Gahanna to Dublin, the completion of US 35 in Fayette County and the completion of I-670 with the High Street Cap in Franklin County.
He is a former member of the Ohio Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) and has worked in the private sector as Business Development & Marketing Director for PRIME AE Group, Inc.
A staunch believer in life-long learning, Dr. Marchbanks recently earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Ohio University. He also holds an M.B.A. from Xavier University in Cincinnati and a Master’s Degree from Clark-Atlanta University. He is a proud graduate of the University of Dayton, where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science.
He is married to Alice Flowers and lives in Columbus, Ohio.
Toks Omishakin was appointed the 33rd Director of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) by Governor Gavin Newsom and sworn in October 2019. As Director, he manages a $15 billion budget and nearly 21,000 employees who oversee 50,000 lane miles of highways, maintain 13,000 bridges, provide permitting of more than 400 public-use airports, fund three of Amtrak’s busiest intercity rail services and provide transit support to more than 200 local and regional transit agencies.
Omishakin’s transportation vision for California features a safe, sustainable and multimodal transportation system that builds on strong local partnerships. Transformative innovation will also be needed to achieve zero traffic-related deaths and reduce GHGs by 40% by 2030. All local communities must be heard and share in the benefits of Caltrans projects, and he encourages a Caltrans culture of innovation and taking intelligent risks.
He came to Caltrans following eight years with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT). There, he successfully established environmental, multimodal and planning policies to make TDOT one of the best DOTs in the country.
As Deputy Commissioner for Environment and Planning, Director Omishakin was responsible for an administrative and project budget of more than $300 million annually. He also led the activities of the divisions of Environmental Services, Long-Range Planning, Multimodal Transportation Resources, and the Freight and Logistics Division.
Prior to that, he served as Director of Healthy Living Initiatives in the Nashville Mayor’s Office.
In that capacity, he led development of Metro Nashville’s Complete Streets Policy and helped establish a more balanced approach to transportation planning and design. This included spearheading creation of two bicycle sharing programs.
In December 2019, Omishakin became Chair of the Active Transportation Council for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). This came after two years serving as committee vice chair and serving as chair of AASHTO’s Multimodal Task Force. He is also on the Board at America Walks and has advised the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis through its Transportation Council Board.
Born in Knoxville, Tenn., Omishakin and his wife have two children. He is completing a Ph.D. in Engineering Management from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; has a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Jackson State University; and a bachelor of arts in Engineering Technology from Mississippi Valley State University.
Omer Osman was appointed Transportation Secretary by Gov. JB Pritzker in 2019. His role as secretary reflects three decades of experience at the Illinois Department of Transportation in engineering and management.
Moving through the IDOT ranks gives him unique insight into department operations and scope, funding challenges and opportunities, as well as the need for strategic maintenance and infrastructure growth to support economic development and travel for Illinois residents.
Under his leadership, IDOT continues to champion diversity. He remains an advocate for eliminating barriers and increasing access to IDOT partnerships with Disadvantaged Business Enterprises and minority- and female-owned businesses.
His vast experience in transportation includes the management and advancement of complex projects and the assessment of current resources to inform funding and programmatic needs to create a multimodal system for the 21st century.
He assisted in the passage of the transportation component of Rebuild Illinois with Governor Pritzker and Illinois General Assembly. Passed in 2019, Rebuild Illinois is investing a total of $33.2 billion over six years into the state’s aging system, creating jobs and promoting economic growth. Rebuild Illinois is not only the largest capital program in state history, but also the first that touches all modes of transportation.
He has continued to guide IDOT during the unprecedented challenge of the coronavirus pandemic beginning in 2020. His commitment to keeping projects open and safe provided invaluable reassurance to the transportation industry at a time of great uncertainty. He also mobilized IDOT’s operations teams to deliver key personal protective equipment throughout the state.
A native of the Sudan, Osman came to the United States to study civil engineering at Southern University and A & M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He also earned a master’s in civil engineering with an emphasis in construction management at Bradley University in Peoria.
Dr. Shawn Wilson was appointed Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) by Governor John Bel Edwards on January 11, 2016 after more than 10 years of executive service at DOTD.
Since his appointment, Dr. Wilson has been a tireless advocate for new revenue, maximizing Federal dollars available to Louisiana, advancing a balanced and comprehensive transportation policy for Louisiana, and ensuring the Department is more collaborative in its work at every level.
Under his leadership, DOTD was successful at securing and obligating nearly $150 million additional Federal dollars for I-10 widening from I-49 to New Orleans, for the Baton Rouge I-10 bottleneck, and for the shortest Design Build procurement in the state’s history is underway to widen I-10 from Highland Road to LA 73. In addition, under his leadership, DOTD has been able to assist communities with alternative fueled transit assets, focus efforts on advancing passenger rail, and helping launch bike share in Baton Rouge, LA.
The DOTD has turned its focus to procuring $650 million in GARVEE Bonds for two Design Build Projects, a major Urban Interstate Reconstruction and the state’s first Public Private Partnership.
Dr. Wilson earned a B.A. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Louisiana and holds a Master of Public Administration degree, as well as a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Southern University.
Shawn and his wife, Rocki, reside in Lafayette, Louisiana. They have two children, Shawn Wilson- Arceneaux (Mike) and Joshua, and they recently welcomed their first granddaughter Lailah Rose. The Wilsons are members of Progressive Baptist Church.