Transit Leaders Launch Local Chapter of National Advocacy Organization for Minorities in Transportation

Nov. 14, 2017
Leaders in Washington state’s transportation industry are calling for regionwide participation in the new local chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials.

Working toward the goal of increasing diversity and inclusion at all levels of the transportation industry, leaders in Washington state’s transportation industry are calling for regionwide participation in the new local chapter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials.

“A strong transit workforce is one that draws on the diversity of its members and the communities we serve,” said Sound Transit Chief Executive Officer Peter Rogoff, a longtime supporter of COMTO’s efforts nationally and a founding member of the new local chapter. “In order to remain competitive, we need the talent of people from all backgrounds and experiences to keep up with the demands of rapid growth in this area. I believe establishment of a COMTO chapter right here in Washington helps to give more people a seat at the table. It is simply the right thing to do — for Sound Transit and for the region.”

“King County Metro is pleased to be a founding sponsor of the Washington state chapter of the Conference of Minority of Transportation Officials,” said Metro’s General Manager Rob Gannon, also a founding member of the new chapter. “Metro is firmly committed to COMTO’s values of diversity and inclusion, which are vital to our core mission of connecting communities. Through this partnership, we can expand the important work we’re doing regionally and be a stronger voice in shaping transportation policy at the state and national level.”

“The Puget Sound region has grown exponentially over the past 30 years,” said Everette Adams, founding member, chapter president and CEO of Systems Consulting. “COMTO Washington State will help achieve the goal of having the people who plan, build and operate our transportation systems reflect those who live here.”

Local charter agency members and supporters of COMTO Washington State include Pierce Transit, the Seattle Department of Transportation, Washington State Department of Transportation, Community Transit and the Port of Seattle. Private firm charter members also include Triunity Engineering and Management and WSP USA; sponsors of a member kickoff gathering the evening of Nov. 14 include HNTB, AECOM and CH2M. 

In addition to agencies and individuals, membership in COMTO Washington State is open to students; academic institutions; nonprofit organizations; private sector firms; and Historically Underutilized Businesses, including Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs), Airport Concession DBEs, Minority Business Enterprises, Women Business Enterprises and Veteran Business Enterprises and Disabled Veterans Enterprises.

Created in 1971 on the campus of Howard University for senior minority professionals in the transportation industry, today COMTO is a multi-ethnic, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) association advancing the professional, educational and business development of transportation professionals at every level of the industry in a variety of fields and disciplines.

Membership benefits include:

  • Participation in federal legislative and policy activities.
  • Access to an exclusive national network of transportation industry professionals.
  • Mentoring, leadership training and continuing education opportunities.
  • Participation in a pipeline of next-generation transportation leaders through scholarship and mentorship programs.
  • Discounts for COMTO’s national conferences and events.

Through its signature Careers in Transportation for Youth (CITY) Program, COMTO sponsors a 10-week paid internship with public agencies and private transportation-related companies. Three students of color from diverse fields completed CITY internships at Sound Transit last summer. With more agencies and companies coming onboard, opportunities for interns to experience careers in transportation will grow in 2018.