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Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
Jennifer DeBruhl, Virginia DRPT Director

Jennifer DeBruhl, Virginia DRPT Director

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) appoints Jennifer DeBruhl Director. Also, the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce (CWCC) names Regional Transportation District (RTD) Board Director Angie Rivera-Malpiede among the most powerful women in business; the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) honors transportation leaders at Industry Awards Gala; and WAGO hires Jeffrey Govek as new Senior Sales and Application Engineer.

Virginia DRPT

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced on July 22 that Jennifer DeBruhl has been appointed to Director of the Virginia DRPT after serving as Acting Director of the agency since March.

DeBruhl also serves as a member of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, Chair of the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) board, and as a Board Member for several transportation organizations around the Commonwealth. DeBruhl joined DRPT in 2016 as the Chief of Public Transportation following more than 20 years of distinguished public service to the transportation community, at the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

“I have known Jennifer DeBruhl for over ten years. She is an outstanding professional with a strong record of success,” Secretary of Transportation W. Sheppard Miller III said. “I cannot think of anyone better suited to build upon the great foundation at DRPT as it works to help the public transportation and rail industries emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than before. That is why I am so pleased that she has accepted this position”

At DRPT, DeBruhl led the evaluation, assistance and execution of public transportation, commuter assistance, and congestion management programs throughout the Commonwealth through times of significant change, the agency said. She played a significant role in implementing the reforms to Virginia’s Making Efficient + Responsible Investments in Transit (MERIT) program to bring accountability and transparency to public transportation funding. She was also fundamental in implementing the Virginia Breeze intercity bus service in rural communities across the Commonwealth and spearheading the new Transit Ridership Incentive Program to expand regional connectivity and reduce barriers to transit use.

“I’m honored to be the next director of the Virginia DRPT as the agency marks its 30th anniversary,” DeBruhl said. “While the transit and rail industry has been challenged by COVID-19, Virginia has an opportunity to think about the best ways to serve residents moving forward, and I’m eager to work with our partners to find ways to improve. We’ll be focusing on metrics, evaluation, innovation and accountability to provide useful services to the Commonwealth.”

DeBruhl has an undergraduate degree in Urban Studies, a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning, and a Certificate in Public Management, all from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), Leadership American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Class of 2018, Chair of the APTA State Affairs Committee and member of the Board of Directors, Vice Chair of the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Multi-state Transit Technical Assistance Program Steering Committee and is a certified Project Management Professional.


RTD Board Director Angie Rivera-Malpiede has been named one of the Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Business by the CWCC, one of the largest women’s chambers of commerce in the U.S.

Angie Rivera-Malpiede

The CWCC, which represents more than 435 companies and 1,800 individual members, will celebrate Rivera-Malpiede and her fellow 2022 honorees at a gala in August. In addition to her work on the RTD Board, Rivera-Malpiede is Executive Director of Northeast Transportation Connections (NETC), a nonprofit that provides transportation solutions to the communities of northeast Denver, and Vice President of the Foundation for Sustainable Urban Communities, for which she manages the Sustainable Development Initiative.

“I would like to thank the CWCC for the honor of being selected with such a group of amazing leaders,” Rivera-Malpiede said. “I am humbled and grateful. I love what I do. I always have felt like I am living my calling. It has never felt like a job but, rather, an extension of my soul.”

Rivera-Malpiede added, “I remember reading that if you find a job you love, you will never work a day in your life. I find that to be true. It has been such an incredible journey I have been on, and I am touched beyond belief at the great fortune and blessings I have been given.”

Transportation, RTD says, is Rivera-Malpiede’s life’s work, and she has been civically engaged in the community for 45 years. She joined the RTD Board in 2010 with an appointment by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and served two terms as a director representing District C, in the northwest portion of Denver and covering all of Edgewater, portions of northwest Denver, and the areas of Wheat Ridge south of 38th Avenue and east of Wadsworth Boulevard.

During her third term on the Board, which began in 2019, Rivera-Malpiede was elected chair of the 15-member group in 2020 and 2021–pandemic years that carried “ample challenges and opportunities.” Her current term ends at the end of this year, and Rivera-Malpiede has said she will not seek reelection. Instead, she will return to the community to work on transportation issues at the local level.

Rivera-Malpiede was nominated for this award by Debbie Ortega, an at-large member of Denver City Council, who noted that her “longtime friend has devoted her life to serving the Denver community.”

“Her leadership acumen led RTD through a tumultuous time and the hiring of a new CEO,” Ortega said, adding that “the roles she holds are a testament to her business skills. Angie is a good businesswoman and mentor to women in our community.”

This year’s Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Business awardees were selected by past winners from a record number of nominations, noted Simone D. Ross, CEO of the CWCC. Criteria included being passionate about the success and promotion of women in business, civic and community engagement, proven leadership and perseverance.

