Nathaniel Ford

Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., CEO of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA), is an award-winning transportation expert and a leading advocate for how autonomous vehicles (AV) and other technological advances can be used to improve travelers’ quality of life for travelers throughout the nation. His proven track record as a change agent and visionary who embraces state-of-the-art technology, and innovations makes him a highly sought-after advisor, consultant, and executive coach.

Ford led two of the ten largest transportation authorities in the US – the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) before coming to Jacksonville.

He currently serves on the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) Policy Board representing North America, the Intelligent Transportation Society (ITS) of America Board of Directors, and the Institute of Transportation Studies-Davis Board of Advisors. He previously served as the 2022 Chair of the prestigious Transportation Research Board (TRB), the 2017-2018 Chairman of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), and the 2015-2016 Chairman of the Transportation & Expressway Authority Membership of Florida (TEAMFL).

Ford’s awards include the TRB’s 2024 Sharon D. Banks Award for Humanitarian Leadership in Transportation, the “Ray LaHood Award” from the Women’s Transportation Seminar of Northeast Florida in 2022, and the “2020 Outstanding Public Transportation Manager” award from APTA. Additionally, Ford received the “Thought Leader” award from the Eno Center for Transportation in 2019, was inducted into the First Coast Business Hall of Fame in 2018, and earned the 2017 Thomas G. Neusom Founders Award from the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials. In 2016, he was honored as a “White House Champion of Change in Transportation” for his commitment to innovation and enhancement of all transit modes.

Ford is actively involved in the communities he serves and is currently on the Executive Advisory Board of Jacksonville University’s Davis College of Business, the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, and the Sulzbacher Village board, which he chairs.

Ford has an MBA from Jacksonville University’s Davis School of Business, a bachelor’s degree in applied science in organizational leadership from Mercer University, and a certified Master Executive Coach.

Katie Turnbull

Dr. Katie Turnbull is a Senior Research Fellow and Regents Fellow at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI). She served as an Executive Associate Director/Associate Director at TTI for 22 years. Dr. Turnbull is also an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning in the College of Architecture at Texas A&M University.

Dr. Turnbull maintains a diverse research portfolio, conducting numerous innovative research projects for local, state, national, and international sponsors. Her research has addressed travel demand management, microtransit, intelligent transportation systems, and strategic planning. Dr. Turnbull’s current projects focus on connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies to enhance mobility and access for all roadway users. Prior to joining TTI, Dr. Turnbull held leadership roles in regional and metropolitan planning agencies in Minnesota. Active in the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Dr. Turnbull has served as chair at the task force, standing committee, section, and group levels, and as chair of the Technical Activities Council and the Executive Committee. She received the W.N. Carey, Jr. Distinguished Service Award from TRB in 2014, and the Ethel S. Birchfield Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association in 2013. In 2012, she was named a lifetime National Associate of the National Research Council.

Sonia Yeh

Dr. Sonia Yeh is a Professor of Transport and Energy Systems at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, and also Co-Director of the Area of Advance Energy. Her academic interests encompass energy economics, system modeling, and sustainable transportation. She serves as a Senior Editor for the Energy Policy Journal and has a track record of advising state and national governments on policies and regulations aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions in the transport and energy sectors. Dr. Yeh’s scholarly contributions include her work on the Transport Chapter of the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report. She is a member of the Swedish Government’s Transport Analysis Scientific Council since 2024.

Heather Thompson

Heather Thompson has been with ITDP for more than a dozen years, first serving on its Board of Directors and now as CEO. She has two decades of experience in the environmental non-profit sector, designing and carrying out strategies with large-scale impact. Before her time as CEO, she co-founded and served as Vice President of Programs at ClimateWorks Foundation, a network of foundations and expert teams which promote sectoral policies to mitigate climate change. Prior to that, Ms. Thompson was a Principal at California Environmental Associates where she led the firm’s work in philanthropic strategy, covering energy and climate change, marine resource management, biodiversity protection, and land conservation. She holds a Master of Science in environmental economics from the University of York, UK, and has worked abroad in China, Denmark, and the UK.

Stephen Ritchie

Stephen Ritchie serves as Director of the Institute of Transportation Studies and as a Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Irvine. He has over 40 year’s experience in engineering education and research, and interdisciplinary research management. His research interests focus on intelligent and sustainable transportation systems planning and engineering, emphasizing emerging technology research, development and field deployment in support of decarbonization policies for the nation’s freight transportation system. He currently leads the ITS-Irvine Freight Mobility Living Laboratory initiative, with the support of multiple state and federal agencies.

He received his Ph.D. degree in civil engineering-transportation from Cornell University, and is a recipient of the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, the Pyke Johnson Outstanding Paper Award from the Transportation Research Board, “Best of ITS” Research Award from ITS America, the Frank M. Masters Transportation Engineering Award from ASCE, and several Best Paper Awards from TRB Freight and Logistics Committees. Professor Ritchie has co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed articles in transportation journals and conference proceedings, and his extensive professional service includes Founding Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technology.

