State of Change California Regions

2023 Regional Leadership Forum Sessions and Speakers

We want to thank all our speakers and their staff for helping us this year!
For the speakers that had a PowerPoint, you can find them in the session description.

A Conversation with the Assembly Transportation Committee Chair We’re inviting Assemblymember Laura Friedman to come and share her ideas for sustainable development with the conference attendees. She has questions for you too. It is sure to be a good conversation!

Laura was elected and sworn into the California State Assembly in June 2018. Since then, Laura has been appointed as the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and currently serves on the Assembly Committees on Budget; Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources and Transportation; Communications and Conveyance; Revenue and Taxation; and the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management. She is also the Chair of the Select Committee on the Non-Profit Sector and serves on the Select Committee on Latina Inequalities and Select Committee on Coastal Protection and Access to Natural Resources.

During Laura’s time in the Assembly, her priority has been to uplift and empower underrepresented communities. She has been extraordinarily successful as a leader in delivering substantive policy, such as reforming the state’s response to homelessness, providing universal school meals to all K-12 students, creating the California Youth Empowerment Commission to increase youth civic engagement, and advocating for environmental justice through her role as the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources. Laura believes it is her highest honor to represent the community she grew up in.

Assemblymember Friedman spoke on Sunday, March 5th, 2023. 

Collaborating for Change: Regions in the Lead We are in a State of Change now more than ever before. This panel will discuss how regions can collaborate to leverage their expertise and their unique position as conveners to create trends and lead instead of react.

In addition to her service on the Palm Desert City Council, Jan Harnik serves on the Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG) Transportation Committee and the Coachella Valley Conservation Commission.

Additionally, she is a member of the board of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), serving on the Regional Council, Transportation Committee, Executive Administration Committee, and as Chair of SCAG’s Legislative/Communications and Membership Committee.

Jan also serves on the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) as Second Vice Chair and RCTC’s Executive Committee as well as with the Executive Committee of the Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Jan spoke on Monday, March 6th, 2023. 

Lisa Middleton is a community activist and longtime public servant who currently serves as the Mayor of Palm Springs. When she was first elected to the City Council in 2017, Middleton became the first transgender person elected to a non-judicial political office in the state of California and she is now the first transgender Mayor in California’s history.

Additionally, Lisa currently serves on the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) and the Sunline Transit Board of Directors, where she works with partners from neighboring cities to provide high-quality transportation services to the region. She is also a dedicated regional and statewide leader as a member of the CalPERS Board of Administration and League of California Cities (Cal Cities) Board of Directors. She is currently the President of Cal Cities Riverside County Division. She previously served as Chair of the Cal Cities Revenue & Taxation Policy Committee and as a member of the California State Department of Transportation Zero Traffic Fatalities Task Force.

Lisa spoke on Monday, March 6th, 2023. 

A View from Washington CALCOG is a member of the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO), which represents all MPOs nation-wide. Bill will share some of the latest developments and trends affecting the work of regions across the nation.
Bill’s PowerPoint.

Bill Keyrouze serves as AMPO’s Executive Director. Bill was appointed Executive Director in August of 2020. Prior to being appointed to this role, Bill served as the Technical Programs Director at AMPO where he worked on the technical issues MPO’s are involved with in the transportation planning process. He directed AMPO’s federal grant awards and managed the activities of AMPO’s Air Quality, Travel Modeling, Performance Based Planning and Programming, Vehicle Connectivity and Automation, GIS, and Public Involvement Working Groups. In addition, Bill managed the AMPO Technical Committee and directed AMPO’s MPO research efforts. Prior to AMPO, Bill worked at Building America’s Future, an infrastructure advocacy coalition, where he served as a senior staff member and provided infrastructure and transportation policy guidance and support to the executive staff and Co-Chairs. Bill has also worked for United States Senator Charles Schumer (NY). He is a native of Saratoga Springs, NY and holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and a master’s degree in Sustainable Urban Planning from The George Washington University.

Bill spoke on Monday, March 6th, 2023. 

A View from Sacramento Kudos to Mark Tollefson, the new Undersecretary at the California State Transportation Agency, who is here so we can get to know him better. He will share some thoughts and you can ask him more questions during the Networking Break.
Mark’s PowerPoint. 

