WTS Chapters










February 2018

Getting Good Marx on Value

Groucho Marx famously said that he didn’t want to be a part of any club that would have him as a member. Bolstering his well-honed image as the witty, too-cool-for-school outsider—you’ve got to love Groucho—he was actually illustrating a profound point about organizations and the motivations for joining them. Fortunately, people join professional organizations like WTS-LA for the polar opposite reason of Groucho’s “creed.” Our members join specifically to find like-minded, like-skilled, motivated women and men that share in the belief that a level playing field benefits all. But Groucho has a point, as he often did. What actually does motivate people to join WTS-LA or any organization? What specifically convinces an individual to act, to take that extra step online or at a meeting? Of course, the answer is both simple and complex.

One size does not fit all. Everyone is different. And what motivates one person can completely discourage another. Sometimes people act for the most silly, mundane reasons. In college, I joined a literary society because they had the best buffet (turned out to be a fantastic scholarly move). But mundane joining motivations are usually outliers. So, what really does attract and motivate people to join a group? Is it because the organization’s mission aligns with your beliefs? Does the organization’s branding give you or your business the cachet it needs? Do the individual members form a collective group you want to be associated with? Or is it that the person in charge of catering actually is the next Daniel Boulud? These are not rhetorical questions, but more on that later. Maybe it’s a combination of these things. But being the kind of person who just can’t leave something alone once I’ve gotten into, I decided to do some research. And here’s what I found. Read More

Kathy Simons 

Photo by John Livzey


Photo © John Livzey. For permission to use, please contact John at

2017 Annual Awards & Scholarship Dinner

On November 9, 2017 WTS-LA awarded $71,000 in scholarships to the next generation of transportation professionals. With over 400 attendees and through the generous support of our corporate partners, this event was a huge success!

Photo © John Livzey

SB-1 Funding Discussion

On October 5, Hilary Norton, Executive Director at FAST, facilitated a discussion with various public sector transportation leaders from Caltrans, Metro and LA County.

Photos by Melanie Nelson

WTS-LA Mixes it Up with a Happy Hour

On August 30, 2017, WTS-LA held a happy hour at Harbor House in Downtown Los Angeles.

Photo © John Livzey

Welcoming POLB Executive Director Mario Cordero July 26, 2017

WTS-LA welcomed newly appointed POLB executive director Mario Cordero in an evening reception on Wednesday, July 26 at the Westin Long Beach. Photo © John Livzey

Photo © John Livzey

Up-and-Coming Women Graduate from Pilot Mid-Career Mentoring Program. July 17, 2017

Participants in the WTS Los Angeles inaugural mid-career mentoring program meet at Chaya to celebrate the wrap-up of their year-long pairing with senior executives from the public and private sectors and academia. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo © John Livzey

Flowers Delivers for Mid-Career Mentorship Program. May 25, 2017

Former Federal Transit Authority Acting Administrator and current AECOM Americas Transit Practice Leader Carolyn Flowers brings more than three decades of experience to a meeting with mid-career protegées and their mentors. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo © John Livzey

Saving Your Assets: Why Maintenance and Repair are Good Business for Everyone. June 21, 2017

California Transportation Commission Vice Chair Fran Inman moderates an asset management discussion with Roderic Diaz (SCRRA), Gregory Kildare (Los Angeles Metro), and Kia Mortazavi (OCTA). Billions, possibly trillions, are at stake. Photo © John Livzey,

A Good Book Can Change Your Mind. A Great Book Can Change Your Life.

A Good Book Can Change Your Mind. A Great Book Can Change Your Life. May 24, 2017

The WTS Los Angeles professional development series welcomes author and advice columnist Michelle T. Johnson, known as "the Diversity Diva." Attendees each received a copy of Johnson's book "The Diversity Code." Photo © John Livzey.

Los Angeles Metro Changes the Way You Do Business, May 3, 2017

Los Angeles Metro Changes the Way You Do Business. May 3, 2017

Metro's Carolina Coppolo makes a point as moderator Lynda Bybee of LSA and Metro's Dr. Joshua Schank listen at this program featuring innovation in procurement, delivery methodologies, and best practices. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo © John Livzey

Transportation Résumé Book Mixer is a Winner for Students and Corporate Partners. April 27, 2017

This year's mixer introducing graduating students to WTS Los Angeles public and private corporate partners who received our exclusive Transportation Résumé Book was a hit. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo © John Livzey

WTS Gets the Scoop on LAWA's $14 Billion Capital Improvement Planning. April 5, 2017

Key LAWA execs Cynthia Guidry, Samantha Bricker, and Aura Moore, responding to questions from moderator Lydia Kennard of KDG Construction Consulting, brief an SRO audience on this landmark initiative. Photo © John Livzey.

