Blog

Forward Motion, September 2022

Mobility 21 Advisory Board Member Spotlight:
Kristin Decas
CEO and Port Director
Port of Hueneme

A proven leader, Kristin Decas repeatedly demonstrates her ability to build a vision and implement strategy through open, collaborative processes that foster results.

Since beginning her tenure with the Port of Hueneme in February 2012, the Port has realized several successes. Tonnage totals reached significant new milestones with cargo growing from 1.3 million tons in FY 2012 to over 1.2 million tons in FY 2022, marking the Port’s strongest sustained trade years since its inception in 1937. With cargo up 57% since Kristin took the helm, revenues have grown an impressive 106%. Known for its niche in automobiles, bananas, fresh fruit, fertilizer, high and heavy, and project cargo, Port of Hueneme’s trade-related activities generate $2.2 billion in annual economic impacts, this represents more than a 175% increase since 2012. Trade through the Port spurs 20,032 direct, indirect, induced, and influenced jobs and $173.2 million in state and local tax revenues; increases of 96% and 224% respectively over 2012 performance. Most recent successes include securing a $3 million California Air Resources Board grant for zero-emission equipment and infrastructure, a $12.3 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER), and a $1.5 million federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant. Over $75 million in infrastructure improvements are advancing on Kristin’s watch, including at berth shoreside power plug-ins for refrigerated cargo ships and a harbor deepening project that re-nourishes local beaches.

Kristin also championed the first annual Banana Festival celebrating the Port’s top import drawing over 12,000 visitors each year.  The festival was replaced with “Feeding the Frontline” events which leveraged Port customers, small business owners, volunteers, and local health clinics to bring over 1.1 million lbs. of produce and other resources to 40,500 families in Ventura County. Through Kristin’s leadership, the Port of Hueneme initiated its environmental framework which has led to the development of world-class air quality monitoring in South Oxnard. Another milestone under Kristin, the Port was the first California port to receive Green Marine Certification in California and earn the title of the Greenest Port in the United States at the Green Shipping Summit in 2017.

Prior to coming to the Port of Hueneme, Kristin served as CEO and Port Director at the Port of New Bedford, MA, the nation’s number one value fishing port. Under her leadership, the Port realized significant growth in port development, cruise, and recreational boating activity.

Kristin is recognized by Trade Administration officials for her impressive work in leveraging economic development through international trade promotion, and for her service on several federal shipping and port committees. From 2015 through 2019, Kristin served as the President of the California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA) representing California’s 11 deep water ports, providing educational leadership and advocacy on issues related to transportation, trade, the environment, land use, energy, and other subjects affecting port operations. Kristin was awarded high-profile appointments by the U.S. Department of Transportation to both the National Freight Advisory Committee (NFAC) and the U.S. Marine Transportation System National Advisory Council (MTSNAC). In 2015, Kristin served as The National Chairperson of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA), a trade association representing more than 130 public port authorities in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, and Latin America.

Kristin was the first woman to lead both the Port of New Bedford in its more than 50-year history and the Port of Hueneme in its 83-year history. She was the 4th woman to chair the Association of American Port Authorities in its 106 years. In her most recent recognition, Kristin was named one of Pacific Coast Business Times’ Most Influential People in the Region. In 2019, Kristin was a Woman of the Year Award Recipient given by State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assembly Member Monique Limón for Senate District 19. She was also named 2019 General Manager of the Year by the Ventura County Special Districts Association. Kristin has been recognized as one of the Top 50 Women in Business by the Pacific Coast Business Times for the past five consecutive years and received the editor’s choice award in 2015 and 2022. In 2017, Kristin was named Maritime Executive of the Year at the Green Shipping Summit USA, acknowledged as Top Port Director of the Year by the International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP), and was named Outstanding Woman of the Year in International Trade by Women in Transportation – Los Angeles Chapter (WIT-LA). Kristin also made the list for the Pacific Coast Business Times 2017 “Who’s Who” in Business Leadership. In 2016, Kristin was recognized by Worldwide Branding as a Top Female Executive. Kristin received Woman of the Year by the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce in 2014.

Kristin also supports her community by serving on the Dignity Health Ventura County Community Board, on the Habit for Humanity Ventura County Advisory Board, and on the Workforce and Economic Impact Evaluation of Future Zero Emission Requirements Advisory Board. She lives in Oxnard, CA with her husband, and is the proud mother of two daughters.


Mobility 21 Advisory Board Member Spotlight:
Ural Yal
Senior Vice President
Flatiron West, Inc.

As Senior Vice President at Flatiron, Ural Yal has more than 24 years of construction industry experience including 14 years as executive oversight of several heavy civil construction projects across California. Ural joined Flatiron in 2017, focusing on acquisitions, operations, commercial management and business strategy during his career. Some of the Flatiron projects in Ural’s portfolio includes the Los Angeles World Airports, LAX Automated People Mover, I-105 Express Lanes, and Redlands Passenger Rail projects. In his current role, Ural leads major pursuits for Flatiron companywide and develops key partnering relationships.