Mark Tollefson was appointed Undersecretary of the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) by Governor Gavin Newsom in December 2022. As Undersecretary, Mark advises the Secretary on CalSTA issues, programs and departments, and oversees personnel, fiscal and administrative functions, and planning.

Previously, Mark served as Governor Newsom’s Senior Counselor on Infrastructure and Fiscal Affairs and as a Deputy Cabinet Secretary. He held several positions at the California Department of Finance from 2007 to 2019. Mark earned a Master of Business Administration degree from California State University, Sacramento.

Mark spoke on Tuesday, March 7th, 2023. 

A Word From Your Friendly FHWA The federal funding process is constantly evolving. The California Director for the Federal Highways Administration shares thoughts about the current trends in federal funding programs.

Vince Mammano is the Division Administrator for the California Division of the Federal Highway Administration.  He entered this position as well as the Senior Executive Service of the Federal Government in August of 2011.  He leads the largest FHWA Division office in the country.  He is responsible for directing the delivery of the Federal-aid program and advancing national goals.  He leads a multidisciplinary professional staff responsible for civil rights, safety, planning, finance, environment, engineering, and operations.  Vince formerly served as the Chief Operating Officer in California, a position that he held since May 2008.    Prior to this assignment, Vince served as the Assistant Division Administrator in the Hawaii Division.  He has also held other key leadership assignments in the FHWA including Field Operations Team Leader in Virginia and Metropolitan Intermodal Engineer in the Philadelphia Metropolitan Office.  Vince joined the FHWA in 1993 on their Engineering Training Program.  He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland and is a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute.

Vince spoke on Monday, March 6th, 2023. 

Getting Big with Data  Director Steve Ferguson from StreetLight Data is here to show us how data can be used to support safe and equitable streets.
Steve’s PowerPoint.

Steve spoke on Monday, March 6th, 2023. 

What will REAP sow? In an historic action, the state allocated $600 million for transformational projects to implement SB 375. $510 million was directly allocated to MPOs. This session will explore how MPOs are using the funds, and what changes they hope to achieve with these investments.
Kome’s PowerPoint.

Diane Nguyen has served as SJCOG’s Deputy Director of Planning, Programming, and Project Delivery since 2012. She originally joined SJCOG in 1995 and worked there till 2005. From 2005 to 2012, she was the Manager of Capital Programs and Public Policy for Interwest Consulting Group. Notable at Interwest was her financing and project management strategy which enabled two interchanges (on Highway 99 in the City of Elk Grove) to complete construction within a year of each other. Diane has a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of California, Irvine. Also from UCI, she secured a Bachelor of Arts degree (with honors) in Social Ecology. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Diane spoke on Monday, March 6th, 2023. 

Kome Ajise is the Executive Director of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization. In this role, he leads regional planning to achieve Southern California’s unified environmental, transportation and housing goals. Ajise has three decades of experience in regional planning and transportation, previously serving as Chief Deputy Director at the California Department of Transportation. He holds degrees in Regional Planning from University of Benin, Nigeria, and California State University, Fresno. 

Kacey Lizon is Deputy Executive Director for Planning & Programs for the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, which serves the 22 cities and six counties of the Sacramento region. Kacey oversees SACOG’s work plan of planning, funding, and technical assistance programs. During her nearly 20-year tenure at SACOG, Kacey has played an instrumental role in innovations in regional planning and smart growth planning processes. She has led initiatives in land use, housing, transportation, transit-oriented development, environmental and rural planning. She has played a critical role in SACOG’s sustainable communities strategy work since the enactment of SB 375.  Kacey is a board member of the California Chapter of the American Planning Association and member of the California Planning Roundtable. She is a Sacramento native and lives there with her husband and two children.

Kacey spoke on Monday, March 6th, 2023. 

Hasan Ikhrata is the Executive Director of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). SANDAG is the leading research, planning, and transportation agency for the San Diego region. Mr. Ikhrata has more than 30 years of experience in the arena of Transportation Planning in the Southern California Region, in both the private and public sector. As Executive Director of SANDAG, Mr. Ikhrata directs day‐to‐day operations of the agency and implements policies set by its governing board. In addition, he is the Chief Executive Officer of the SANDAG Service Bureau, the nonprofit public benefit corporation chartered by SANDAG.

Prior to joining SANDAG in 2018, Mr. Ikhrata worked for Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD).

