Rail~Volution 2015 features three plenary sessions that address issues affecting the future of livable communities. Come together with all attendees in one place for presentations that promise to inspire and provoke new thinking.
Chief Executive Officer, Rail~Volution, Minneapolis, Minnesota
As CEO, Dan Bartholomay promotes livability and leads efforts to expand Rail~Volution’s capacity and impact. Prior to joining Rail~Volution, Dan was a leader in the public, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. As program director with the McKnight Foundation, he developed and implemented an interdisciplinary program spanning affordable housing, community development, transit, open space preservation and regional growth with a focus on livability and access. Most recently, Dan was commissioner of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency where he focused the agency on continuous improvement, cross-sector partnership and community impact through housing investment. Dan holds and interdisciplinary BA in economics, anthropology and political science from Carleton College.
President, Metropolitan Planning Council, Chicago, Illinois
MarySue Barrett designs effective urban solutions through creative collaboration across governments, businesses and communities. As president of the independent Metropolitan Planning Council, MarySue bridges public and private sectors to solve metropolitan Chicago’s planning and development challenges. MarySue was chief of policy for former Mayor Richard M. Daley, implementing community policing and Chicago’s successful bid for the 1996 Democratic Na- tional Convention. MarySue recently led transition committees for Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Bruce Rauner. She is a steering committee member of World Business Chicago’s Plan for Economic Growth & Jobs and serves on the advisory boards of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, Harris School’s Visiting Committee at the University of Chicago, and Illinois Issues magazine. MarySue has a BA from Northwestern University.
Congressman, 3rd District, Oregon
Board Member, Board of Directors, Rail~Volution
Elected to the US House of Representatives in 1996, Congressman Blumenauer is Congress’ chief spokesperson for livable communities. Visiting more than 200 communities across the country, he’s worked with local governments, citizens and civic organizations to strengthen local efforts to manage growth, provide transportation options and foster sustainable economic growth. Congressman Blumenauer founded the Livable Communities Task Force, the Bicycle Caucus and several other caucuses. He is co-chair of the Passenger Rail Caucus and the Trails Caucus, and a member of the Open Spaces and Land Trust Caucus. In 1991, he founded Portland’s Regional Rail Summit which evolved into the national Rail~Volution conference in 1995.
Executive Director, Bay Area Regional Collaborative (BARC), Oakland, California
Allison Brooks is director of the Bay Area Regional Collaborative. Over the last 15 years she has focused on building collaborative efforts at the metropolitan and national levels to expand equitable transit-oriented development. She currently works to enable policy at the state, regional and local levels in California to better integrate transportation, community and economic development to address growing economic disparities, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen resiliency to issues resulting from climate change which will directly impact our transit network.
Director of Transportation Policy, Lyft, San Francisco, California
A member of the original Lyft team, Emily Castor works with transportation planners, environmental advocates and transit agencies to advance ridesharing as a sustainable transportation option. Emily started her career as a transportation policy aide for a US congresswoman and later served as a financial advisor for municipal infrastructure projects. Emily holds an MPA from the University of Pennsylvania and has been recognized by SAP as a “Top 40 Influencer on the Networked Economy.”
General Manager, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District, Oakland, California Vice-President, Board of Directors, Rail~Volution
Grace Crunican oversees 3,000+ employees and a $15 billion transportation infrastructure at BART. As director of Seattle’s DOT, 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. As director of the Oregon DOT, Grace implemented Community Solution Teams and integrated livability objectives into transportation planning. She also led the nonprofit Surface Transportation Project coalition for implementing the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act. Grace has served as deputy administrator for the FTA, as professional staff for the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee and was deputy director of Portland’s DOT. She holds a BA from Gonzaga University and an MBA from Willamette University.
Retired Principal Planner, City of Portland, Oregon Secretary, Board of Directors, Rail~Volution
Steve Dotterrer recently retired from the City of Portland 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 a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in architecture. He serves as Secretary on the Rail~Volution Board of Directors.
Vice President–Administrative Services, State Farm Insurance, Bloomington, Illinois
As vice president of administrative services at State Farm, Jenny Greminger oversees purchasing, environmental health and safety, workplace protection and security, fleet cars, and all owned and leased company facilities. Included in those facilities are the new leased developments in the Dallas, Atlanta and Phoenix metro areas, where access to public transit has been a key factor. Jenny joined State Farm in 1991 as a drafting technician and has spent most of her career in administrative services, serving in a variety of leadership roles. She holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Iowa State University.
Director, Corporate Communications and Public Policy, Zipcar, Boston, Massachusetts
Justin Holmes is director of corporate communications and public policy at Zipcar, overseeing the company’s public rela- tions, government affairs and community engagement strategy. Prior to joining Zipcar, Justin served under two mayors in Boston. He oversaw the mayor’s 24-hour hotline, the award-winning mobile app Boston Citizens Connect, Citizens Connect online, live Web chat at cityofboston.gov and the city’s social media efforts with @NotifyBoston. Justin has also held positions as director of government relations at the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, chief of policy and communications for the Boston City Council president, and director of communications at Boston College High School. Justin is a native Bostonian and is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross.
Senior Advisor, Texas Central Railway, Dallas, Texas Mayor of Dallas (1995–2001)
Ambassador Ron Kirk was mayor of Dallas when DART hosted Rail~Volution in 1999. During his tenure he helped attract more than $3.5 billion in investment in Dallas. Since then, he has served as the US trade representative and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet, before returning to the practice of law in 2013.
