Congressman Earl Blumenauer, 3rd District, Oregon
Portland, Oregon • Boardmember
Congressman Earl Blumenauer was born, raised, and educated in Portland, Oregon and has been an Oregon Elected official for his entire career. Mr. Blumenauer began his political career while still in college, spearheading a successful campaign to lower Oregon's voting age to 18. He was 23 when he was elected to the Oregon State Legislature, winning every precinct in his district. In addition to chairing the Revenue and School Finance Committee, he played key roles in enacting Oregon's landmark land use and transportation planning legislation, both still national models today. In 1978, Mr. Blumenauer was elected to the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners and in 1986 was elected Portland's Commissioner of Public Works. As a member of the City Council and County Commission for almost 20 years, he championed programs and policies that led to Portland's acclaim as one of the nation's most livable cities. Perhaps best-known for his efforts to provide Portlanders with a wider range of transportation choices- from light rail to bicycles to trolleys- Mr. Blumenauer also launched curbside recycling, worked to protect the Willamette River from combined serer overflow, fought to confiscate cars of repeat drunk drivers, and led successful efforts to increase local funding of Portland's public schools. First elected to the U.S. House in a special election in 1996, Mr. Blumenauer has carved out a unique role for himself as the Congress's proponent of Livable Communities. From his seat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he has focused on creating policies and partnerships that will make communities and the families that live in them safer, healthier, and more economically secure.
Among his efforts are:
introducing legislation to require the Post Office to abide by local land use and zoning regulations, something it is not currently required to do;working to overhaul the nation's Flood Insurance Program, which subsidizes people to live in places that are neither environmentally sound or safe;leading the fight in Congress to protect the E-rate, which ensures low-cost connections to the Internet for schools and libraries.
Recognizing that the federal government, as the nation's largest employer, landowner and tenant, influences policy not only through regulation but through its own actions, Mr. Blumenauer has built strong partnerships throughout the executive branch, urging agencies from the Department of Defense to the General Services Administration to lead by example.
Mr. Blumenauer has been described as the "Johnny Appleseed" of livability. Since his election to Congress, he has traveled to nearly 50 communities, working with local citizens and organizations on ways they can build more effective civic Partnerships to improve land use, environment and transportation. He is equally committed to partnerships wit his colleagues: he works with them through the Bike Caucus, which he founded, the Task Force on Livable Communities, which he co-chairs, and other member organizations such as the House Sustainable Development Caucus. In addition to being named a German Marshall Fellow in 1995, Mr. Blumenauer has won numerous awards from environmental, education and community groups. In 2000, he received two of the highest awards offered by the planning community: the National Building Museum's Apgar Award and the American Planning Association's Legislator of the Year Award. His academic training includes undergraduate and law degrees from Lewis & Clark College in Portland and graduate studies at Portland State University, the University of Colorado at Denver, and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
Judy Corbett, Executive Director, Local Government Commission
Sacramento, California • Boardmember
Judy Corbett is the founder and for the past 20 years has served as Executive Director of the Local Government Commission. Corbett and her husband planned and developed the widely acclaimed Village Homes, a 60-acre, resource-efficient community in Davis, California. Corbett served for 8 years as a part-time consultant to the California State Assembly. She is co-author of three books on land use planning, Village Homes: Solar House Designs, A Better Place to Live, and Sustainable Development: Learning from Village Homes. She has co-authored or edited over 30 guidebooks for local elected officials on resource-efficient land use strategies.
A 1974 graduate of the Ecology Graduate Group at the University of California at Davis, Corbett has lectured at universities, conferences and workshops throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Mexico. She serves on the Boards of Directors of the congress for the New Urbanism, the California Futures Network, the California Center for Civic Renewal, and Rail~Volution. In 1999 she was selected by Time Magazine as a "Hero of the Planet" for her work on sustainable development.
Grace Crunican, General Manager, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District
Oakland, California • Boardmember
Grace Crunican was appointed General Manager of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit by the BART Board of Directors on August 31, 2011. She oversees a staff of 3,137 full time employees and a $15 billion transportation infrastructure. The Board of Directors selected Ms. Crunican because of her 32 years of experience in the public transportation industry, her proven leadership abilities, and her focus on providing safe and reliable transportation services for all Bay Area Communities. She brings to BART a reputation for transparency and accountability.