Alice Lee

Alice Lee is vice president of the Product Regulatory Office (PRO) at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (AHM) in Torrance, CA. In this position, she oversees U.S. regulatory compliance activities for automobile, powersports and power equipment products and represents Honda on product regulatory matters to U.S. government agencies. Lee joined Honda in 2002 and has held various roles within Honda Product Planning, Quality, Research, and Product Regulatory business units, and was appointed to her current role in March 2023. Her team actively supports key strategic initiatives within Honda focused on achieving shared societal goals.

Lee holds a B.A. in Economics and a B.A. degree in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She earned her JD/MBA at Arizona State University (ASU). She has previously served on the Advisory Council for the Women in Leadership Executive Program at UCR Extension.

Grunert, Manfred

Manfred Grunert is Vice President, Government Affairs and Communications Americas. In this role, Grunert is responsible for government affairs and corporate communications for product, technology, production plants and business in the U.S. and the entire Americas region.

A 19-year employee of the BMW Group, Grunert has a deep understanding of the company’s history, having spent time as an archivist in his first role and later as Head of the Archives and the Historical Collection at BMW Group Classic. Additional key positions have included Head of Communication for MINI, BMW Motorrad and Aftersales and Head of the Digital Communications Team at the BMW Group Media House. In 2018 he became Head of Communications and Government Affairs for India, Asia and the Pacific. He began his current role in February of 2023.

Pedersen, Neil

Neil Pedersen recently retired as Executive Director of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, a position that he served in from 2015 to 2022. In that role, he provided strategic direction and oversight for TRB’s technical activities, including its annual meeting, which attracts 14,000 attendees; its 177 standing technical committees; its conferences and workshops; its webinar program, its library services; and its bibliographic database with over 1.4 million entries. He also provided executive leadership for TRB’s multi-modal cooperative research programs and its advisory services to the federal government.

Prior to joining TRB, Mr. Pedersen served in leadership positions for the Maryland Department of Transportation for 29 years, the last eight years as State Highway Administrator and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. While at Maryland DOT, he served in a number of volunteer leadership positions for both TRB and for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, including as Chair of the TRB Executive Committee in 2011.

Boarnet, Marlon

Marlon Boarnet is Professor in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California and Director of the METRANS Transportation Consortium. METRANS is the center for transportation research at USC, and a partnership of the Price School of Public Policy, the Viterbi School of Engineering, and California State University – Long Beach. METRANS spans over 15 academic departments and programs at USC, with links to over a dozen universities in the U.S. and abroad. Prior to directing METRANS, Boarnet was the founding chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Spatial Analysis at USC (2016-2022) and he served as Vice Dean for Academic Affairs in USC’s Price School from 2014 through 2015. Boarnet was chair of the Department of Planning, Policy, and Design at UC-Irvine from 2003 through 2006. Boarnet served as president of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, the scholarly association of university planning departments and faculty members in the United States and Canada, from 2019-2021. Boarnet’s research focuses on land use and transportation, links between land use and travel behavior and associated implications for public health and greenhouse gas emissions, urban growth patterns, and the economic impacts of transportation. He is a fellow of both the Weimer School of the Homer Hoyt Institute for Real Estate and the Regional Science Association International. Boarnet has advised California state agencies on greenhouse gas emission reduction in the transport sector, the World Bank on transportation access as a poverty reduction tool, and numerous other public and private entities. He has been principal investigator on over four million dollars of research supported by agencies that include the U.S. and California Departments of Transportation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the California Air Resources Board, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Boarnet’s academic web page is:

Oge, Margo

Margo T. Oge is the former Director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality (OTAQ) at the United States Environmental Protection Agency, a position that culminated a 32-year career with the EPA. During her 18-year tenure as Director of OTAQ, Margo Oge was the chief architect of the most important achievements in the history of air pollution control in the U.S. transportation sector. These included programs that reduced emissions from gasoline and diesel-fueled automobiles, trucks, buses, and off-road vehicles by up to 99 percent. She led the EPA’s development of the first-ever national greenhouse gas emission standards for cars and heavy-duty trucks, helped establish the Renewable Fuels Standard, and was instrumental in establishing the United Nations process onglobal harmonization of transportation emissions standards, worldwide.

She is the Chair of the board of the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT)and the Chair of the external Advisory Council for the Deloitte Center for Sustainable Progress(DCSP). She also serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the board of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), Distinguished Fellow with ClimateWorks Foundation, member of the advisory board of UCDAVIS Institute of Transportation and member of the advisory board of Climate Imperative Foundation. She has served as a member of the Volkswagen Group’s International Sustainability Council, a director of the National Academy of Science on Energy and Environment board and member of advisory committee of the US Global Change Research Program. She is the author of “Driving the Future: Combating Climate Change with Clean Cars” and is a contributor to Forbes. She has been a contributor tothe New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, PBS, NPR, The Hill, Forbes, Fortune, Time and Huffington Post.