CA-HI Transportation Symposium Speakers

Dara Wheeler

Division Chief, Caltrans Division of Research, Innovation and System Information 

Opening Plenary Speaker

Dara Wheeler is Chief of Research, Innovation and System Information (DRISI) for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Dara brings 29 years of broad public service experience with her that serves DRISI's wide spectrum of research activities needs. Dara is responsible for managing a staff of 150 engineers, planners, and environmental researchers, and administrative personnel with a budget of nearly $70 million annually. The Division under her leadership embarks on types of projects that are diverse, ranging from highly technical to study of socio-economic impact of transportation infrastructures.

Ed Sniffen

Deputy Director,  Hawaii Department of Transportation

Opening Plenary Speaker

Ed Sniffen became the Deputy Director of the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Highways Division in January 2015. Ed is responsible for maintaining, operating, and improving state highways and bridges with the vision of improving quality of life for all highway users.

Ed’s tenure as Deputy Director for Highways marks his second stint at HDOT. He previously served as Highways Administrator and as head of the Technical Design Services Office. His training as a geotechnical design engineer has helped HDOT respond quickly to natural disasters such as the 2018 and 2020 Kuhio Highway Flooding on Kauai and the 2019 Pali Highway Landslides on Oahu.

The impact of the emergencies HDOT Highways has responded to on the people of Hawaiʻi has shaped Ed’s approach to adaptation and resilience. HDOT’s strategy to increase the ability of its system to respond to disruptions is to build resilience into all aspects of project delivery and management. This has taken form in initiatives such as the development of a statewide vulnerability study and climate adaptation action plan; pilots of passive protection systems for Hawaiʻi’s roadways and beaches; a statewide EV service contract to help agencies looking to convert their fleets; testing and creation of specifications for carbon-entrained concrete for flatwork and structures; and use of overlays and varied asphalt mixes to increase the useful lifespan of pavement.

Ed currently serves as the Chair of the AASHTO Committee on Transportation System Security and Resilience where he shares adaptation strategies and promotes resilience to member agencies.

Ku‘uhaku Park

Senior Vice President of Government and Community Relations, Matson Navigation 

Session A1 Speaker
Topic: Hawai'i Freight System

Ku‘uhaku Park is the Senior Vice President of Government and Community Relations at Matson Navigation Co., Inc. In 2012, he joined Matson as Vice President of Government and Community Relations.

Immediately preceding Matson, Mr. Park held the position of Managing Principal at Oni Malie, LLC a consulting firm offering government relations and business development services. Prior to that, he was the Manager of the Public Affairs Group at Watanabe Ing, LLP and Government and Public Affairs Manager for the Hawaii Division of Horizon Lines, Inc.

By gubernatorial appointment, Mr. Park was named to the State Commission on Transportation in 2004 and in 2012 completed his second term as its Chair.

He currently serves as the President of the American Maritime Partnership and Chair of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii. He also serves on the board of directors of: The Institute for Human Services; the Blood Bank of Hawaii the Girl Scouts of Hawaii; St. Francis Healthcare Systems; the Tax Foundation of Hawaii; the Makaha Sons Foundation; the Hawaii Harbors Users Group, and Ka Leo Hawaii (Chair).

In 2020, Mr. Park was named to the Legislature’s House Select Committee on COVID19 Economic and Financial Preparedness and the Public Utilities Commission’s Water Carrier Working Group to address the issues around regulated, intrastate maritime shipping.

Previously, he has served as a board member for the Hawaii Home Ownership Center; the Na Koa Football Club, the Hawaii Foodbank, the Hawaii Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation, and the Hawaii Transportation Association, and was a member of the Bishop Museum Association Council.

He attended Kamehameha Schools and Lewis and Clark College. 