Welcoming Supervisor Janice Hahn

Welcoming Supervisor Janice Hahn on February 22, 2017

WTS-LA welcomes Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board member Janice Hahn. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo © John Livzey

Welcoming Supervisor Kathryn Barger on January 27, 2017

WTS-LA welcomes newly elected Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board member Kathryn Barger. Photo © John Livzey.


Regional Rail Connects Communities. October 13, 2016

Jennifer Bergener (LOSSAN), Michelle Boehm (CAHSRA), Elissa Konove (Metrolink), and Bryan Pennington (Metro) discuss what's new in SoCal rail moderated by the Honorable Yvonne B. Burke (former LA County Supervisor, 2nd District). Photo © John Livzey.

Photo © John Livzey.

Southern California Port Leaders Discuss Future. August 18, 2016

Antonio Gioiello (POLA), Rick Cameron (POLB), and Kristin Decas (Port of Hueneme) discuss their plans to improve the Southern California ports on a panel moderated by Eric Shen (Maritime Administration of the USDOT). Photo © John Livzey.

Members Get Coached by an Expert, July 16

Member Benefit: Coaching by an Expert. July 16, 2016

Business coach Katie Carr, a principal with Fehr & Peers and Left Lane Advisors, leads a half-day professional development workshop for WTS Los Angeles members on the USC campus. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

Metro Planning Chief Therese McMillan Gets a Warm Reception. July 13, 2016

Therese McMillan, Los Angeles Metro's newly appointed Chief Planning Officer and a WTS Los Angeles member, is welcomed by a SRO audience. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

Mid-Career Members Get Extraordinary Mentoring. July 15, 2016

On July 15, WTS-LA launched its pilot mid-career mentoring program, pairing members with directors-at-large on its board - all senior executives in the public sector. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

High School Students Get the Inside Track on Transportation Careers. July 15, 2016

On July 15, WTS-LA Adopt-A-School chair Amy Shimshon-Santos, ITEP's Christiana Faulkner, and POLA's Mahsa Pan moderated a workshop for high school students at the Port of Los Angeles. Photo © John Livzey

LA and Orange County are Serious about Streetcars, June 16

LA and Orange County are Serious About Streetcars. June 16, 2016

OCTA Rail Program Manager Mary Shavalier briefs our audience on their streetcar program as LA Streetcar Program Manager Shane Phillips and Bringing Back Broadway Executive Director Jessica Wethington McLean listen in. Photo by John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

Our Prez Welcomes Elena Studier and Stevie. June 7, 2016

Elena Studier, a National Association of Railroad Passengers intern, and her bike "Stevie" are traveling the US on Amtrak this summer, and were welcomed to Los Angeles by chapter president Amanda Heinke. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

WTS Los Angeles Board Member Champions Students

Longtime WTS-LA board member Emilie Gino, retired LAUSD administrator, has sponsored student attendance at programs and underwritten student memberships for two decades. Here she is with USC's Kaitlyn Zhang and CSUN's Raiwan Alijamal. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

LAWA Capital Program Briefing. May 26, 2016

Cynthia Guidry, Deputy Executive Director, Planning and Development Group, briefs a SRO audience on projects coming up at LAWA. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

LAWA Capital Program Briefing. May 26, 2016

Ellen Wright, Director of Terminal Planning and Design, Planning and Development Group, briefs a SRO audience on projects coming up at LAWA. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

Expo Phase 2 Pre-Opening Tour. May 13, 2016

Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, instrumental in development of the Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority, led a windshield tour to the new destination in Santa Monica for WTS-LA members. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

METRANS "Meet the Practitioner" Series. March 23, 2016

Grace Crunican, general manager of BART, welcomes at SRO audience to this WTS-LA co-sponsored "Boots on the Ground, Flats in the Boardroom" event for USC and CSULB students and industry practitioners. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

METRANS "Meet the Practitioner" Series. March 23, 2016

Prof. James Moore II (USC), Mengzhao Hu (KOA Corporation), Dana Hook (CDM Smith), and LaVerne Francis Reid (formerly with the FAA) are "Boots on the Ground, Flats in the Boardroom" panelists. Photo © John Livzey,

Photo by John Livzey

Metro Exec Joshua Schank Talks Innovation and Careers. March 18, 2016

WTS Los Angeles members welcomed Metro Chief Innovation Officer Joshua Schank on March 18 for a professional development program discussing career strategies. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

Metro Exec Joshua Schank Talks Innovation and Careers. March 18, 2016

Foothill Transit exec Michelle Caldwell participates in the Q&A during our March 18 program. Photo © John Livzey.

