Fernandez is this year's honoree for her dedication, vision, and unwavering commitment to transportation equity.
Sept. 26, 2023 (Washington, D.C.) – Latinos In Transit (LIT) is pleased to announce Nuria Fernandez, Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), as this year’s recipient of the Founders Award. The award was presented to her after she delivered a keynote speech to 300 registered attendees at LIT’s 2023 Leadership Summit luncheon in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 23, 2023.
Fernandez is this year's honoree for her dedication, vision, and unwavering commitment to transportation equity. She is a tireless advocate for diversity and inclusion within the transportation industry, and she has worked to ensure that the voices of underrepresented groups are heard, valued, and understood in the decision-making processes.
Regarding the honor, Administrator Fernandez noted, “I want to thank Latinos In Transit, ‘mi gente’, for presenting me with this honor. So many of us have similar and shared experiences on our professional journeys in this industry, but one thing is certain: Latinos In Transit has transformed our lives and outlook for the future. Muchas gracias!”
Before joining the FTA, Fernandez served as chair of the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Executive Board from 2019-2020. During her tenure, she ensured LIT had a seat at the table by supporting the signing of a collaborative agreement between LIT and APTA. This was a crucial step that led to LIT being recognized in the transit industry as an advocate for professional development of Latinos and other minorities in the transportation industry. In 2021, LIT collaborated on APTA’s Racial Equity Action Plan and other initiatives. With Fernandez’s support, LIT has been cemented as a powerful advocate in the transportation industry and beyond.
Alva Carrasco, President of the LIT Board of Directors, surprised Fernandez with an announcement recognizing her for advocacy for Latinos and minorities. LIT board members, past and present, and Flora Castillo, (past honoree) joined her on stage to present her with the award.
“Nuria is an inspirational leader and a role model to so many people. She embodies LIT’s mission and vision,” Carrasco said. “With Nuria’s help, [LIT] has opened many more doors than we ever imagined.”
The Founders Award is a prestigious recognition and symbolizes the highest honor within LIT. It’s presented to individuals or organizations who have made exceptional contributions, demonstrated outstanding leadership, and played a pivotal role in the establishment and growth of LIT. Recipients of this award are celebrated not only for their historical significance but also for their enduring influence, as their legacy serves as a source of inspiration and a reminder of the organization's roots. They are visionary leaders, innovators, and trailblazers who helped lay the foundation for LIT's success, and whose dedication and commitment continue to inspire and guide others.
Past honorees include Terry Solis, 2018; Flora Castillo, 2019; and MV Transportation Inc., 2021.
ABOUT LATINOS IN TRANSIT
Founded in 2016, Latinos In Transit (LIT) was created to promote the advancement and development of Latinos and other minorities in transportation. Membership is made of public and private transportation professionals from across the nation who meet regularly to network, share information and celebrate the professional development of all members.
latinosintransit.org | linkedin.com/latinosintransit | facebook.com/LITgente
(June 2023) Transportation Research Board- Is a public transportation problem keeping you up at night? Help guide the direction of future research on public transportation in the U.S. Submit your problem statements for TRB's Transit Cooperative Research Program by June 30.
Transportation leader partners with industry non-profit to advance opportunities in transit industry
BOSTON – APRIL 26, 2023 - Latinos In Transit, today announced Keolis North America (Keolis) as its newest business partner to drive future opportunities for a more diverse workforce in public transit organizations. Together, Latinos In Transit and Keolis will leverage their broad industry networks to create opportunities for education, mentoring, and professional development among multicultural employees, industry professionals, and those seeking employment.
“We are very proud to call Keolis a partner in our efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the transportation industry. Together we plan to build new relationships with organizations that create workforce development opportunities for minorities,” said Alva Carrasco, President of the Board of Directors of Latinos In Transit. “As an industry, we need to develop innovative partnerships to help build a steady pipeline to careers in transportation.”
"Our Keolis teams care deeply about increasing the visibility of underrepresented groups within the business and the broader industry,” said Keolis CEO David Scorey. “Critical to that work is recruitment, retention, and providing a pathway for career development that extends across all levels within our business. This partnership will help us to further improve on the processes we already have in place.”
As part of Keolis’ partnership with Latinos In Transit, two Keolis employees will be nominated to enroll in the Latinos In Transit Leadership Academy. This program supports 35 participants in exploring management practices, finance, procurement, labor relations, and regulatory compliance as they relate to the public transportation industry. Additionally, Keolis will partner with Latinos In Transit to develop new workforce development opportunities specific to future leaders from Latino populations across the United States.
Keolis has long been committed to advancing DEI for its own people, passengers, and valued partners. This new partnership further extends the commitment Keolis has made for this journey to increase opportunities for underserved populations.
