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Happy 2016! The holidays and all the fun and hectic rush have wound down and we are starting another year of WTS in the San Francisco Bay Area. We celebrated a successful 2015 year with our annual holiday event at the beautiful Omni Hotel in San Francisco. It was a sold out party with a lot of merriment and some beneficial fundraising for our WTS Foundation. We were also able to provide a special WTS welcome to AC Transit’s new General Manager, Michael Hursch. We are pleased to have his support. Thank you to all the members of our great WTS Board that made our holiday event happen and to all those who attended.
And now for those New Year’s resolutions! As I said at the holiday event, committing to being a member and active participant in WTS is a lot easier than losing twenty pounds so—don’t delay—make sure that your membership is renewed and that you are joining in all the wonderful professional transportation connections that WTS has to offer. Visit www.wtsinternational.com for more information.
And if you have been or would like to be one of our Chapter Corporate Partners, please be sure that your organization renews or signs up. We have great benefits at levels that fit everyone’s budgets and we would love to have your support! Our Corporate Partners provide us with the funding needed for our Chapter to maintain a margin of excellence in all of our events and professional development opportunities as well as support for our scholarships that benefit deserving women seeking careers in transportation. Contact Linda DeBolt or Kathy Mayo, Co-Chairs, Corporate Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com for more information.
2016 is shaping up to be another good year for the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. We have many months of informative programs and networking planned; all of our key major events such as the Transportation Executives Regional Forum for our Corporate Partners; our Annual Awards and Scholarship Event and our CTC Reception will be back. We are also hopeful that our first Bay Area Fashion Show fundraiser will be on your calendar this year.
We are planning the next session of our extremely successful Leadership Training this spring, so if you are interested stay tuned for that key opportunity. During 2015, our Chapter provided this very well-received training to over 40 of our members and we expect a strong demand this year as well. Just remember, WTS membership is a prerequisite so once again check those New Year’s resolutions to make sure you have that in hand.
As I enter my second year of leadership for this very special Chapter, I am looking forward to many great activities and possibilities for all of us in transportation, and particularly for those in WTS. We are a special group that is making a difference for so many people. I hope you will be part of this great upcoming year!
Darlene K. Gee
WTS-SF Bay Area Chapter President
On December 10, 2015, the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter hosted its annual holiday party at the historic Omni Hotel in Downtown San Francisco. The sold-out event provided Bay Area transportation professionals a chance to network, toast the season, and raise money for the WTS Foundation. For the second year in a row, the Chapter held a silent auction to help raise money for the Foundation, which provides substantial scholarships to numerous students in the Bay Area, as well as contributes to Transportation YOU and the youth mentoring summit held in Washington DC each year. In total, WTS raised almost $2,000 for the Foundation thanks to the generous gift donations from our sponsors and members.
The event also provided an opportunity to recognize honoree Michael Hursh for his recent appointment as the General Manager of AC Transit. Michael provided some insight into his plans for AC Transit and his future vision for transit in the Bay Area.
Special thanks to all who donated their time and contributed to making the event a success: Sheena Patel (HDR), Hildegard Dodd (Wilson Ihrig), Laurel Poeton (ACTC), Amy Cook (HNTB), Olga Mendez (BART), Claudia Burgos (AC Transit), Jean Banker (Port of Oakland), and Arash Monsefan (Moffatt & Nichol). We were also lucky to have two photographers on site to capture some great photos from the event: Shannon Louie (FMG Architects) and Jeremy Wong (CBRE).
By: Chava Kronenberg
I owe all my thanks to my colleague Miriam, who forwarded me an invite late last year to the inaugural class of the Chapter’s Leadership Program. I was pretty skeptical. Five full work days doing “leadership” activities? I am happy to report that the seminar not only exceeded my expectations, but has become a springboard for myself and much of my cohort to new levels of professional achievement. From our seminar leaders, to the out-of-class activities, to our post-seminar reunions, the Leadership Program has been an exemplary way to build new women managers and leaders in transportation.
Organized by the Chapter’s Leadership Academy Chair Camille Williams, the Program differentiated itself from other professional development opportunities by having two extraordinary leaders. Denise Rabius and Dikla Carmel-Hurwitz have years of teaching and coaching experience, a passion for building women’s leadership capabilities, and a knack for knowing exactly how to keep a classroom engaged. They have designed and led executive development programs for Silicon Valley’s high-tech companies and facilitated women’s leadership programs at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Creating a warm, inviting, trusting, and confidential space enabled participants to discuss moments or feelings in our day to day work environment that are challenges to our own success.