Hasan spoke on Monday, March 6th, 2023. 

Ted is the Executive Director of Tulare County Association of Governments (TCAG). TCAG is responsible for regional transportation planning and funding including Measure R. Ted has the pleasure of leading an outstanding staff. He participated in the development of the local sales tax effort Expenditure Plan as one of the principle writers and has been at TCAG for over 22 years.  Previous duties have included: managing the Transportation Improvement Programs (TIP) and the preparation of the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). Prior to coming to TCAG, Ted was a Senior Transportation Planner for a private firm in San Diego where he prepared numerous transportation studies. Ted resides in Visalia with his wife and two boys and serves as a minister.

Ted spoke on Monday, March 6th, 2023. 

Infill and Redevelopment 2.0 Peter Calthorpe has been at the forefront of designing California communities for 40 years. He discusses new tools that facilitate more sustainable infill and the potential to leverage these tools to improve quality of life and health in our communities.
Peter’s PowerPoint.

Peter’s long and honored career in urban design, planning and architecture began in 1976, combining his experience in each discipline to pioneer new approaches to sustainable urban revitalization, suburban growth and regional planning. In the early ’90s, he developed the concept of Transit-Oriented Development, an idea that is now the foundation of many regional policies and city plans around the world. He was awarded Urban Land Institute’s prestigious J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development in 2006. He is one of the founders and the first board president of Congress for the New Urbanism. In May 2019, Calthorpe Associates joined HDR.

Peter spoke on Monday, March 6th, 2023.

KEYNOTE: State of Change: From Resistance to Renewal? Manuel Pastor, author of State of Resistance, offers his thoughts about the current state of California, how it is changing, and where he thinks it will end up. HCD Director Gustavo Velasquez will discuss how housing fits into this changing landscape followed by a conversation between our speakers about what they see as the key issues facing the state.

Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Gustavo Velasquez to serve as Director of the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) in May of 2020. He oversees 10 divisions and over 1,100 employees responsible for the funding, production, and preservation of affordable housing to promote safe, inclusive, and sustainable communities for all Californians.

In this role, Velasquez leads California’s statewide department that administers state and federal funding for the development of affordable housing and infrastructure, develops housing and community development policies and research, produces the California Statewide Housing Plan, enforces housing element compliance with state law, upholds standards for housing construction, and manages titling and registration for mobile homes.

Velasquez directed the department through an organizational restructure while it doubled in size, effectively managing an unprecedented budget of $25.1 billion over two fiscal years.
Under his leadership, HCD launched programs such as Homekey and CA COVID-19 Rent Relief, now deemed national models for rapidly deploying billions of dollars to communities in need and securing housing for thousands of Californians experiencing or at-risk
of homelessness.

He also oversaw the implementation of inaugural policy solutions such as the establishment of the Housing Accountability Unit, to strengthen enforcement of housing element compliance,
the launch of the California Housing Accelerator, to close funding gaps and jumpstart the construction of affordable homes, and the Multifamily Finance Super NOFA, to streamline the application and release of millions of dollars in state affordable housing
funding resources.

Director Velasquez currently serves on the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee, the California Housing Finance Agency Board, the California Interagency Council on Homelessness,
and UC Berkeley’s Terner Center Advisory Board.

Velasquez has held notable and prominent positions including appointment by President Barack Obama to lead the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Fair
Housing and Equal Opportunity, Director of District of Columbia Office of Latino Affairs and the Office of Human Rights, Executive Director of the D.C. Latino Economic Development Center, and Senior Director at the Urban Institute, a renowned national economic
and social policy research organization.

He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a master’s degree in public administration.

Gustavo spoke on Monday, March 6th, 2023.

Dr. Manuel Pastor is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He currently directs the Equity Research Institute at USC. Pastor holds an economics Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is the inaugural holder of the Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change at USC. 

Pastor’s research has generally focused on issues of the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities – and the social movements seeking to change those realities. 2021 saw the publication of two new books, Solidarity Economics: Why Mutuality and Movements Matter (co-authored with Chris Benner) and South-Central Dreams: Finding Home and Building Community in South L.A. (co-authored with Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo). His previous 2018 book, State of Resistance: What California’s Dizzying Descent and Remarkable Resurgence Means for America’s Future was lauded in a New York Times review as “concise, clear and convincing.”