About Latinos In Transit
Founded in 2016, Latinos In Transit (LIT) was created to promote the advancement and development of Latinos and other minorities in transportation. Membership is made of public and private transportation professionals from across the nation who meets regularly to network, share information and celebrate the professional development of all members. To learn more about LIT’s vision and mission, and for general information, visit www.latinosintransit.org.
Keolis provides safe and reliable public transportation services to millions of people every year. With the passenger experience at the forefront, Keolis reliably and safely provides solutions to more than 121 million people each year on local bus, commuter bus, intercity bus, parking, paratransit, tram, and commuter rail services in North America. Keolis offers an innovative new product called Keolis Evolve to transit agencies to help identify innovative solutions that meet evolving transit demands and grow both revenue and ridership while enhancing equity of service delivery. A company that strives to put employees first, Keolis employs more than 5,800 people throughout the United States and Canada. Learn more at www.keolisna.com.
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) led six members of Congress in introducing the Expanding Opportunities for Diverse Entrepreneurs Act, legislation that would expand the reach of the Department of Transportation’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program, which works to provide small businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (including women and minorities) a fair opportunity to compete for federally funded transportation contracts.
“As billions of dollars in infrastructure funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act reaches communities, Congress needs to exercise our oversight responsibility to make sure federal contracting dollars are equitably distributed to entrepreneurs from all backgrounds,” said Congressman Castro. “The Expanding Opportunities for Diverse Entrepreneurs Act will improve accountability in the DBE program, increase opportunities for historically disadvantaged entrepreneurs, and create good-paying jobs in San Antonio and across the country.”
The Expanding Opportunities for Diverse Entrepreneurs Act is co-sponsored by Reps. Barbara Lee (CA-12), Nannette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Jesus G. "Chuy" Garcia (IL-04), Gwen Moore (WI-04), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC). The legislation is endorsed by the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) and Latinos In Transit, which works to promote the advancement and development of Latinos and other minorities in transportation.
"COMTO is pleased to offer support to Rep. Joaquin Castro's legislative efforts to ensure transparency, uniformity, and efficiency to the DBE program and to facilitate access to opportunities for small, disadvantaged and minority-owned businesses," said April Rai, President/CEO of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials.
“Latino-owned businesses are among the fastest-growing across the United States but struggle to acquire the resources and support to compete for equitable federal contracts. Latinos in Transit is proud to support the Expanding Opportunities for Diverse Entrepreneurs Act, and we are grateful for Congressman Castro's commitment to unlock fair economic opportunities for women and minority-owned small businesses in the transportation industry," said Alva Carrasco, President of the Board of Directors of Latinos In Transit.
Specifically, the Expanding Opportunities for Diverse Entrepreneurs Act would:
Last month, Castro introduced the Transparency in Government Contracts Act, legislation co-sponsored by 26 House Democrats that would support Congressional oversight over the equitable distribution of federal contracts. Together, the Transparency in Government Contracts Act and the Expanding Opportunities for Diverse Entrepreneurs Act build on his longstanding efforts to expand contracting opportunities for minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses. In 2021, he called on San Antonio’s public entities to expand diverse contracting opportunities after his office collected data showing that collectively, less than 20 percent of contracts with San Antonio public entities were going to minority or women-owned firms. The following year, he secured more than half a million dollars in federal funding for the HUB Government Contracting Academy at the University of Texas San Antonio, which helps Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUBs) win and complete government contracts. Castro is also closely involved with an ongoing project led by the Aspen Latino Business & Entrepreneurship Initiative, Drexel University, and the San Antonio Area Foundation to develop a procurement playbook with best practices for diversifying public contracting.
The bill text for the Expanding Opportunities for Diverse Entrepreneurs Act can be viewed here.
