Thursday, October 17, 2019 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM EDT
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Warwick Rittenhouse Square Philadelphia 
Philadelphia, PA  



Karitsa Holdzkom 
Transportation Learning Center 
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Making Connections 2019
Join industry leaders, experts, and partners from workforce development and education to exchange ideas, share successes and learn about emerging best practices for public transportation and transportation workforce development.

Speakers and panelists include top leaders and thinkers in transportation and workforce development:

John A. Costa, ATU International President, began his career at NJ Transit in 1981, joining Local 819-Newark, NJ. He served his Local union in various capacities, ultimately being elected president in 2001 and serving three terms until 2008. Costa was elected as International Vice President at the 2010 ATU Convention. He served as president of the ATU New Jersey State Council from 2008-2010. Costa also previously served as Vice President of the Executive Board of the New Jersey AFL-CIO and Vice President of the Essex-West Hudson Labor Council. Vowing to build on the passion, programs and policies which marked former ATU IVP Larry Hanley’s legacy, Costa has pledged to push back against the rising privatization of public transit, and protect the livelihoods, health and safety of all transit workers. Known for his tough negotiating style and fresh off a precedent-setting contract agreement for DASH bus drivers in Alexandria, VA, Costa has fought for fair wages and benefits for all ATU members. 

Jeff Knueppel has been the General Manager at SEPTA since 2015. He is a twenty-seven year veteran SEPTA employee and served as Deputy General Manager in charge of two divisions - Operations and Engineering, Maintenance, & Construction (EM&C), as well as several Staff Support Departments. Mr. Knueppel joined SEPTA in 1988 as an entry level Structural Engineer where his projects focused on the repair of aging elevated transit structures, bridges and tunnels. He quickly moved up within the organization and after several job advancements was promoted to Chief Engineer at the age of 36. He was Assistant General Manager/Chief Engineer of the EM&C Division, before assuming the responsibility of Deputy General Manager. In the near future, he plans to introduce to the public his goals to make SEPTA the region's preferred choice for transportation.

Billy Terry is Director of the National Transit Institute (NTI), which operates as the training arm and a national education resource for the transit industry.  NTI was established in 1992 at Rutgers University under the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). In 1999, it became part of the Bloustein School’s Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center. Terry joined NTI in January 2018 as NTI’s assistant director. Prior to his role at NTI, Terry served as a Senior Legislative Representative at the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) where he advocated for federal public transportation funding and legislation that enhances the operation of transit services across the country.  He previously also served as the Associate Chief Administrative Officer and then as the Senior Federal Relations Officer at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) in Washington, DC, the nation’s fourth largest transit agency.  He also served as the Senior Advisor for Intergovernmental Affairs at the District of Columbia Department of Transportation and represented several transit agencies, municipalities, and regional development authorities as a Manager of Government Relations at Van Scoyoc Associates.

Ferdinand L. Risco Jr., MBA is the Executive Director for The Transit Authority of River City (TARC), the largest public transit agency in Kentucky, carrying 15 million passengers annually. As a former Army officer, Ferdinand has helped government agencies and later fortune 500 companies earn awards and distinctions for their best in class results. As a transit executive and former college professor, Risco is highly sought after as a lecturer on many topics including: diversity and inclusion, equal employment practices, supplier diversity, disadvantaged business enterprise certification, leadership and workforce development.

Dr. Beverly Scott's career in the public transportation industry spans more than three decades, including four appointments as General Manager/CEO – General Manager, Massachusetts Bay Transportation and Rail & Transit Administrator for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), the Sacramento Regional Transit Authority (SRTD), and the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA), one of four statewide public transit systems. She has also served in senior level positions at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (New York), New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJT), the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA), Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), and the Houston Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Houston METRO). Dr. Scott is recognized throughout the U.S. and North American transportation industry for her visionary leadership, results driven management style; focus on people and communities; and progressive approach to labor management relations. Among her most notable industry contributions is her pivotal leadership role in the critical areas of workforce and leadership development and work to improve outcomes for people and communities – particularly our most vulnerable.  

Erica L. Groshen is a Senior Extension Faculty member at the ILR School of Cornell University, and served as the 14th Commissioner of Labor Statistics from January 2013 to January 2017. Prior to joining BLS, Dr. Groshen was a Vice President and economist in the Research and Statistics Group at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Dr. Groshen’s research focuses on jobless recoveries, regional labor markets, wage rigidity and dispersion, the male-female wage differential, service-sector employment, and the role of employers in labor market outcomes. She co-authored the book How New is the “New Employment Contract”? from the W.E. Upjohn Institute Press and co-edited Structural Changes in U.S. Labor Markets: Causes and Consequences, from M.E. Sharpe, Inc. She has published numerous papers in academic and Federal Reserve journals and co-led the sixteen-country International Wage Flexibility Project.

Larry Willis is the President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, a labor organization consisting of 32 unions that together represent workers in all areas of transportation. TTD focuses on federal legislation, regulatory matters, and policy issues that impact transportation workers. Larry previously served as TTD’s Secretary-Treasurer, General Counsel and Legislative Representative. Earlier in his career, Larry was an associate and Director of Legislation for Weil, Gotshal and Manges, LLP, and served in various legislative roles on Capitol Hill and on political campaigns. In his current position, Larry oversees TTD’s daily operation and serves as the organization’s spokesperson and chief strategist. He collaborates with TTD’s affiliated unions to fight for long-term investments in our transportation system, to ensure jobs in this sector are safe and secure, and to protect and expand the rights working people have to a union voice. Under Larry’s direction, TTD works with elected leaders on both sides of the aisle and focuses on substantive, policy-driven arguments to advance core agenda items. 

Mary A. Leary, PhD, serves as the Deputy to the Associate Administrator (DAA) for the FTA Office of Research, Demonstration, and Innovation (TRI). As the DAA for TRI, Mary leads all operational and managerial functions to ensure the smooth operations of FTA’s research office. Her five-year career at FTA spans several other managerial roles including starting up the first Targeted Programs Division for FTA’s Office of Program Management, and overseeing an expansion of FTA’s strategic workforce activities. She has over 34 years of experience leading major Federal Programs spanning careers in the public, nonprofit, and private sector. Mary also served as a Vice President for the Transportation Group at Easter Seals, Inc. managing technical assistance centers funded by FTA; and held roles focusing on accessible transportation and aging at the Department of Health and Human Services. Before Mary began her career in the public and nonprofit sector, she held positions of increasing responsibility, including executive level international and national roles, in the information technology enterprise business solutions industry. Among other academic degrees, Mary holds a PhD from George Mason University (GMU) in Public Policy with a concentration in Organizational Informatics. After managing and leading for many years across three industries, Mary’s philosophy is that the success or failure of any organization rests squarely on that organization’s ability to recruit, retain, train, and provide a positive environment of growth and challenge for people. Mary believes in the mentoring manager role and the inverted pyramid of leadership.

We will be announcing additional speakers as well as plenary and workshop topics in the coming months. We are looking forward to lively discussions and interesting topics this October 17th.
The Center is offering limited opportunities to sponsor the Making Connections conference; additionally we will provide a place for a limited number of vendors to share their programs, tools and technology with attendees. Sponsors and vendors can register here or contact Karitsa Holdzkom by September 18, 2019.