WTS Foundation 2020-2022 Board of Directors
Senior Vice President, Strategy, Growth, & Key Accounts, AECOM
Jannet Walker-Ford is an executive for AECOM, the world’s premiere infrastructure firm. She was recently appointed as the Senior Vice President for Transportation Strategy, Growth & Key Accounts for the Design and Consulting Services Americas (DCSA) where she is responsible for driving an integrated transportation business line strategy for growth and innovation across all market sectors. Prior to this role, Walker-Ford served as Cubic Corporation’s Vice President of Government Affairs and as the Vice President and General Manager for the Eastern Region of the Americas with P/L and delivery responsibilities. Walker-Ford has more than two decades of diverse public and private sector and experience and previously held senior leadership roles with Parsons Corporation, CH2M Hill (now Jacobs) and Booz Allen Hamilton. During her time in the public sector, she served as the Metropolitan Area Rapid Transit Authority’s (MARTA) Deputy General Manager/Deputy CEO and as the Assistant General Manager & Chief Information Officer where she led the Breeze Card Program, the first ever regional all smart card fare payment system in the United States
Just this year, Walker-Ford was elected Chair of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) Foundation and as the Vice Chair of WTS International Board and recognized as the National Women of Color’s STEM Conference as a Technology All Star, the 2019 Transportation Diversity Council (TDC) – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Honoree for Service to the Transportation Industry, by the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials’ Women Who Move the Nation and by the Miami Women Who Rock for National Business Achievement. She has also received past recognitions from the Technology Association of Georgia as the Women in Technology’s Woman of the Year, the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) as the Outstanding MBA of the Year, National Women of Color’s STEM Conference for the Professional Achievement Technology Award - Industry Category and Philadelphia's Women of Substance and Style.
Walker-Ford serves on numerous boards including the Jacksonville University Board of Trustees, WTS International Board, WTS Foundation as Vice Chair, American Public Transportation Association (APTA), American Public Transportation Foundation as Chair, Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville as Chair and ENO Transportation Advisory Board.
Walker-Ford received her bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Memphis and a Master of Science degree in Business Administration from Central Michigan University, and has completed significant coursework toward her doctorate in Information Systems at Nova Southeastern University.
Walker-Ford strives to inspire young girls, women and minority professionals to pursue roles in STEM and transportation-related fields.
Transportation Project Manager, City & County of Denver
CEO, Lumenor Consulting Group
Karen Philbrick, PhD
Executive Director/CEO, Mineta Transportation Institute, San Jose State University
Karen Philbrick, PhD
Karen Philbrick has led the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) at San José State University as executive director since 2014, after five years as MTI research director.
Prior to joining MTI, Dr. Philbrick shaped the field of transportation in a variety of roles, including as assistant director of the National Center for Intermodal Transportation at the University of Denver. She has been appointed three times by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation (Secretaries LaHood, Foxx, and Chao, respectively) to sit on the USDOT Transit Advisory Committee for Safety (TRACS) and, since 2013, she has been elected to serve the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) in several roles, including President in 2018-19. Dr. Philbrick also has the privilege of serving as the President of the Research and Education Division (RED) of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), where she also sits on the ARTBA Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Dr. Phillbrick is part of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on AP080 “Transit Safety and Security” and AR010 “Intercity Passenger Rail”, where she also serves as the research subcommittee lead.
Dr. Philbrick has received many prestigious awards for her leadership excellence and outstanding contributions to her field. In 2015, she received the CUTC Administrative Leadership award and received a commendation on behalf of the City of San José for excellence in transportation policy leadership. In 2016, the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) named Dr. Philbrick a “Woman Who Moves the Nation,” and the SJSU Urban and Regional Planning Department presented her an award for significant contributions to faculty and students. In 2017, the Silicon Valley Business Journal named Dr. Philbrick 1 of the 100 Women of Influence in Silicon Valley, and most recently, she was recognized by the YWCA Silicon Valley with a 2018 Tribute to Women Award for her contributions to the field of transportation.