The Latinos In Transit Leadership Academy (LITLA), a program that gives participants the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of public transportation and learn about management practices, finance, procurement, labor relations and regulatory compliance, announced the 2023 LITLA Class members selected to participate in the program. The program is divided into three different development program tracks: Making of An Executive, Leading in Middle Management, and New Careers in Transit. The 35 participants selected come from both the public and private sector from across the country. The 2023 LITLA Class participants for each track are:
New Careers In Transit
● Alfonso Reyes - National Express (CA)
● Anitra Honore - New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (LA)
● Ana Rodriguez - New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (LA)
● Eder Sanchez - Rocky Mountaineer (CO)
● Michael Candelaria - TransitGuard (CA)
● Caleb Losey - TransitGuard (CA)
● Stephany Garcia - National Express (VA)
● Henry Suarez - Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (CA)
● Carmen Ruby Galvan - SunLine Transit Agency (CA)
● Martin Rodriguez - Gold Coast Transit District (CA)
● Lawrence Trevino - Capital Metro (TX)
● Vanessa Meza - Capital Metro (TX)
Leading In Middle Management
● Jose Vega - Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (CA)
● Ricardo Vega - Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (CA)
● Jorge Quintana - Foothill Transit (CA)
● Jennifer Lopez Ibrahim - GHD Group (WA)
● Abel Ruiz - Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (GA)
● Jesus Valenzuela - MV Transportation (CA)
● Leyden Patricia Mendez - National Express
● Roberto Lopez - New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (LA)
● Elizabeth Martin- Maldonado - Sound Transit (WA)
● Clara O’brien - Sound Transit (WA)
● Marco Zhanay - Transdev (NY)
● Fabian Campos - WSP (CA)
● Bryan Ochoa - Los Angeles Department of Transportation (CA)
● Donato Perez - Nelson/Nygaard (TX)
Making of an Executive
● Hilda Mercedes - CSI Compliance (TX)
● Inmer Hernandez - Transdev (NY)
● Julia Cesar Badia Hernandez - First Transit (Puerto Rico)
● Niorka Mendez-Almonte - Merrimack Valley Transit Authority (MA)
● Norma Zamora - First Transit (TX)
● Vincent Parker - MV Transportation (TX)
● Yolanda Rodriguez - New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (LA)
● Erika Finnestead - Ozark Regional Transit (AR)
● Violet Ayala - Utah Transit Authority (UT)
“We could not be more excited to bring forward the participants of our second leadership academy. We continue to promote the advancement and development of Latinos and other minorities in transportation and the academy provides a great platform for us to do so. This class is made of public and private transportation professionals from across the nation who are dedicated to their professional development. We look forward to celebrating their graduation later this year,” said Herold Humphrey, LITLA Committee Chair.
Each track consists of five modules. There will be one module held each month for a period of five months starting in March 2023. The modules will be taught virtually by industry leaders. There will be a team project and presentation required to graduate from the academy. The 2023 LITLA program year will begin with an orientation to welcome the 2023 class participants. Now in its second year, the LITLA Committee plans to implement new strategies to catapult the success of the program to expand its opportunities for Latinos and other minorities in the transit sector.
JACKSONVILLE, FL. (February 24, 2023) – Ivan A. Rodriguez-Seda, JTA’s Chief of Staff, was elected to the Latinos In Transit (LIT) Board of Directors. Founded in 2016, LIT was created to promote the advancement and development of Latinos and other minorities in transportation. Membership is made of public and private transportation professionals from across the nation.
“For the JTA, it is important to be engaged and active in our industry’s trade association that contribute so much in advancing ideas and best practices that push the envelope forward in areas such as innovation, mobility, equity, and others that improve the services for our customers,” said JTA Chief Executive Officer Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. “For JTA to be part of an organization that has a clear vision of driving for sustainable and equitable mobility services, while creating a network to advance professional development, is an honor.”
Rodriguez-Seda started at the JTA in 2013 as a Government Relations Officer and has held various positions in the authority. During his tenure at the JTA, he has been an active contributor in advancing JTA’s signature projects and initiatives, working on projects such as the Route Optimizations Initiative (ROI), the Bus Rapid Transit First Coast Flyer, the Ultimate Urban Circulator (U²C), among others, supporting with advocacy and grants strategies that helped secure millions in federal and state funding. In August 2022, he was named Chief of Staff.
Selected in 2020 to Mass Transit Magazine’s, 40 Under 40 class, Rodriguez-Seda has over 15 years in public service, with extensive experience in policy, legal, advocacy, and governance, among others, and is an active member of numerous national and statewide trade associations and organizations. Currently, he also serves on the Regional Council for Leadership Florida’s Northeast Chapter.
“We are proud and overjoyed to have Ivan join the LIT Board of Directors,” said Alva Carrasco, LIT President of the Board of Directors. “LIT is experiencing rapid growth and with Ivan’s leadership and expertise, we look forward to strengthening our foundation and to growing to new heights.”
WMATA will host the LIT Leadership Summit Sept. 22-23, in Washington, D.C.
(Los Angeles, CA, January 29, 2023) Latinos In Transit (LIT) is excited to announce the next Leadership Summit will take place Sept. 22-23, 2023, in the Washington, D.C. area. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) will be this year’s host.