Manuel spoke on Monday, March 6th, 2023.

Mike Drop: Is California a Bellweather or Outlier? Long-time political commentator Mike Madrid explores how major disruptions related to technology, economy, and racial equity have affected the California experience and he will share his expectation for our State of Change. We challenge you to identify whether he is a Republican or a Democrat.

Mike Madrid is a communications expert and a nationally recognized expert on Latino voting trends. He graduated from the Edmund G. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 1997, where he wrote his senior thesis on Latino politics and the perspective that politicization of emerging Latino voter groups in Southwestern states was unique in American history. The work focused largely on a critical assessment of Professor Peter Skerry’s work “Mexican Americans: The Ambivalent Minority” and addressed questions surrounding the experience of Mexican American politicization as a choice between the pursuit of an aggrieved racial minority or a more typical assimilative integration into the broader political and social culture of the United States.

In 2001 he was named as one of America’s “Most Influential Hispanics” by Hispanic Business Magazine. He is a regular commentator on Latino political issues in statewide and national media publications.

Madrid is the editor and publisher of California City News, a news site dedicated to “the best politics, policy and practices of local government in California.”

Mike spoke on Monday, March 6th, 2023. 

Breakout Session #1: Maintaining a Road Network in a State of Electric Vehicles Discussion Topic: A substantial amount of funding for California’s roads comes from the gas tax. As the popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) grows, gas use, and gas tax revenues, diminish.

Antonio (“Tony”) Onorato, Director of Administration, Finance, and Policy for the Napa Valley Transportation Authority. He is a finance professional with over 20 years of experience and currently serves as the Director of Administration, Finance and Policy at the Napa Valley Transportation Authority (NVTA). In this position, Tony is responsible for managing NVTA’s day-to-day operations in the areas of finance, accounting, budgets, grant development, audits, long-term forecasting, human resources and general office administration at the Authority. This includes financial oversight of Measure T, the county’s 1/2 cent transportation sales tax that generates approximately $25 million a year for Napa County’s local streets and roads. Tony graduated from University of San Diego with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Finance. Tony obtained his Master’s in Accountancy in 2017 at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Tony was raised in Los Angeles, but has lived in the Bay Area since 1997, most currently in the City of Napa.

Tony facilitated on Monday, March 6th, 2023. 

Sarkes Khachek is Director of Programming with the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG). Khachek has been with SBCAG since 2005. He previously worked at the San Joaquin Council of Governments (SJCOG).

 Khachek leads the Programming Division at SBCAG. The Programming Division is responsible for strategic management of federal, state and regional transportation funding including management of Santa Barbara County’s voter approved transportation sales tax measure, Measure A. The Programming Division also assists local partners with the funding and delivery of local transportation improvements.

Khachek serves as SBCAG’s agency liaison to the California Transportation Commission (CTC), California Regional Transportation Planning Agencies Group, and Self Help Counties Coalition. He also serves as the Chief of Staff for the Central Coast Coalition. The Central Coast Coalition includes the five counties on California’s Central Coast that speak as one voice to highlight the significance of the Central Coast region.

Mr. Khachek is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, College of Environmental Design with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture.

Sarkes facilitated on Monday, March 6th, 2023. 

Breakout Session #2: Infill Infrastructure Investment to Catalyze Affordable Housing (and Economic Prosperity) Discussion Topic: Encouraging more compact development is a core tenet of the regional transportation plan. But revitalizing our urbanized areas (including developed areas in rural communities) is often more difficult, time consuming, subject to neighborhood pressures, and expensive than greenfield developments (that generally increase VMT).

Kacey Lizon is Deputy Executive Director for Planning & Programs for the Sacramento Area Council of Governments, which serves the 22 cities and six counties of the Sacramento region. Kacey oversees SACOG’s work plan of planning, funding, and technical assistance programs. During her nearly 20-year tenure at SACOG, Kacey has played an instrumental role in innovations in regional planning and smart growth planning processes. She has led initiatives in land use, housing, transportation, transit-oriented development, environmental and rural planning. She has played a critical role in SACOG’s sustainable communities strategy work since the enactment of SB 375.  Kacey is a board member of the California Chapter of the American Planning Association and member of the California Planning Roundtable. She is a Sacramento native and lives there with her husband and two children.