Photo by John Livzey

Metro Exec Joshua Schank Talks Innovation and Careers. March 18, 2016

USC Price School of Public Policy student Ariana Seymore poses a question during the Q&A portion of Joshua Schank's March 18 meeting with our members. Photo © John Livzey.

BART General Manager Grace Crunican Moderates a Panel of Women Leaders, September 30

BART General Manager Grace Crunican Moderates a Panel of Women Leaders. September 30, 2015

Grace Crunican, who co-authored the new book "Boots on the Ground, Flats in the Boardroom: Transportation Women Tell Their Stories" with industry leader Liz Levin, makes a point in our September 30 panel discussion. Photo by Koop Films.

Photo by John Livzey

WTS Welcomes LAWA's Deborah Flint as She Takes the Reins. September 21, 2015

A "members only" audience welcomed new Executive Director Deborah Flint, who now leads the largest public sector capital program in Los Angeles and one of the largest airport systems in the world. Photo © John Livzey.




WTS_e2444It’s 116 years young. The “shortest railway in the world,” Angels Flight is a beloved, iconic fixture of Los Angeles culture. Connecting downtown’s Bunker Hill neighborhood to the Grand Central Market, Angels Flight is a small-gauge funicular railway on a very steep 33% grade track. But for years, it lay dormant. Now, thanks to a pioneering public-private partnership between ACS Infrastructure and Sener Engineering, and represented by WTS-LA Gold Corporate Partner Nossaman, Angels Flight is running again, bringing back old memories and creating new ones. The very first transit P3 in Los Angeles, Angels Flight’s story is both compelling and heartwarming. And you can read it here

Photos © John Livzey.



IMG_4293-X3Travel changes you. From small, daily differences to large-scale societal distinctions, travel affords the opportunity to view everything through different eyes. Last September, several WTS-LA members did exactly that. They journeyed to Europe to examine different transportation projects and systems. And they ended up gaining much more than just an education on European transportation.

“The trip’s purpose was to gather best practices in three European countries, exchange ideas, then bring back what could work for us in the US,” explains WTS-LA Director at Large Eric Shen. “This kind of technical study tour is invaluable because it gives us an opportunity to recharge and reflect. It helps rekindle the passion and enthusiasm we have for what we do.” Some of the WTS-LA members that joined Mr. Shen included Mott MacDonald senior project engineer and WTS-LA Programs and Professional Development vice president Lisa Karwoski, Fehr & Peers transportation planner/engineer and former WTS-LA president Amanda Heinke, and WSP transportation and environmental planner and WTS-LA Transportation Resume Book chair Todd Nguyen. To find out exactly how this trip changed members of the WTS-LA delegation, please click here

Photos by Eric Shen





Forget your diet. At least that’s what attendees at the 2017 WTS-LA Annual Scholarship and Awards Dinner did. But they also threw more than gustatory caution to the wind in celebrating and honoring WTS-LA award and scholarship winners. From truly moving stories from students looking to enter the transportation industry to equally affecting narratives from seasoned transportation professionals about life, equality, WTS-LA, and their careers, the 2017 WTS-LA Scholarship and Awards Dinner was truly an astounding event. And WTS-LA bestowed more than $70,000 in scholarships, a WTS-LA record! To find out more about this exceptional event, please click here.

Photos © John Livzey.


Upcoming Events



2018 WTS Annual Conference in San Diego, CA

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Featured News

Mahsa Pan Uses Her Mentorship Chair Position to Help Everyone Sit at the Table

Thursday, February 15, 2018 - Port of Los Angeles (POLA) civil engineer and WTS-LA Mentorship chair Mahsa Hematabadi Pan, PE, has an extensive lineup of events planned for the WTS-LA Mentorship Program this year.
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Andrea Conant: Walking the Talk for WTS-LA

Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - WTS-LA Communications Committee member and Consensus vice president Andrea Conant specializes in community relations and communications strategy. Ms. Conant developed the WTS-LA 2016 Annual Report.
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Pattie Antich: A Perfect Landing at LAX

Friday, February 2, 2018 - Aviation industry pioneer Robert Six said, “I’ve never known an industry that can get into people’s blood the way aviation does.” Antich Consulting founder Pattie Antich knows exactly what he means.
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LA County Public Works Mark Pestrella: A Mission of Hope and Story

Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - Mark Pestrella believes everyone has their own unique story. His begins largely at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. But it certainly doesn’t stop there.
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Lisa Levy Buch is Comms, Cool, and Respected

Friday, December 1, 2017 - As the chief communication officer for Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority, Lisa Levy Buch oversees all agency communications, community outreach, and its media relations program.
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