Suwan Shen

Associate Professor, University of Hawai'i Manoa

Session A1 Speaker
Topic: Disaster Relief Supply Chains

Suwan Shen is an associate professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Hawaii Manoa. She holds a M.A. and Ph.D. in Urban Planning and M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida. For the past decade, her research focuses on the interaction between critical infrastructure systems and the changing environment, with an emphasis on climate change vulnerability and adaptation. Her work examines the capacity, needs, and adaptation options for urban infrastructure in the face of climate change. Her research has been supported by NOAA, Hawaii Sea Grant, and U.S. Department of Transportation University Transportation Research Centers, State of Hawaii Office of Planning and Sustainable Development, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, and Honolulu Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency, etc. 

Sue Lai

Harbor Engineer, Port of Los Angeles
Session A1 Speaker
Topic: LA Waterfront Redevelopment

Ms. Sue Lai, P.E., has over 30 years of experience working for the City of Los Angeles. Ms. Lai is a Harbor Engineer for the Port of Los Angeles Engineering Division specializing in the planning and design of container terminals, transportation networks, and waterfront development. She manages the Port’s Waterfront Development and Terminal Development Programs consisting of $345 million of capital development in the next five years.

Ms. Lai is a second generation engineer and holds both Civil Engineering and Traffic Engineering professional licenses with the State of California. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, Irvine and a Master of Leadership from the University of Southern California. She is an active member of WTS and strong supporter of its mission to advance women in transportation.   

Camron King

CEO & Ambassador, Certified American Grown

Session A1 Speaker
Topic: Fresh Cut Flowers

Camron King is CEO & Ambassador for Certified American Grown, the only non-profit trade association representing the interests of the domestic cut flower and foliage community. Recognized for his dynamic leadership, effective management and forward-thinking approach to management and visioning, Camron has been fortunate to have built a successful career in leading organizations and companies with an emphasis in agriculture including wine, caviar, floriculture, and other boutique crops. His experiences are diverse ranging from organizational development, public relations, and management to government affairs. He is a regularly invited presenter at conferences, meetings, and events around the world.

Camron attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo studying Environmental Horticultural Sciences; California State University, Sacramento studying Government and then graduate studies in Public Policy and Administration. 

Devin Middlebrook

Sustainability Program Manager, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency

Session A2 Speaker 
Topic: Lake Tahoe Tourism

Devin Middlebrook was born and raised in South Lake Tahoe. Devin earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and sustainability from California State University, Chico and went on to receive his MBA from California State University, Sacramento.

He is the sustainability program manager for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. In his role at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Devin leads implementation of the Lake Tahoe Sustainability Action Plan to bring climate change resilience to the region. Much of this work revolves around land use, transportation, energy, outdoor recreation, and community engagement.

Devin is also an elected council member in the City of South Lake Tahoe and currently serves as Mayor. As Mayor, Devin advocates for the environment, economic diversity, climate, housing, and transportation.

Finally, Devin sits on the board of directors for Chile Lagos Limpios, a NGO based in Santiago, Chile. As a founding board member, Devin has shared his expertise in climate, transportation, and governance to help create a more sustainable future for the lakes of Northern Patagonia.

Growing up in Tahoe gave Devin an appreciation for the environment and getting outdoors, and the passion to ensure future generations have the same experience.   

Alexandra Stehl

Deputy Director of Strategic Planning and Recreation Services, California State Parks

Session A2 Speaker
Topic: California State Parks Systems

Alexandra Stehl is the Deputy Director of Strategic Planning and Recreation Services for California State Parks. Alexandra started her career at State Parks as an intern nearly 20 years ago. After graduating from California State University, Sacramento, with a master's degree in recreation and leisure, she quickly rose through the ranks of the park and recreation specialist series, working in the Planning Division and the Office of Grants and Local Services, before taking on the position of statewide trails manager in 2013. In this role she served as department ombudsman to the public and user groups and was instrumental in developing the California Trails and Greenways Conference into one of the most important professional trail events in the state. More recently as the planning division chief, she is overseeing the development of high-profile management plans and implementation of the department’s transformation initiatives. When Alex is not working, she can be found traveling, riding her horse and collecting antiques. She lives in Lincoln, California, with her husband of 20 years, Kelly, and their menagerie of animals, large and small.

