Our Board of Directors is a group of leaders in the livability movement, from government officials and city planners to community developers and transit leaders, who are passionate about the role of transportation in our country and its impact on creating prosperity within our communities.
Nancy O. Andrews is the president and chief executive officer of the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), a Community Development Financial Institution. Nancy serves on numerous community development and environmental boards and committees, including Bank of America’s National Community Advisory Council, Morgan Stanley’s Community Development Advisory Committee, and the National Housing Law Project. She was previously a member of the Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer Advisory Council.
Nancy’s 30 years in community development include positions as deputy director of the Ford Foundation’s Office of Program Related Investments and chief financial officer of the International Water Management Institute, a World Bank-supported development organization. Nancy also consulted for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Treasury during the Clinton administration. She received an MS in urban planning with a concentration in real estate finance from Columbia University.
Portland, Oregon • 2018-2019 National Steering Committee Board Liaison
GB Arrington is one of the world’s most respected innovators in Transit Oriented Development (TOD). GB’s focus is in strategically forging the link between transit and development to catalyze community revitalization, resiliency and place making. Australia’s Urban Development Institute recently called GB “the world’s foremost authority on TOD policy, design and implementation.” His work has taken him across North America, to China, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai, Panama and the Caribbean. During his career GB has directed the preparation of more than 130 TOD plans in 25+ states and 8 foreign countries. Time Magazine highlighted his plan for transforming Tysons Corner, VA as one of “10 Ideas for Changing the World Right Now.”
GB’s career has been defined by a commitment to continuous innovation to reinvent how cities grow while enhancing their quality of life. Previously GB created and led the global TOD practice for a major A&E firm. Before becoming a consultant, he charted a new, award-winning direction for TriMet, Portland, Oregon’s transit agency. GB created and led the Portland region’s widely acclaimed TOD program. His innovative planning and community involvement strategies changed the face of transit and land use in the Portland region and received awards from the White House and the Federal Transit Administration. GB is one of the founders of Rail~Volution.
Congressman Earl Blumenauer was born, raised and educated in Portland and has been an Oregon elected official for his entire career. He 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, Earl 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 streetcar — Earl also launched curbside recycling, worked to protect the Willamette River from combined sewer 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 US House in 1996, Congressman 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.
Recognizing that as the nation’s largest employer, landowner and tenant, the federal government influences policy not only through regulation but through its own actions, Congressman 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.
Congressman 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 with 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, Congressman 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.
Grace Crunican was appointed general manager of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District by the BART Board of Directors in 2011. She oversees a staff of 3,137 full-time employees and a $15 billion transportation infrastructure. Ms. Crunican has 32 years of experience in the public transportation industry, proven leadership abilities, a focus on providing safe and reliable transportation services for all Bay Area communities and a reputation for transparency and accountability.
Prior to coming to BART, Ms. Crunican was director of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). In Seattle, Grace managed their transportation maintenance levy and Transit Master Plan to move more people and goods with fewer cars, and help Seattle achieve the Kyoto Protocol goals.
Grace spent five years as the director of the Oregon Department of Transportation, where she implemented Community Solution Teams, integrated livability objectives into transportation planning and instilled a customer focus throughout the department.
Grace’s 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 US Department of Transportation, which was followed by serving as professional staff for the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee. Grace has local-level experience working as the deputy director of Portland’s Department of Transportation. She holds a BA from Gonzaga University and a MBA from Willamette University.
Steve Dotterrer retired from the City of Portland, OR 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.
William E. Harrell is the president and CEO of Hampton Roads Transit. Following his appointment in 2012, William established a vision to reshape HRT into the most efficient and customer-driven transit agency in Virginia. The focus from the beginning has been to improve HRT’s finances. Under William’s leadership, HRT has embarked on an aggressive plan to restore the agency’s capital budgets as the basis for improving an aging bus fleet. He has pushed hard for cost containment and improved efficiency. These efforts lie at the heart of improving the overall customer experience because a healthy, well-run agency will have the resources to invest in its future. In February 2014, he successfully guided HRT to winning approval for the first basic fare increase in the agency’s history.
