For our first-ever Who’s Next: Transit class, we asked you, our readers, to nominate the under-40 professionals you know who are shaping the future of mobility for planes, trains, automobiles, bikes and walkers in Pittsburgh.
Out of dozens of nominations, we are proud to announce our inaugural Who’s Next: Transit class, comprised of 17 individuals who are impacting how Pittsburghers get around. These are individuals working on infrastructure, public transit, private transit options, ride-sharing and more, each with a vested interest in how people move and what moves them.
Allow us to introduce our Who’s Next: Transit class for 2018 — a group with plenty of get-up-and-go — and then join us at this happy hour in their honor. Get your tickets here.
Join us at a happy hour in honor of The Incline's inaugural Who's Next: Transit class. This event is for you if you're fascinated by the local transit scene or are trying to break into it. At this celebration:
- Meet rock stars nominated by their peers and selected by The Incline's editorial staff.
- Enjoy light appetizers and samplings of beer, wine and spirits.
- Supports our local newsroom, which is committed to keeping you informed by reporting relevant, original and actionable news.
Where: Healthy Ride Headquarters at 3328 Penn Ave. (Lower Lawrenceville)
When: September 26, 2018 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
How much: $25 for public | Free for Who's Next: Transit honorees
Josh Huber was born and raised north of Pittsburgh and returned to his hometown “to help solve some of Pittsburgh's transportation problems with Lyft,” he says. Huber joined the company two years ago in Philadelphia and has played a big part in the company's growth across Pennsylvania. Huber went to Temple University and lives on the North Side.
At evolve, Elijah Hughes’ focus has been in the areas of mobility, water, storm water, land use policy, and community engagement. He’s worked on the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group's Better Busway 2.0 study, which looked at key stations along the East Busway. Today, he’s working on transit-oriented development planning for the Port Authority of Allegheny County, a Transit Revitalization Investment District study for Wilkinsburg Borough, and bus stop optimization along six corridors for the City of Harrisburg.
Paige Kassalen sees working in transit as a great opportunity for young professionals to step up and use their voice — and she’s done so herself. Through her work as market analyst for the Future of Mobility with Covestro, Kassalen aims to make her employer the chosen materials supplier for designers of the next generation of vehicles. She was also on the ground crew of Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) — the first airplane to fly around the world using only the power of the sun. “The company takes a proactive approach to the emerging world of transit — going beyond its current offerings to develop new materials for the future of mobility,” her nominator said. Paige went to Virginia Tech and lives in Mt. Washington.
Clifford Laschon created Pittsburgh Cars 'N' Coffee in 2010 for exotic and modern sports car enthusiasts. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s the most well-known exotic car club in Western Pennsylvania with more than 1,100 members and many more followers. Its bi-weekly meets attract enthusiasts from surrounding states and its charity events have raised thousands of dollars. Clifford attended the Pittsburgh Technical Institute and lives in Moon.
Joshua Malloy’s organizing career began with Hospital Workers Rising, where he worked toward giving workers a voice on the job and fair and equitable wages. He’s now organizing for fair and equitable transit, and working to ensure that “marginalized peoples voices are heard and respected.” Malloy went to the Community College of Allegheny County and lives in Bloomfield.
As a transit-oriented development project manager with the Port Authority of Allegheny County, Breen Masciotra works on initiatives maximizing the amount of residential, business and leisure space within walking distance of public transport. She also established the Station Improvement Program to invest more than $3 million in capital funds into targeted Port Authority facilities to catalyze transit-oriented development and is working to collaborate with other public and community partners to create transit-friendly places across Allegheny County. Masciotra, who lives in lives in Mt. Washington, went to Washington University and the University of Pittsburgh.
Morgan McLane graduated from Woodland Hills High School in 2006 and studied automotive mechanics at Pennsylvania College of Technology. He also created a local fundraiser in memory of his aunt called "Barbara Lee's Fast Track to Cure." The fundraiser uses a shared love of cars and autocross competitions to benefit those with Huntington's Disease, which McLane’s aunt was diagnosed with in 1999. She passed away in 2010. McLane’s car is, of course a MINI — a 2010 Cooper S Clubman, named Betty. Morgan lives in Forest Hills.
