People & Places - November 2016

Nov. 16, 2016

Josh Ensign

Chief Operating Officer


Proterra announced Josh Ensign joined its management team as chief operating officer. A military veteran and former executive of Honeywell International and Tesla Motors, Ensign's track record includes leading global operations for 42 factories in 15 countries and managing the supporting supply chains. Ensign will support Proterra's next phase of strategic growth by scaling existing operations at Proterra's Greenville, South Carolina facility and bringing its Los Angeles County facility and battery manufacturing operations online in early 2017.

Elizabeth Thompson, AICP, LEED GA

Transportation Planner


Elizabeth Thompson joined the VHB New York City transportation team as a transportation planner, supporting the Northeast region’s growing transit and rail practice. After seven years in the public sector, Thompson joins VHB from New York City Transit’s Division of Operations Planning, where she served as senior transportation planner for long-range bus service planning. Prior to that, she served in a variety of roles with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority.

Jerry Benson

President & CEO

Utah Transit Authority

The Utah Transit Authority (UTA) Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint Jerry Benson as UTA president & CEO. Benson has more than three decades of experience in public transportation. His career at UTA has been focused on operations and service, as he has previously served as UTA’s vice president of operations, chief operating officer, chief performance officer, director of communications and director of human resources. He serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Utah.

Andrew Busch

Chief Press Officer

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) announced the promotion of Andrew Busch to the position of chief press officer. Busch will continue working with the SEPTA Media Relations team to coordinate media outreach. Busch joined the SEPTA media relations department as a press officer in May 2009, and most recently served as a public information manager. Prior to joining SEPTA, he was a writer and producer at CBS 3, and a reporter and editor with the Philadelphia Metro newspaper.

Rich Davey

Vice President of Business Development


Former Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation Rich Davey has joined Transdev as vice president of business development. Davey brings with him more than 15 years of rapidly progressing roles and responsibilities in the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad. Serving as Secretary and CEO of the Massachusetts Port Authority, and serving in Governor Duval Patrick’s cabinet, Davey led numerous initiatives to improve multiple aspects of transportation.

Thomas Drozt

Chief Operating Officer

San Joaquin Regional Transit District

San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD) announced Thomas Drozt has joined the agency as chief operating officer. In this new position, Drozt will oversee transportation, maintenance, and paratransit operations at RTD. Drozt previously worked at the Maryland Transit Administration as director of bus transportation. Prior to that, he held management and executive positions at Dunn Transportation, Xerox Corp., MV Transportation and Veolia Transportation. Drozt earned his bachelor’s degree in global business management from Arizona State University.

Amtrak Invests $2.4B for Next-Gen High-Speed Trainsets and Infrastructure Upgrades

Amtrak has contracted with Alstom to produce 28 next-generation high-speed trainsets that will replace the equipment used to provide Amtrak’s Acela Express service. The contract is part of $2.45 billion that will be invested on the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor (NEC).

Amtrak is funding the trainsets and infrastructure improvements through the FRA’s Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing program that will be repaid through growth in NEC revenues.

Siemens to Build Vehicles for Sound Transit

Siemens has been awarded a contract to provide 122 new S70 light rail vehicles (LRVs) for Sound Transit. The new vehicles will be designed and built to help meet the needs of Sound Transit’s growing light rail network and increasing ridership. The order, the largest single contract in Sound Transit’s history, will nearly triple the system’s current fleet from today’s 62 cars to 184.

MTS Rolls Out Propane Buses

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) announced the first of 77 buses powered by clean propane gas have arrived at its Copley Park facility. These are the first propane-powered buses in San Diego’s transit fleet and are estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2 million pounds per year.

The new paratransit buses are 2016 Starcraft Allstars on Ford E-450 chassis. The minibuses are 2016 El Dorado National-Aero Elite 320 on Ford F-550 chassis.

Cincinnati Bell Connector Exceeds Rider Projections

As of October 6, 151,654 rides were provided, far exceeding projections, especially on weekends. More than 5,600 riders have downloaded the new Cincy EZRide app to buy their fare on their phones.

L.A. Metro Awards Talgo Heavy Rail Vehicle Overhaul and Critical Component Replacement

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) awarded Talgo Inc. a project to overhaul critical systems and subsystems to 74 vehicles assigned to the Red Line that will be operated in a married pair configuration. The award consists of a base order of 38 vehicles with an option to add 36 more, for a total value of $72.9 million.

Trillium CNG Selected to Continue Providing Service to Arkansas Transit Authority

Rock Region Metro, based in North Little Rock, Arkansas, selected Love’s Trillium CNG, part of the Love’s family of companies, to continue providing complete maintenance services on its compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station.

DART Deploys ConnectPoint Interactive Kiosk at Love Field Airport

Air travelers landing in Dallas now have a new way to plan their ground travel before leaving the airport, thanks to Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and the ConnectPoint Interactive Touchscreen Kiosk from CHK America. The web-enabled ConnectPoint Interactive Touchscreen Kiosk integrates with tracking and location systems, scheduling systems and other DART information systems to provide comprehensive information to customers.

SFRTA Unveils New Tri-Rail Commuter Connector

The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) unveiled the first of its new Tri-Rail Commuter Connectors. The fleet of 28 new vehicles and 2 refurbished vehicles will replace the existing Tri-Rail shuttle buses.

VHB has been named the local lead signal design consultant to work as part of the Ansaldo STS team on a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority $338 million project to equip the Boston commuter rail network with positive train control.

Urban Solar has been awarded a contract to supply solar-powered LED lighting systems to Intercity Transit.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County Police Department K9s have received bullet- and stab-protective vests thanks to a charitable donation from the non-profit organization Vested Interest in K9s Inc.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority awarded a $4 million contract to Syncromatics to design, install and operate a network of 300 real-time bus information signs at the busiest bus shelters across Los Angeles County.

BYD broke ground on the second of three phases of construction at its vehicle manufacturing facility in Lancaster, California. The Phase II expansion marks an important step in BYD’s plan to triple employment in three years.

Nova Bus announced it received an order for 425 40-foot compressed natural gas buses from VIA Metropolitan Transit in San Antonio, Texas.

Palm Tran unveiled the first of 24 new bus stops seats by Simme-Seat at a bus stop in Linton Square Plaza in Delray Beach on October 3.

Bombardier Transportation announced it signed a new contract with the Southern California Regional Rail Authority of Los Angeles, California, to provide eight years of maintenance services for SCRRA's Metrolink commuter rail fleet.

Mass Transit Magazine named a finalist for prestigious national editorial award from Folio for its use of video in its 2015 Top 40 Under 40 coverage.