John De Fries

President and CEO, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority

Session A2 Speaker
Topic: Hawai'i Destination Action Plans

John De Fries was appointed as president and chief executive officer of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) on September 16, 2020. HTA is the State of Hawai‘i agency responsible for strategically managing its support of the tourism industry. Its mission is to manage Hawai‘i tourism in a sustainable manner consistent with economic goals, cultural values, preservation of natural resources, community desires and visitor industry needs.

Born and raised in Waikīkī, De Fries was raised by family elders steeped in Hawaiian culture. He has more than 40 years of professional experience in the tourism and resort development industries. His recent visitor industry experience includes serving as executive director of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association. He is also president and principal advisor for Native Sun Business Group, a business consulting and project management firm focused on Hawai‘i’s hospitality and real estate development industries.

De Fries previously led the Department of Research and Development for the County of Hawai‘i, a division responsible for stimulating economic growth in sectors including tourism, agriculture and renewable energy. Prior to that, he served as president and CEO of Hōkūli‘a, a luxury residential community on Hawai‘i Island.

De Fries serves as an advisor and board member to many community organizations, including the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, the Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Memorial Committee, Bishop Museum, Hawaiʻi Green Growth, Friends of the Future, the Keāhole Center for Sustainability, and Kualoa Ranch.

In recent years, De Fries has been a part of rare gatherings in Hawaiʻi that highlight opportunities for leadership in sustainable living, human rights, and embracing native intelligence. He has engaged with His Holiness the Dalai Lama; members of the Rapid Evaluation Team from Google X; Gro Harlem Brundtland, the first female prime minister of Norway; Hina Jilani, a renowned lawyer, pro-democracy campaigner, and a leading activist in Pakistan’s women’s movement; Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu of Cape Town, South Africa; and New Zealand’s Sir Sidney Moko Mead, Ph.D., who created the country’s first department of Māori Studies at Victoria University of Wellington.

Lilly Shoup

Managing Director, Rebel

Session B1 Speaker
Topic: Cal-ITP Program

With a background in transportation policy and planning that spans private, private, and nonprofit sectors, Lilly works to structure public private partnerships to achieve community policy goals. Lilly Shoup is Managing Director of Rebel Payments, Mobility, and Insights based in Los Angeles, CA. She supports the California Integrated Travel Project or Cal-ITP to improve trip planning and payments for California’s transit providers statewide. Previously, Lilly was interim Executive Director of Urban Movement Labs, a mobility innovation nonprofit in Los Angeles and worked at Lyft as well as the US Department of Transportation in Washington, DC. Lilly has authored numerous national publications on the topic of national infrastructure policy; has been featured in the New York Times, Bloomberg, and CityLab; and is a regular speaker at conferences and events on the topic of sustainable mobility and innovation.  

James Drake

Principal Planner, Sacramento Regional Transit

Session B1 Speaker
Topic: Microtransit

James Drake began his transit career with the Sacramento Regional Transit District as a temp in the Facilities Department in 2005 and was hired as an assistant planner in 2006 where he has progressed to the position of Principal Planner. His work has focused on service changes, ridership analysis, fare collection, Title VI, public engagement, and bus stops. During his time in planning, James has led several major service change projects, including major service reductions in 2010 as well as the SacRT Forward new bus network in 2019. James holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of California, Davis, and in 2010 secured FTA approval for use in National Transit Database reporting of an in-house database for processing automatic passenger counter data. James is a former railroad museum volunteer and has taken continuing education courses in accounting and environmental law. 