Committed to advancing women in the transportation industry, Dr. Philbrick also serves on the Women in Transportation Seminar (WTS) Foundation Board as Secretary. Since 2016 she has been an appointed member of the advisory board for the Los Angeles Metro Office of Extraordinary Innovation (OEI), and in 2018 she joined the Executive Committee for the City and County Pavement Improvement Center, UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. She contributes to her community as a part of the Board of Directors for the Rotary Club of San José, and as a member of the Rotoplast committee, which offers volunteer-based free medical services.
On an international level, Dr. Philbrick has led the development of educational and training materials for intermodal specialists. Her work has formed a key portion of an international training effort and seminar, Innovations and Challenges in Intermodal Transportation, in the Philippines and Indonesia. She has been a member of the US delegation to the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Transportation Working Group since 2000.
Dr. Philbrick holds a PhD from the University of Denver and an MA and EdM from Columbia University. She earned her undergraduate degree from California State University, Fresno.
Director of Planning and Programming, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority
Director at Large
Senior Vice President, WSP
Barbara Arens has 35 years of engineering, planning, and consultation experience. She is a Senior Vice President of WSP USA. Since joining WSP USA in 1994, Barbara Arens has served as a lead traffic engineer, project manager, Michigan Area Manager, National Traffic Engineering Manager, Central Region Chief of Staff, Central Region Operations Manager, National Project Operations Manager, Central Region Business Manager overseeing 15 states and 13 offices, and National Project Delivery Director for the Program Management and Construction Management Sector. She is a major project/program manager that has worked in 13 states and is proficient in Program Management/Owner’s Representative Contracts, early preliminary engineering, traffic engineering, environmental impact reports/statements, and planning/operation studies.
Barb uses her experience and passion for people, quality, and clients to drive her career. She is a second-time President of WTS Michigan, a Director for the ACEC Michigan Chapter, a past member of the Mackinac Bridge Authority, an Emeritus Member and past Committee Chair of the TRB Transportation Planning Applications Committee, a past Board Chair of the MSU Civil Engineering Alumni Advisory Board, and a member of COMTO (recently winning the Women Who Move the Nation Award), ITE, ITS America, and Chi Epsilon.
Barb graduated from Michigan State University with both a Bachelor of Science and a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering. She is a licensed engineer in four states and a registered professional traffic operations engineer.
Daveitta Jenkins Knight
Director at Large
Atlanta Officer Leader, RS&H
Daveitta Jenkins Knight
Daveitta Jenkins Knight is the Atlanta Office Leader for RS&H, a national provider of architecture, engineering and consulting services. In this role she supports the development and implementation of business development, marketing and project delivery in support of market growth across the geography. She has 26 years of broad transportation experience.
Prior to joining RS&H Ms. Knight worked with other global consulting firms over the last 20 years. She has served as Vice President/Georgia Transportation Operations Manager, Program Manager, Technology & Quality Manager and the Staffing Resource Manager for the United States, Canada and Latin America, supporting Transportation Programs and Major Projects. She also served as the Georgia Area Manager responsible for branding and the integration of services in the geography.
Ms. Knight began her career with the Georgia Department of Transportation, where she worked in the Office of Road Design as a Design Engineer. She was later promoted to an Assistant Design Group Manager in the Office of Urban Design.
Ms. Knight is involved in several professional and community organizations. She is active in her church and has served on the Trustees Board of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association and the Georgia Tech Minority Affairs Committee (currently known as the Georgia Tech Black Alumni Organization).
Ms. Knight received her Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Georgia. She and her husband live in Cobb County and are the proud parents of three adult daughters. Their oldest daughter and husband are expecting their second daughter in August 2020.
Director at Large
Vice President, Human Resources Director, HNTB
Yvonne Lopez-Diaz is a vice president at HNTB Corporation, an employee-owned infrastructure solutions firm serving public and private owners and contractors. Yvonne currently serves as the firm’s HR Director for the Central and West Regions, where she is focused on supporting the strategic growth and development efforts of these rapidly growing areas of the firm. In this role, Yvonne focuses on driving the alignment of and implementing the organization’s people strategy and plan for deploying HR processes.