Kacey facilitated on Tuesday, March 7th, 2023. 

Michael Becker is the Director of Planning for the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG).  In this role, Michael manages the development of the Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities’ Strategy, the Regional Housing Needs Allocation, and many other planning projects undertaken by SBCAG.  Prior to coming to SBCAG in 2014, he worked for eight years at the regional planning agency for the Greater Philadelphia region.  While in Philadelphia, he also earned his M.A. from Temple University.  In his free time Michael enjoys cycling the hills of Santa Barbara and spending time with his family, including his two young daughters. 

Michael facilitated on Monday, March 6th, 2023. 

Breakout Session #3: Planning for a Resilient California Discussion Topic: Increasingly, California public policy must adapt to wildfire risk, sea level rise, storm winds, heat, and other severe weather conditions and impacts. Adaptation also requires retooling of our transportation systems to withstand flood, storm surges, mud slides, and more. Everywhere and everything, it seems, is affected.

Seana L. S. Gause is a Senior over Programming and Projects for the Sonoma County Transportation Authority (SCTA) and has been with the agency since 2005 where she manages the projects and programs associated with transportation funding from federal, state and local sources. She also manages project development for the 20-year tax Measure known as “Measure M” (Traffic Relief Act for Sonoma County), newly renewed as Measure DD or “Go Sonoma”. She values the ability to work with all the jurisdictions of the County to provide for transportation in the place where she lives.

Prior to working for SCTA, Ms. Gause was an Archaeologist and Environmental Planner for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) where she was responsible for environmental compliance documentation and cultural resources management for state highway projects in District 04. Prior to Caltrans she was an archaeologist with Sonoma State University’s Anthropological Studies Center, and a Museum Scientist for University of California Berkeley’s Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, where she specialized in Prehistory of California, and worked with California tribes to repatriate ancestors and their sacred items. In her spare time, Seana enjoys rowing crew competitively.

Seana facilitated on Monday, March 6th, 2023. 

Heather Adamson, AICP, is the Director of Planning for the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG) since 2012. She has 25 years of extensive experience in regional planning through her work on large-scale long range transportation plans, housing, land use, sustainability and climate change, economic development, and freight planning. Prior to AMBAG, Heather spent nearly 15 years at the San Diego Association of Governments working on a variety of transportation and regional planning projects. Heather has a Master of Public Administration from San Diego State University and a Bachelor’s in Urban Studies and Planning from UC San Diego.

Heather has a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Studies and Planning from the University of California, San Diego, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from San Diego State University and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and Association of Environmental Planners.

Heather facilitated on Monday, March 6th, 2023. 

California Transportation Commission Roundtable Regional agencies and the California Transportation Commission (CTC) work closely to deliver projects and programs to our transportation network. Three newish comissioners share their views on how the CTC is adapting to California’s needs and goals.

Lee Ann Eager is President/CEO of the Fresno County Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

Ms. Eager joined the EDC in September 2009 and is responsible for guiding programs and initiatives to drive inclusive economic growth throughout Fresno County. Her work includes attracting investment to the area, industry recruitment and retention, rural business expansion, and public policy initiatives as part of the region’s vision to create long-term economic resiliency.

A consistent thread throughout Ms. Eager’s career is working to improve the conditions of families in her community. Prior to the EDC, she served as Executive Director of Rape Counseling Services of Fresno, growing the organization’s influence and programs for 12 years, empowering and supporting survivors of sexual violence. During that time, Ms. Eager was the Board Chair of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault and assisted then Senator Biden in drafting the first Violence Against Women Act. As President/CEO of the EDC, she uses that unique experience in shaping the organization’s programs and priorities to uplift individuals and households to reach self-sufficiency.

Ms. Eager plays a key strategic and leadership role within Fresno County’s local landscape, working with stakeholders within the private, public, philanthropic and academic sectors— nationally and internationally. She’s earned a strong reputation for leading the EDC into becoming a dynamic, agile, and internationally award-winning organization that strives to meet the needs of both employers, workers, and job seekers to take part of the community’s economic growth.

Lee Ann has been a vocal proponent of high-speed rail for the past 10 years, working closely with the trades and workforce partners to align training and employment opportunities for Fresno’s residents. As a business advocate, Ms. Eager launched programming to retain several hundred businesses facing relocation and closures due to high-speed rail right-of-way acquisition and construction, spurring one of the largest job retention efforts in the region. Ms. Eager serves as Co-Chair of Fresno Works, an initiative to galvanize investments around high-speed rail in Fresno County.