Prior to coming to BART, Ms. Crunican was Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). She guided SDOT in meeting the goals of Bridging the Gap, Seattle’s transportation maintenance levy, and implemented the Transit Master Plan – Seattle Connections, Bike Master Plan, Freight Mobility Strategic Plan and Pedestrian Master Plan, aimed at building a system to move more people and goods with fewer cars and helping Seattle achieve the U.S. Kyoto Protocol goals.
Previously, Ms. Crunican was the Director of the Oregon Department of Transportation for five years where she implemented Community Solution Teams, integrated livability objectives into transportation planning and instilled a customer focus throughout the department.
Her Washington DC experience includes being the Deputy Administrator for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) from 1993 to 1996. Before joining the FTA, Grace led the Surface Transportation Project a nonprofit coalition dedicated to implementing the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, or ISTEA.
Her first transportation appointment was in 1979 to the Presidential Management Intern Program for the U.S. Department of Transportation followed by serving as Professional Staff for Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee.Ms. Crunican has local level experience working as the Deputy Director of Portland’s Department of Transportation. She holds a B.A. from Gonzaga University and a MBA from Willamette University.
Steve Dotterrer, Retired Principal Planner, City of Portland, OR
Portland, Oregon • Board Treasurer
Steve Dotterrer recently retired from the City of Portland, Oregon after working more than 30 years in transportation and planning. As a Principal Planner, he managed the city's strategic and comprehensive planning as well as the Housing and Economic Development programs. From 1980 to 2001, he was the Chief Transportation Planner, responsible for the city's transportation policy development and the Capital Improvement Program. Steve was educated at the Universities of Oregon and California, where he received Bachelor and Master's degrees in Architecture. He is currently the chair of the Rail~Volution National Steering Committee.
Peter McLaughlin, Hennepin County Commissioner, Chair of County Transit Improvement Board
Minneapolis, MN • Boardmember
Peter McLaughlin is Commissioner of Hennepin County, MN and Chair of the County Transit Improvement Board. He coordinated the regional effort with the help of labor, business and the community in successfully lobbying for light rail transit (LRT) funding which led to the opening of Minnesota’s first light rail line, the Hiawatha Line, now called the METRO Blue Line in 2004. In 2008, he was instrumental in establishing a dedicated funding source to expand the region’s transit system of light rail, commuter rail and bus rapid transit lines. He presently serves as chair of the Counties Transit Improvement Board, which invests revenues from the five-county metro sales tax for transitways and advocates for expansion of the transit system.
Among other transportation-related accomplishments, he helped develop a comprehensive county bicycle transportation plan and create a bicycle gap funding program to expand non-motorized transportation options for county residents and workers. In 2008, he secured $1 million in funding for infrastructure improvements to eliminate “gaps” in Hennepin’s network of bicycling facilities as part of the county’s 5-year capital improvement plan for 2008-2012. He is also a leading advocate for the construction of Target Field Station in downtown Minneapolis, which serves multiple light rail, commuter rail and intercity passenger rail lines, as well as pedestrians, bicyclists, and bus riders. Passed additional funding for road and bridge projects through a county-wide wheelage tax.
Commissioner McLaughlin’s leadership and achievements during his tenure on the county board reflect a strong commitment to public service and encompass the broad range of county programs and services. A passionate advocate for the environment, he authored the resolution making Hennepin County one of the founding members of Cool Counties, a national initiative committing counties throughout the United States to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050. He won approval for several bold actions to combat crime, including creation of a drug court; expanded juvenile work squads and adult Sentence-To-Serve work crews; additional juvenile detention beds; putting inmates to work and working closely with the District Court on the Adult Gun Policy and the Juvenile Gun Education Program. He sponsored board actions to develop and endorse Accelerating Graduation by Reducing Academic Disparities (A-GRAD), a long-range plan to ensure all Hennepin County youth graduate from high school.
In addition to many other accomplishments, Mr. McLaughlin is actively involved in many community service organizations and innovative initiatives aligning efforts of the public and private sectors. He is a founding member of the Phillips Partnership and the Midtown Community Works Partnership, which have guided transformative investments in infrastructure, housing and jobs in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis and along the Midtown Greenway corridor, respectively, over the past 15 years.
