The Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) board of directors voted unanimously to offer the permanent executive director position to Julie Austin, who has served as interim director for the agency since Dec. 6, 2010. Before coming to the Antelope Valley, Austin served as director of policy and strategic planning with the North County Transit District in Oceanside, Calif., and spent several years as a transportation consultant to agencies such as LA Metro and Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus focusing on transit performance, fare structure analysis and funding issues. She served as deputy and subsequently executive director of Foothill Transit in the San Gabriel Valley.
David Bitter has been named a supervising architect in the Atlanta office of Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB), a global infrastructure strategic consulting, engineering and program/construction management organization. In his new position, Bitter will assist the Dulles Rail Consultants team, a PB joint venture, with final review and completion of documentation required for preliminary engineering services for the Dulles MetroRail project in Washington, D.C. Bitter has more than 25 years of experience in design and construction. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects and the American Solar Energy Society and is a LEED accredited professional. Dirk Braxton has been named a lead mechanical engineer, John Trautmann has been named a senior supervising architect and Boris Fyerman has been named a senior supervising engineering, all in the Los Angeles office of PB. Braxton will be responsible for mechanical designs for the Los Angeles Metro westside subway extension project. He comes to PB after a 23-year career with MTA - New York City Transit, most recently serving as a project mechanical engineer within the Capital Program Management department. He is a licensed professional engineer and a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials. Trautmann will be responsible for architectural design and documentation for the Exposition Light Rail Transit Project Phase 2, which will extend the Expo line from Culver City to Santa Monica. Prior to joining PB, he led his own firm, John Trautmann Architects for 15 years. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects. Fyerman will be responsible for traction power design and coordination, working on the westside subway extension, the Regional Connector, phase 2 of the Expo light rail and the Gold Line Foothill Extension in Los Angeles. Fyerman has more than 40 years of experience as an electrical engineer for industrial, power plant and transit applications.
The San Mateo County Transit District has lowered the flags at all its facilities to half-staff in memory and honor of Omar Ahmad, the mayor of San Carlos and a member of the transit district's board of directors and the vice chair of the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, who died May 10. Ahmad was appointed to the Caltrain board to represent the San Mateo County Transit District.
James F. (Jim) Bender passed away at a Hospice center in Pensacola, Fla., on April 21, 2011 at the age of 80. His wife Cornelia was with him at the time. Bender began his transit career in Pittsburgh with the Port Authority of Allegheny County. He joined the former American Transit Corporation (ATC) in 1972 as a marketing specialist. Over the next three decades, Bender assumed many management responsibilities, including that of regional vice president. In recent years, Bender had been employed by other management companies, including McDonald Transit Associates and Ballard Management Group, where he served as general manager at various locations. Bender also operated his own consulting services company, JFB Enterprises.