A fourth generation Fresnan, Ms. Eager graduated Summa Cum Laude from California State University, Fresno (Fresno State), with a degree in Criminology where she was awarded the Dean’s Medal. Ms. Eager also earned her doctorate of jurisprudence from the University of California, Davis School of Law. Prior to joining the EDC, Ms. Eager practiced law at the law firm of Lang, Richert and Patch. In 2017, Lee Ann received Fresno State’s Top Dog Award for the College of Social Sciences.

Governor Brown appointed Ms. Eager to the California Workforce Development Board, California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley and to the Governor’s Advisory Council on International Trade and Investment. Ms. Eager serves as the President of the Board for Access Plus Capital and holds several Board positions including the California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation, Fresno State Transportation Institute, Lyles College of Engineering, Department of Geography and City and Regional Planning Advisory Council, Fresno City College President Commission on Industry, the Fresno Mayor’s Advisory Council and Fresno State Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Lee Ann spoke on Tuesday, March 7th, 2023. 

The Senate Rules Committee, chaired by Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), appointed Clarissa Falcon to the California Transportation Commission during its meeting on September 7, 2021.

“With over 25 years of experience, Clarissa Falcon is a well-respected and collaborative community relations expert and problem solver,” Pro Tem Atkins said. “Clarissa will help ensure that as our state continues to grow, our transportation infrastructure and policies will serve and improve the quality of life for all Californians.”

Clarissa Falcon is the President and Principal Consultant for Falcon Strategies. She previously worked for the California State Senate as a district director and as a public policy analyst for the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. She is a board member for the University of California, San Diego Chancellor’s Community Advisory Board, the San Diego Union Tribune Community Advisory Board, and the South County Economic Development Council.

Clarissa spoke on Tuesday, March 7th, 2023. 

Hilary Norton brings over 28 years of experience in transportation and community development to her Commission role. 

As FAST’s founding Executive Director since 2008, Ms. Norton has mobilized a diverse coalition of business, labor, civic groups, educational institutions and transit organizations to support policy and infrastructure improvements to LA’s mobility, livability and economic prosperity. FAST’s major initiatives include:  1) FASTLinkDTLA – a new Transportation Management Organization (TMO) for  Downtown LA,  2) Mobility Hubs – carshare, bikeshare, bike parking, EV charging and traveler services at transit stations, job and education centers; 3) comprehensive arterial improvements to improve travel time, encourage mode shift, and promote safety and transit connectivity; 4) Metro ExpressLanes implementation throughout LA County; 5) Expanding LA County’s bus rapid transit (BRT) network; and 6) Sixth Street Viaduct, Sixth Street Park and Arts District Station – which is the largest bridge reconstruction project in LA’s history, adding bicycle and pedestrian lanes, and connections to the LA River and the Metro Red/Purple Line.

Ms. Norton served as 2018 chairwoman of the Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed) and is on the Board of Directors of the Central City Association. She co-chairs the Transportation Committees for BizFed, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and the Los Angeles Business Council.

Hilary spoke on Tuesday, March 7th, 2023. 

Broadband at the Forefront The pandemic taught us the potential and power of virtual technology. Our new found virtual freedom relies on an extensive and dependable broadband network. Unfortunately, the state’s network is inconsistent and not distributed equally. Respected long-time Regionalist and now, Director of the California Emerging Technology Fund, Sunne McPeak leads the conversation about the state of broadband in California.
Sunne’s PowerPoint.
Sarah’s PowerPoint.

Sunne Wright McPeak is the President and CEO of the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF), a statewide non-profit foundation whose mission is to close the Digital Divide by accelerating the deployment and adoption of broadband.  With McPeak’s vision and drive, CETF has positioned California as a national leader in advancing Digital Inclusion, developing and launching groundbreaking initiatives.

As Secretary of the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency (2003-2006), McPeak oversaw the largest State Agency. She was responsible for more than 42,000 employees and a budget in excess of $11 billion. Before being recruited to the Governor’s Cabinet, McPeak served for 7 years as President and CEO of the Bay Area Council, a prominent employer-led policy organization addressing regional economic prosperity issues.  For 3 years prior, she served as the President and CEO of the Bay Area Economic Forum, a public-private partnership between the Bay Area Council and the Association of Bay Area Governments.  She pioneered regional economic performance metrics to drive public policy, adoption by local governments of a regional 3Es compact on sustainable smart growth, and capitalization of equity funds to invest in low-income neighborhoods.