William believes that the foundation of a viable transit system that supports the regional economy and quality of life requires a dedicated funding stream. This will ensure frequent and reliable service to key destinations. In this regard, he has initiated a community conversation on this important topic called Connect Hampton Roads.
William came to HRT from the City of Chesapeake, VA, where he was city manager. Harrell oversaw the day-to-day operations of Virginia’s third largest city, an operating budget of more than $900 million, and more than 4,000 full- and part-time employees. Prior to Chesapeake, he was chief administrative officer in Richmond, VA, where he managed more than 20 departments and agencies and a budget of more than $800 million. During his tenure, more than $450 million in private investments came to the city. William also served as the deputy city manager over all city operations.
William has been the assistant city manager in Greensboro, NC, where responsibilities included coordination of department overseeing water resources, transportation, planning, environmental services and parks and recreation. Before Greensboro, he was the director of public utilities and, eventually, assistant city manager for the City of Suffolk, VA. William has been honored by the Virginia Chapter for the American Society for Public Administration with the G. Robert House Young Public Administrator Award.
A graduate of Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake, Harrell earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in urban and regional planning from the University of Virginia as well as a second master’s in public administration. William and his wife, Johnna, reside in Chesapeake, VA.
Peter McLaughlin is commissioner of Hennepin County, MN and chair of the Counties Transit Improvement Board. He coordinated the regional effort with the help of labor, business and the community to successfully lobby for light rail transit (LRT) funding which led to the opening of Minnesota’s first light rail line, the Hiawatha Line in 2004 (now called the METRO Blue Line). 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 nonmotorized 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 was 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.
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: creating a drug court; expanded juvenile work squads and adult Sentence-To-Serve work crews; providing 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 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.
Peter 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.
As senior vice president and HNTB’s transit/rail market sector leader, Diana Mendes develops and directs strategies that enhance HNTB’s services to transit agencies across the country. She is a recognized industry leader with more than 30 years of comprehensive experience in delivering innovative solutions that achieve agency aspirations and enhance local communities. She specializes in the planning and delivery of federally funded major capital projects for streetcars, light rail, heavy rail and commuter rail systems. For the last 20 years she served as an instructor for the Federal Transit Administration and the National Transit Institute for courses including “Project Management for Transit Projects” and “Managing the Environmental Review Process for Transit Projects.”
Throughout her career, Mendes has been appointed to several professional association boards and committee leadership positions including the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the American Public Transportation Association, the American Planning Association, the National Building Museum and the non-profit Rail~Volution. She was on the advisory board and served as a contributing author for the “go-to” professional reference book “Planning and Urban Design Standards” published by the APA and John Wiley and Sons.
Mendes holds a Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Mount Holyoke College.
Shelley Poticha serves as the director of the Urban Solutions program of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 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, increased 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. Prior to that, she served as executive director of the Congress for the New Urbanism.
Shelley holds a master’s degree in city planning from the University of California at Berkeley and a bachelor’s of arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Scot Spencer is the associate director for Advocacy and Influence for The Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore. Since his arrival at Casey in October of 2002, the foundation’s work in Baltimore has largely been focused on a revitalization effort on the city’s east side that includes the responsible relocation of several hundred households as part of a comprehensive plan to strengthen community and economic development in an historic working class neighborhood.
Scot’s previous experience includes transportation specialist for the Environmental Defense Fund, where his focus was on state level smart growth policy and market-based incentives for transit use. He was deputy director for Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition, a Baltimore Empowerment Zone Village Center, where he spearheaded the federal Bridges to Work demonstration and spent several years work in private architectural practice, community development and university relations in upstate New York. In Maryland, Scot currently chairs the Maryland State Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities and serves on the board of the Chesapeake Bay Trust. In Baltimore he serves on city’s Commission on Sustainability, its HIV/AIDS Commission and the boards of the Mount Vernon Cultural District, Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, Center Stage and chairs the Baltimore Neighborhood Collaborative. Beyond Baltimore, Scot serves as vice chair of The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities and Smart Growth America. Scot holds a bachelor’s in architecture and a master’s in urban and environmental studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Ben Starrett is the Founder Emeritus 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.