Gen Tamura

Protective Security Advisor, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency 

Session B1 Speaker 
Topic: Cybersecurity

Gen Tamura currently serves as a Protective Security Advisor (PSA) for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Honolulu District, which includes Hawaii, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas islands, and American Samoa. As a PSA, Mr. Tamura provides subject matter expertise in critical infrastructure protection and vulnerability mitigation and facilitates local field activities in coordination with other Department of Homeland Security offices. He also advises and assists state, local, territorial, and private sector officials and critical infrastructure facility owners and operators.

Prior to serving as a PSA, Mr. Tamura was a Preparedness Analyst and Planning Specialist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region IX, Pacific Area Office. His duties included National Preparedness, the Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) and Stakeholder Preparedness Review (SPR). He is an experienced emergency manager with over twenty-four years’ experience as well as responding to incidents and working in response, recovery, and mitigation divisions in FEMA and local government.

Mr. Tamura earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from the University of California, Riverside and earned a Master of Public Health from Loma Linda University, School of Public Health.

Giovanni Williams

Cyber Security Advisor, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency  

Session B1 Speaker
Topic: Cybersecurity

Mr. Williams is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Cyber Security Advisor (CSA). Mr. Williams was selected to lead the Hawaii district and territories in February of 2019. Mr. Williams is an Airforce Veteran and Hawaii Native.

Previously to joining DHS CISA Mr. Williams served as a Special Agent (SA) Information System Security Professional (ISSP) at the Department of Defense (DOD) Defense Counterintelligence & Security Agency (DCSA) formally known as Defense Security Service (DSS). In this role Mr. Williams performed security audits and assessments of the largest companies under the purview of the National Industrial Security Program & National Institute of Standards and Technology Cyber Security Framework (NISTCSF).

Mr. Williams also as part of the DOD community served as the Deputy Chief Information Security Officer (DCISO) and Information System Security Manager (ISSM) at the National Defense University (NDU). In this role Mr. Williams was responsible for management of the cyber security program and transition of the University cyber security program from Department of Defense Information Assurance Certification and Accreditation Program (DIACAP) to Department of Defense Information Assurance Risk Management Framework (DIARMF).

As the Cyber Security Advisor Mr. Williams pacific region of responsibility encompasses Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, and The Common Wealth of the Northern Mariana’s Islands. Mr. Williams is responsible for building resilience for 16 Sectors of Critical Infrastructure for Federal, State, Local, Tribal, US Territory and Private Industry for DHS CISA Region IX. Mr. Williams brings a toolkit of military, private sector and federal experience and is a certified and practiced Cybersecurity (CS), Information Technology (IT) and Security Professional with 20 years of experience.

Mr. Williams is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and is certified and considered a subject matter expert in many technology disciplines. 

J. Roger Morton

Department of Transportation Services Director, City and County of Honolulu

Session B1 Speaker
Topic: Zero Emission Public Transit Vehicle Planning in Honolulu

J. Roger Morton is the Director for the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Transportation Services (DTS). Mr. Morton is a transportation professional whose Hawaii career spans over 40 years. Prior to his appointment as DTS Director, Mr. Morton spent 15 years as President and General Manager of O‘ahu Transit Services, Inc., the operator of Honolulu’s TheBus and Handi-Van system. He holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from York University in Toronto and a graduate MSc degree in Community and Regional Planning specializing in public transportation from the University of British Columbia. He has attended several executive management programs, including courses at Harvard, Carnegie-Mellon, and the ENO Center for Transportation.

DTS provides oversight over the operation of Honolulu’s multi-modal transportation system including bus, paratransit and Honolulu’s elevated rail system – the first driverless light metro system in the United States. DTS supports regional transportation planning and administration of federal and state transportation grants. DTS also has responsibility for parking policy and municipal parking facilities, the implementation of complete streets and other mobility options such as walking, bicycles, scooters, and ride sharing. DTS is also responsible for transportation and traffic engineering on City streets, the Island-wide traffic signal system and transportation technology.  