Ural holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Istanbul Technical University and a Master of Business Administration degree from California State University, Dominguez Hills. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in California, past president of the San Francisco Chapter of Engineers without Borders and current Vice President of the Highway and Transportation Division of Associated General Contractors of California.


Summit Platinum Sponsor Spotlight:
Atkins

The Atkins Foundation Scholarship for Minorities in STEM Program

The Atkins Foundation Scholarship for Minorities is offered to Junior- and Senior-level minority students majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM) programs. Each semester, students submit their application and required criteria for an opportunity to receive an award. This program not only benefits well-deserving students but also allows us to build relationships with high potential candidates for internships and future employment opportunities. The purpose of the scholarship is to:

  • Build stronger networks with key universities to ensure Atkins is a regular name amongst that population
  • Help support outstanding students focusing on STEM programs pursue higher education
  • Develop a relationship with students for future employment opportunities within Atkins

Over the past 10 years, Atkins has awarded over 130 scholarships.  In fact, Jerome Howell, a Sr Engineer II in our Aviation group is a past recipient. Jerome earned a scholarship award in 2005 and 2006, was a summer intern, and came onboard with Atkins full-time shortly after graduation.

We’re pleased that we’ve helped many students achieve their educational goals and look forward to continuing to offer this assistance to many more students in the future.

The application window for the Spring 2023 term runs from September 1st through October 31st. We invite you to share this information with your friends, family and alma mater.

If you have any questions or comments about the Atkins Foundation Minority STEM Scholarship or want to find out how you can play a part in the continued success of this program, please visit the Atkins Foundation Scholarship for Minorities page​ or contact Shaq Lowe, Scholarship Coordinator at minorityscholarship@atkinsglobal.com


Summit Platinum Sponsor Spotlight:
Bechtel

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Hayden AI’s camera system being installed on a transit bus for automated bus lane enforcement. The camera system is installed behind the bus windshield.

Summit Platinum Sponsor Spotlight
Hayden AI

Keeping Bus Lanes Clear for Buses with Artificial Intelligence

At Hayden AI, we’re pioneering real world problem solving powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. From bus lane and bus stop enforcement to digital twin modeling and more, our clients use our mobile perception system to speed up transit, make streets safer, and create a more sustainable future.

Developed by a team of experts in machine learning, data science, transportation, and government technology, our flagship product, Automated Bus Enforcement, increases transit bus speeds, efficiency and ridership by helping cities clear unauthorized parking in bus lanes and in transit stop zones that impede public transit operations.

This technology is currently being deployed by New York’s MTA for automated enforcement of the city’s bus lanes, and we completed pilots with two large West Coast transit agencies. The good news for California? Recently-passed legislation allows any transit agency in the state to take advantage of this powerful technology to improve bus service for everyone.


The Contract 1 portion of the project involves designing and constructing two express lanes in each direction of I-10 from the Los Angeles/San Bernardino County line to east of the I-10/I-15 interchange.

Summit Platinum Sponsor Spotlight
The Lane Construction Corporation

Lane Construction I-10 Corridor (Contract 1)
Express Lanes Project – New Green Initiatives!

In a joint venture with Security Paving Company, Inc., Lane Construction is designing and constructing 11 miles of two express lanes in each direction of the I-10 from the Los Angeles/San Bernardino County line to the east of the I-10/I-15 interchange. The improvements will include eight bridge replacements, eight bridge widenings, and 78,601 feet of new drainage. The Express Lanes, once completed, will provide an estimated “50% savings in travel time during peak hours.” The project goal is to reduce traffic congestion, increase throughput, enhance trip reliability, and provide long-term congestion management of the corridor in the Inland Empire. Construction started at the end of 2019 and completion is expected by the end of 2023.

The I-10 Project prides itself in its Green Initiatives that are currently in progress. More about them can be read below:

  • Cal-Recycle Battery Recycling Authorized Drop-Off Location: 
    • Facts:
  • Batteries are hazardous due to metals and other toxic or corrosive materials. Batteries are potentially a valuable source of recyclable metal.
  • Cal-Recycle Waste Tire Hauler Permit Attainment in progress: 
      • California is facing a significant challenge of diverting or safely managing more than 51 million reusable and waste tires generated yearly. Stockpiles potentially threaten public health, safety, and the environment.
  • Recycled Water – The 80% goal for all dust control measures within (2) county limits is in progress: 
      • Extreme Heat Waves – Higher Levels of Evaporation.

