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Spotlight Baltimore

ValerieLacourValorie LaCour, RLA

Senior Operations Strategist

Baltimore City Department of Transportation

Valorie LaCour is responsible for transportation strategy, design for building and long term maintenance of multimodal transportation infrastructure on behalf of the 600,000 residents of Baltimore City.  Ms. LaCour is a Senior Executive with experience managing and improving organizations by cultivating the quality of services, growing revenue, controlling expenses, and developing new innovative processes.

For over 18 years Ms. LaCour has worked in Transportation Planning within the private sector and public sector at International, State, and Local levels. Ms. LaCour is a Registered Landscape Architect in Maryland. She has a Masters of Landscape Architecture degree from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Business Administration, Operations Management, from Wright State University. Ms. LaCour serves on the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board (BRTB) and the Baltimore Industrial Group (B.I.G.). Ms. LaCour is a lecturer at Morgan State University for the City & Regional Planning Program, Department of Graduate Built Environment Studies. Ms. LaCour was recognized as WTS Baltimore’s Woman of the Year in 2015.


Edward J. Myers, PE

Senior Principal

Kittelson & Associates, Inc.


Ed Myers has over 33 years of extensive experience in all phases of traffic engineering, transportation planning, transit planning, highway design, and civil engineering. Last year, he received the 2017 WTS Baltimore Secretary Ray LaHood (Man of the Year) Award, as well as several professional excellence awards throughout the years, particularly for his work on roundabouts; he teaches professional courses and presents to professional organizations around the country.

His project experience includes extensive application of methods included in the new versions of the Highway Capacity and Highway Safety Manuals. Ed has been involved in community design and transit planning projects in the Mid-Atlantic region which included traffic design, operational analysis, corridor studies, alternatives analysis, public involvement, and cost estimating. Ed has also led multimodal corridor and area-wide studies in Maryland, DC, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.



ChristineNizerChristine Nizer


Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration

Christine Nizer was appointed Administrator of the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative by Secretary Pete Rahn in August 2015.  Prior to that, Ms. Nizer served as the MVA’s Chief Deputy Administrator and Deputy Administration for Central Operations and Safety Programs for over eight years.  She also held management positions at the Maryland Public Service Commission, the Maryland General Assembly and the Office of Homeland Security. 

Ms. Nizer is a Member of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) International Board of Directors, AAMVA Region 1 Chair and a Member of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials Standing Committee on Highway Traffic Safety.  She is a 2011 graduate of the Leadership Maryland Program and was named the Woman of the Year in 2014 by the WTS Baltimore Chapter.


JoelOppenheimerJoel K. Oppenheimer, PE

Senior Vice President

STV Incorporated


Joel Oppenheimer has over 39 years of experience and is a Senior Vice President and the Office Manager of the STV office in Baltimore, overseeing 120 people. He is a professional engineer in 9 states and the District of Columbia. He has a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters in Engineering Administration from The George Washington University.

Mr. Oppenheimer’s not so secret passion is his inspirational speaking on the subject of “Building a Better Life—Concrete Steps for Success.” He has been given over 300 seminars for over 14 years. For WTS, he began giving nearly annual presentations in 2006 and has presented to numerous WTS mentoring classes from 2010 to this coming August. Mr. Oppenheimer was awarded the Secretary Ray LaHood (Man of the Year) Award by WTS Baltimore in 2016.



SutapaSamantaSutapa Samanta

Assistant District Engineer – Project Development

Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration

Ms. Samanta has been with MDOT SHA since 2006 and works in the District Four office, which handles Baltimore and Harford counties. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering from the Bengal Engineering and Science University and the Indian Institute of Technology in India, respectively. While working full time at MDOT SHA, she earned her doctorate in civil engineering with a specialization in transportation engineering from Morgan State University in Baltimore.

Over the years, Ms. Samanta has been in the District Four Traffic and Engineering Systems Design sections, where she managed system preservation and safety improvement projects. In 2017, she was named Assistant District Engineer for Project Development in District Four. Ms. Samanta was recognized by WTS Baltimore as Woman of the Year in 2017.


DeborahSharplessDeborah Sharpless, CPA

Chief Financial Officer

Maryland Transportation Authority


In her position, Ms. Sharpless oversees Finance, Capital Planning and Program Development, Procurement and the 3rd Generation Tolling and Customer Service Program. From June 2012 to February 2018, she served as the agency’s Deputy Executive Director. During this timeframe, she oversaw many divisions within the agency.  Ms. Sharpless also serves on the IAG/E-ZPass Executive Management Committee.

Prior to her role as Deputy Executive Director, Ms. Sharpless’ career was focused on finance, accounting and auditing.  From September 2008 to June 2012, she served as the MDTA's CFO. As CFO, she was responsible for the day-to-day management of the Finance Division as well as ensuring the overall financial health and stability of the agency. Ms. Sharpless has been instrumental in rebuilding the agency’s financial systems, resulting in greater efficiency, accuracy and accountability, and in improving the agency’s financial reporting. 

A Certified Public Accountant in Maryland, Ms. Sharpless holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Baltimore and Towson University and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Baltimore, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. She is a 2017 graduate from the Leadership Maryland Program. In 2013, Ms. Sharpless was recognized as the Baltimore Chapter Women’s Transportation Seminar’s Woman of the Year.  She continues to be committed to advancing women and minorities in her current role as a board member for both the WTS and COMTO local chapters.


AlanStrausAlan Straus, PE

Senior Vice President


Alan Straus is a Senior Vice President of AECOM, and functions as the Chief Operations Officer for the Mid Atlantic area, which includes Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. In this capacity, Alan oversees work in six business lines, including Transportation, Water, Building and Places, Environment, Power and Industrial and Construction Management. Prior to this role, Alan has served in several other leadership roles while at AECOM and its legacy companies. Prior to his private sector experience, Alan started his public service career at the Maryland State Highway Administration, serving as Project Engineer, Manager and Assistant Division Chief in the Office of Planning and Preliminary Engineering. Alan has helped develop plans, preliminary designs and approvals for dozens of projects across Maryland and the US, including the Intercounty Connector. Alan currently supports the successful execution of AECOM’s most complex projects, including, the Purple Line, Frederick Douglass Bridge, Arlington Memorial Bridge, Maglev, FEMA Relief Programs, DC Water Programs, and others.


Alan earned his Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering from University of Maryland at College Park, and has developed his experience in areas of planning, preliminary design, project management and business operations. Alan previously served the WTS-Baltimore Chapter as a Director and is currently Vice President of ACEC/MD.


Do you have a professional accomplishment you'd like to share?

WTS Baltimore wants to know!

If you have a spotlight-worthy achievement and care to share it with your Chapter, please send us a brief description of your accomplishment and professional bio in 250 words or less. You could be the next feature on Spotlight Baltimore!  

To submit your profile for the next Meet a Member or Spotlight Baltimore, email us at WTSBaltimore@gmail.com.  



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