Prior to joining the County Board, McLaughlin served three terms in the Minnesota Legislature, rising to the post of Assistant House Majority Leader. He was the chief author on several key pieces of legislation, including the Parental Leave law, and legislation establishing the State Jobs Program (MEED), and State Dislocated Worker Program.
Mr. McLaughlin received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1971 and his Masters degree from the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota in 1977.
Michael Melaniphy, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Public Transportation Association
Washington, District of Columbia • Boardmember
Michael P. Melaniphy is president and chief executive officer of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), effective November 1, 2011. A nationally recognized leader, Melaniphy’s entire career has been in public transportation, with more than 23 years of both public and private sector experience.
Previously, Melaniphy served as vice president public sector for the bus manufacturer, Motor Coach Industries, Inc., where he worked for 10 years and was responsible for a $250 million division with facilities in the United States and Canada.
Prior to that, he led public transit systems for 11 years in Charlotte, NC; Wichita, KS; Hamilton, OH; and Laredo, TX.
Melaniphy’s career began while a student at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN, as a bus driver for the university basketball team coached by Bobby Knight. He graduated from Indiana University with a BA in business administration, transportation management, having studied under the legendary transportation professor George Smerk.
He also holds an MBA and a postgraduate MBA Plus in transportation management from Wichita State University in Wichita, KS.
Shelley Poticha, Director, Urban Solutions Program, National Resource Defence Council
Washington, District of Columbia • Boardmember
Shelley Poticha serves as the director of the Urban Solutions program, building NRDC’s work for better cities that support thriving people. Urban Solutions brings the place-based work of NRDC together into a coordinated strategy and includes promoting transportation choices through mobility options, scaling up building energy efficiency, model green and equitable neighborhoods, sustainable food systems, green infrastructure and climate preparedness. Urban Solutions is the culmination of NRDC’s thinking and work for sustainable communities since the organization adopted the area as an institutional priority.
Shelley is a longtime partner of NRDC in multiple initiatives including transportation policy reform, LEED-ND, and the creation of Smart Growth America. Prior to joining NRDC, Shelley was a senior advisor and director of the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Before joining HUD, she served as President and CEO of Reconnecting America, where she became a national leader for the reform of land use and transportation planning and policy with the goal of creating more sustainable and equitable development, particularly around transit stations. And prior to that, she served as Executive Director of the Congress for the New Urbanism.
Shelley holds a Master of City Planning from the University of California at Berkeley and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She works in NRDC’s Washington office.
Dr. Beverly Scott, Chief Executive Officer/General Manager, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)
Atlanta, Georgia • Board President
On December 17, 2012, Beverly A. Scott, Ph.D. was appointed Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) General Manager and MassDOT Rail & Transit Administrator. Dr. Scott is responsible for managing the MBTA and overseeing the Commonwealth's 15 Regional Transit Authorities and MassDOT's freight and passenger rail program.
Prior to coming to the MBTA Dr. Scott served as Chief Executive Officer/ General Manager of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). She was appointed to head MARTA in 2007 by the MARTA Board of Directors—the first female executive to hold this position.
Prior to that, Dr. Scott served as General Manager/Chief Executive Officer of the Sacramento Regional Transit District and as the General Manager of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority, one of only four statewide public transit systems in the United States. Dr. Scott also held executive management positions with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), New Jersey Transit Corporation, and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, including being the first woman appointed as Vice President of Surface Transit with responsibility for the daily operation of all bus service in the five boroughs of New York City as well as Staten Island rail service.
Dr. Scott began her public transportation career in 1977 in the State of Texas through Texas Southern University, as one of four national recipients of a Carnegie Foundation Fellowship. In 1979, with the creation of the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority, she was the regional transit authority's first Director of Affirmative Action. In addition to her professional transportation positions, she has served as Executive Director of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA), Assistant Professor of Government and Public Affairs at Tennessee State University and also taught graduate courses at Howard University (Washington, DC).
