Caron Whitaker serves as the Vice President for Government Relations at the League of American Bicyclists. Caron's work has been instrumental in her work to advocate for increased local control in the Transportation Alternatives Program through the successful passage of the Cardin-Cochran amendment as part of the Federal Transportation Bill, MAP-21 as well as her continued work on behalf of the League of American Bicyclists to advocate to maintain federal bicycle and pedestrian funding for local communities as part of the 2016's FAST Act Transportation Bill. Prior to joining the League of American Bicyclists in 2012, Caron served as the Campaign Director for America Bikes where she coordinated and implemented America Bikes federal policy agenda. Before that, she worked for the National Wildlife Federation on smart growth, international policy, and community engagement. In addition, Caron served as a Community Land Use Planner for the State of North Carolina Division of Coastal Management, providing technical assistance to local governments and staffing a stakeholders’ council responsible for revising state planning regulations. She has a Masters in Environmental Management for Duke University, Nicolas School of the Environment and a Bachelors of Arts from Williams College.
Barbara McCann is the director of the Office of Safety, Energy and Environment at the US Department of Transportation . Her work at the U.S. Department of Transporation has also been instrumental in supporting the U.S. Secretary of Transportation's "Mayor's Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets" of which Mississippi Mayors have the 2nd highest national participation. Mrs. McCann is the founding Executive Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, and the author of "Completing Our Streets". Prior to her current position, she served as Director of Information and Research at Smart Growth America where she authored the report Measuring the Health Effects of Sprawl, the first research report documenting the relationship between sprawl and obesity. In 2011 the NY/NJ Section of the Institute of Transportation Engineers recognized her with the 2011 Transportation Advancement Award, given annually to a non-engineer "for contributions in advancing transportation programs through outstanding leadership." Barbara's has an exceptional history working with government agencies, non-profits, and researchers as well as authoring numerous reports and articles on transportation, health, and land use.
Darren Flushe, Toole Design Group
Darren Flusche is a Senior Planner at Toole Design Group (TDG) and is one of the country’s leading experts on local, state and federal funding programs and policy that support active transportation projects. With a decade of experience in the transportation and policy fields, Darren has authored reports and other resources on topics ranging from climate action plans to the economic impacts of bicycling and walking investments. Prior to joining TDG, Darren served as Policy Director at the League of American Bicyclists, where he led the Advocacy Advance Program and consulted on the Bicycle Friendly America Program. While at the League, Darren co-led the Advocacy Advance program that helps build public support and technical knowledge - accelerating the growth of bicycling and walking projects across the U.S. Darren’s work helped local campaigns secure nearly $1.3 billion in local, state, and federal funds for bicycling and walking infrastructure between 2011 and 2015. Darren has worked with advocates, transportation agency staff, and elected officials in more than 40 cities in 26 states on transportation planning and policy issues. At TDG, Darren works on state and local bicycle and pedestrian plans, federal research projects, national design guidance, practitioner surveys, and active tourism strategies.
Brent Buice, Georgia Bikes!
Brent Buice is the Executive Director of Georgia Bikes, a nonprofit organization working to promote and improve bicycling for transportation and recreation throughout Georgia. Prior to working with Georgia Bikes, Brent served as the Business Manager for the Franklin College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Georgia. He became interested in active transportation issues as a Board member with the Athens-Clarke County advocacy organization, BikeAthens, from 2003-2010. Brent is a certified safe cycling instructor, and he holds a Masters in Nonprofit Organization Management from the University of Georgia. He lives car-free in Savannah's historic district and enjoys taking his daughter Lily to city parks and playgrounds by bicycle.
Wade Walker, Alta Planning + Design
G. Wade Walker, P.E. is a Principal and Complete Streets Regional Leader for Alta Planning + Design, East Coast Region. For the past 20 years, he has worked in the realm of complete streets and context sensitive solutions, focusing on the restoration of livability to streets, smart growth, and walkability, often working in an intense collaborative charrette setting. He ascribes to a multidisciplinary design approach, often working closely with planners, landscape architects, and urban designers to focus on creating active and great communities. Key projects Wade has been involved in include Virginia’s Route 50 Traffic Calming Plan in Virginia; Plan Baton Rouge Downtown Revitalization Strategy; and the Scenic and Historic A1A Master Plan in St. Johns County, Florida. Recent implementation projects include the El Paso Avenue Complete Street Design in Russellville, Arkansas; the HampLine Cycle Track Design and the Wolf River Greenway Design in Memphis, Tennessee; and Protected Bike Lanes Design for Broad Street in Chattanooga, TN. In Mississippi, he has led the transportation and mobility elements of recent comprehensive plans for Brandon, Oxford, and Starkville, and has led transportation planning efforts in Hattiesburg and Hernando. He is a registered professional engineer in six states, including Mississippi, and a member of the Congress for New Urbanism.