“This impressive class of winners is truly committed to advancing women in business and actively work to promote equity in the workplace,” Ross said.

Rivera-Malpiede’s work was recognized last year with a Celebrating Women Who Move the Nation award for 2020 from COMTO, and, in 2013, she was appointed to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) National Hispanic Transportation Council and currently sits on the Denver Mayor’s Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

COMTO honored 17 transportation leaders at its 2022 Industry Awards Gala.


COMTO, a nonprofit organization founded in 1971 dedicated to advancing minorities in the transportation industry with 35 chapters in the U.S. and Canada, honored 17 transportation leaders at its 2022 Industry Awards Gala on Monday, July 11, 2022, during its National Meeting and Training Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The 2022 Industry Awards were presented to individuals, companies, agencies, organizations and chapters that made “outstanding contributions to the transportation industry in 2021, at a time when the transportation industry and the world continued to grapple with disruption due to COVID-19.” Industry Awards honorees come from all sectors and modes of transportation. Some of this year’s highlights included:

  • The first-ever Civic Equity Champion Award went to Olatunji Oboi Reed, President & CEO, The Equiticity Racial Equity Movement based in Chicago, Ill. 
  • COMTO Philadelphia took home two awards for Best Community Engagement and Chapter of the Year. 
  • Jacobs won Corporation of the Year for its local and national contributions to COMTO, including wide-spread employee engagement and participation in the organization. 
  • Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) won Public Agency of the Year for its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) accomplishments with Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs), small businesses, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
  • Greer Johnson Gillis, Senior Vice President of System Development and Capital Programs, Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA), received the Thomas G. Neusom Founders’ Leadership Award, the organization’s highest honor.
  • Neil Pedersen, Executive Director, National Academies’ Transportation Research Board (TRB) received the President & CEO’s Award for Excellence for his contributions to COMTO and the industry. 

“The Industry Awards Gala is always the perfect ending to our National Meeting and Training Conference as we get to celebrate excellence in our industry and honor those who exemplify the COMTO mission and vision,” said April Rai, COMTO President and CEO. “Much like our conference theme, which focused on moving forward despite disruption, these individuals, companies, agencies, organizations, and chapters went above and beyond during what was still a challenging time in our world to advance equity in the transportation industry and our local communities. Congratulations to them, as well as all of our nominees.”

The recipients of the 2022 Industry Awards are:

  • Emerging Leader of the Year: Qiana McKoy, Diversity Specialist, HNTB and Secretary, COMTO Atlanta.
  • Industry Innovation Award: (Tie) Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) and Palm Tran (Palm Beach County, Fla.).
  • Public Agency of the Year: MDOT Corporation of the Year: Jacobs
  • Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) Firm of The Year: Suzanne Arkle and ZANN Inc. and Associates (Denver, Colo.)
  • Gerald Anderson Member of the Year Award: Ryan Daniel, CEO, St. Cloud Metropolitan Transit Commission (Metro Bus) and President, Minnesota Public Transit Association (MPTA)
  • Civic Equity Champion: Olatunji Oboi Reed, President & CEO, The Equiticity Racial Equity Movement (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Rev. Jerry Moore President’s Leadership Award: Christopher Macklin, DBE, Diversity Compliance Specialist, JTA and President of COMTO Jacksonville (2018-2022)
  • Thomas G. Neusom Founders’ Leadership Award: Greer Johnson Gillis, Senior Vice President of System Development and Capital Programs, JTA
  • Best Community Engagement Award: COMTO Philadelphia
  • Best Membership Recruitment & Retention Award: COMTO Miami
  • Chapter of the Year Award: COMTO Philadelphia
  • Chair’s Challenge Award: COMTO Fort Lauderdale

In addition, the President and CEO’s Awards for Excellence went to the following individuals for their contributions to COMTO and the transportation industry:

  • Patricia Mosher, Senior Vice President, Director of Corporate Communications & Strategic Planning, HNTB
  • Pamela Boswell, Vice President, Workforce Development & Educational Services, APTA
  • Neil Pedersen, Executive Director, National Academies’ TRB
  • Robert (Bob) Prince, President of Foot Prince and COMTO Board Chair (2012-2015)

A complete list of this year’s awards, including descriptions can be found here.


Jeffrey Govek

WAGO has hired Jeffrey Govek as its new Senior Sales and Application Engineer, the manufacturing company announced on July 25. After receiving his degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tulsa, he received his MBA from Methodist University. Govek, now based in the Dallas area, has worked in the oil and gas, printing and Interner of Things (IoT) industries. He also ran his own automation consulting company for many years prior to joining WAGO.

“As a prior customer of WAGO and automation products, I feel that I can help demonstrate the value that WAGO brings to existing and future customers,” said Govek. “I’m excited to be at a growing company with great products and great people.” 

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