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Forum: Trains and Trespassing: Ending Tragic Encounters

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Biographies - Panelists
NTSB Board Room
3/24/2015 9:00 AM

Biographies - Panelists

Noah Brooks

Noah Brooks is a student at Johnson & Wales University in Denver, Colorado, studying business administration. He has been an active advocate for traffic safety since he was a sophomore in high school. Mr. Brooks began advocating for traffic safety when he was asked to serve on the 2012-2013 Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA)/AT&T "It Can Wait" Youth Panel. He was then introduced to the National Organization for Youth Safety (NOYS), where his career as an advocate has flourished. He has presented to thousands of youth and adults across the country at various conferences and high schools. Mr. Brooks is currently a peer mentor, youth correspondent advisor, intern, and remote consultant for NOYS.

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Marco daSilva

Marco daSilva is a Senior Engineer and Program Manager with the Systems Safety and Engineering Division of the US Department of Transportation's Volpe National Transportation Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His work portfolio includes management of the Volpe Center's Highway-Rail Grade Crossing and Trespass Research program in support of the Federal Railroad Administration's Office of Research and Development, and specific research projects involving technology development and evaluation, and driver behavior analyses. Mr. daSilva holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University and a Master of Science degree in Transportation Engineering from Northeastern University.

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Greg Deibler

Greg Deibler began his railroad career on the freight side of the industry with Norfolk Southern Railroad in northeastern Pennsylvania. His experiences from the perspective of the locomotive cab at grade crossings and along the right of way immediately shaped his strong support for the mission of Operation Lifesaver's efforts to help educate the community on these important topics. In 2008, Mr. Deibler accepted a position with Virginia Railway Express (VRE) in Alexandria, Virginia, and in 2012 became VRE's manager of System Safety & Security where he helps encourage a culture of safety amongst the employees, passengers and the surrounding communities. He has a Master's degree in Transportation Policy and Operations from George Mason University and certification in Lean Six Sigma from Villanova University.

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Nathan Doble

Nathan Doble has been employed at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) since 2012 as a transportation research analyst. His current projects include pipeline and aviation safety studies. Prior to joining the NTSB, Mr. Doble worked as a senior analyst at Metron Aviation, where he analyzed the performance of traffic management initiatives in the national airspace system and performed research and development of air traffic control decision support tools. At the Titan Corporation from 2003 to 2005, he supported NASA research into flight deck technologies to increase air traffic capacity and safety. He was awarded two NASA Group Achievement Awards for advanced air transportation technologies research and distributed air/ground traffic management simulation. He has also received several best paper awards at professional conferences. Mr. Doble is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Rod Doerr

Rod Doerr was named Assistant Vice President-Safety for Union Pacific Railroad (UP) in September 2014. He is responsible for developing and implementing safety-related, risk reduction programs for the company's employees, customers, and communities served throughout UP's network spanning the western two-thirds of the United States. Mr. Doerr joined UP in 1992 as a management trainee and has had various roles in the operating, mechanical, supply, and operations analysis department. Prior to being named Assistant Vice President-Safety, he was the General Superintendent-Transportation Services for Southern California. He is a graduate of Hamline University and has a Master of Business Administration degree from Arizona State University.

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Dr. Kay Fitzpatrick

Dr. Kay Fitzpatrick is a Senior Research Engineer with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. She is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of roadway geometric design, roadway safety, traffic control devices, and research into the design and operation of pedestrian facilities. She authored or coauthored more than 270 publications, including 95 refereed journal articles. Her work has influenced changes in the Federal Highway Administration's Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets. Dr. Fitzpatrick has been principal investigator for numerous research projects with the Texas Department of Transportation, the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, the Transit Cooperative Highway Research Program, and the Federal Highway Administration.

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Dr. Scott Gabree

Dr. Scott Gabree is an engineering psychologist in the Surface Transportation Human Factors Division at the Volpe National Transportation Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Prior to his work at Volpe, Dr. Gabree received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Northeastern University. He has worked across a variety of transportation modes since joining the Volpe Center, but for the past few years has focused primarily on grade crossing safety and railroad trespass and suicide prevention. Dr. Gabree and his colleagues at Volpe are currently working with the Federal Railroad Administration's Office of Research and Development, as well as industry partners, to better understand why these incidents occur and identify effective mitigation strategies.

