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People News: WTS-LA, TSA

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
WTS-LA award winners Dina Aryan-Zahlan (left) and Tony Gioiello of the Port of Los Angeles.

WTS-LA award winners Dina Aryan-Zahlan (left) and Tony Gioiello of the Port of Los Angeles.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) and officials from the Port of Los Angeles were honored at the annual WTS-LA Scholarship and Awards dinner. Also, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has appointed 25 voting members to serve on the Surface Transportation Security Advisory Committee (STSAC).

The WTS-LA (Women’s Transportation Seminar-Los Angeles Chapter) on Nov. 16 presented seven annual awards to transportation companies and individuals. Among them were CHSRA, which received the 2022 Employer of the Year Award, and Dina Aryan-Zahlan and Tony Gioiello of the Port of Los Angeles, who received the 2022 Woman of the Year award and the 2022 Honorable Ray LaHood Award, respectively.

Pictured (left to right): WTS-LA President Jenelle Saunders, Southern California Regional Director LaDonna DiCamillo, and WTS-LA Vice President Heather Anderson. DiCamillo accepted the Employer of the Year Award for CHSRA. (Photograph Courtesy of CHSRA.)

CHSRA was recognized “for advancing women in transportation, which is key to advancing transportation and ensuring a diverse, inclusive and equitable workforce,” said WTS-LA President Jenelle Saunders. Women make up more than half of CHSRA’s workforce. 

“The Authority [CHSRA] provides exceptional opportunities for women in the transportation field and empowers women to take a lead role in shaping the nation’s high-speed rail industry,” said Southern California Regional Director LaDonna DiCamillo, who accepted the award on behalf of CHSRA. “It is an honor to be recognized by WTS-LA for the strides the Authority is making in developing and cultivating a diverse and inclusive workforce, to deliver an environmentally sustainable, fast and safe transportation network for all Californians.”

Port of Los Angeles Chief Harbor Engineer Dina Aryan-Zahlan was named Woman of the Year, an award that “recognizes a female leader in the transportation field who has made an outstanding contribution to the industry, and directly contributed to the advancement of women and minorities through programs or opportunities in the transportation field.” Aryan-Zahlan oversees the day-to-day activities of the port’s Engineering Division, responsible for the planning and design of port infrastructure and facilities that support a wide variety of operations at the port complex.

Deputy Executive Director of Development Tony Gioiello earned the Honorable Ray LaHood Award, which “recognizes a man who has sought out opportunities to advance and advocate for women in the workplace, and actively ensure that women are able to compete for key positions of authority within their own organization.” Gioiello oversees some 450 employees in the Engineering, Construction, Construction and Maintenance, and Goods Movement divisions.

“Leading by example, both Dina and Tony have paved the way for advancing women in the workplace and promoting gender diversity in the transportation field,” Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka said. “Because of their leadership and commitment, women now represent 30% of the professional engineering workforce at the Port of Los Angeles. We are proud to join with WTS in honoring and recognizing these two exemplary executives.”

WTS-LA is one of the largest chapters of WTS International, a more than 6,000-strong global organization dedicated to the advancement of women in transportation, and to creating a more diverse, inclusive and equitable transportation industry through the advancement of women.

WTS-LA supports hundreds of professionals—both women and men—throughout the Los Angeles region. Local members and supporters range from public transportation agency general managers and executive directors to Fortune 500 CEOs, university faculty and students, to legislators and journalists in every transportation mode and discipline.

TSA appointed 25 voting members to serve on STSAC. Among them, 13 are new members and 12 were re-appointed. 

“The STSAC was established in 2019 to advise the TSA Administrator on surface transportation security matters, including recommendations for the development, refinement, and implementation of policies, programs, initiatives, rule-makings and security directives pertaining to the surface transportation sector,” according to the government agency. “The TSA Modernization Act of 2018 authorized the establishment of the committee.”

The STSAC comprises up to 40 voting members, representing surface transportation providers, users of surface transportation, and surface transportation employees. The Committee also has 14 non-voting members serving in an advisory capacity from the Departments of Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, Transportation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the National Transportation Safety Board.

The new voting members are:

  1. Carl Berkowitz, Self Employed Consultant and Educator
  2. Jacob DuBois, General Manager, Peter Pan Bus Lines
  3. Chris Engelbrecht, Assistant Chief Safety and Operations Officer, Missouri DOT, on behalf of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
  4. Robert Kaferle, Vice President of Safety, Reliance Partners
  5. Daniel Krantz, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Secure Worker Access Consortium, LLC
  6. Adam Long, Vice President of Gas Pipeline Operations, Duke Energy
  7. Roy Morrison, Director of Safety, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division-International Brotherhood of Teamsters
  8. Mark Munroe, Manager—Emergency Planning, Mass DOT
  9. Brandon Myers, Assistant Chief of Police, CN Police—North America
  10. Fred Oelsner, Vice President of Data and Technology, American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association
  11. Al Stiehler, Director or Transit Security and Passenger Safety, San Diego Metropolitan Transit System
  12. James Tollerson, Infrastructure Security Director and FSO, Norfolk Southern
  13. Vince Verna, Vice President and National Legislative Representative, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen

The re-appointed voting members are:

  1. Thomas Farmer, Assistant Vice President—Security, Association of American Railroads
  2. Robert Finnegan, Chief Security and Safety Officer, Delaware River Port Authority
  3. Herschel Flowers, Homeland Security Manager and Special Agent, Kansas City Southern
  4. Robert Gatchell, Senior Executive Vice President of Operations, Remark Holdings
  5. Polly Hanson, Senior Director Security, Risk and Emergency Management, American Public Transportation Association
  6. Donald Loftis, Principle Software Engineer, Primary Rail Security Coordinator, Olin Corporation
  7. Anthony Mercogliano, Deputy Chief Security Operations, New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  8. Doug Morris, Director of Safety and Security Operations, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association
  9. Joseph Perez, Chief of Police and Security, Metra Commuter Railroad System
  10. Bob Ramsdell, Chief Safety Officer, National Express LLC
  11. Brian Reu, Lieutenant; State Director of Pupil Transportation, Minnesota State Patrol
  12. Alan Smith, Corporate Director of Safety and Security, Greyhound Lines
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