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People News: NTSB, STV

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
Patrick Warren, Rail Safety Director, NTSB (left); and Mike Budinski, Deputy Director of Research and Engineering, NTSB (right).

Patrick Warren, Rail Safety Director, NTSB (left); and Mike Budinski, Deputy Director of Research and Engineering, NTSB (right).

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) names Patrick Warren as Rail Safety Director and Mike Budinski as Deputy Director of Research and Engineering. Also, STV elevates Kristen Van Gilst to Chief of Staff; Judy Jones joins the firm as Senior Vice President of Strategic Sales; and Eugene (Gene) Kim joins the firm’s Transportation West group as Senior Vice President and California Area Manager.


NTSB announced April 15 that it has named Patrick Warren Director of the Office of Railroad, Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Investigations.

Throughout his career, Warren has been deeply involved in addressing national rail and aviation safety issues, regulations, operations and security, collaborating extensively with the NTSB on investigations and safety recommendation implementation.

Warren previously served as the Chief Safety and Security Officer for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for more than five years. Before the MTA, Warren held several executive leadership positions, including serving as the Executive Director of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the Deputy Associate Administrator for its Office of Railroad Safety and as the Deputy Director of the Office of Airports, Planning ​and Programming at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). During his tenure at the FRA, Warren spearheaded the implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC), an NTSB priority since 1969.

Warren is a retired U.S. Army colonel, having served 31 years in uniform.

NTSB veteran Mike Budinski has been selected as the Deputy Director of the NTSB’s Office of Research and Engineering. For 16 years, Budinski headed the agency’s materials laboratory. He and his team have played pivotal roles in numerous high-profile accident investigations, contributing significantly to the formulation of transportation safety recommendations across all modes.

Budinski oversaw an extensive renovation of the laboratory, ensuring it keeps its place as a world-class, state-of-the-art facility. Before NTSB, Budinski served as a​ Lab Group Manager for materia​ls analysis at the General Motors Fuel Cell Research Center and held managerial and scientific positions at Eastman Kodak. He is credited with more than 40 patents in various domains, including coated metals, optics fabrication, medical devices and automotive proton exchange membrane fuel cell powerplants.

Budinski earned his Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Buffalo and his Master of Science degree in metallurgy from the Ohio State University, where he studied at the Fontana Corrosion Center. He is also recognized as a fellow of the American Society for Materials International.

Both Warren and Budinski are members of the federal government’s Senior Executive Service.

“I’m grateful for the expertise that both Patrick and Mike bring to the agency,” said NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy. “Their significant contributions will advance the NTSB’s mission and enhance safety for the traveling public. I look forward to our agency’s future with them on our leadership team.” 

Left to Right: Kristen Van Gilst, Chief of Staff; Judy Jones, Senior Vice President of Strategic Sales; and Gene Kim, Senior Vice President and California Area Manager.


STV announced April 16 that Kristen Van Gilst, PMP, CCM, has stepped into the role of Chief of Staff to the CEO. The role, STV says, “encompasses core operational and strategic business responsibilities and provides direct assistance to the CEO and senior leadership team as the organization continues to implement its Strategic Plan.”

Van Gilst has served in various roles at STV, allowing her to gain “a deep sense of the business and its operating groups,” according to the company. Most recently serving as Digital Advisory Lead, she has leveraged her industry expertise to develop digital tools and process improvement solutions for clients and internal stakeholders. Prior to STV, Van Gilst worked on project and program management at a globally established architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) firm, primarily on large-scale design-build programs. She has managed the design and engineering coordination, as well as stakeholder engagement for a multibillion-dollar capital program and worked on disaster recovery construction projects.

Van Gilst is actively engaged within the industry and serves in multiple leadership roles. Earlier this year, she was elected to serve as Vice President on the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) Charlotte Metro Chapter’s 2023-24 Executive Board. She also sits on the Construction Advisory Council at Purdue University, the Technology Subcommittee for the Construction Management Association of America and serves as a mentor in the ACE Mentor Program of Charlotte, where she leads the Uptown Charlotte team. She also serves as a mentor and regional judge for the global Future City Competition.

Van Gilst earned her MBA with a concentration in Project Management from Southern New Hampshire University. She also holds a Master of Science in Construction Management Technology from Purdue University and Bachelor of Architecture from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Judy Jones has joined the firm as Senior Vice President of Strategic Sales. “Building on the excitement and momentum of STV’s transformational growth over the past few years, Jones will be responsible for successfully advancing new sales, growing STV’s markets and diversifying its geographic footprint, in alignment with STV’s Strategic Plan,” the company stated in a release.

In this newly created role, Jones will collaborate with STV’s local teams and national experts to better position the firm for taking on some of the most complex infrastructure challenges facing its communities and clients, today and long into the future.

“Judy has an incredible track record of success within our industry and a remarkable understanding of business development strategies that will spur significant and sustainable growth for STV,” said STV Chief Development Officer Jeremy C. Boswell. “We are thrilled to welcome Judy to STV amid a transformational era for infrastructure development in North America, where we are witnessing a generational opportunity to make communities better in new and lasting ways.”

Jones has more than 40 years of marketing experience and brings a depth of knowledge about the AEC industry. She has served in marketing and sales leadership positions at leading AEC firms, with responsibilities ranging from strategic planning and client engagement, to pre-positioning, promotional activities and other growth initiatives. Within the AEC industry, Jones has comprehensive experience with business development efforts across all sectors and services, including highway and bridge, rail and transit, freight rail, aviation, ports and marine, tunneling, water, power and program management/construction management (PMCM).

Jones has long been an advocate and champion of the AEC industry, supporting local civic engagement and community events, as well as regional and national market organizations and associations, including WTS, the American Public Transit Association (APTA) and the Society of Marketing Professionals (SMPS).

Gene Kim, Ph.D., has joined the firm’s Transportation West group as Senior Vice President and California Area Manager. In this role, Kim will oversee the transportation market across the state, driving business development, client and community relations, staff engagement, project delivery and financial performance.

“Gene brings invaluable experience in advancing major infrastructure projects throughout California,” said Liz Justison, P.E., PMP, President of the Transportation West group at STV. “His leadership will bolster STV’s commitment to delivering innovative infrastructure solutions that foster sustainable growth and help local communities in this dynamic region.”

Kim boasts nearly 25 years of experience in the transportation industry, including strategic planning, business development and project delivery roles across a diverse portfolio of transit and rail projects. Prior to joining STV, he led the strategic delivery efforts for the West Coast transportation business at a global infrastructure consulting firm and served as Deputy Executive Officer of Mobility Corridors at LA Metro.

Kim holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Berkeley; a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of California at Irvine; and a Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Planning from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). He is a fellow of the Eno Center for Transportation, an advisory board member of the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS) and the founder of Asian American Leadership in Mobility (AALM).

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