Dikla and Denise over five days deconstructed our worst fears about ourselves and replaced them with positive energy and new tools to take on barriers. Both fearlessly helped us tackle our personal saboteurs, discomfort with networking in a strange environment, or inability to confidently ask for a more ambitious job or a raise. For many of us, the cornerstone of the leadership seminar was Denise and Dikla. I am ecstatic that they are continuing to work with WTS for future leadership seminars.
Just as important to our in-class lessons were our out-of-class peer coaching assignments, which provided an opportunity to meet and work with WTS members. I was fortunate to be partnered with three fantastic members: Judy and Edna from Valley Transportation Authority and Lydia who works as a rail consultant to BART. This turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the Program, partnering with women who were at different career points in different types of work environments but who face many of my own professional challenges. Working and sharing with them, and hearing about their fascinating careers in transportation, was eye-opening. We now continue to email and celebrate our successes! The value of these small groups to me was the chance to build new WTS relationships that make me excited to attend future WTS events, if just to catch up with my new friends.
Many of the 25 participants have had career advancement since completing the Seminar. We already have reunions on a regular schedule, and celebrating our successes together is great. Some words from my peers and friends on their experiences:
Tracy writes: “From the program I learned how to be more confident and become a better advocate for myself. Even if I’m relatively new to the working world, I am still an asset to our agency. Since the program ended I’ve received a promotion and raise.”
Shannon shares that “I found the Women’s Leadership class to be truly transformative. It came at a time when I had taken on a new job with an expanded role, and I was feeling somewhat uncertain about it all. Through the information presented in the seminar, the hands-on practice, and the overwhelming support from all the participants, I felt empowered by the new job, not intimidated. I encourage everyone to sign up!”
Shruti has a similar sentiment: “The leadership program came at a point in my career when I was looking to step up and embrace the challenges of leading in order to make a difference and achieve the vision I truly believe in. This course is designed to help leaders-to-be get ready for new challenges and responsibilities. I learnt many valuable leadership skills and developed my own unique leadership brand. Mainly, I do not shy away from self-promotion anymore and this has significantly helped me in my career. I recently received a promotion at work!”
Lastly, Edna adds that “the Women’s Leadership Training Program is beneficial to all women in transportation, whether you are beginning your career, mid-career, or reaching for that final promotion later in your career. The program experience becomes unique to each woman as she explores her personal power and leadership style. The textbook, “How Remarkable Women Lead” and the women who participated in the 2015 inaugural leadership class exemplify that uniqueness. Although most of the class concepts and information were not new to me, I was challenged to re-explore my values and mental models that were holding me in place. By stepping into my personal power and taking action I received a promotion and raise within 4 months of the first day of class. Thank you for making the Women’s Leadership Training a reality. It changed my life.”
The effusive nature of these comments speaks loudly, and I am proud to be a member of the WTS inaugural class. I look forward to seeing how this program grows and evolves, and would love for the effort to be duplicated across our national WTS chapters. Thank you again to the WTS Board, and especially Camille, who made this life-changing opportunity available to us all.
Mary V. King, a lifelong Oakland resident and former Alameda County supervisor and AC Transit Interim General Manager who sought to improve community life and became a transportation expert, died in November 2015. Ms. King was a true trailblazer and used her considerable expertise in government to develop and advocate for efficient transportation systems and services to help people move around the Bay Area.
In 1988, Mary V. King became the first African American woman to be elected an Alameda County Supervisor. She was re-elected twice and served as Board President for two years. During her tenure, she authored many policies with lasting impact on the Bay Area including:
- The King Plan, which was a major land-use amendment to the County General Plan to protect open space while maintaining sustainable development in unincorporated areas. This Plan is now considered a model for smart growth.
- The Values Based Budgeting Process, which is an innovative approach to county budget reform that received statewide recognition and continues to be used by the County.
Prior to being elected to public office, Ms. King led the drive for a successful county tax initiative campaign (Measure B) that created new sources of funding for public transit and other transportation projects and made Alameda County one of the first “self help” counties in the State.
