DALLAS, Texas (August 18, 2020) – Edgar Mejia has been named 2020 recipient of the MV Transportation-Latinos In Transit Scholarship. The award is presented annually by MV Transportation, Inc. (MV), a recognized leader in passenger transportation services, and Latinos In Transit (LIT), a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and development of Latinos and other minorities in the public transit industry. The scholarship is offered through the American Public Transportation Foundation. LIT members are public and private sector transportation professionals from across the United States supporting their mission through advocacy, professional development, mentoring and networking. In early 2019 MV became LIT’s Founding Sponsor, the organization’s first corporate sponsor since its founding in 2016.
Mejia is pursuing a Master of Urban and Regional Planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. He is interested in pursuing a career as a professional transportation planner with the goal of designing, advocating, and implementing policy solutions that better fund transportation access for underrepresented groups.
“On behalf of MV and LIT, we are proud of the selection of Edgar Mejia for our annual scholarship,” said Alva Carrasco, President of the LIT Board of Directors. “We are inspired by his passion and dedication to help shape the future of the transit industry to better serve our communities.”
“I’m honored to be recognized by LIT and MV and am grateful for their ongoing commitment to the future of Latinos in the field of transit and mobility,” said Edgar Mejia. “With the American Public Transportation Foundation Scholarship, I will be able to continue advocating for transit planning that provides greater levels of equity for underserved communities, particularly women, Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color, and people with limited mobility.” Mejia and other 2020 American Public Transportation Foundation scholars will be honored during a ceremony held in conjunction with the American Public Transportation Association’s TRANSform Conference and EXPO, which will be held March 14-17, 2021 in Anaheim, CA.
(October 27, 2020) Latinos In Transit (LIT) is proud to announce the addition of two new board of directors. On September 23, 2020, the LIT Board of Directors approved the nominations of Lisa Rivera-LaMantia, Sr. Project Manager at Central Ohio Transportation Authority (COTA) and Walter Weichselbaumer, Strategic Account Manager at Clever Devices.
Lisa Rivera-LaMantia was the first recipient to receive the American Public Transportation Foundation (APTF) MV Transportation Inc./Latinos In Transit Scholarship in 2019. The scholarship is awarded to a Latino/a pursuing a career in public transportation. Lisa has a master degree in City and Regional Planning from the Ohio State University and a master in Infrastructure Planning and Management from the University of Washington.
Walter Weichselbaumer is responsible for business development and key accounts in the southeast specializing in Intelligent Transit Solutions (ITS). Walter obtained a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas, Venezuela, with honorary mention for his thesis. Walter is a Fulbright Scholar and subsequently earned a master degree in Telecommunications Management from the University of Maryland.
LIT continues to grow its influence and membership. Most recently, LIT celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with a virtual symposium “Juntos Podemos 2020” sponsored by New Flyer of America. The symposium featured guest speakers Nuria Fernandez, APTA Board Chair and CEO of Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA); Alice N. Bravo, P.E., Director of Miami-Dade Transit; Carlos Braceras, Chair of the Transit Research Board and Executive Director of the Utah Department of Transportation; and Amanda Merck, MPH, Salud America! U.T. Health San Antonio.
LIT’s Board President, Alva Carrasco is WSP USA’s Transit and Rail Sr. Market Lead – Northern California and Zero Emission Bus sector. “I am very pleased with the addition of our two new board members. They represent two important sectors, public transit and business members, where Latinx are making a positive impact on public transportation. I am looking forward to working closely with Lisa and Walter to help us continue to develop into a nationally recognized organization for the advocacy of Latinx in transportation.”
(January 13, 2020) - Latinos in Transit (LIT) recently held elections for its 2020-2022 Board of Directors officers. The newly elected LIT President is Alva Carrasco, who is the Transit and Rail Market Lead - Zero Emissions Bus for Northern California for WSP. The remaining slate of new LIT board officers include: Vice President Salvador Llamas (Chief Operating Officer, Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District); Board Secretary James E. Saenz (Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer, Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority); Treasurer Aida B. Berry, (Senior Manager of Civil Rights Programs for Title VI, Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority); and ex-officio board member Milo Victoria (President and Chief Executive Officer, Victorious Gold Partners, LLC).
“I am honored to have been elected as LIT’s new president,” said Alva Carrasco. “The professional growth, development, and advancement of our members is my top priority. In the next two years, we will partner with our board and corporate advisory members to continue momentum for LIT on the national level.”
Formed in 2016 to promote the advancement of Latinos to executive positions, as well as other positions of influence within the transportation industry, LIT continues to grow its influence and membership. Under the leadership of outgoing President Milo Victoria, LIT’s membership has grown to more than 400 members nationwide and countless followers on social media. On September 13, 2019, it held its Inaugural Leadership Summit in Newport Beach, CA, that featured top public transit leaders from across the nation, including Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (CA) and Federal Transit Administration Region 3 Administrator Terry Garcia Crews. In 2019, LIT also held member events during the American Public Transportation Association TRANSform Annual Conference and the California Transit Association Fall Annual Conference.
“It has been a privilege of a lifetime to have guided LIT as its inaugural president,” said Milo Victoria. “Our achievements over the last two years were accomplished with the commitment, hard work, and passion of my fellow board members. I am confident the new leadership will take LIT to its next progressive level.”
Additionally, members at large and new directors were elected. They are:
Elizabeth Carter, Assistant Transit Director, RIO Metro Regional Transit District;
Joe Escobedo, Senior Vice President of Business Development, MV Transportation Inc.;
Carmen Garcia, Assistant Vice President Outreach, Office of Diversity, Dallas Area Rapid Transit;
Elba Higueros, Chief Policy Officer, Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority;
Aurora Jackson, General Manager, Lane Transit District;
Alberto Marino, Senior Diversity Officer– Recruitment, Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority;
Oscar J. Gonzalez, Senior Program Manager/Chief of Real Estate Development, Virginia Railway Express.
“As one of the founders for Latinos In Transit (LIT), I am thrilled with the new slate of board members who can be counted on to continue to move LIT in new and different directions,” said Terry Solis, LIT co-founder and CEO of the Solis Group. “I look forward to celebrating the many milestones that LIT will achieve under their leadership.”
“Through their frontline and leadership roles, Latinos across the United States are contributing every day to the vibrancy of our $71 billion public transportation industry which employs over 430,000 people in the public and private sectors,” said Flora Castillo, LIT co-founder and President of Pivot Strategies, LLC. “The newly elected LIT board directors and officers possess the intellect, passion, creativity and selflessness to support the growth and development of the next generation of Latinos leaders that our industry will depend upon.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Latinos accounted for 16.1 percent of the 146.3 million employed people in the United States. In the transportation and utilities industries, 17.2 percent or over 4 million workers are Latinos.
In order to sustain expansion in the transit industry, LIT has established a strong partnership with the private sector, non-profit and union communities. Most recently, the Board of Directors established a Corporate Advisory Committee that will provide guidance and assistance to the elected officers and board as well as provide advocacy on relevant program planning; training and leadership development; industry issues; and strategic fundraising to ensure its sustainability.