Inaugural - Transformational Transit Summit

Monday, June 27, 2016

Virginia Beach, Virginia – The Westin Town Center

At this year’s summit, leaders, policy makers, and practitioners from across the United States and Hampton Roads came together to explore transit’s unique role in place making and supporting thriving communities. Leaders shared lessons learned and “how to” information to help promote Transformational Transit right here in our own communities.

Click here for the top 10 insights from the 2016 summit


Click on a presentation to download.



Monday, June 27, 2016
7:30am - 9:00am Registration Open, Second Floor Foyer
7:45am - 8:30am Continental Breakfast and Meet & Greet
7:30am - 3:45pm Visit the research and info center located in the Monarch Ballroom foyer.
8:30am - 8:50am Kick-off and Welcome Remarks
8:50am - 10:00am General Session 1: Transit’s Role in the New Economy
Increasingly regions are involved in a national and global competition for two scarce resources – investment capital for high value jobs & infrastructure; and attracting and retaining the brightest young minds. Winning regions have used transit to help shape and catalyze their growth, to attract investment and to enhance their image. Consider peer sized metro areas such as Salt Lake City and Charlotte, and regions slightly larger like Denver, Portland and Minneapolis-St Paul. They have successfully used light rail as a tool for community building / city shaping. The result of those strategies has sent the signal these are places that can effectively undertake complex community-building projects. The numbers tell the story that these are places “I want to invest in,” places “I want to live.”

This session will explore transit’s unique role in place making, economic development, and creating competitive regions. Hear from leaders with regional and national perspectives about how the value of transit is being maximized for transformative impact.

GB Arrington
Moderator, GB Placemaking, Portland.

Natalie English
Senior VP, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte.

Christopher Coes
LOCUS, Washington, DC.
10:00am Break and Networking
10:15am - 11:30am General Session 2: Transformative Transit: Lessons Learned from Healthy Cities
Cities and regions around the country have committed to using rail investments to move their communities forward and to serve as economic engines. These investments have often been contentious and complicated, but the end results have been hugely positive and can provide good “lessons learned” for other communities contemplating similar investments. In particular, Phoenix and Minneapolis-St. Paul recently have built successful coalitions that helped them move forward with major transformational rail investments focused on meeting the needs of their changing demographics, responding to sustainability and economic development desires, and providing mobility to all segments of their communities. Leaders from those communities will share their stories and focus on their common challenges and successes.

Tim Baldwin
Moderator, Rocky Mountain West Transit and Urban Planning, Denver.

Scott Smith
Interim GM Valley Metro and former Mayor of Mesa, Arizona.

Peter McLaughlin
Hennepin County Commissioner, Chair Counties Transit Improvement Board, Minneapolis.
11:30am Break
11:45am - 12:30pm Lunch with Keynote Address

Shelley Poticha
Director, Urban Solutions Program, NRDC, Washington, DC.
12:30pm - 12:45pm General Session 3: The Importance of Regional Partnership – Setting the Stage for Action
What does success look like and how do we get there? This session provides an interactive opportunity for attendees to dig deeper into topics of interest, address questions, and support positive next steps.
12:45pm - 1:15pm Transition to Break-Out Sessions
1:15pm - 2:15pm Part 1: Facilitated Group Discussions
  • Making the Case: Messaging to Counter Myths and Misinformation
  • Building Successful Coalitions
  • Decoding “Transit Oriented Development”: Measuring Community Returns-on-Investment
  • Regionalism: Building a “Regional System” that links destinations
  • Creating a Vision for Regional Vitality
2:15pm - 2:30pm Break
2:30pm - 3:00pm Part 2: Reports on Takeaways
Break-out session Facilitators will summarize and report on outcomes of discussion, key questions or issues to address for action.
3:00pm - 3:30pm Closing Session
5:30pm - 7:00pm Better Transit: The Future is Riding on It
With Scott Smith, former Mayor of Mesa, Arizona, and Interim GM at Valley Metro, this is the main event to connect, get informed, and engage with Young Professionals about the future of Transformational Transit in Hampton Roads. Don’t miss this high-impact info session and fun networking opportunity.


Leaders. Experts. Practitioners.

GB Arrington

GB Arrington is one of the world’s most respected innovators in Transit Oriented Development (TOD). His work has taken him across North America, to China, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai, and the Caribbean. During his career GB has directed the preparation of more than 125 TOD plans in 25+ states and 7 foreign countries

  • Time Magazine highlighted his plan for Tysons Corner, VA as one of “10 Ideas for Changing the World Right Now.”
  • Australia’s Urban Development Institute called GB “the world’s foremost authority on TOD policy, design and implementation.”