Grant Manager, Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, The Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Carniesha Kwashie is a grant manager at The Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia, managing Indego, Philadelphia’s bike-share system, the first bike-share system in the nation to launch with a cash payment option. She also manages the Better Bike Share Partnership, a national program to promote equity in bike share. Carniesha’s experience includes managing government grants, teaching urban youths and working with congressional staff to improve laws concerning education, environmental, housing and healthcare issues. Prior to joining The Fund, Carniesha managed federal green workforce development initiatives at OIC of America. She holds an MS in interior architecture and design, sustainability concentration from Drexel University and a BA in psychology and African-American studies from Temple University.
Therese W. McMillan
Acting Administrator, Federal Transit Administration, Washington, DC
Therese McMillan leads a staff of 500+ and implements an annual budget approximating $10 billion. Therese plays a key role in the transit-related provisions in MAP-21 and development of critical guidance. She also has a leadership role in reforming FTA civil rights responsibilities; restructuring FTA grant oversight and compliance; streamlining the New and Small Starts program; allocating Recover Act grants; and helping transit agencies adapt to changing weather patterns. Therese was deputy director of policy at the San Francisco Bay Area Regions’ Metropolitan Transportation Commission before joining the FTA in 2009. She earned her BS in environmental policy and planning analysis from the University of California, Davis, and a joint MCP/MS in city planning/civil engineering science from UC Berkley.
Michael P. Melaniphy
President and Chief Executive Officer, American Public Transportation Association, Washington, DC Board Member, Board of Directors, Rail~Volution
Michael P. Melaniphy is president and CEO of APTA and serves on several boards and commissions. Michael has spent his entire career in public transportation. At Motor Coach Industries he was responsible for operations in the US and Canada. Prior to his private sector work, Michael led four transit agencies, where he was recognized for many safety and innovation milestones, pioneered dedicated state transit taxes and installed the first system-wide Braille/tactile bus stop signage. Michael worked his way through Indiana University as a bus driver for the Hoosier’s basketball team, earning a BS in business and transportation management. He holds an MBA and postgraduate MBA Plus in transporta- tion management from Wichita State University. Michael lives carless in Washington, DC.
Director, Urban Solutions, Natural Resources Defense Council, Washington, DC Board Member, Board of Directors, Rail~Volution
Shelley Poticha is director of the Urban Solutions program, building NRDC’s work for better cities that support thriving people. Urban Solutions brings together the NRDC’s place-based work and strategies: promoting transportation choices through mobility options, scaling up building energy efficiency, model green and equitable neighborhoods, sustainable food systems, green infrastructure and climate preparedness. Shelley’s career includes leadership positions at HUD’s Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, Reconnecting America, and the Congress for the New Urbanism. She holds an MS in city planning from the University of California, Berkeley and a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Senior Vice President, Strategic Development and Corporate Affairs, Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) San Francisco, California
LIIF, a national nonprofit community development financial institution, is one of the nation’s largest community capital lenders. Brian Prater oversees LIIF’s federal policy, national fundraising, communications, knowledge-sharing, TOD and innovation functions. Previously, Brian led LIIF’s lending and program work in the Western region and developed LIIF’s TOD program. He was senior vice president of Bank of America’s Northern California and Nevada community develop- ment markets, responsible for $220 million in transactions, tax credits and home-ownership, mixed-use and economic development projects. Brian was also program director for Rural LISC, managing a portfolio of sophisticated rural community development corporations. He has a graduate degree from Columbia University in economics, public finance and real estate.
Michael S. Rawlings
Mayor of Dallas, Texas
Mike Rawlings is in his second term as mayor of the nation’s ninth-largest city. Previously CEO of Pizza Hut, he is vice chairman of the private equity firm CIC Partners. As mayor he has advanced GrowSouth, a program focusing on economic development south of the Trinity River. He headed the effort to pass a $600 million bond referendum focusing on streets, flood protection and economic development. Mayor Rawlings serves on the Executive Committee of the US Conference of Mayors.
Gary C. Thomas
President/Executive Director, Dallas Area Rapid Transit President, Board of Directors, Rail~Volution
DART had 20 miles of light rail, the Trinity Railway Express was a 10-mile commuter line and Gary Thomas was DART’s sr. vice president of project management when Rail~Volution came to town in 1999. Gary has been presi- dent/executive director of DART since 2001. During that time DART’s light rail network grew to 90 miles. The TRE is 34 miles long and goes all the way to Fort Worth. DART has converted its bus fleet to compressed natural gas and redesigned its paratransit service. Billions of dollars in private capital is being invested in thriving transit-oriented developments along DART’s corridors. Rail~Volution 2016 guests will have a chance to see those projects and learn what’s next for North Texas.
Associate, Enterprise Solutions, RideScout, Del Mar, California
Sean Walcott is an associate on the Enterprise Solutions team at RideScout. Sean focuses his work on helping cities, universities and employers make the most efficient use of their mobility ecosystem through tools that motivate, move and manage users across all modes of transportation. Prior to working in the transportation industry, Sean was a zookeeper. He is based in Southern California.
County Judge, Tarrant County, Fort Worth, Texas
Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley and the Commissioners Court are moving one of the nation’s fastest-growing urban counties forward with a diverse family of innovative transportation alternatives, including highways, bus and rail. First elected in 2006 as county judge – the county’s chief executive – he is a past chair of the Regional Transportation Council and past president of the National Association of Counties. He was named County Leader of the Year for 2010 by American City and County magazine.
Find out more about each of these dynamic keynote sessions in the Conference Program online, on our mobile app or download a PDF of the Conference Program.