Visit www.LaneConstruct.com


The proposed Coachella Valley Rail daily passenger service will transform travel, enhancing access and equity, reducing vehicle miles traveled, and improving economic opportunities across southern California.

RCTC Meets with Federal Officials to Seek Grant Funding Support for Coachella Valley Rail

RCTC Commissioners and staff headed to Washington, D.C. September 19-21 to meet with Congressional representatives and other federal officials to promote the need for a new daily passenger rail service between Los Angeles and the Coachella Valley. RCTC is seeking federal funding that will allow planning for Coachella Valley Rail to advance to the next level.

“CV Rail will be a massive boost for the Coachella Valley, connecting us to employment and educational opportunities, bolstering southern California’s economy, improving our air quality, and providing necessary transit alternatives to fight climate change,” said V. Manuel Perez, RCTC Chair and Riverside County’s 4th District Supervisor. “CV Rail is about equity for our communities and is an important step for the national revitalization of passenger rail,” he said.

In July, the Commission unanimously certified its Coachella Valley Rail “Tier 1” program-level environmental document and now is seeking funds for “Tier 2” project-level studies – in-depth analysis of the service and operations along the planned 144-mile route, which crosses Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, and Los Angeles counties.

RCTC is seeking $20 million to help fund the Tier 2 studies, which are expected to cost $60 million. Recently, funds became available through the federal Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program on a competitive basis. RCTC and Caltrans will be submitting a joint CRISI Program grant application, due December 1. Several sources of state funds may also be available in the future, and RCTC plans to meet with state officials this fall to request support.

Following the environmental studies and approvals, project design and construction would begin. While the passenger train service could still be 10 years away, RCTC is moving full speed ahead to create a transformational car-free, stress-free way to travel through inland southern California.

The service will provide greater access to jobs and educational opportunities, especially in underserved communities; expand the regional economy and tourism; and help the environment by reducing the number of cars on the road, greenhouse gases, and air pollution. CV Rail also makes up a significant segment of Amtrak’s future Tucson-Phoenix-Los Angeles corridor with connections to San Diego, Santa Barbara, the Pacific Northwest, Arizona, and beyond.

RCTC is seeking community support for upcoming grant applications, even from people who may have voiced their support in the past. Add your name to our list of supporters and future riders by visiting rctc.org/cvr.


2022 Focus on the Future Conference

Uniting the Transportation World: Building the Path to Our Future

The conference provides a forum for Self-Help Counties and other transportation agencies, elected officials, and the private sector to share experiences, highlight upcoming projects, and interact in a virtual environment. The conference continues to be the premier transportation conference in California, and when in-person brings over 800 people in attendance.

Mark your calendar for November 13 – 15, 2022!


Register Today! 13th Annual Economic Summit

This December, SCAG will host the 13th edition of our celebrated Southern California Economic Summit. This annual event brings together civic and business leaders to share new data and analysis on the state of the region’s economy and explore other issues of regional significance through an economic lens.

The theme of this year’s summit is “Resourcing the Region.” Southern California is uniquely rich in both natural and economic resources. We are also leading the way financially, with a major influx of federal and state funding slated to come to the region. Still, there is a growing need for improvement in workforce development and education.

Join us, along with Southern California’s business and civic leaders, to assess the status of the region’s economy and define strategies for keeping Southern California a national and international economic powerhouse. The event will be held Thursday, Dec. 1, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Sheraton Grand Hotel, 711 S Hope St., Los Angeles, CA 90017. General Admission for the event is $175. Register by Friday, Oct. 28 to get $50 off the general admission price using the promo code EARLYBIRD. The event is free for elected officials and city managers in the SCAG region. For more information and the register, visit http://scag.ca.gov/economicsummit to register and for more information.


Christina Birdsey, Chief Operating Officer for the Port of Hueneme welcomed attendees to the cybersecurity seminar.

Cybersecurity Seminar at the Port of Hueneme Highlights Best Practices for Organizations

As cyber threats continue to increase across the nation, the Port of Hueneme organized a cyber security seminar to gather experts in the field who shared their knowledge and best practices. Today’s event hosted over thirty people with a panel of experts from the U.S. Coast Guard, Naval Base Ventura County, IT companies, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Mike Morrison, Operations Manager for the Port, said combatting cybercrime is a team effort and he wanted to highlight the importance of information sharing by bringing people together for this seminar.

“Cybersecurity awareness training is crucial to ensuring cybercrime protection,” Morrison said. “From a port viewpoint, having this type of training reinforces the need to continue having strong security measures in place to guard against cyber breaches and to shore up any potential vulnerabilities.”

From the software and prevention side to the software use initiatives, presentations were given by both the private and the public sectors while attendees learned how the supply chain sector could be affected by potential cyber security threats and why it is important to remain vigilant. Some of the technologies and best methods used in the field were presented by Datastew, D-Tech, and Metronome Software.