Ben came to the Funders’ Network following a career in public service. After working for city government and the Florida Legislature, he 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.
Gary C. Thomas is president/executive director of Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). As president/executive director, Gary 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, Gary 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 that 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.
Gary 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 BS in civil engineering and a bachelor’s 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.
In his position as LA Metro CEO, Washington manages an annual operating budget of $1.6 billion and is responsible for overseeing $15 billion in capital projects and providing oversight of an agency that transports 1.4 million boarding passengers on an average weekday, riding on a fleet of 2,000 clean-air buses and six rail lines. LA Metro also is the lead transportation planning and programming agency for LA County. As such, it is a major construction agency that oversees bus, rail, highway and other mobility-related building projects – together representing the largest modern public works program in North America.
Washington was a leader in the successful effort to pass a new half-cent sales tax in LA County, which garnered 71.15% voter approval. Measure M will build 40 major highway and transit projects in the first 40 years, create 778,000 jobs through construction and various programs, and provide $133.3 billion in economic impact.
Washington came to Los Angeles from Denver, where he was Assistant General Manager for nearly 10 years, prior to being named CEO in 2009.
In Denver, Washington implemented the FasTracks program, one of the largest voter-approved transit expansion programs in the country. Under his leadership, Denver’s West Line Rail was completed under budget and eight months earlier than scheduled, and the award-winning Denver Union Station was completed five months early.
Also in Denver, Washington spearheaded implementation of the first-of-its-kind $2.2 billion transit Public-Private Partnership (P3). His emphasis on measuring and managing agency performance led to a nearly 90% on-time bus and rail service, and 96% ADA on-time performance.
Washington has had numerous prestigious assignments and honors. In 2007, he was appointed by the Mayor of Denver, to head the Host Transportation Committee for the 2008 Democratic National Convention. In 2009, he was appointed by Governor Bill Ritter to serve on the State of Colorado’s Workforce Development Council helping the State create a 21st century workforce. Washington was named 2013-2014 Outstanding Public Transportation CEO of the Year in North America by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).
In 2014, he was selected by the editors of Engineering News-Record for special recognition as one of the Top 25 Newsmakers of 2013. In 2016, he was chosen by the National Safety Council as one of the CEOs Who “Get It” – an honor bestowed on CEOs who demonstrate leadership in safety at the highest levels. He has testified before U.S. Congressional Transportation Subcommittees and was awarded a White House Transportation Innovators Champion of Change award in 2012.
Originally from the south side of Chicago – the Chicago Housing Projects of Altgeld Gardens – Washington is a 24-year veteran of the United States Army where he held the rank of Command Sergeant Major, the highest non-commissioned officer rank an enlisted person can achieve. He retired from active duty being awarded the prestigious Defense Superior Service Medal (DSSM) for exceptional service to his country. He holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Columbia College and an M.A. in Management from Webster University. He is a past chair of APTA.
Richard A. White is an accomplished and experienced transit executive with a life-long career in the transportation/transit industry. This includes more than 32 years of experience on the public sector side working at the federal, statewide and regional levels of government, including more than 16 years with executive management responsibilities in multi-modal transit agencies. Mr. White served as the General Manager/Chief Executive Officer at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Agency (WMATA) and the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART), two of the nation’s largest and most complex transit agencies. He also served in management capacities at the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Houston METRO) and NJ Transit.
He also has 8 years of experience on the private sector side with consulting services to the international transportation and infrastructure market. During this time, he worked for AECOM and Parsons Corporation. In addition, Mr. White served in top member elected leadership positions for the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), including its top position of Chair. He joined the APTA staff in September 2015, serving as the Vice President of Member Services.
Mr. White received a BA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a MPA from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.