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Learn from a Leader Series

In 2014, WTS-GNY launched a new program: Learn from a Leader Roundtable Series.
Leaders from both the public and private sectors shared their experiences with small groups, providing insight into the exciting work they are doing and the lessons learned in getting to this point in their careers.
WTS-GNY is excited to introduce our 5th Annual Learn from a Leader Series.
July 24 Veronica Vanterpool
  Deputy Director of the national Vision Zero Network; Board Member, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  One Penn Plaza, NY

Veronica Vanterpool is the Deputy Director of the national Vision Zero Network, which is helping communities eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all. Prior to joining the Vision Zero Network, she served as executive director of the New York City based Tri-State Transportation Campaign, where she spent 10 years. She worked closely with community residents, civic partners, agency leaders and elected and appointed officials in the greater New York metro region on key issue campaigns including increased funding for transit, walking and biking infrastructure; congestion pricing; Complete Streets; and Vision Zero. She is a recognized leader in the transit sector having been appointed in 2016, as per the recommendation of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, to the board of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the nation's largest transit system providing 2.6 billion transit trips per year. Veronica also founded, V Squared Strategies, LLC to provide consulting services throughout the New York metro region. Born and raised in The Bronx, Veronica is also on the board of the Bronx River Alliance, a Bronx-based organization working to protect and restore the Bronx River corridor. In 2017, she received the Women in Business/Nonprofit Excellence Award from the New York City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Veronica is also a proud mom to a college sophomore.

July 31 Karen Franz
  Chief Executive Officer of AKRF, Inc.
  440 Park Avenue South, NY

Karen Franz is the Chief Executive Officer of AKRF, Inc., a premier consulting firm based in New York City with over 350 planners, engineers, and scientists serving the needs of real estate, transportation, water, and energy clients. She previously directed the firm's Engineering Department, leading major NYC initiatives to bring coastal resiliency and sustainable infrastructure to local communities.

Putting her dedication and skills to work, Karen has led AKRF in much of its infrastructure planning and design work, which includes East Side Coastal Resiliency, NYCDEP’s Green Infrastructure Program, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Governors Island, and the Cornell Tech Applied Sciences Campus. Karen not only understands what is required technically to complete a project, but believes teamwork is the driving force behind positive change and success. She is truly a motivator and mentor to all around her.

Karen's passion for transforming the local environment stems from her New Jersey roots, where she obtained her B.S. in Bio-Environmental Engineering from Rutgers University. She is a licensed Professional Engineer in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, and a LEED Accredited Professional. With 20+ years as a New Yorker, Karen resides on the Upper West Side with her partner and their 10-year-old daughter.

August 15 Petra Todorovich Messick
  Director of Planning, Gateway Program, Amtrak
  One Penn Plaza, NY

Petra Messick is Director of Planning of the Gateway Program at Amtrak. The Gateway Program is an infrastructure investment program to rebuild and expand the Northeast Corridor between Newark, New Jersey and New York, New York, including a new Hudson River Tunnel and Portal Bridge. Since joining Amtrak in 2012, she has worked in various roles in planning, project management, and outreach for the Gateway Program. Prior to her position at Amtrak, Messick was director of America 2050, Regional Plan Association’s national infrastructure planning and policy program, which provided leadership on a broad range of transportation, sustainability, and economic-development issues impacting America’s growth in the 21st century. Messick spent the first twelve years of her career at Regional Plan Association where she organized a planning and public engagement effort for rebuilding the World Trade Center and Lower Manhattan after 9/11 and conducted planning and analysis of the transformation of Manhattan’s Far West Side. Messick received a Master of City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University and a B.A. from Vassar College and has taught urban and regional planning at Pratt Institute and the New School. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and volunteers on the Board of Directors of the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative.

August 27 Maxine Hill
  New York Area Manager, WSP
  One Penn Plaza, NY

Maxine is a Senior Vice President working for WSP USA with over 26 years’ experience in managing major transportation projects in the US and UK. As the recently appointed Transportation & Infrastructure Area Manager for the New York office she is responsible for client relations, project performance and overall management of the largest WSP office in the US.

Prior to this she was the Project Director managing the program management for the Moynihan Train Hall Project, a $1,6B redevelopment project in New York and before that the Project Director for the design-joint venture on the $4B LaGuardia Central Terminal Building where she was the key interface coordinating and collaborating with the construction joint venture, developer and owner during the pursuit and the first two years of design and construction.

Her experience as contractor, client and designer in the delivery of complex projects utilizing both traditional and alternative delivery procurement methods has led her to a diverse career in the industry with a focus on winning and managing large complex, multi-disciplinary projects and teams. She received her Master of Engineering from the University of Wales College Cardiff in the UK.

Stay tuned for more events in New Jersey.
Register HERE for one or more of this year's roundtables.
These are members-only events. If you are not a member click here to become a WTS member!
We received great feedback during these session. If you have any suggestions on speakers, please email us at wtsgny@gmail.com.





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