People News: DART, HDR, New York MTA, RATP Dev USA, WSP USA

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
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Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART); consultancy HDR; New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA); transit system manager and operator RATP Dev USA and WSP USA have appointed new executives.

DART has named Deanna Leggett Executive Vice President of Growth and Regional Development. She will oversee the Capital Planning, Real Estate, Environmental Compliance, Transit Oriented Development, Capital Program Support, Service Planning, Commuter Rail, and Design and Construction departments, as well as design consultants and construction contractors.

Deanna Leggett Executive Vice President of Growth and Regional Development, DART

With more than 20 years of project planning, development and operation experience, Leggett served most recently at HatchLTK, where she was Vice President of the South-Central Region and Director of Zero-Emissions Technology; she was also subject matter expert and project manager for transit contracting, planning, operations and maintenance, grant funding, and federal regulatory requirements.

Leggett has also served as Chief Operations Officer at Bowman Engineering and Consulting, as well as the Southwest Region Vice President of Transit Contracting and Region Vice President of Transit Management at First Transit.

“We are very excited to welcome Dee to the DART family,” said DART President and CEO Nadine S. Lee, who joined the transit agency in July. “She is a proven transportation leader who brings a unique combination of strategic thought leadership and an extensive record of operations performance, project delivery and innovation that will expand the leadership capacity at DART.”

Joanna (Asia) Alvord, Transportation Project Controls Director, HDR

At HDR, Joanna (Asia) Alvord has been promoted to Transportation Project Controls Director. In this role, she will provide strategic and technical leadership to further expand the company’s project controls practice and its application on transportation infrastructure projects. Alvord will focus on prioritizing needs and advancing the implementation of dashboard analytics and applications of Power BI, cost estimating and scheduling, particularly critical path, linear scheduling and construction phase mapping.

Alvord, a 21-year HDR veteran, served previously as Manager of Project Controls, providing dashboard solutions for transportation clients in such states as Utah, Alaska, California, New York and Texas.

“Under Asia’s management, the Project Controls Practice has experienced tremendous growth, especially in support of our program management and alternative delivery projects,” HDR Program Delivery Services Director Jason McGlashan said. “From determining the proper approach to meet our client and project needs to mentoring staff and driving innovation with data and technology, her guidance creates efficiencies, improves quality and adds value to our projects.”

At MTA, Kevin Willens has been appointed Chief Financial Officer; Paige Graves, General Counsel; Chris Pangilinan, Vice President for Paratransit; and Mersida Ibric, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer. In addition, Quemuel Arroyo, Chief Accessibility Officer, is now also Special Advisor to MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber, whom the Senate confirmed to his role on Jan. 20.

New York MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber

As CFO, Willens will be responsible for managing the MTA’s budget and finances and accountable for developing the agency’s annual budget and four-year financial plan. He will also oversee the Comptroller, Finance, Management and Budget, and Treasury departments.

With more than 35 years of experience in public finance, Willens served most recently as Managing Director and Co-Head of U.S. Public Finance at Goldman Sachs. Additionally, he has provided investment banking expertise to the MTA for 30-plus years, including serving as MTA’s financial advisor for 10 years. His work included developing new revenue sources such as the regional mobility tax in 2009; designing the new Capital Lock-Box sales tax credit in 2021 to provide a funding source for the MTA’s 2020-24 Capital Program; structuring innovative risk management instruments such as insurance-linked securities following Superstorm Sandy; and executing complex real estate transactions such as the Hudson Rail Yards financing.

Graves, a 10-year MTA veteran, has taken on the General Counsel role after serving in an acting capacity. She was most recently General Counsel in the MTA New York City Transit Law Department, at MTA Long Island Rail Road and at MTA Bus Company. Graves started her legal career as a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, before working in the Forensic Litigation Group at KPMG providing investigative and integrity advisory services, and as Senior Counsel for an insurance defense firm handling complex litigation matters.

With 15 years of public transportation experience, Pangilinan becomes MTA’s Vice President for Paratransit. He has served as Head of Global Policy for Public Transportation and Accessibility at Uber and held several roles at TransitCenter, NYCT, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

As Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, Ibric will support the Chief Administrative Officer in overseeing the People, Procurement, Information Technology and Real Estate departments. She has more than 14 years of public-sector experience, serving most recently as Deputy Commissioner and Chief Diversity Officer at the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services. Ibric has also worked at the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services as Deputy Director for Research and IT, where she was responsible for maintaining and developing procurement data analytics and reporting, along with planning and developing mayoral procurement initiatives.

Arroyo is adding Special Advisor to his role at MTA, providing assistance to MTA Chair and CEO Lieber on New York City-related transportation issues and policy, while continuing to lead the implementation of policies, initiatives and programs that advance accessibility.

“These leaders have the experience, talent and enthusiasm to further the MTA’s aggressive agenda, as the Authority increases ridership, strengthening the agency’s financial position and driving recovery of the region’s economy,” Lieber said.

Tina Lainhart, Executive Vice President of Business Development, RATP Dev USA

Tina Lainhart has joined RATP Dev USA as Executive Vice President of Business Development, with a focus on fixed route, paratransit, light rail, and shuttle service partnerships.

Lainhart has more than 25 years of transportation industry experience. She served previously as Vice President of Business Development at Hallcon Corporation, Vice President of Sales at Transdev North America, and Director of Business Development with First Group America. She began her career in aviation as a member of the core management teams of Sunworld International and USA 3000 Airlines.

“Tina has an exceptional track record in the transportation industry and brings a tremendous amount of experience to this role,” RATP Dev USA CEO Arnaud Legrand said. “With our continued growth in North America, the addition of Tina to the team will allow us to accelerate our expansion, increase our focus on business development and continue to provide the highest level of service to our customers. We couldn’t be more excited to have her as part of the team.”

At WSP USA, Gordon Williams has been named Senior Director 
Enterprise Management and Strategy.

Williams brings more than 30 years of experience in rail infrastructure management to his new role. He has spent the past two decades in multiple leadership roles with Network Rail, which owns and operates the U.K. railway infrastructure, including the past five years as an associate vice president leading Network Rail Consulting in Boston.

Gordon Williams, Senior Director 
Enterprise Management
and Strategy, WSP USA

“Gordon has been a key player in delivering transformational business and cultural change in rail operations nationally and internationally to improve safety, performance and productivity,” said Eryca Dinsdale, WSP Vice President Enterprise Management and Strategy. “His broad career has allowed him to specialize in many different fields, and he brings an impressive record of performance improvement, management, and innovative leadership to WSP.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Gordon to the WSP team,” added Denise Roth, Advisory National Business Line Leader. “His outstanding career and expertise will serve as a strong compliment to the organization. Through Gordon, we look forward to furthering the strategic support we bring to our clients during this critical period of infrastructure development.”

Before moving to the U.S., Williams led the change program for Network Rail’s high output track renewal team, “delivering technology innovation as well as lean process changes to improve safety and increase output by more than 50%,” WSP noted. “He was the principal systems engineer for the Crossrail project in the U.K., responsible for integrating Network Rail’s work for the project’s tunnel infrastructure and operations.”

Williams graduated from Cambridge University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering, and Ashridge Business School with a master’s degree in business administration. He is a chartered civil engineer in the U.K. and is member of the Institute of Asset Management and the Institution of Civil Engineers.

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