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People News: NYMTA, OneRail Coalition, STV, HDR

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
Mueller was sworn in June 29 as the sixth MTA Chief of Police

John Mueller was sworn in June 29 as the sixth MTA Chief of Police

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has appointed a new MTA Chief of Police. Also, OneRail Coalition announced winners of Canby Awards, STV welcomed new key leaders throughout Texas, and HDR has named a new Intermodal Transportation Planning Practice Leader.

The MTA swore in on June 29 former Yonkers Police Commissioner John Mueller as the sixth Chief of the MTA Police Department. Mueller, who comes to the MTA following 28 years of service at the Yonkers Police Department, will be responsible for overseeing the more than 1,000-member MTA Police Department, which patrols and secures the MTA’s operating region stretching from Montauk, N.Y. to Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

During his recent 10 years as Police Commissioner, Yonkers saw a 45% reduction in crime, which has been credited to “focused community engagement by officers,” a program Mueller pushed during his time as the Commanding Officer of the 4th Precinct, according to the MTA.

“Yonkers is the second largest city in the MTA region, and the Chief understands many of the same issues we are facing,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “His experience in leading and developing police operations, and his ability to effect positive change was what made him such a strong candidate.”

“John Mueller is everything the MTA needs to lead a growing police force that riders depend on to keep our transportation system safe,” said MTA Chief Safety Officer Patrick Warren. “John’s experience in leading and developing police operations, and ability to effect positive change was what made him such a strong candidate. In his time at Yonkers PD, he understood the importance of community collaboration that built trust and helped reduced crime nearly in half in the third largest city in the state.”

Mueller holds a graduate degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, attended the Police Executive Research Forum and the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Defense and Homeland Security, and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

“I am honored and excited to be joining the officers of the MTA Police Department whose outstanding reputation is well known,” said Incoming Chief of MTA Police John Mueller.  “Together we will demonstrate the skills and professionalism, listening to our riders concerns and addressing those concerns, as we strive to make the MTA system the safest transit system in the country.”

Director of stakeholders group OneRail Coalition Devon Barnhart announced on June 28 that Michael Davisson, a professional staff  member on the the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee for Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Chuck Baker, President of the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) and Chair of the OneRail Coalition, are the winners of the newly established Canby Awards—named for the organization’s former director Anne Canby—in recognition of their strong support for advancing rail in the U.S.

ASLRRA President Chuck Baker (left) received an inaugural OneRail Coalition Canby Award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. Here he is with Anne Canby, former OneRail executive director, after whom the award is named.

Davisson, who helped draft the rail title that was incorporated in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, is the recipient of the Congressional Staff Award, and Baker, who helped many of the Coalition’s proposals and priorities become law, is the recipient of the OneRail Member Award.

“I am grateful to the OneRail Coalition for creating these exciting awards,” said Canby, who helped found OneRail in 2009 as a nonprofit organization to “educate the public and policymakers about the positive attributes rail provides to the U.S. transportation network and economy,” and served as Executive Director for more than a decade until stepping down in 2021. “Now more than ever, rail is a critical part of the solution to our nation’s infrastructure, economic and climate challenges.”

Canby previously served as New Jersey Commissioner of Transportation, Delaware’s Secretary of Transportation and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Throughout her time with OneRail, Canby brought together a wide variety of stakeholders, including Class I, II and II freight railroads; Amtrak; rail labor unions; commuter rail; rail suppliers; engineering companies; and rail passengers.

 “These awards, which will be presented annually, were inspired by Anne’s commitment and perseverance for finding common ground to advance and strengthen rail in the U.S.,” said Barnhart. “This year’s recipients exemplify the passion and optimism that Anne brought to her work with OneRail. As OneRail continues to grow, we are driven by Anne’s vision to work together in support of our rail network, which is vital to supporting the economy, meeting our climate change goals and ensuring the efficient movement of people and goods.”

To grow its resources in Texas, STV, a multidiscipline engineering, architectural, planning and program, and construction management firm has added three new key hires throughout its Texas locations: Eric Greenman, PE, as Vice President and Senior Client Relations Leader in Fort Worth; Eric Ploch, PE, as Vice President and Director of Program Management in Austin; and Charles “Sonny” Smoak, Jr., PE, as Vice President and Houston Market Municipal Leader. The new hires were announced on June 30 by STV company CP&Y.

“The talented industry leaders who have joined our team underscore our continued growth in Texas,” said J.J. Roohms, PE, president of CP&Y. “Their collective strength adds to the depth of our expertise, and they each bring another dimension of exceptional client service.”