She worked tirelessly to improve economic conditions and social services for lower income residents, promoting health and education, and youth violence prevention programs. The Mary V. King Health Education Center is named in her honor as part of the Eastmont Wellness Center in Oakland.
Mary chaired several community-based and regional committees, including the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Bay Bridge Design Task Force. She was Chief of Staff to California State Legislator, Bill Lockyer; Chief of Staff to Oakland Mayor, Lionel J. Wilson; and later an assistant to Oakland City Manager, Henry Gardner.
Upon leaving office in 2001, Ms. King became a private consultant specializing in government affairs, regional housing, land-use, and transportation issues. In 2004, she was recruited to become the Assistant General Manager for Communications and External Affairs at the Alameda Contra Costa Transit District, and, in 2009, she was appointed to head AC Transit district as the General Manager. She retired from the agency in early 2012 and was later appointed to fill a vacancy on the BART Board of Directors in August 2012.
King was given the 2014 Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) Grand Award in recognition of her leadership as Chair of the Bay Bridge Design Task Force that oversaw the public involvement process and selection of the unique self-anchored suspension element (SAS) for the new East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
Among other honors, Mary has been given the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by the Conference Of Minority Transportation Officials; the “Allen E. Broussard Memorial Award for Outstanding Humanitarianism” by the Alameda County Bar Association; the “George Moscone Memorial Award” by the American Society of Public Administration; the Community Leaders Recognition Award by the Black Elected Officials and Faith Based Leaders of the East Bay and was named the “Legislator of the Year” in 1992 by the Association of Retarded Citizens. Most notably, she is a founder of the Alameda County “Women’s Hall of Fame Awards,” which has grown to be a signature countywide event and is now comprised of 200 honorees.
Ms. King, a lifelong resident of Oakland, is survived by her mother Victoria King, two daughters Kimberly and Vikki King and two grandchildren.
On November 21, 2015, the Monterey Bay Area Programs Committee for the Chapter was represented at the 6th annual career fair for young women in grades 5 through 10, called “Expanding Your Horizons” and hosted by the Lyceum of Monterey County at Hartnell College’s Steinbeck Hall.
Approximately 240 middle school girls talked to industry professionals about the various opportunities that await them in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) fields. The participants asked questions about STEAM career opportunities available to them in their local area, such as “What classes should I take now to prepare for this career?” and “What do you like most about your job?”
Lisa Rheinheimer, Director of Planning and Development at Monterey-Salinas Transit, talked about the careers in the bus transit industry, from the behind-the-scenes planners, financial analysts, and engineers to the faces of the industry, our bus drivers. Christina Watson, Principal Transportation Planner at the Transportation Agency for Monterey County, talked about the varied paths into a career in transportation planning, including city and urban planning, policy and financial analysis, and engineering.
We handed out pens, pencils, flashing lights for biking and walking, and reflective bike ankle straps, as well as bus schedules, safe biking guides, and information on WTS. Christina encouraged the girls to work on communication skills, particularly in writing and making presentations. Lisa’s key piece of advice to the girls was to ask lots of questions and be curious!
On November 19, 2015 transportation professionals heard from a robust panel of experts about the plans underway for the biggest entertainment event of 2016—Super Bowl 50. Transit agency, city officials, and executives from the San Francisco 49ers and Super Bowl Host Committee shared details about the activities planned for this monumental week-long celebration that have these organizations in high gear preparing for the one million people expected to visit the Greater Bay Area. The event began with a bonus tour of the Levi’s Stadium, which greatly set the stage for the entertaining discussion that followed.
On October 29, 2015, the Monterey Bay Area Programs Committee for the Chapter hosted an event in Santa Cruz co-sponsored by the APA Northern California chapter. Approximately 40 attendees heard from an expert panel about the evolving use of vehicle miles traveled, or VMT, in transportation planning and practice. Kathy Previsich, the Planning Director for the County of Santa Cruz, moderated the panel discussion.
