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White House Honors Champions of Change for Unwavering Commitment to Transportation Innovation

This past week Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood welcomed leaders and innovators in the transportation field to the White House as Champions of Change. These individuals are making a difference every day in their local communities and across the country. And, thanks to them, it is a new day for transportation in America.

Ed. Note: This article was originally published on the U.S. Department of Transportation Blog

It was my distinct pleasure to welcome the 2012 Transportation Champions of Change recognized yesterday by the White House. The 14 individuals selected for this honor comprise an amazing roster of transportation excellence and leadership.

We've accomplished a lot at DOT in the past few years, but we did not do it alone. In communities across the country, we have found bold, innovative leaders who have taken up the important cause of changing the way we think about transportation and have created jobs in the process.

These Champions are making a difference every day in their local communities and across the country. And, thanks to them, it is a new day for transportation in America.

Transportation today is not simply about building new roads or widening bridges. It's about looking at how people want to get where they need to go and how they are affected in different ways by the decisions we make.

It's about putting men and women back to work doing the work we need done. It's about incorporating the needs of employers who must have a reliable way of getting workers to their jobs. It's about saving aviation fuel and increasing the efficiency of our airspace and runways. It's about considering how a set of new transit stations will generate economic opportunity and help revitalize a neighborhood.

It's about examining the transportation requirements of people who have traditionally been overlooked or underserved. It's about reminding Americans that the rivers and rails that moved our freight for more than a century and a half are still thriving and keeping our economy moving forward in 2012. It's about transportation workers and their changing needs--whether it's training for new manufacturing opportunities, greater security at rest stops for truck drivers, or safer work zones for road crews.

And it's about building the kinds of communities where people can work, live, and play.

Meeting our nation's transportation challenges requires innovative thinking and the leadership skills to translate plans and dreams into greater mobility, better jobs, and more livable communities. And that is exactly what these Champions of Change have demonstrated--each and every one.

There just isn't enough space to recognize all of the great work these 14 individuals have accomplished, so each of their names below is linked to an article on examining their work more closely. I congratulate our Champions, and I urge you to read their stories.

Again, I can't tell you what an honor it was to join these Champions of Change. I am so proud that this great country is still capable of producing outstanding thinkers and leaders, and I'm proud to work in an Administration that celebrates that kind of achievement.

  • David Barger, Jet Blue Airlines (FAAC and Next Gen Leadership)
  • David Bennett, for Proterra, Inc.  (First Electric Buses)
  • Veronica Davis, Nspiregreen, DC (Bicycles and Livability)
  • Jerry Enzler, for RiverWorks Discovery Organization (Youth Education Program about Shipping on American Rivers)
  • Susan Martinovitch, Nevada Department of Transportation (DOT Innovation and National Leadership in Transportation)
  • Lowell Porter, Governors Highway Safety Association (Leadership in Reducing Traffic Injuries and Fatalities)
  • Dan Richard, California High-Speed Rail Authority (Leadership for High Speed Rail)
  • Jason Roberts, Oak Cliff Transit Authority, TX (Livability and Streetcars)
  • Beverly Scott, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (Public Transportation)
  • Bob Sloane, Walk Boston, (Livability)
  • Rebecca M. Townsend, Manchester Community College, CT (Environmental Justice Strategies)
  • Ellen Voie, Women in Trucking (Women in Skilled Transportation Careers)
  • Phillip Washington, Regional Transportation District, CO (Transportation Workforce Development)
  • Jacque Whitsitt, for Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, CO (BRT in Rural America)