Greenman brings 24 years of advanced planning, final design and construction experience. He specializes in the full suite of advisory services to clients during the life cycle of a project, from helping municipalities create projects, finding ways to secure funding, navigating through the environmental clearance process, designing and constructing projects and up through project completion. Throughout the years, Greenman has also managed and designed more than 150 miles and $2.5 billion in roadways for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). As senior client relations leader, Greenman will serve as a trusted advisor to clients, focusing on identifying solutions to complex challenges and helping clients with their most pressing needs. Notably, he worked with the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) through their Military-Community Planning program and local government planning processes to implement roadway improvements in Fort Worth and River Oaks, Texas. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M University.

Greenman joins STV as Vice President and Senior Client Relations Leader in the firm’s Fort Worth, Tex. office.

Ploch has than 30 years of experience in transportation design, planning and program management. He previously served as a senior program manager and principal-in-charge of critical General Engineering Consultant (GEC) contracts and project management consulting projects throughout Texas. Ploch has also provided leadership and advisory services to major transportation clients such as the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA), TxDOT and the Missouri Department of Transportation. He is also heavily involved in the Austin community and has served as principal-in-charge for transit and regional mobility assignments with the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (CapMetro), the City of Austin and the TxDOT Austin District. As director of program management, Ploch will focus on enhancing the portfolio of program management services at STV and CP&Y and aligning market opportunities with capabilities. He received both a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in civil engineering from the Missouri University of Science & Technology.

Ploch joins STV as Vice President and Director of Program Management in the firm’s Austin, Tex. office.

Smoak has more than 22 years of experience in municipal work. Previously, he served in corporate leadership, as well as senior project manager on various infrastructure projects, including roadway, water/wastewater, traffic engineering and other infrastructure design projects. He has also supported the Texas General Land Office (GLO) on disaster recovery work related to Hurricanes Ike and Harvey. During his support of the GLO, he was directly involved in the environmental clearance and reconstruction of more than 1,000 homes. He earned a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering and Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and psychology from Louisiana State University.

Smoak joins STV as Vice President and Houston Market Municipal Leader.

STV’s history in Texas includes such projects as the Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority’s New Starts Light Rail Transit System and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Light Rail System. CP&Y has served Texas for more than 40 years, partnering with TxDOT on multiple key projects.

Kevin Keller has been named HDR’s new Intermodal Transportation Planning Practice Leader, responsible for planning, directing and monitoring large intermodal transportation planning projects. He will “assist clients with long-range visioning, strategic and tactical planning, policy, funding and finance, supply chain logistics and project development, and will collaborate with multidisciplinary teams serving the freight rail, maritime and trucking industries to develop solutions tailored to clients’ unique needs,” HDR said.

Kevin Keller has been named HDR’s new Intermodal Transportation Planning Practice Leader

“The recent passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act represents a monumental opportunity for the clients we serve, providing a five-year authorization of significantly increased funding, allowing them to advance state of good repair as well as expansion projects,” Keller said. “Taken together with looming agency retirements and staff shortages, our industry’s role to serve as trusted advisors and extensions of staff becomes even more important.” 

With more than 30 years of experience, Keller has worked with state and federal agencies, freight railroads, port authorities, and other clients across North and Central America. “He is a recognized expert in state rail plan development, federal grant application strategy and development, National Environmental Policy Act strategy, and intermodal facility planning,” HDR noted. “His broad-reaching planning and analysis skills include capital and long-range planning, intermodal facility economic analyses, environmental permitting, engineering design, and service planning and operations.”

Keller is well known to the U.S. Department of Transportation modal agencies, including the Federal Railroad Administration, the Maritime Administration, as well as the U.S. Surface Transportation Board. He recently worked with the White House Supply Chain Task Force to reallocate federal funding for improvements at one of HDR’s port client’s facilities.

“Kevin has a unique understanding of freight supply chains, including ocean ports, river ports, railroads and trucking,” said Freight Rail Director Bill Hjelholt. “His expertise is invaluable to our clients and regulators as objectives and policies evolve into plans, which seek funding, protect the environment and create productive infrastructure.”

“Kevin is not only a recognized industry expert in the intermodal transportation planning space and a highly sought-after resource within HDR, he drives the state of the practice by innovating new approaches and solutions for our clients every day,” said Global Transportation Planning Director Santanu Roy. “I’m excited about enhancing our intermodal transportation planning services across our program under his leadership.”

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