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COMTO Webinar: Navigating Work-Life Balance During Challenging Times
April 14 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
The COMTO Emerging Leaders Sub-Committee will host a webinar on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 2:00 pm EDT on Navigating Work-Life Balance During Challenging Times. This panel discussion will explore utilizing resources to pivot your career and personal life, and the importance of goal setting and brand development in the midst of these uncertain times.
Crystal Allen Dallas
Founder and Chief Creative Strategist, Excel Business Concepts LLC
Crystal is the Founder and Chief Creative Strategist for Excel Business Concepts LLC (EBC). Her firm provides integrated marketing specialties such as public relations, marketing, and brand development to all types of entities. She is an innovative thinker, dedicated to pursuing excellence in all her endeavors, and serves as a creative collaborator to her clients. Throughout her career, she has championed the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion and has dedicated her work to amplifying the voices of all.
A few of her firm’s current public engagement projects include the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District Project Clear (MSDPC), a $7 Billion sewer infrastructure improvement effort, Missouri Department of Transportation, I -270 North Project, a $278 Million transportation infrastructure investment project and the St. Louis Lambert International Airport Creative Service/Public Engagement efforts.
Crystal is a change agent on a mission to serve as a catalyst for the equitable treatment for all. She is a sought-after speaker and instructor. She believes in giving back to her community and has served on several boards with various organizations ranging from arts and culture to human service. She currently serves on the Association of Junior Leagues International Board of Governance as an At-Large Member, also serves on the board of directors for Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Flance Learning Center, Junior League of St. Louis and Tribe All Good (TAG).
Crystal received her bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies and Public Policy from Dillard University. She has also completed coursework toward a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning. She received a Master of Human Service Administration from Louisiana State University. Crystal resides in the St. Louis Metropolitan area with her husband and two small children.
Executive Director, Northern Virginia Transportation Authority
Monica Backmon, has served as the Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) since May 2014, bringing more than 20 years of public and private sector transportation experience. Responsible for the region’s long-range planning, prioritization and funding of regionally significant projects, the NVTA brings transportation solutions to Northern Virginia through an annual revenue stream provided through House Bill 2313, that is trending toward $365 million per year. In October 2017, Ms. Backmon led the NVTA in the adoption of TransAction, the first update to the long-range transportation plan, since HB 2313 was passed.
In June of 2018, under Ms. Backmon’s leadership, the NVTA adopted its first Six Year Program with 44 projects totaling $1.3 billion. More recently, on July 9, 2020, the Authority adopted the FY2020-2025 Six Year Program, the Authority’s fifth funding program and the most competitive to date. $1.44 billion in funding was requested, with $539 million in Authority regional revenues available. Through the implementation of the Authority’s five Funding Programs, NVTA is advancing 106 regional multimodal transportation projects totaling nearly $2.5 billion, for congestion reduction throughout the region. Given the relationship of transportation and the economy, Ms. Backmon led an external economic impact study in 2019 of the Authority’s investments, conducted by a nationally recognized firm. Ms. Backmon also oversees the distributions of $110 million annually, to the Authority’s nine member localities, for their local transportation priorities.
Ms. Backmon served as Prince William County’s Regional Transportation Planner for a decade. She has established herself as a leader in the region through her collaborative work with local governments, the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, and transit agencies such as the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the Virginia Railway Express and the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission.
Ms. Backmon holds a B.A. in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and daughter.
Managing Partner and Senior Consultant, Insight Strategies
Carita Ducre is an Insight Strategies Managing Partner and Senior Consultant with nearly 20 years’ experience in training, facilitation, coaching, and speaking. Since 2001 she has engaged with hundreds of employees, from bus cleaners to Board members, at dozens of transit and transportation organizations. Ms. Ducre’s areas of expertise impact numerous topics that are important to the transit industry including: leadership development, strategic planning, workplace communication, business ethics, team and trust building, managing change, coaching for performance, business writing, delegation, managing up, conflict resolution, managing underperformers, employee motivation and customer service.
Ms. Ducre is a trusted advisor and counselor, assisting LA Metro, Sound Transit, Baton Rouge Capital Area Transit System, Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, Santa Monica Big Blue Bus, MV Transit, and many other transit agencies with multiple projects over the years. From 2014-2020 she has been an instructor with the Eno Center for Transportation Leadership and, as of 2017, Ms. Ducre serves as Adjunct Instructor for the University of Southern Mississippi’s Department of Human Capital Development. An accomplished writer, Ms. Ducre has written more than 250 business-related communications, including writing for the C-Suite.
Russell Hughes III
Civil Engineer Professional, Burns & McDonnell
With nearly a decade of experience, Russell currently leads water supply and design-build services at Burns & McDonnell in Detroit, expanding the firm’s water and integrated project delivery services across the Upper Midwest.
Throughout his career, Russell has led multi discipline teams executing a broad scope of integrated design and construction projects in the region. Prior to joining Burns & McDonnell, he served as a civil engineer at AECOM and HNTB, leading major water and wastewater design projects through construction and providing multi discipline coordination for projects with major-capital construction budgets. Within these projects, Russell gained vast experience with alternative project delivery methods, including engineer-procure-construct (EPC), progressive design-build and design-build. While working within these firms, he also grew his experience in managing construction site progress, SRF planning and submittals, technical design and cross-team coordination. Additionally, Russell has managed multiple scopes of work and worked with a wide range of stakeholders, including contractors, design professionals, utility companies and owners.
DBE Liaison Officer, Kansas City Area Transit Authority
Whitney Morgan is the DBE Liaison Officer at KCATA and is responsible for KCATA’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program, Small Business Enterprise (SBE) program, Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and Women Business Enterprise (WBE) programs to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and KCATA’s Procurement Process.
He drafted the recently approved MBE/WBE Program for KCATA, which is the first of its kind at the transit agency. He has also gotten approval from KCATA’s Board of Commissioners to extend the SBE Pilot Program into a permanent program that will have the ability to set-aside any project with federal funding up to $1 million. This will also vendors the ability to compete for KCATA projects within a sheltered market amongst other small businesses and participate in the capacity of a prime contractor. Along with his colleague Maurice Gay, Whitney has sought to expand KCATA’s relationship for small businesses by opening KCATA’s doors via DBE/SBE Informational Workshops.
Whitney is also the Immediate Past President of the Kansas City Chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO). During his tenure as the President, COMTO KC membership grew substantially, increased national visibility and financial sustainability.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in Architecture Studies from the University of Kansas. He also holds a master’s degree in Urban Planning (MUP) from the University of Kansas. He is a proud husband of 8 years (Antionette Morgan) and a proud father of two beautiful girls (Anyla and Aria Morgan).