WTS Foundation 2020-2022 Board of Directors
Senior Vice President & Principal Director - National Transit & Rail Business Line Leader, WSP USA
Jannet Walker-Ford is a nationally recognized transportation industry executive with WSP USA, a leading engineering and professional services consultancy. Walker-Ford has more than two decades of diverse experience in technology, mobility and transportation systems. In her role with WSP, she serves as the senior vice president & national transit and rail leader and is responsible for leading and growing the firm’s business in the national transit and rail markets and establishing strategies that will position WSP for major advisory, planning, design, program management and construction management assignments.
Prior to this appointment, Walker-Ford served as a senior vice president for the Americas transit market sector at an international engineering services firm where she was responsible for the leadership and strategic direction of the transit market in North and South America, and previously as a vice president of government relations for a technology firm where she provided transportation focused, executive-level bi-partisan collaboration with elected officials at all levels of government, as well as trade industry associations and non-profit organizations. She has served in an executive leadership capacity on programs and projects for large transit and transportation agencies across the U.S., including a public-private partnership for the Massachusetts Bay Area Transportation Agency and a multi-billion-dollar capacity enhancement program for the Philadelphia International Airport. During her tenure with the public sector, Walker-Ford served as the Deputy General Manager/Deputy CEO as well as the Chief Information Officer at the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, where she led the implementation of the regional smart card fare collection system, the first of its kind in north America.
Walker Ford is a graduate of the University of Memphis with a bachelor’s degree in management information systems, Central Michigan University with a master’s degree in business administration. She has completed significant coursework towards her doctorate in information systems from Nova Southeastern University.
She serves on numerous diverse boards including as board chair of the American Public Transportation Foundation, is a board member of the American Public Transportation Association, chair of the WTS International Foundation Board and vice chair of the WTS International Board, ENO Transportation Advisory Board, a member of the Jacksonville University Board of Trustees, and is chair of the Greater Jacksonville Cultural Council Board. Additionally, Walker-Ford serves as the Vice Chair of ITS America’s Sustainability & Resiliency Committee and is also a member of the IT Senior Management Forum and the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials and is an Alumnus of Leadership APTA and the ENO Executive Leadership program.
Walker-Ford has received numerous awards throughout her career, including the 2019 Women of Color STEM Technology All-Star Award, the 2019 Miami Women Who Rock’s National Business Achievement Award, the 2019 Transportation Diversity Council/Massachusetts Institute of Technology honoree for Services to the Transportation Industry, and a 2019 Conference of Minority Transportation Officials’ Women Who Move the Nation honoree.
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
Managing Principal, Cincar Consulting Group, LLC
Barbara Arens has 35 years of engineering, planning, and consulting experience. She is a Managing Principal in C2G and is a past Senior Vice President of an international engineering firm. Barb is an experienced civil engineer, project manager, and business manager that has worked in state, regional, and national leadership roles. She has worked in 13 states and is proficient in Owner’s Representative Contracts, early preliminary engineering, traffic engineering, environmental impact reports/statements, and planning/operation studies. She has strong organizational and operational skills for project and agency delivery.
Barb uses her experience and passion for people, quality, and clients to drive her career. She is a WTS Michigan Chapter Past-President, after finishing her second-time as President of WTS Michigan, a WTS Foundation Board Director at Large, an ACEC Michigan Board Member, 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 (winning the 2018 Women Who Move the Nation Award), ITE, ITS America, ACEC, and Chi Epsilon.
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, National Workforce Pursuits Strategist, HNTB
Yvonne Lopez-Diaz is a vice president at HNTB Corporation, an employee-owned infrastructure solutions firm serving public and private owners and contractors. With HNTB for more than 20 years, she currently serves as the firm’s National Workforce Pursuits Strategist where she collaborates with leadership in shaping workforce requirements on major pursuits.
Yvonne holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Phoenix and is actively engaged with Womens Transportation Seminar (WTS), an industry organization that focuses on the advancement of women in transportation where she currently serves as a Director at Large on its Foundation Board. She also serves as a member of the WTS Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Committee, and the Scholarship Committee. Yvonne was profiled in “Hispanic Executive” Magazine, a leading international print publication profiling Latino leaders around the world. In addition to focusing on growing women leaders, she has made it her priority to grow HNTB’s young professionals to assume future leadership positions within HNTB. 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.
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.
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