McPeak served for more than 15 years on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, having been first elected at age 30, and was elected President of the California State Association of Counties in 1983. 

Sunne spoke on Tuesday, March 7th, 2023. 

Chris has worked for Caltrans since 2000 and has been the Deputy District Director for Right of Way at Caltrans District 11 in San Diego since April 2020.  He and his team of 30 staff are responsible for acquiring the right of way needed for new projects, coordinating utility relocations, selling excess land, and managing various assets.

He is also on-loan to the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) as the Digital Equity Manager overseeing the implementation of the Regional Digital Equity Strategy & Action Plan which includes bringing high-speed affordable broadband internet to all San Diegans with special emphasis on addressing existing inequity.  

Prior, Chris served as the Caltrans SB743 Program Manager working to implement vehicle miles traveled (VMT) analysis into CEQA practices.  Until April 2019, Chris served as the Division Chief of Transportation Planning in Sacramento during which time the one hundred staff division adopted a Strategic Direction, developed a Division Business Plan, the California Transportation Plan 2050, Freight Mobility Plan 2020, District Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments, District Bicycle and Pedestrian Plans. 

During that same period, he also served as the Caltrans Broadband Coordinator addressing permitting challenges with industry, building relationships with broadband stakeholders, collaborating with the State’s Broadband Council and the California Public Utilities Commission as a precursor to the passage of SB156 leading to the investment of over $6 billion in an open access middle mile broadband network and last mile connections under the State’s “Broadband for All” programs. 

Chris holds a Master of Planning degree from the University of Virginia, a Master of Arts in Public Health from Ball State University, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Illinois.  He has been credentialed by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) since 1998.  He is married to Monica and enjoys cycling, golf and the beach.

Chris spoke on Tuesday, March 7th, 2023. 

Sarah Jepson is the Chief Planning Officer at Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the nation’s largest Metropolitan Planning Organization. Her responsibilities include the development and implementation of the Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy, a long-range visioning plan that balances future mobility and housing needs with economic and environmental goals. Sarah also oversees the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, Federal Transportation Improvement Program, local funding programs and a comprehensive environmental analysis and compliance program.  Prior to this role, she managed the agency’s Active Transportation Department leading the development of regional plans, funding programs and the Go Human Campaign.   Sarah also served as the Sustainability Policy Manager for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and worked on growth management planning for the King County Executive in Seattle, Washington.  She started her career as a Peace Corps volunteer in St. Vincent & the Grenadines.  Sarah received a BA in English from Miami University; and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

Sarah spoke on Tuesday, March 7th, 2023. 

Carmen Ramirez Memorial Session Last year, we lost a tremendous public servant, Ventura County Supervisor Carmen Ramirez. Supervisor Ramirez was struck by a car while crossing the street in a crosswalk. To remember and honor her voice and dedication to public service, CALCOG committed to hosting a session on improving pedestrian infrastructure. Planner Angie Schmitt, author of Right of Way: Race, Class and the Silent Epidemic of Pedestrian Deaths in America writes that pedestrian deaths occur in geographic patterns that tell a story about systemic inequality. Right of Way is a call to reframe the problem and advocate for infrastructure improvements and changes to policy to save lives.
Angie’s PowerPoint.

Angie is a writer and expert on the topic of sustainable transportation. She was the long-time national editor at Streetsblog. Her writing and commentary have appeared in the New York TimesThe Atlanticand National Public Radio. She is the founder and principal at 3MPH Planning and Consulting, a small firm focused on pedestrian safety.

Angie spoke on Tuesday, March 7th, 2023. 

How is Our VMT Changing Ron Milam of the firm Feer and Peers discusses improvements in how we measure VMT and other considerations related to SB 743.
Ron’s PowerPoint.

Ronald T. Milam, AICP, PTP is the director of evolving the status quo at Fehr & Peers and co-leads the company’s research and development.  He is actively involved in a variety of project work and spends time teaching transportation planning and SB 743 courses for UC Berkeley Tech Transfer and UC Davis Extension.  A unique part of Ron’s experience is thinking long-term and helping clients understand the future outcomes of their decisions.  His recent work has focused on disruptive trends and new metrics to help inform challenging transportation policy and technical questions.