Before becoming a consultant, GB charted a new direction for TriMet, Portland, Oregon’s transit agency. GB created and led the Portland region’s widely acclaimed TOD program. His innovative planning and community involvement strategies changed the face of transit and land use in the Portland region and received awards from the White House and the Federal Transit Administration. He is one of the founders of the Rail~Volution conference.


Tim Baldwin, AICP, leads Rocky Mountain West Transit & Urban Planning. With more than 35 years in transportation, transit, and community planning and public policy, he has focused his career on helping communities find the best paths forward in sustainable, beneficial planning practices. His specialties are neighborhood-focused station area planning and transit-oriented development planning, urban circulator and transit facilities planning, transit system and corridor options development and evaluation, and policy and funding development and analysis – all with a focus on linking land use and transportation. He is currently leading the Colfax Corridor Connections BRT project for the City and County of Denver and is assisting with the Speer-Leetsdale mobility study, the State Highway 7 BRT study, the Douglas County Transit Master Plan, and two TOD studies in Northglenn, CO. He formerly led TOD and station area planning projects for passenger rail projects in Fort Worth and Denton, TX, for the RTD Gold Line (Arvada and Wheat Ridge, CO), the RTD North Metro line (Thornton and Northglenn, CO), and for the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority in Aspen/Glenwood Springs, CO. He is a member of the Urban Land Institute and the National Steering Committee of Rail~Volution, the nation’s premier land use/transportation conference

Scott Smith, Valley Metro Interim CEO

Scott Smith is the interim CEO of Valley Metro responsible for the operation, design and construction of an expanding regional transit network in metro Phoenix, Arizona. The Valley Metro system is a partnership of 16 cities, towns and Maricopa County, offering bus, light rail, paratransit and vanpool services to more than 73 million riders annually.

Smith’s leadership is a continuation of his public service as former Mayor of Mesa and president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the only Arizona mayor to have served in this position. As Mayor, he strategically guided the 38th largest city in the U.S. to economic rebound between 2008 and 2014. He also has a wealth of experience in the private sector as a certified public accountant, lawyer and CEO of a regional homebuilding and development company. Last year, Smith served as a Resident Fellow in the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Smith’s passion for public transportation stems from his belief that transportation infrastructure is critically important to the regional, state and national economy and to improving the quality of life for those who need and choose transit as their mobility option. His strong customer service approach keeps the organization focused on serving the interests of several customer groups, including riders, voters, the business community and city leadership.

Dan Bartholomay

As CEO, Dan Bartholomay is working to promote livability and leading efforts to expand the organization’s capacity and impact.

Prior to joining Rail~Volution, Dan played leadership roles in the public, non-profit and philanthropic sectors.  From his earliest work in the neighborhoods of Chicago and St. Paul, he’s approached community development from a multidisciplinary perspective.  As a Program Director with the McKnight Foundation, he developed and implemented an interdisciplinary program spanning affordable housing, community development, transit, open space preservation, and regional growth with a focus on livability and access.  He also fostered collaborations within and across sectors that resulted in national models, including the Equitable Development Organizing Project, the Itasca Project, and the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative.  In addition, he did international grant making in Southeast Asia and Africa.

Most recently, he was Commissioner of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency where he focused the agency on continuous improvement, cross-sector partnership, and investing in housing projects that leverage community impacts. He holds an interdisciplinary B.A. from Carleton College, in Economics, Anthropology, and Political Science. Dan enjoys spending time with his family, biking and cross-country skiing.

Christopher Coes

Christopher Coes is the Director of LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, Smart Growth America's national developer's coalition and is a nationally recognized leader on community revitalization strategies and national real estate policy.

Mr. Coes has led LOCUS and Smart Growth America's national and regional efforts on a range of issues including securing over $20 billion in transit-oriented development and local infrastructure financing in the recent federal transportation legislation, FAST Act. Under Mr. Coes leadership, LOCUS has grown to become a national leader known to be unafraid to tackle some of the toughest challenges facing the smart growth real estate industry today, including launching the Attainable Housing and Social Equity Initiative which is aimed to assisting local communities to develop place-based, market driven strategies aimed at encouraging economic growth while ensuring accessibility and social equity in great walkable urban places.

Over the past three years, Mr. Coes has advised cities on community revitalization, sustainable and equitable economic development near public transportation. Currently, Mr. Coes currently serves as an advisor to the USDOT’s LadderSTEP Transportation Empowerment Pilot that provides technical assistance to local communities by convening public and private entities to support game-changing community revitalization projects. In addition, Mr. Coes has facilitated numerous deal-making opportunities that have produced over $1 billion in new smart growth real estate deals.