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Commander Reginald Gautt

Commander Reginald Gautt is a 33-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. He was promoted to the rank of Commander on November 7, 2014, by Sheriff John L. Scott and was assigned to Transit Policing Division, in charge of South Bureau. At the time of Commander Gautt's promotion he was assigned to Carson Sheriff Station as the Station Commander—the same station where he began his patrol experience 32 years prior. In between these stints, he served in a variety of capacities within the Sheriff's Department including the Narcotics Bureau, the Recruit Training Bureau, the Internal Affairs Bureau, and several roles in the Marina del Rey Station. Commander Gautt earned a Bachelor of Science degree from California State University Long Beach.

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Chian Gavin

Chian Gavin, LICSW, is the manager of Amtrak's Employee Assistance Program (EAP). She has over 25 years of experience in behavioral health, with 15 of those years in the employee assistance field. Among her experiences was managing a behavioral health response for the United States Postal Service in response to the trauma created by the Anthrax attacks in Washington, DC. Amtrak EAP is credited with having developed an exemplary program in working with employees following critical incidents. Ms. Gavin earned a Bachelor's degree from Westmont College, and a Master's of Social Work degree from Arizona State University.

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John Giorgis

John Giorgis is the Director of the Office of Strategic Planning and Analysis, within the overall Office of Budget and Policy, at the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). In his position, he is responsible for FTA’s strategic planning, its asset management initiative, and for management of the National Transit Database (NTD). The NTD is the Nation’s primary source of operating, financial, capital asset, and safety data for the transit industry, and is a key source of information for FTA’s newly-created Office of Transit Safety and Oversight.

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Mark Kalina, Jr.

Mark Kalina, Jr,. is a 25-year-old man who survived an incident in which he was struck by a train while walking to his dormitory at the Ohio State University. Since that tragedy, he has become an activist against trespassing on the rails, giving many speeches in coordination with Operation Lifesaver. He also founded the Mark Kalina, Jr., Foundation to provide financial assistance to people injured in traumatic accidents. In addition to his philanthropy work, Mr. Kalina is also a CAD designer.

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Norma Kirby

Norma Kirby has been affiliated with Amtrak for over 15 years. Since 2010, she has been a road foreman of engines (RFE). Ms. Kirby's career began in 1999 as an assistant conductor. Since then, she has also been a conductor and an engineer.

On March 6, 2008, Ms. Kirby was promoted to a class 1 engineer. Eight days later, while serving as engineer on the Vermonter, she experienced her first fatality as an engineer. As an RFE for Amtrak she has responded to eight trespasser incidents—seven of those were fatalities.

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Danny Knott

Danny Knott has worked in public education since 1984. He was a teacher, coach, and athletic director at the middle school level for 17 years. In 2001, Mr. Knott moved into public school administration as assistant principal/athletic director at Eastern Montgomery High School. In July 2005, he became principal of Blacksburg Middle School and in 2009, he returned to Eastern Montgomery High School as principal. Throughout his career, Mr. Knott has been involved on numerous division-level committees and served as the Montgomery County Principals' Association Chairman for 4 years. He has also served on the Virginia Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Executive Committee and Virginia High School League's Executive Committee.

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Arthur J. "Art" Miller, Jr.

Art Miller has emerged as one of the film production industry's "go-to" rail safety authorities. Currently employed by the Western Group as System Director–Safety and Regulatory Compliance, Mr. Miller oversees safety, crew certification, and Federal Railroad Administration compliance programs for Southwestern Railroad and three other railroads. His feature credits as a Railroad Coordinator include feature films such as Schindler's List, and scores of TV episodes and movies and commercials. In the past year, he has created and presented rail safety programs to university film schools and film industry organizations. Mr. Miller also has taken a leadership role in developing railroad emergency response training for first responders in the Permian Basin oilfields. His past experience also includes stints in law enforcement, a DC Congressional staff, and television news reporting.

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Chief Ronald Pavlik

Chief Ronald Pavlik, Jr., began his law enforcement career as a police officer with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's Metro Transit Police in 1995. He has worked a wide variety of assignments as he advanced through the department, including Research and Planning, Training Division Commander, Patrol District Commander, and Deputy Chief of Patrol Operations. As the Chief of the Metro Transit Police, he leads the only tristate police department in the United States, with over 500 sworn police officers and 200 civilian personnel. Chief Pavlik oversees the safeguarding of more than one million Metrobus and Metrorail customers each day and the safety of over 11,000 employees. Chief Pavlik is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in management from Johns Hopkins University.