Ngani Ndimbie is a Pittsburgh native who is passionate about equitable policies, economic justice, healthy communities and how those issues connect to transit. Ndimbie said she fell in love with bicycling while a student at the University of Florida, adding, “I love affordable transportation and dream of a Pittsburgh where there is no relationship between personal car ownership and quality of life.” She went to the University of Florida and Carnegie Mellon University and lives in Squirrel Hill.
Sarah Papperman co-facilitates the Age-Friendly Greater Pittsburgh transportation working group and is redefining transportation for people with mobility challenges in Allegheny County. In her capacity as a team leader with “In Service of Seniors” at Wesley Family Services, she coordinates a volunteer-driven ride program for older adults and helps lead an innovative pilot project connecting older residents with ridesharing options like Uber and Lyft, her nominator explained. Papperman went to the University of Pittsburgh and lives in Wilkinsburg.
Alex Pazuchanics has been a transit buff since college. Now he’s assistant director of planning, policy and permitting with Pittsburgh’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure where he’s focused on infrastructure-related projects — anything from street paving to autonomous vehicle policy. He is a regular speaker at conferences around the country and has even spoken before a congressional committee. “I get to work with an amazing team of public servants in a young, scrappy, and hungry department,” Pazuchanics told The Incline of his role. Pazuchanics went to Carnegie Mellon University and The George Washington University, and he lives in Greenfield.
Konstantinos Pelechrinis is an associate professor at the School of Computing and Information at the University of Pittsburgh, where his research includes work on how to improve public transportation systems and make them more human-centric and sustainable. That research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Army Research Office. Pelechrinis recently gave a TEDx talk where he spoke about his research on transit in smart cities. Pelechrinis attended University of California, Riverside, and National Technical University of Athens. He lives in Shadyside.
Devaughn Rodgers is passionate about biking, youth development and engagement. As education program coordinator with BikePGH, the biking and pedestrian advocacy group, Rodgers gets to do both, talking with kids about biking and encouraging a new generation of cyclist. “... the goal [is] to create as many safe and confident young cyclist as possible,” Rodgers said. He attended Clarion University and the Community College of Allegheny County and lives in Garfield.
Kristin Saunders manages bicycle and pedestrian planning through her work as a principal transportation planner with the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure. This includes long-range planning, project selection, public outreach, stakeholder coordination, project financing and design. Saunders attended the University of Kansas and Edinburgh College of Art and lives in Stanton Heights.
Amy Silbermann oversees the evaluation of Port Authority's service on an annual basis as the transportation organization's manager of data and evaluation. In this role she ensures that all transit routes are “efficient, effective, and equitable” using a data-driven process that she developed. Silbermann also currently manages the planning efforts for the Port Authority's Oakland Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project. She went to Denison University, American University and Carnegie Mellon University, and she lives in Wilkinsburg.
Craig Toocheck is working to make Pittsburgh's streets safer and more efficient, bringing a passion for urban design and a focus on transportation to his role as staff engineer with Pittsburgh’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure. After graduating with a master's in urban planning, he moved to New York City and was employed by NACTO (National Association of City Transportation Officials). He later returned to Pittsburgh to apply some of that knowledge here. Toocheck says he would like to create spaces where all residents can traverse the city and its neighborhoods with ease and safety. He attended the University of California, Berkeley, and The Catholic University of America. He lives in East Liberty.
Chris Watts is the vice president of mobility for the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, a role that has him leading and implementing initiatives to make Downtown a more “active, engaging, and accessible place to live, work, and play.” Prior to graduate school, Chris began his career as a sustainability & transportation engineering analyst at Kimley Horn. Watts is a Pittsburgh native and attended CMU and George Washington University. He lives in Shaler.
Laura Wiens has been a member of the Pittsburghers for Public Transit board since 2013 and involved in its resident campaigns to restore bus service to transit deserts. She assumed the director position in June 2017. Laura has her roots in labor organizing with Unite HERE and draws from her experience recruiting and training leaders in the service industry to mobilize transit riders in the “fight for equity, access and transparency within our public agencies.” Wiens attended Williams College and lives in Regent Square.