Prior to joining LOCUS, Christopher served as a Consultant for Government Affairs and Campaigns at M+R Strategic Services. As a consultant, Christopher worked with various clients including Transportation for America – a broad, diverse and unprecedented coalition advocating for a national vision for a 21st century transportation system. For three years, Christopher served as Transportation for America’s Senior Campaign Advisor and Deputy Director. In addition to his work on transportation and real estate issues, Christopher brings over ten years of experience in government relations, advocacy and coalition building and program management. Mr. Coes currently serves as an active member of Urban Land Institute and serves as Treasurer and the Board of Directors Director of African American Real Estate Professional of DC.

Mr. Coes received a BA/MA in Government and Politics from St. John’s University, Specializing in Public Administration.

Natalie English

Natalie English serves as Senior Vice President of Public Policy for the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce where she manages the Chamber’s efforts to affect policy relating to business issues at all levels of government.  She and her team of Chamber staff serve as the voice for business at the city, county, state, federal and school board levels of government.  Natalie received her B.A. in Communications from North Carolina State University.

Natalie’s role includes managing campaigns to affect the outcome of community referenda. In 2007, Natalie served as the chief staff person managing the Vote Against Repeal campaign and the campaign to push for passage of four bond referenda to improve infrastructure in our community while still managing her regular duties. The Vote Against Repeal campaign successfully convinced 70% of Mecklenburg County voters to defeat the effort to repeal the dedicated funding source for Charlotte’s mass transit program and all four bond issues passed.

Natalie has the opportunity to affect many policies including those that impact the cost and ease of doing business, our quality of life and our workforce. She works with education institutions in the Charlotte region to ensure they are offering education and training opportunities that will prepare people to get to work upon graduation.

Natalie is an active volunteer. She has joined the Church Council of Assurance United Methodist Church. She serves on the board of MeckEd and has served on the boards of: Partners in Out of School Time (POST), Leadership Charlotte, the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Alexander Youth Network, United Way, Charlotte Mecklenburg Workforce Development Board, the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research, and Junior Achievement.

In 2012, Natalie achieved her designation as a Certified Chamber Executive, one of fewer than 600 in the world. In 2010, the National Association of Women Business Owners – Charlotte Chapter awarded Natalie with their Community Service Award. In 2008, Natalie was awarded the prestigious Marshall Memorial Fellowship and completed a 25-day trip to Europe to learn about and advance trans-Atlantic relations. She was named as a 2008 Women in Business Achievement Award Winner by the Charlotte Business Journal and in 2009 and 2013 the Mecklenburg Times named Natalie one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Charlotte.

Natalie has an eight-year old son named Rick and in her spare time enjoys spending time with him, playing golf, reading and writing.

Peter McLaughlin

Peter McLaughlin is chair of both the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority and the Counties Transit Improvement Board. His work has shaped transportation across the state. Commissioner McLaughlin helped fund Minnesota's first light rail line and found dedicated funding to expand the region's light rail, commuter rail and BRT lines. He was instrumental in developing a county bicycle plan and gap funding for nonmotorized transportation options. He was a leading advocate for the construction of Target Field Station. Commissioner McLaughlin authored a resolution making Hennepin a founding member of Cool Counties and has won approval for bold actions to combat crime. Peter served three terms in the Minnesota Legislature. He received his BA from Princeton University and his master's degree from the University of Minnesota.

Shelley Poticha

Shelley Poticha serves as the director of the Urban Solutions program, building NRDC’s work for better cities that support thriving people.  Urban Solutions brings the place-based work of NRDC together into a coordinated strategy and includes promoting transportation choices through mobility options, scaling up building energy efficiency, model green and equitable neighborhoods, sustainable food systems, green infrastructure and climate preparedness.  Urban Solutions is the culmination of NRDC’s thinking and work for sustainable communities since the organization adopted the area as an institutional priority.

Shelley is a longtime partner of NRDC in multiple initiatives including transportation policy reform, LEED-ND, and the creation of Smart Growth America.  Prior to joining NRDC, Shelley was a senior advisor and director of the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Before joining HUD, she served as President and CEO of Reconnecting America, where she became a national leader for the reform of land use and transportation planning and policy with the goal of creating more sustainable and equitable development, particularly around transit stations.  And prior to that, she served as Executive Director of the Congress for the New Urbanism.

Shelley holds a Master of City Planning from the University of California at Berkeley and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz.  She works in NRDC’s Washington office.


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  • For over 20 years, Rail~Volution has been on a mission to build more livable communities with transit. We are passionate about transit and livability because they truly make a place better- economically, socially and environmentally. @RailVolution
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