Susan Bransen, Deputy Director of the California Transportation Commission, presented a state pilot program that is studying a road user charge as a potential replacement for the gas tax to pay for road repairs. A Road Charge is a “user pays” funding concept where drivers pay for maintenance and upkeep of the State roadway network based on how much they drive. This method appears to be equitable as it charges based on road usage, regardless of the type and fuel efficiency of the vehicle driven. Exploring the potential for a Road Charge in California will take several years, beginning with a preliminary investigation and feasibility analysis, which is currently underway. Under state law, a Demonstration Program will begin by January 2017, and a final report will be completed by June 2018. Full implementation would require future legislation. Volunteers are currently being sought for the first phase of the study. For more information and to sign up, see: http://www.dot.ca.gov/road_charge/.
Chris Mitchell and Anais Schenk, transportation consultants, talked about the changes to the way projects are evaluated for environmental impacts. A state law enacted in 2013 fundamentally changes how transportation impact analysis is conducted as part of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) compliance. Existing rules require auto delay, commonly measured using “level of service,” or LOS, to be used as the basis for determining environmental impacts. Instead, the law requires an analysis that accounts for greenhouse gas emissions. Further, parking impacts will not be considered significant impacts on the environment for select development projects within infill areas with nearby frequent transit service. The Office of Planning and Research (OPR) selected vehicle miles traveled as a replacement measure and has drafted guidelines for updating transportation impact analysis. For more information, go to: https://www.opr.ca.gov/s_sb743.php.
In what has become a yearly tradition, the WTS San Francisco Chapter hosted another reception to coincide with the Bay Area CTC meeting on October 21, 2015. Invited guests included legislators, transportation commissioners, and representatives from across the West Coast.
The evening began with a welcome by Chapter President, Darlene Gee of HNTB who introduced the first of two guest speakers, Rebecca Kaplan, Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) Vice Chair, City Counsel member at Large and Vice Mayor of the City of Oakland. Ms. Kaplan has served Oakland as a citywide elected official for ten years and shared with the audience her enthusiasm for the future of Oakland and the city’s goal to maintain diversity and inclusion as it grows to become one of the most sought after places to live in the Bay Area. Ms. Kaplan then introduced Lucy Dunn, President and CEO of the Orange County Business Council and current Chair of the CTC.
In 2001, Ms. Dunn served as the first woman president in the 80-year history of the Building Industry Association of Southern California. In 2008, she was appointed to the CTC. In 2012 she was reappointed to serve a second term and in 2015 was named Chair. Ms. Dunn spoke to the attendees about current transportation projects in the State of California that will benefit travelers and businesses alike, as well as the many challenges we face as transportation professionals going forward.
Professional Development: Break Your Own Rules
On Thursday, January 28, 2016, the South Bay Programs committee will host New York Times Best Seller author Jill Flynn to share with us how to “Break Your Own Rules”. This member-only, professional development program will feature a 2-hour interactive workshop followed by a networking reception where you can get your complimentary copy of the book signed while sharing takeaways from the session. The event is planned from 4- 7 p.m. Location is being finalized. Stay tuned for more information.
Third Annual Transportation Executives Regional Forum (TERF)
For the third year in a row, the Chapter is hosting the invitation-only TERF Dinner for Chapter sponsors on the Jack London Waterfront. The event will take place at Scott’s Seafood on February 4, 2016. Moderating the event will be Dina Potter, Northern California Transportation Leader for CH2M. Ms. Potter served as Treasurer and President of the Chapter before joining the board as Director in 2005, and joined the WTS Foundation Board in May 2012.
Last year’s panel consisted of: Ben Tripousis (CAHSR), Randy Iwasaki (CCTA), Ed Reiskin (SFMTA), Debbie Hale (TAMC), Carolyn Gonot (VTA) and Grace Crunican (BART), and the 2016 event is shaping up to feature similar leaders from the transportation industry. The event is intended to discuss key issues and topics within the Bay Area Transportation community. The Chapter is eager to host the event and looks forward to facilitating an open dialogue between local executives and attendees.
There is still time to be a 2016 Chapter sponsor and take advantage of this and other year-long sponsor benefits. Contact Linda DeBolt or Kathy Mayo, Co-Chairs, Corporate Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com for more information.
Happy Hour: Get to Know WTS
Do you want to learn more about WTS? Get more involved? Get to know other members? Join WTS in a happy hour to get to know or reconnect with other members. Several board and committee members will be in attendance to answer questions about our memberships and ongoing programs, such as the Mentoring and Leadership programs.
Please visit our website for information about additional upcoming events.