Yvonne has more than 37 years of experience in the human resources field, the last 20 of which have been spent in various HR leadership roles with HNTB. Yvonne provides senior level strategic HR support and works closely with office and division leadership to ensure they are organized to win and deliver the biggest projects. She ensures that decisions regarding business results are fully integrated with decisions about people.
Prior to joining HNTB, Yvonne spent 17 years at Bayer Corporation, a world leader and innovator in the field of pharmaceutical and medical products, where she served in successive HR leadership roles that included Benefits and Compensation Analyst, Immigration and Foreign Service Personnel Specialist, and International HR Manager for the Caribbean region including Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Trinidad.
Yvonne holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Phoenix. She is also active in activities that benefit the community and the engineering industry. She has served as a board leader for the Central Florida Zoological Society, the Central Florida Community Foundation, and the Walt Disney World Dreamers & Doers Initiative. In addition, she has served as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, the Ronald McDonald House, Children’s Home Society, Adopt-a-Road, MathCounts, Seminole County Teach-In, and the Citrus Bowl Community Clean-up program. For more than 15 years Yvonne has served Womens Transportation Seminar (WTS), an industry organization that focuses on the advancement of women in transportation, where she chaired the Scholarship Committee for the Central Florida chapter. In addition, in 2016 Yvonne was named Chair of the WTS Greater New York Glass Ceiling Committee where she led the research and development of a study that benchmarked the leadership roles of women in the metropolitan New York and New Jersey regions and identify whether the glass ceiling is a barrier to their growth and success. The results of this study published on International Womens Day in 2019 identified potential policies or programs to support the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in transportation.
Yvonne was one of several featured leaders profiled in “Hispanic Executive” Magazine, a leading international print publication profiling Latino leaders around the world. In addition to focusing on growing women leaders, Yvonne has made it her priority to grow HNTB’s young professionals to assume future leadership positions within HNTB. In 2016, Yvonne was nominated by her HNTB peers for the firm’s coveted “Living the Vision” award. Recipients of this award are employees who have elegantly woven into their daily work the values articulated in the firm’s doctrine, philosophy and culture. She was also named as ENO Center for Transportation’s “Top 10 Women to Watch in Transportation” for implementing innovative ideas and having a positive impact on transportation outcomes.
Director at Large
President & CEO, Assedo Consulting, LLC
Ms. Odessa L. Phillip, P.E, President and CEO of Assedo Consulting, is a structural engineer, transportation professional and public engagement and education expert. She began her career more than 20 years ago as a structural designer and later transitioned to transportation planning, becoming a NEPA professional with an affinity for public outreach and communications. She excels at bringing together state and local stakeholders, politicians, transportation officials, and communities affected by engineering, transportation and construction projects. Ms. Phillip secured a BSCE from Howard University (Structures/Transportation) and a Master of Engineering degree from the University of Maryland, College Park (Construction Project Management).
In 2012, Ms. Phillip founded Assedo Consulting, LLC, a certified African American, woman-owned business enterprise (MBE/WBE). Assedo Consulting provides planning and public outreach services for projects in the planning, design and construction phases of development. An avid supporter of engineering and STEM education, Ms. Phillip also occasionally teaches engineering courses at Howard University as a way of helping to encourage and introduce more women and minorities to the field of engineering. She has served on the Advisory Board for the College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Science (CEACS) at Howard University since 201
Ms. Phillip has been an active member of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS), since 2003, supporting Board efforts in both the Baltimore and DC Chapters including, Scholarship Chair (DC), Mentoring Chair (MD), 30th Anniversary Silent Auction Chair (MD), Treasurer (MD) Vice President (MD), President (MD), and Director-at-Large (MD). In recognition of her service efforts, she was awarded the 2012 Baltimore Chapter Member of the Year. WTS International selected her to participate in its flagship leadership program in 2011 and she later became part of the Inaugural Women’s Business Owner Roundtable in 2013. Ms. Phillip currently serves as a Director at Large of the Baltimore Chapter.
Director at Large
Vice President/Strategic Pursuits Director, HDR
Director at Large
Director, East Coast Business Development, Transportation Sector Lead, PRR