Naomi Doerner is the Principal Consultant at Assembly, where she works with active transportation partners across the country to develop content, programs and advocacy trainings for community leaders. Naomi has worked as an active transportation planner and advocate in New York City and New Orleans and has focused her career on creating representative processes and cultivating and empowering community leaders to advocate for equitable active transportation. Naomi has worked for over a decadeto advance safe, accessible, and affordable transportation options in communities and to develop meaningful participation and leadership opportunities in planning processes for youth, women and people of color. Before leading the efforts at Assembly, Naomi served as Executive Director of Bike Easy, Greater New Orleans’ bicycle advocacy organization, as Program Manager for KidsWalk Coalition, a childhood obesity prevention partnership between Tulane University’s Prevention Research Center and the City of New Orleans’ Department of Public Works and as the Advocacy and Membership Manager at the Alliance for Biking and Walking. Naomi's success with blending engagement, advocacy and urban planning to create positive social change is demonstrated through her work and is a hallmark of her career and in her work with America Walks, Bike Easy and the Alliance for Biking and Walking.
Naomi Doerner, Assembly
Cookie Leffler is the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) coordinator for the state of Mississippi and serves as the safety director for the Mississippi Department of Transportation. As SRTS coordinator, Leffler works with communities around the state to plan for and implement SRTS programs in an effort to increase active transportation to school and create safer and more walkable and bikeable communities. Prior to joining MDOT, Leffler served as director of grants and programs for the Mississippi Arts Commission and as a special agent for the U. S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Cookie Leffler, Mississippi Department of Transportation, Safe Routes to School
Officer Rob Simmons, Chattanooga Police Department
Officer Rob Simmons has been with the Chattanooga Police Department for 13 years, assigned to Bike Patrol for the past 9 years. He is also a IPMBA Certified Police Cyclist Instructor for his department. Officer Simmons helped develop Chattanooga's innovative "BSMART" handlebar-mounted enforcement device which aids in the enforcement of the 3 foot law by measuring the distance of passing vehicles with ultrasonic waves will be one of the panelists at the Summit on August 11th. Officer Simmons also implemented and coordinated the Chattanooga Safe Bicycling Initiativethrough the Chattanooga Police Department, which has successfully resulted in a dramatic decrease in vehicle/bike crashes citywide in just one year. BSMART is now being sold to law enforcement agencies across the world. Read more about Chattanooga's BSMART device here.
Mayor John Robert Smith
Keynote address: Tuesday, August 9th, 1:15pm, Biloxi Civic Center
A strong advocate of affordable and seamless transportation coupled with urban and rural growth, John Robert Smith is co-chair of Transportation for America and policy advisor for Smart Growth America. He served for 16 years as mayor of Meridian, Mississippi, whose Union Station, his signature project, is recognized as one of the best multi-modal transportation centers in the country. Having served as a mayor of a city with a wealth of late 19th century buildings, he worked with developers to restore those buildings, and is a strong advocate for historic preservation, believing that each community must respect its past and play to its strengths in order to develop and maintain a strong community identity. He helped define Meridian’s role as a cultural center with the restoration of the Grand Opera House of Mississippi, the creation of the Riley Education and Performing Arts Center, and the selection of Meridian as the site for the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center. Additionally, he secured $17 million in HUD HOPE VI funding to develop low- and middle-income housing.
Co-Chair: Transportation for America; Policy Advisor: Smart Growth America
Director, Office of Safety, Energy, and Environment: U.S. Department of Transportation
Vice President, Government Relations: League of American Bicyclist
Chigozie Udemgba, Mississippi Department of Health
Chigozie Udemgba is the Safe Routes Program Manager and Injury and Violence Prevention State Coordinator at the Office of Preventive Health for the Mississippi Department of Health. Chigozie is also the director of Mississippi's Statewide Walk to School Day efforts and the leader of STARS, a team of teachers throughout the state that assist with bicycle and pedestrian safety programs including bike rodeos, classroom curriculum and on-site trainings. Chigozie is a native of Natchez, MS and completed his Master's degree in Health Promotion and bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Mississippi.
Brighid O’Keane has over 12 years of experience in fundraising, operations, and organizational development for both non-profit and for-profit corporations. Most recently, she served as the Interim Executive Director for the Alliance for Biking & Walking, North America's coalition of state and local bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations. During her tenure at the Alliance, she also served as Advocacy Director, Deputy Director, and Program Manager of the Advocacy Advance, a partnership with the League of American Bicyclists. Brighid has coached over 200 Alliance member organizations on fundraising and she has facilitated workshops for advocates, agency staff, and elected officials in over 40 communities to increase public funding for active transportation projects.