The announcement was made at a joint COMTO DC and LIT lunch and learn event at WMATA’s headquarters. WMATA General Manager and CEO Randy Clarke made the announcement while discussing the agency’s current service and operations as well as potential capital improvements. Clarke noted that WMATA’s workforce is the backbone of the agency and region and he highlighted recent promotions that reinforced his commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
"We are elated to announce the 2023 LIT Leadership Summit will take place at our nation's capital. Having WMATA be the Summit host is just icing on the cake,” said LIT President Alva Carrasco.
Sponsorship opportunities will be made available in the coming weeks and programming announcements will be made in the coming months. Those interested in a sponsorship or would like to submit a session proposal may contact Leadership Summit Committee Chair Oscar Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LIT is excited to build off of last year’s successful summit, which took place in Dallas, Texas, and was hosted by Dallas Area Rapid Transit. The event saw more than 150 registrants, a sold out Leadership Luncheon with 200 attendees, nine sponsors, four breakout sessions, three keynotes, a technical tour and two receptions.
(Los Angeles, CA, October, 16) In celebration of the 2022 Leadership Academy’s inaugural graduating class and scholarship winners, Latinos In Transit (LIT) hosted an awards reception on October 10 at the Hilton Seattle, in Seattle Wash. Sponsored by National Express, the event gathered emerging professionals and industry leaders to honor efforts driven by the mission of LIT. The reception program highlighted 28 Leadership Academy graduates and six scholarship recipients.
“The board of directors has been working towards this day for more than two years. The event highlighted the passion and dedication that LIT and our partners have towards LIT’s mission to advocate for Latinos and minorities in our industry,” said Alva Carrasco, LIT Board President.
The event kicked off its program by commemorating the 2022 Leadership Academy graduates. In its inaugural year, LIT’s Leadership Academy was launched in an effort to provide training and development opportunities to organizational members who are pursuing growth opportunities within the transit industry. Academy curriculum consisted of five intensive professional development sessions that focused on specialized and technical expertise needed to advance in the sector. As a requirement for completion of the academy, participants were required to complete a paper and project presentation as a culmination of what they learned.
The Latinos In Transit Board of Directors announce and congratulate the Leadership Academy’s Class of 2022. Graduates include: Christian Andrade - Sound Transit; Diana Gosnell - Sound Transit; Jacob Miskimens - Transit Guard; Anthony Napoles - WSP; Antonio Perez Ramirez, Jr. - AC Transit; Alexander Victoria - Transit Guard; Diego Carrillo - Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority; Robert Diaz, AC Transit; Linda Espinosa - National Express; Grace Ferguson - City of Santa Clarita,Calif.; Angel Gonzalez - IndyGo; Tamara Hunte - Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Esteban Martinez - HNTB; Jose Peraza Odonez - Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority Reyna Padilla - Sound Transit; Grace Perez - AC Transit; Robert Reyes - AC Transit; Tania Santana - National Express; Valerie Valero - Sound Transit; Joe Aguilar - AC Transit; Carl Atencio- Rocky Mountaineer; Christina Fonseca - Sound Transit; Juan Higuera - Sound Transit; Michelle Jorgensen - National Express; Javier Perez - Sound Transit; Maria Reyes - New Flyer; Cherly Suddeth - AC Transit; and Monica Tellez-Fowler -C-TRAN.
The second part of the program honored six scholarship recipients. In 2022, LIT launched a new scholarship program to support Latinos and other minorities in their pursuit of educational advancement. The purpose of this scholarship is to create opportunities for underserved and/or underrepresented individuals pursuing degrees and/or certifications from accredited educational institutions in a public transit-related field of study. LIT was very fortunate to collaborate with Pittsburgh Regional Transit (PRT) and the North American Transit Alliance (NATA) in securing additional funds for scholarship awards.
With more than 70 applications submitted, a judging committee awarded six individuals with $2,500 scholarships each. The 2022 scholarship recipients are: LIT Scholarship- Mario Delgado - Metro Mcallen, Texas; LIT Scholarship- Jasmine Zamora - City of Oakland; LIT Scholarship- Erica Casillas - Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority; LIT/PRT Scholarship - Jonathan Bonilla - WHED Co; LIT/PRT Scholarship- Adriana Reyes - Pittsburgh Regional Transit; and LIT/NATA Scholarship - Ricardo Vega- AC Transit.
Finishing off a banner year for the organization, LIT has scaled its programs to serve minorities across the United States. In an effort to continue its mission, LIT’s strategic plan is focused on increasing accessibility to advancement and development opportunities to its members. Planning for the 2023 Leadership Academy and scholarship program is now underway, and the organization invites those in the transit industry to become a member of the organization in order to take advantage of advancement opportunities that come with being a LIT member. To learn more about becoming a member of Latinos In Transit, visit www.latinosintransit.org.
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Tel: (626) 495-1548
LIT is a non-profit 501(c) organization
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