People Behind the Plan

What do you do?

I’m a Principal Transportation Planner on the Long-Range Plan Team. I manage long-range transit projects and studies along with activities of Mobility 2045.

How long have you worked at NCTCOG?

I started at COG in 2018 with the Roadway Studies group, then I transitioned to the long-range plan team in 2019.

Why did you choose this field?

I started out in civil engineering at an engineering consulting firm after interning there for three years while getting my degree. After working in land development for 10 years, I wanted to go back to what got me into engineering in the first place: how transportation affects city growth. The pursuit of this passion led me to COG where regional transportation planning takes center stage. It's fascinating to see the push/pull between land use and transportation in the growth of a region, and how policy decisions play a role in shaping that growth.

What do you like to do for fun?

This changes frequently, but current favorite restaurant would likely be Whiskey Cake in Las Colinas or Plano. Mountain biking and disc golf are great pastimes, but currently I enjoy taking my 2-year-old son out to different places/events that earn his interest (parks/outside, trains, riding in daddy's truck). I don't have a favorite place in the region in particular, but I do enjoy exploring all the cities and interesting downtowns or special places they have to offer.

Final thoughts?

Where you work and what you do play big roles in enjoying one's career choice; however, I've found that working with people you enjoy being around makes all the difference.  We're blessed here at NCTCOG to have a community-focused group of people who enjoy working together.

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What do you do?

I’m a Senior Transportation Planner on the Long-Range Plan Team. I work on the long-range plan (known as the Metropolitan Transportation Plan or Mobility Plan), financial planning, scenario planning, and our department's policy implementation effort known as the Policy Bundle. My day consists of meetings, emails, and chats, but also writing, collaboration sessions called "Peer Reviews", and even presenting at committee meetings, public meetings, and one day, even conferences!

How long have you worked at NCTCOG?

I've worked here for almost five years. This is my first full-time job in transportation planning, though I worked at my university's Center for Transportation Research while in school and had an internship in the Knox County stormwater department.

Why did you choose this field?

In college, I had an exercise for my English class to identify a problem in my community and explore it in a paper. I noticed there was often a lack of sidewalks in the Knoxville community and, through research, found it's like that in many places! I wanted to find out everything I could about how transportation gets built and funded and who makes those decisions. Then I found my path to planning in one of my geography classes. While I don't work directly on sidewalk implementation, I found making plans and coordinating with other agencies on community issues to be very rewarding.

What do you like to do for fun?

My husband and I are huge foodies. We often ask ourselves, "What would we get if we went out to eat tonight,” and then make that at home. One time we even made sushi at home. We like to take the train into Dallas or Fort Worth and go to interesting restaurants whenever we get the chance. My husband used to work for a food truck at Klyde Warren Park, so that was a top destination for a while.

What do you do?

I'm a Senior Program Manager  for metropolitan transportation planning, corridor studies, and goods movement. I attend a lot of meetings coordinating various regional planning projects and programs.

How long have you worked at NCTCOG?

36 years and counting. This is my only job since college graduation.

Why did you choose this field?

I've always been fascinated with how traffic behaves and how to change travel behavior. I always wanted to be an engineer, but after taking several transportation courses, decided to add a planning emphasis to traffic behavior.

What do you like to do for fun?

I enjoy watching sporting events of all kinds, as well as cultural events such as plays, ballets, and the symphony. I am a stockholder in the Green Bay Packers. I have season tickets for the Dallas Cowboys, Broadway at the Bass, FW/Texas Ballet, and the upcoming Dallas Jackals Rugby.  I also enjoy the tiki culture and all things tropical and beachy.

What do you do?

I’m a Principal Transportation/Air Quality Planner on the Transportation Planning Program Area Team. I spend my time coordinating with transportation partners, COG's Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Team, and transportation planning staff to ensure that projects are moving toward implementation by being correctly reflected in travel demand model networks and Mobility Plan recommendation listings.

How long have you worked at NCTCOG?

I will have been working at COG for 35 years in July of 2022.

Why did you choose this field?

I fell into this position but stayed because I enjoy the diverse opportunities, analyzing results of the travel demand model, and the supportive staff. I had planned to be a computer programmer.

What do you like to do for fun?

My favorite cuisine is authentic Mexican food. For fun, I like watching my grandkids participate in sports/activities or beating them at Ping Pong. My favorite mode of transportation is the Segway.

What do you do?

I am an Environmental and Equity Planner within our Streamlined Project Delivery Team. My supervisor and I help to ensure all of the Transportation Department's activities maintain compliance with laws and executive orders that address social equity, environmental justice, and civil rights. We also conduct environmental planning to minimize adverse environmental impacts on our region's natural ecosystem resulting from the department's planned projects.

How long have you worked at NCTCOG?

I started working at NCTCOG in June 2018 as a public transportation planner. In October 2020, I switched to equity and environmental planning. This is the first planning-related employer of my career.

Why did you choose this field?

I eventually chose to study City & Regional Planning, but before that, I wanted to be a teacher, a musician, or an architect!

I suppose I was always interested in transportation, since my father worked in the industry, himself. As lame as it sounds, transportation brings people together—it provides a means to forge community and connect oneself to the world. I’m passionate about transportation that brings individuals together from different communities.

I'm also passionate about fostering empowerment of people. I had originally trained to be a teacher, and I was heartbroken by students whose performance suffered due to environmental reasons beyond their control. Some students had to co-parent their siblings because their parents worked overtime to pay for rent. Many had asthma, likely due to environmental factors like air pollution. One had poor eyesight and struggled to read in class, but they had no means to purchase prescription lenses. The school system would mark students as "at risk for not graduating" as early as middle school, and teachers would sometimes treat these students poorly.

This injustice of education is what originally turned my attention to public policy and planning.

What's your favorite mode of transportation?

My favorite mode of transportation includes anything that is not driving! It’s tragic that we don’t offer more and better-quality transportation options in our region. If I could, I would ditch my car and go everywhere I needed to go by walking, biking, and hopping on the bus or train.


Learn more about the Mobility Plan

Metropolitan Transportation Plan Mobility 2045 Mobility 2045 Update