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Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
NYMTA Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Lourdes Zapata

NYMTA Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Lourdes Zapata

The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) announces Red Line project leadership team and additions to Purple Line team. Also, the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (NYMTA) appoints Lourdes Zapata as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer; Gov. Roy Cooper names Joseph R. “Joey” Hopkins as Secretary of North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT); and AECOM appoints Richard Barrett as Regional Chief Executive of its Canada business.


MTA on Sept. 6 announced the leadership team for the Red Line project in Baltimore, including new Project Director Allison Scott and Communications Manager Jerome Horne. According to MTA, the Red Line team will oversee project development and delivery of this vital east-west transit service, which was relaunched by Gov. Wes Moore in June after having been canceled in 2015. The team, MTA says, will engage with the public, stakeholders and local government partners to evaluate how the Red Line can best meet the region’s needs and determine a locally preferred alternative by winter 2024.

Scott brings more than 18 years of experience to the position of Project Director. She has served as a civil engineer, successfully leading transportation and transit projects in urban, multimodal environments from concept studies through preliminary and final design. She has been the civil engineering lead on numerous large transit projects in the metropolitan area as both a design oversight consultant and an engineer of record, including Montgomery County Bus Rapid Transit on US 29 and MD 586, D.C. Department of Transportation Streetcar and K Street NW Transitway, and the MTA’s Purple Line light rail project.

Horne comes to the Red Line from TransitCenter, a foundation working to improve public transit in cities across the U.S. His prior experience also includes roles at Foursquare Integrated Transit Planning and at IndyGo, where he focused on proactive community engagement and improving the rider’s transit experience. Horne is a respected transit advocate and was a member of the 2022 American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Emerging Leader program.

“I am excited to add Allison and Jerome to the team that will move the Red Line forward,” said Maryland Transit Administrator Holly Arnold. “These individuals recognize the important role transit plays in supporting sustainable communities and providing access to employment, education and recreation.”

“The addition of key members of the Red Line project advance Governor Moore’s pledge to bring this critical project to reality,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld. “Allison and Jerome join a team that’s committed to delivering a project that will connect neighborhoods, grow our economy and create new opportunities for education, jobs and a higher quality of life.”

In addition to the Red Line team leadership, the agency also announced that Alexa Heidrich has been named Deputy Project Director for the Purple Line project in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, and will work with Ray Biggs II, Purple Line Project Director, to deliver this critical infrastructure project.

Heidrich is a seasoned program and project manager with more than a decade of experience leading multidiscipline teams to solve complex planning and development challenges. Career highlights span the Middle East and Australia across public, private and nonprofit sectors. She comes to MTA following her role as a Senior Project Manager for the Johns Hopkins University Facilities and Real Estate team. Prior to that, she was a Senior Urban Planner and Project Manager for AECOM in Washington, D.C. and in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Kathryn (Kat) Lamb has been named Communications Director for the Purple Line. Her career has spanned two decades of media relations, public relations, internal and crisis communications for government, nonprofit and corporate organizations in Washington, D.C., Seattle and most recently the United Kingdom. She was the Senior Communications Manager for Hightower and served as spokesperson for multiple transportation projects with DCI group.


The New York MTA on Sept. 6 announced the appointment of Lourdes Zapata as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. Zapata takes over for Tracey Mitchell who has served on an interim basis since Feb. 24.

In this role, Zapata will oversee the agency’s Department of Diversity and Civil Rights, overseeing the MTA’s “continued efforts to provide equitable and inclusive opportunities for both career opportunities within the transit authority and contracting and business opportunities for external parties.

Zapata served as the Chief Diversity Officer for the State of New York under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo from 2018 to 2019, where she worked on policy and proactive initiatives to increase diversity within the State’s workforce. Most recently, Zapata has served as the President and CEO of the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO). She originally joined this Bronx nonprofit community and economic development organization in September 1997 as the Director of Community Development. Throughout her work at SoBRO, Zapata has developed and managed more than 750 affordable housing units, planning efforts to rezone the Third Avenue corridor, Bruckner Boulevard and other sections of the Bronx. In her return to the organization in August 2019, Zapata made history as its first woman and Latina leader.

Zapata has also served the State as Executive Vice President of the Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development at Empire State Development (ESD), where she was responsible for the development and oversight of statewide Minority or Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) procurement policy. In that role, Zapata oversaw certification, compliance and business development activities, and worked with State commissioners and the Legislature on matters affecting MWBEs.

Zapata was born and raised in the Bronx. She received her master’s degree in public administration from New York University and a bachelor’s degree from Hood College in Frederick, Maryland.

“The key connector for New Yorkers is mass transit, and there is arguably no better time to join the MTA than right now, as it builds back with a vision for an inclusive transit system,” said Zapata. “For my part, I will put past lessons to use to further develop and increase participation of minority and women-owned businesses as the MTA embarks on not only improving essential transportation, but also creating job opportunities that affect our communities.”


Gov. Ray Cooper on Sept. 5 announced that Joseph R. “Joey” Hopkins, current NCDOT Chief Operating Officer, will succeed Eric Boyette, effective Oct. 1, as Secretary of NCDOT. Boyette is retiring from state government after 27 years of service.

As the Chief Operating Officer of NCDOT Joey oversees the different modes of transportation including the Division of Highways, Rail Division, Division of Aviation, Ferry Division and Integrated Mobility Division. In addition to this he manages Communications, Human Resources, and the Office of Strategic Planning and Programming.

Hopkins has worked at NCDOT for more than 30 years in a variety of capacities, including Deputy Chief Engineer, Division Engineer, Deputy Division Engineer, Division Maintenance Engineer, and Division Operations Engineer, all in Division 5.

He participated as a member of the Department’s Transformation Management Team and was instrumental in developing the Strategic Prioritization Process. This process, NCDOT says, is the forerunner of the Strategic Mobility Formula—a data driven process currently used to help prioritize transportation projects in North Carolina.

He is a graduate of North Carolina State University.

“Secretary Boyette has served North Carolina with distinction during my term as Governor, first as Secretary of the Department of Information Technology and now as Secretary of Transportation, and I’m deeply grateful for his hard work and commitment to the people of our state,” said Gov. Cooper. “I’m confident that Joey Hopkins will continue this outstanding work as Secretary of the Department of Transportation when he steps into this new role a few weeks from now.”


AECOM on Sept. 6 announced that it has appointed Richard Barrett as Regional Chief Executive of the company’s Canada business, effective Oct. 1.

According to AECOM, Barrett brings extensive industry experience to his role and will be responsible for delivering the company’s strategy, overseeing day-to-day operations and driving long-term growth for his region.

Barrett has nearly 35 years of industry experience, including 23 years with AECOM and its legacy companies. Throughout his career with the firm, he has served in multiple leadership roles in the Australia New Zealand region, including his most recent position as Regional Chief Executive. He succeeds Marc Devlin, current Regional Chief Executive of the company’s Canada business, who is retiring from his leadership position and will continue with the business as an advisor.

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