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Ronald Ries

Ronald Ries has been the staff director for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) crossing team since 2001. Mr. Ries has had a long career in the railroad industry, beginning in 1974, when he was hired in by the DRI&NW Railway in Davenport, Iowa as a yard clerk. He was promoted to trainmaster and eventually became the manager of administration for the railroad. He joined the FRA in 1994 as the Crossing Manager for FRA's Region 8 in the Pacific Northwest. Since 1998, Mr. Ries has worked on crossing safety and trespass prevention issues at FRA's headquarters. He has been actively involved in the Train Horn Rule from the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking stage onward, and is recognized as FRA's expert in the area.

Connect with FRA on Social Media:

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Joyce Rose

Joyce Rose is president and CEO of Operation Lifesaver, Inc., a national, nonprofit safety education group dedicated to eliminating deaths and injuries at railroad crossings and along railroad rights of way. Rose, who joined Operation Lifesaver in 2012 after 25 years as a Capitol Hill staffer, is a recognized authority on railroad, transit, and safety policy at the national level.

From 2008-2012, Ms. Rose was staff director for the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials of the United States House of Representatives' Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. She was instrumental in developing the 2008 Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act and the Railroad Safety Improvement Act. From 2001-2012, Ms. Rose was responsible for the Committee's oversight of and legislation authorizing the Federal Transit Administration. She developed the transit titles of the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) and the 2005 Safe Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) surface transportation authorization laws.

Connect with Operation Lifesaver on Social Media:

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Dr. Ian Savage

Dr. Ian Savage has been a member of the faculty of both the Department of Economics and the Transportation Center at Northwestern University since 1986. His research has been concentrated in two areas: urban public transportation and transportation safety. He has published widely on the economics of transit finances and operations. Dr. Savage has conducted research into the safety performance, and the effectiveness of safety regulations, in most modes of transportation—with particular emphasis on the trucking and railroad industries.

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Lynn Spencer

Lynn Spencer is the Director of the Office of System Safety for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). She serves in the Office of Transit Safety and Oversight and manages the implementation of FTA’s new safety authority provided in the MAP-21 legislation. Lynn oversees the drafting of safety regulations and is responsible for establishing and managing FTA’s accident investigation team, developing industry Safety Management Systems (SMS) training, and the formation of a first-of-its-kind risk-based oversight structure for the FTA.

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Dr. Douglas Storey

Dr. Douglas Storey is the Director for Communication Science & Research at the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs and is a faculty member in the Department of Health, Behavior & Society at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. He has 30 years of experience in health communication, development communication, and evaluation research, and has lived and worked in more than 30 countries. His work spans many health topics including emergency preparedness and response, preventive health behavior, environmental communication, community capacity building, and strategic communication planning. He has consulted on health behavior communication research, evaluation and strategic planning for a variety of international organizations. Cutting across much of his work is an interest in an ecological "health competence" approach to health and social change. Dr. Storey is former Chair of the Health Communication Division of the International Communication Association. He holds degrees from Bucknell University, the University of Texas, and Stanford University.

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Gardner Tabon

Gardner Tabon is currently the Chief Safety Officer for New Jersey Transit, having served as a transit professional for more than 25 years. In his current role, he is responsible for research, development, implementation, management and maintenance of all corporate and operational safety-related programs. His expertise is rooted in intercity rail, commuter rail, light rail, and bus, and has conducted and participated in numerous trespasser-related incident and accident investigations. Mr. Tabon has served in various national and international capacities in safety, operations, and security for Amtrak, Long Island Rail Road, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, Valley Metro, and Saudi Railway Company.

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Lorrie Walker

Lorrie Walker has 29 years experience in the road safety field, predominately focused on children in cars, school buses, as pedestrians, and bicyclists. As one of the architects of the child passenger safety certification course in the mid-1990s, she has witnessed the training of more than 130,000 advocates worldwide. Ms. Walker joined Safe Kids Worldwide as the training manager and technical advisor for the Safe Kids Buckle Up program in August 2004. She is recently retired from the National Child Passenger Safety Board where she was a charter member and past Chair. Prior to joining Safe Kids, Ms. Walker served as director of the Florida Traffic Safety Resource Center and assistant professor of research at Florida Atlantic University. Additionally, she was the program administrator of the Traffic Injury Prevention Project at the American Academy of Pediatrics, Pennsylvania Chapter. She is currently involved in developing and providing global child passenger safety training opportunities beyond US borders.

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