“We were excited to host this cybersecurity seminar and subsequent exercise to share and learn from our strategic partners how to continue to keep information technology safe and secure,” said Christina Birdsey, the Port’s Chief Operations Officer. “We are stronger when we share information and assets so that we can keep this important economic engine running without disruption.”

Mario Garcia, Cybersecurity Advisor for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency stated that a company’s staff and resources should not be exhausted before asking for help. “Cybersecurity is a team effort with the federal government and the private sector,” he said.

Cybersecurity Seminar presenters (left to right) Huy Ngyuyen, Metronome Software; Nick Duan, D-Tech; Michael Morrison, Port of Hueneme; Aaron Valance, Port of Hueneme; Chris Regan, U.S. Coast Guard; and Chris Miilar, DATASTEW.

Chris Millar from DATASTEW has worked with multiple seaports, municipalities, and terminal operators to solve their technology challenges. He offered seminar attendees advice to be prepared and expect for the systems used to combat cyberattacks to change.

“Many products do things like scan for hackers but will only notify you through email. That is too slow and adds more work,” Millar said. “Attending seminars and conferences will make you realize what needs protection that you maybe would not have expected.”

Mary Anne Rooney, President of the Board of Oxnard Harbor Commission said: “Offering a seminar focused on cybersecurity is important because it provides companies and organizations the opportunity to learn how to better protect themselves from emerging cybercrime threats.”


The Ventura County Transportation Commission and the county’s other transit operators launched the Youth Ride Free program Sept. 1. Photo courtesy of the Ventura County Transportation Commission.

New Pilot Program Lets Youths Ride Public Transit in Ventura County for Free

Youths will soon be able to ride any public transit bus in Ventura County for free as part of a new pilot program offered by the county’s transit operators.

Through the Youth Ride Free program, anyone age 18 or younger is eligible to use fixed-route and general purpose dial-a-ride services for free. Students older than 18 who are enrolled in high school are also eligible. Riders can travel to any destination at any time, not just to get to and from school.

The program begins Sept. 1. To ride, youths simply need to board the bus. High school-age youths should be prepared to show an ID to the driver. Children 10 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

Participating operators are Camarillo Area Transit, Gold Coast Transit District, Kanan Shuttle, Moorpark City Transit, Ojai Trolley, Simi Valley Transit, Thousand Oaks Transit, Valley Express, and VCTC Intercity Service.

“The Youth Ride Free program is a way to introduce public transit to the younger people in our community and encourage them to become lifelong public transit users,” said VCTC Executive Director Martin Erickson. “Increased transit ridership means less congestion on streets and highways and will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By offering free fares for youths, transit operators in Ventura County also can provide some economic relief to families who are struggling with high gas prices and other rising costs due to inflation.”

The pilot Youth Ride Free program is funded by a grant obtained and administered by VCTC from California’s Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP), a part of the state’s cap-and-trade program. LCTOP provides funds to public transportation agencies for investments in capital projects and services that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve mobility. Other local programs supported by LCTOP funds are College Ride, which allows students enrolled at Ventura County colleges to ride the bus for free; and Metrolink Saturday Service.


The Toll Roads Drivers Can Now Pay at Walgreens Locations

The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) – the Joint Powers Authority that operates State Routes 73, 133, 241 and 261 – today announced that drivers of The Toll Roads have even more options to pay tolls, violations and/or replenish FasTrak® accounts.

Drivers can now conduct transactions at participating Walgreens locations nationwide. Walgreens – one of America’s largest store chains – joins a list of popular and convenient retailers where The Toll Roads accept payments through their partnership with cash payment network provider PayNearMe. The list includes 7-Eleven, CVS Pharmacy, Family Dollar, Walmart and more.

Ways to pay with cash at participating locations:

  • Pay a violation:Present Notice of Toll Evasion to store clerk.
  • Pay a toll:Visit TheTollRoads.com, click “Pay Toll Now,” follow steps, select “cash” on payment screen, receive barcode, present barcode to store clerk.
  • Replenish a FasTrak account:Log in to account at TheTollRoads.com, select “Payments” tab, choose cash, receive barcode, present barcode to store clerk.

Since January 2021, more than 283,000 payments have been made using PayNearMe. According to a recent case study, drivers from all 50 states and most Canadian provinces have used PayNearMe to make a Toll Roads payment at more than 3,500 locations.

“We’re dedicated to innovation in emerging payment types; focusing on the latest consumer preferences for how and where they prefer to pay by expanding payment options for motorists,” said TCA CEO Samuel Johnson. “Walgreens is a great addition to the large family of retailers that offer payment options to our customers.”

About PayNearMe:

PayNearMe has been processing cash payments for thousands of businesses and government agencies since 2009 and, today, is accepted at over 40,000 retail locations in the U.S.

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