Cynthia Thompson, Girl Trek (Mississippi)
Cynthia Thompson is the City Captain of GirlTrek for Jackson, Mississippi. GirlTrek is a groundbreaking grassroots, national nonprofit organiation based in Washington, D.C that inspires and supports African American women and girls to live their healthiest, most fulfilled lives - simply by walking. GirlTrek aims to organize one million Black women and girls to walk for healing by 2018. Following the leaders of our past, GirlTrek is an army of street soldiers who walk to heal our bodies, inspire our daughters, and reclaim the streets of our neighborhoods. We are the heroes we’ve been waiting for. Cynthia is excited about empowering others to have success in expanding the joy that grows for each woman who develops the habit of walking as part of their self-care. Cynthia believes in the power of women to have a major, positive impact on their lives, their families, and their communities. She invites you and a friend to register to walk at GirlTrek.org and be counted among the over 65,000 women we have trekking nationally!
Kristen Brookshire, UNC Highway Research Center/Pedestrian & Bicycle Information Center
Kristen Brookshire is a Research Associate at the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center in Chapel Hill, NC, where she contributes to a variety of projects and programs focused on bicycle and pedestrian safety and mobility. Kristen has been involved in the development guides and reports for a variety of audiences, including a primer for state highway transportation officials and an evaluation of child pedestrian safety curriculum. She has also worked directly with communities to improve pedestrian safety, including an ongoing project to develop a model Safe Routes to School program in Wake County, NC. Through the Federal Highway Administration-sponsored Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center and the Walk Friendly Communities program, Kristen continues to develop resources and provide technical assistance on planning, designing, and developing programs that support a safe and comfortable environment for walking and bicycling. Kristen holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from UNC-Chapel Hill and a bachelor’s degree from UC San Diego. She is a member of the American Planning Association and a co-chair of the Transportation Research Board’s Joint Subcommittee on Pedestrian and Bicycle University Education.
Ivory L. Craig, Mississippi AARP
Ivory L. Craig has served as the Associate State Director for Community Outreach since 2002. Ivory is responsible for coordinating our Community Service projects, establishing and maintaining partnerships, assisting chapters, and for recruiting, retaining, training, and managing our volunteers. She also assists with Advocacy Outreach. Ivory’s work in communities includes Active Living and Safety. She also worked with a chapter to install Historical Markers along a upcoming walking trail. Ivory has a B.S. in Psychology from Jackson State University, and a M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from Delta State University. Ivory is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS). She also serves on the Advisory Council with Atom Alliance, the State Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) Program.
Jessica G. Rich, Federal Highway Administration - Tennessee Division
Jessica is a native of New Bern, NC. She is a 2001 graduate of North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, NC earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. In December of 2002, Jessica earned a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Transportation Studies from the University of Tennessee - Knoxville. Jessica has been working for the Federal Highway Administration since April of 2003 in the Kentucky Division as a trainee in the agency’s Professional Development Program. In 2005, Jessica became the Safety Engineer for the Tennessee Division which is where she currently works. Jessica’s responsibilities include the Tennessee Strategic Highway Safety Plan and the Highway Safety Improvement Program where she focuses on improving crash data, reducing roadway departures, improving intersection safety, improving work zone safety and improving bicycle and pedestrian safety. Ove the past two years, Jessica has been a member of the Every Day Counts Road Diets Team where she has been tasked with nationwide assistance of implementing road diets. In 2007, she was awarded the FHWA Administrator’s Award for Superior Achievement and in 2012 she was given the National Safety Council’s Rising Stars for Safety Award.
Charlie Thomas, Bike Law Louisiana
Charlie Thomas is a New Orleans native, bicyclist, and attorney. He serves as the Mississippi delegate for Bike Law, which is a national organization of attorneys who advocate for safer cycling as well as represent people who have bicycling-related legal issues. Charlie is a Certified Instructor with the League of American Bicyclists and also serves as vice-president of the board of Bike Easy in New Orleans as well as serving in a leadership role in the Bicycle Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice. Charlie holds a B.B.A. from Texas A&M University and a J.D./B.C.L. from LSU. Before law school, Charlie raced in the USA Cycling Pro/1/2 classification and now rides for recreation as well as transportation.
Travis Wampler, Mississippi Department of Transportation
Travis Wampler serves the District One Local Public Agency (LPA) Coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT). As LPA Coordinator, Travis provides technical guidance to LPAs, finding solutions to obstacles that arise during project development. He has assisted 30 LPAs with over 90 projects, including 12 Safe Routes to School (SRTS) projects, and 22 transportation enhancement projects. The most notable of these ped/bike projects are the Tanglefoot Trail, Tupelo’s Elvis Presley Birthplace Trail and the Columbus Riverwalk. Travis completed his Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and his Master’s degree in secondary math education from Mississippi State University. He resides in Tupelo with his wife Kerri and 10-year old twins, Hailey and Harrison.