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Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez has been named as the recipient of LIT's 2023 Founders Award.

FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez has been named as the recipient of LIT's 2023 Founders Award.

Latinos In Transit (LIT) names Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Administrator Nuria Fernandez as the recipient of this year’s Founders Award. Also, Trinity Rail names Reed Lanham as Vice President of Rail.

LIT on Sept. 26 announced that it has named FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez as this year’s recipient of the organization’s Founders Award for her “dedication, vision, and unwavering commitment to transportation equity.” The award was presented to Fernandez following a keynote speech, in which she delivered to 300 registered attendees at LIT’s 2023 Leadership Summit luncheon in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 23.

“She is a tireless advocate for diversity and inclusion within the transportation industry, and she has worked to ensure that the voices of underrepresented groups are heard, valued, and understood in the decision-making processes,” LIT said.

Regarding the honor, Administrator Fernandez noted, “I want to thank Latinos In Transit, ‘mi gente’, for presenting me with this honor. So many of us have similar and shared experiences on our professional journeys in this industry, but one thing is certain: Latinos In Transit has transformed our lives and outlook for the future. Muchas gracias!”

Before joining the FTA, Fernandez served as chair of the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Executive Board from 2019-2020. During her tenure, she ensured LIT had a seat at the table by supporting the signing of a collaborative agreement between LIT and APTA. This was a crucial step that led to LIT being recognized in the transit industry as an advocate for professional development of Latinos and other minorities in the transportation industry. In 2021, LIT collaborated on APTA’s Racial Equity Action Plan and other initiatives. With Fernandez’s support, LIT has been cemented as a powerful advocate in the transportation industry and beyond.

LIT Board of Directors President Alva Carrasco surprised Fernandez with the announcement recognizing her for advocacy for Latinos and minorities. LIT board members, past and present, as well as Flora Castillo (past honoree) joined her on stage to present her with the award.

“Nuria is an inspirational leader and a role model to so many people. She embodies LIT’s mission and vision,” Carrasco said. “With Nuria’s help, [LIT] has opened many more doors than we ever imagined.”

According to LIT, the Founders Award is a prestigious recognition and symbolizes the highest honor within the organization. It’s presented to individuals or organizations who have “made exceptional contributions, demonstrated outstanding leadership, and played a pivotal role in the establishment and growth of LIT.”

“Recipients of this award are celebrated not only for their historical significance but also for their enduring influence, as their legacy serves as a source of inspiration and a reminder of the organization’s roots,” LIT said. “They are visionary leaders, innovators, and trailblazers who helped lay the foundation for LIT’s success, and whose dedication and commitment continue to inspire and guide others.”

Past honorees include Terry Solis, 2018; Flora Castillo, 2019; and MV Transportation Inc., 2021.

Trinity Metro announced Sept. 19 that Reed Lanham has been selected as the agency’s new Vice President of Rail, following a competitive national search. In this role, Lanham will “put new programs into place to elevate the quality, reliability and consistency of Trinity Railway Express and TEXRail services,” the agency said.

Trinity Metro VP of Rail Reed Lanham

Lanham, who brings 16 years of commuter rail experience to the position, first joined Trinity Metro in 2015, holding a variety of leadership roles in rail, most recently as Deputy Vice President of Rail. During his tenure, Lanham played a key role in the start-up of TEXRail and successfully led Trinity Metro’s implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC) on both Trinity Railway Express and TEXRail. For the last four years, he has overseen TEXRail operations.

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