Dr. Scott has received numerous national and local awards, including citations from the U.S. Department of Transportation, American Public Transportation Association, American Society of Public Administrators, National Business League, Women's Transportation Seminar, Rhode Island Professional Engineers Society, Sierra Club, Conference of Minority Transportation Officials, the National Forum for Black Public Administrators, the Urban League, and City Year. She holds a doctorate in Political Science with a specialization in public administration from Howard University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Fisk University (magna cum laude; Phi Beta Kappa).
Bill Sirois, Senior Manager, TOD and Planning Coordination, RTD FasTracks Team
Denver, Colorado • 2013 NSC Board Liaison
Bill has over twenty-two years experience in transportation and land use planning in both the public and private sectors. Currently Bill is the Senior Manager of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) and Planning Coordination for the Regional Transportation District (RTD) in Denver. At RTD, Bill acts as agency's primary liaison with the development community, local jurisdictions and other stakeholders on TOD and other transit planning projects. Prior to RTD, Bill spent several years with Carter and Burgess, a national transportation consulting firm, where he focused on projects which addressed the relationship between transportation and land use. Bill has presented at numerous conferences and workshops on TOD in Colorado and throughout the country. Bill is a member of the Rail~Volution National Steering Committee and ULI Colorado's TOD Best Practices Committee. Bill has a Master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Iowa and a Bachelor's degree in Finance from the University of Northern Iowa.
L. Benjamin Starrett, Executive Director and Founder, Funders' Network for Smart Growth & Livable Communities
Coral Gables, Florida • Board Secretary
Ben Starrett is the founding executive director of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, created in late-1999 to expand funders’ abilities to support organizations working to build more livable communities through smarter growth policies and practices. The Funders’ Network provides member services, publishes on relevant topics and manages an active website—www.fundersnetwork.org—to provide foundations with information and tools on growth and development issues. The Network also implements projects to help strengthen philanthropy, expand philanthropic interest, and enable advocates for better decision making to create more livable communities.
Ben came to the Funders’ Network following a career in public service. After working for city government and the Florida Legislature, Ben joined the Florida Department of Community Affairs—Florida’s state land planning agency—and served as its chief planning officer from 1989 to 1999. During this time he created the Eastward Ho! Initiative and Florida’s Sustainable Communities Program, ran Florida’s Affordable Housing Study Commission, served as the state energy policy director, and staffed or chaired seven gubernatorial blue ribbon panels on diverse topics such as urban growth patterns, economic development, hurricane preparedness and recovery, everglades restoration, and land use and transportation coordination. After leaving state government, Ben joined the Collins Center for Public Policy. While creating the Funders’ Network, he co-founded the Growth Partnership, an initiative designed to foster positive regional and neighborhood change in South Florida to relieve development pressures on the Everglades ecosystem. The Funders’ Network became an independent organization in July 2003.
A magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University with a degree in politics and economics, Ben is a graduate of Leadership Florida Class XIX and was a Knight Fellow in Community Building. Active in numerous national and local organizations, he and his family live in Miami, Florida.
Gary Thomas, President/Executive Director, Dallas Area Rapid Transit
Dallas, Texas • Board Vice-President
Gary C. Thomas is President/Executive Director of Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). As President/Executive Director, Thomas is responsible for a 13-city transit system over a 700- square mile area with, bus, light rail, commuter rail, paratransit, and high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane services. He administers the goals and policies of the DART Board of Directors, including the largest public transit expansion in North America. He also directs the agency's top managers and 2,750 employees, emphasizing a strong customer focus to ensure that transit riders and taxpayers receive the best transit service available. He works closely with member city governments and the public in developing short- and long-term transportation and mobility goals.
Prior to his selection as President/Executive Director, Thomas was Senior Vice President of Project Management for DART, overseeing the design and construction of all of DART's major capital projects, including DART's light rail system. His responsibilities in tat position included real estate right-of-way acquisition; oversight of the design and construction management performed by DART's General Engineering Consultant; design and installation of systems for communication and signals for the light rail; construction of the light rail system and bus facilities; and manufacture of the light rail cars.
Thomas joined DART in November 1998. Previously, he had led DART's General Engineering Consultant's design of the original light rail system as LAN Program Manager from 1996 until 1998. He was a consulting engineer for 19 years prior to joining DART. He has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Bachelor of Architecture from Texas Tech University, and has managed projects of all sizes and types, including water and waste treatment plants, manufacturing facilities and transportation and transit-related projects.