Ron spoke on Tuesday, March 7th, 2023. 

Adapting to the State of Change We invited agency directors from around the state to discuss how their agencies are adopting to a State of Change. What issues are are on the horizon? What challenges are they grappling with now? How is the role of regional government changing? We know you want to know.

As the Executive Director, Lengyel is the second person to lead Alameda CTC. She manages an overall annual budget of over $500 million and a staff of 39 full-time employees.

With almost 30 years of experience in the planning, development and implementation of major transportation projects, Lengyel has led some of the most complex and challenging projects and programs at Alameda CTC. She strategically collaborated to successfully develop Alameda County’s $8 billion, 30-year Transportation Expenditure Plan, Measure BB, approved by 70.76 percent of voters in November 2014 and directed development of the agency’s first Comprehensive Investment Plan. She also led the agency’s short and long-range transportation planning, early project development, programs development and delivery, legislation and government affairs.

Tess spoke on Tuesday, March 7th, 2023. 

Darrell E. Johnson is the Chief Executive Officer of the Orange County Transportation Authority, leading an agency of 1,500 employees responsible for delivering projects, programs and services that improve mobility for the more than 3 million residents of Orange County. 

Johnson is responsible for developing and implementing short-range and long-range goals and business plans to support the successful implementation of the agency’s strategic vision. He represents OCTA on local, state and national issues related to transportation programs and policies and in 2012 he was elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the American Public Transportation Association. He completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Darrell spoke on Tuesday, March 8th, 2023. 

Patricia Taylor has 32 years of transportation planning experience. She has served as Executive Director since June 1999 and has been employed with the MCTC since 1993. Her primary goal is to establish a solid organizational foundation to ensure that the MCTC and MCTA can carry out its mission to provide a quality regional transportation network throughout Madera County. Further, an ongoing objective is to maximize the MCTC and MCTA dollars as efficiently and effectively as possible. Prior to MCTC, Patricia was rideshare coordinator for the Fresno Council of Governments. Before working in transportation, she was assignment editor for KFSN-TV, Channel 30, in Fresno. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Fresno in Telecommunications with an emphasis in News and Public Affairs. Patricia is inspired daily by her husband and their four adult children. In her free time, Patricia enjoys ballroom dancing, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Patricia spoke on Tuesday, March 7th, 2023. 

Matt Click, AICP, is the Executive Director of PCTPA. Matt is a certified planner with 27 years of experience in transportation planning and programming, having worked on transportation programs across the U.S. Matt has worked previously in both the public and private sectors, and applies a customer-centric approach to his work.  Matt earned a Master of Science in Planning with dual concentrations in transportation and environmental planning, as well as, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Sociology, graduating Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Florida State University.

Matt spoke on Tuesday, March 7th, 2023. 

As the Executive Director of the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC), Anne Mayer leads a staff of 49 with an annual budget of $881 million. RCTC is the regional transportation agency for Riverside County, the nation’s tenth most populous county with a geography roughly the size of New Jersey. Under Anne’s leadership, RCTC has delivered on promises made to the voters of Riverside County’s Measure A half-cent sales tax measure and ensured that transportation projects and programs support quality of life and the economy in Riverside County. Anne spearheaded the initiation of inland Southern California’s first innovative finance and innovative project delivery efforts, which are coming to fruition on State Route 91 and Interstate 15. She has also led the successful delivery of the first FTA Small Starts project in the region: The Perris Valley Line Metrolink Extension, a historic expansion of commuter rail service in Southern California.

Anne is past chairwoman and current board member of the Self-Help Counties Coalition, and Mobility 21, Southern California’s public-private transportation advocacy coalition. She is the recipient of the WTS-Inland Empire Chapter’s Woman of the Year award and the Athena of Riverside women’s leadership award, in addition to numerous other recognitions.
Prior to joining RCTC in 2005, Anne was the Caltrans District 8 Director where she supervised the operations, maintenance, and engineering of the largest territory of any Caltrans district in California. Anne is a graduate of Michigan State University and is a Registered Civil Engineer with over 34 years of service in the transportation profession.