Lisa Worthington

Chief (Acting), California Department of Transportation's Office of Vegetation and Wildfire Management

Session B2 Speaker
Topic: System Resilience in Climate Change Events

As a licensed Supervising Landscape Architect for Caltrans headquarters in Sacramento, California, I oversee and advise Caltrans on emerging fire/fuels risks statewide as a Chief, Office of Vegetation and Wildfire Management for the Division of Maintenance. Caltrans’ right of way includes nearly 90,000 acres of linear forest edges, within 14 widely diverse eco-regions that comprise nearly 59,000 lane miles of rural, scenic and urban state highway roadside in California. Caltrans utilizes internal field crews, direct contracts and consultant services to address vegetation management, forest decline and resilience, and weather responsive management strategies to reduce impacts to maintenance and operations of the highway in all-weather conditions, 24/7/365 with an increasing concern for climate stress.

The State of California is depending on partnerships and bold, innovative action between County Emergency Managers, Caltrans, CAL FIRE, California Geological Service, the US Forest Service and the National Weather Service to respond to increased climate stress on state highway infrastructure. Caltrans is looking at managing roadside vegetation more strategically, as part of a watershed context, to ensure highways are part of the solution and not a barrier to unforeseen emergency management needs. Near-term fuels reduction projects in very severe fire hazard zones may become “defensible space along highways,” similar to defensible space around homes in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). When catastrophic wildfires do occur, post-fire vulnerabilities of highways are revealed. Debris flows, landslides and flooding are likely impacts in the two to five years following catastrophic wildfire. Identifying and modeling where these secondary emergencies are likely to occur is the basis for the PREPARE model. A key feature of PREPARE is the hour-by-hour, risk-based weather briefings by National Weather Service (NWS) for road closure decision-making at the local, interagency level. 1987 BA in Urban Studies/Planning, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1995 MLA Master of Science in Landscape Architecture, California Polytechnic State University, (Cal Poly) Pomona, CA

Frances Edwards

Deputy Director, National Transportation Security Center at the Mineta Transportation Institute

Session B2 Speaker
Topic: System Resilience in Climate Change Events

Frannie Edwards, MUP, PhD, CEM is the Deputy Director of the National Transportation Security Center at the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI), and a professor and director of the Master of Public Administration program at San Jose State University. She is the editor or co-author of four books, including Introduction to Transportation Security with Da Goodrich, 16 reports for MTI and numerous journal articles and book chapters. She is also co-editor of special issues on the COVID-19 pandemic in International Journal of Public Administration and Public Organization Review. In her applied emergency management research, she focuses on transportation issues, supply chain surface transportation security, cultural competency, social media in emergencies and community preparedness for all hazards, most recently on wildland fires. She is a Certified Emergency Manager with 20 years’ experience, including 14 years as Director of Emergency Preparedness for the City of San Jose, overseeing the Metropolitan Medical Task Force and the Urban Area Security Initiative, and served as acting assistant fire chief. She is a FEMA credentialed instructor for the Incident Command System courses, a California Specialized Training Institute Outreach Instructor for the emergency management and emergency operations center courses, and has worked with Caltrans and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority on emergency preparedness, continuity of operations and security issues. 

Fraser Shilling

Director, University of California Davis

Session B2 Speaker
Topic: System Resilience in Climate Change Events

Fraser has worked at UC Davis for the past 27 years. His professional and scientific interests and experiences are in design of GIS and informatics systems, development of indicator frameworks at a wide range of scales, characterization of ecological and other conditions, involvement of marginalized communities in environmental policies, and educational programs/courses for a wide-range of communities and audiences. He is the director of the Road Ecology Center, positioned in the Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis. He maintains an active research and education program at UC Davis, with graduate students, undergraduate students, technicians, and outside consultants. He works with local, state, federal, and international organizations to improve the use of environmental information in decision-making. Finally, he has served as an expert in multiple legal cases, with clients ranging from Caltrans to individual landowners.

Karl Kim 

Professor, , University of Hawai'i Manoa

Session B2 Speaker
Topic: System Resilience in Climate Change Events

Karl received his undergraduate education from Brown University and Ph.D. in Urban Studies and Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is Editor-in-chief of Transportation Research: Interdiscplinary Perspectives; Associate Editor of Transportation Research, Part D, Transport and Enviroment; and formerly Editor-in-chief of Accident Analysis and Prevention and formerly Editor of Korean Studies. He has received more than $67 million in research and training grants from federal, state, and international agencies and organizations. Served as Chairman, National Domestic Preparedness Consortium ( Previously served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (Chief Academic Officer) of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, overseeing strategic planning, accreditation, tenure and promotion, and international programs. Holds faculty appointments in the Center for Korean Studies, and the School of Architecture. Serves on several committee of the Transportation Research Board. Served as Chair of the Pacific Risk Management Ohana. Elected to the Board of North American Alliance of Hazards and Disaster Research Institutes (NAAHDRI).   

Jeanie Ward-Waller

Planning & Modal Programs Deputy Director, Caltrans

Closing Plenary Speaker

Jeanie Ward-Waller is the Deputy Director, Planning and Modal Programs. Jeanie has served as Acting District 2 Director, and provided leadership as Caltrans’ Sustainability Program Manager in the Director’s Office where she led the growth of the Sustainability Program in implementing new initiatives across Caltrans. Jeanie has a master’s degree in Engineering for Sustainable Development from the University of Cambridge and a master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at Brown University.

Lori Pepper

Deputy Secretary, Innovative Mobility Solutions 

Closing Plenary Speaker

Lori Pepper was appointed the Deputy Secretary for Innovative Mobility Solutions by Governor Newsom in August 2019. Prior to her appointment, Lori worked in Washington, DC as the Senior Federal Policy Specialist for Honda North America, Inc. where her portfolio focused on technology and innovation. This included connected and automated vehicles, robotics and artificial intelligence, intellectual property, and spectrum issues.

Lori also served on Capitol Hill for 10 years in various capacities. She began her federal career as a Legislative Assistant in the office of former Rep. Albert Wynn (MD) and then became Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for former Rep. Baron Hill (IN) where she successfully led the office’s efforts to raise federal fuel efficiency standards included in the Energy Independence & Security Act. Lori also served on the Science and Technology Committee as Director of Policy & Outreach under former Chairman Bart Gordon (TN) where she helped shepherd the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act. For her final two years on Capitol Hill, Lori served as a Policy Advisor and Deputy Floor Director for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) where she was the Speaker’s advisor on issues related to small business, agriculture, and veterans, as well as her liaison to the moderate Blue Dog Coalition.

Lori started her career in her home state of Maryland as Legislative Assistant for former State Delegate Paul Carlson. 

Marlon Flournoy

Division of Transportation Planning Division Chief, California Department of Transportation

Closing Plenary Speaker

Since August 2019, Marlon Flournoy has served as the Chief of the Division of Transportation Planning for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) where he oversees the statewide Transportation Planning Program. Marlon began his career with Caltrans in 1999 and has accumulated more than 22 years of transportation planning experience at the state and local levels and more than 13 years of supervision, management, and executive experience. Since 2014, Marlon served in various key roles within the State of California including Deputy Secretary for Transportation Planning with the California State Transportation Agency, Caltrans District 3 Deputy District Director of Planning, Local Assistance and Sustainability, and Acting Caltrans Assistant Director of Sustainability.

Amar Cid

Program Manager, Caltrans Office on Race and Equity 

Closing Plenary Speaker 

Amar Azucena Cid is a Chicana/Yaqui planner, artist, mother, sister, partner, and friend. She is currently managing the Caltrans Office on Race and Equity (CORE). She values and utilizes her lived experiences and education, rooted in racial justice, the environment, and the community’s ability to thrive to inform her professional work. Before CORE, she worked the last 12 years within transit, including managing a CA Climate Investment program worth $100+ million annually. Amar is raising her two young children in a creative, cultural, and justice-motivated space with her partner in Northern CA.