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Summary of 40th National Meeting and Training Conference

COMTO‘s 40th Annual National Meeting and Training Conference was held July 16-19, 2011, in Philadelphia, PA.  This year's conference celebrated 40 years of transportation legacy and posed an important question: Are We There Yet? Throughout several days of sessions, workshops, and networking events,  top industry executives, including Transit Board Members, CEOs, senior staff and management personnel came together to tackle the issues of leadership and equality in the transportation industry.  Please take a few minutes to check out the photo galleries and videos from this year's National Meeting and Training Conference, and you may also view the video that was presented onsite looking back at COMTO's 40 years of transportation legacy.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the hosts of this year's National Meeting and Training Conference:


This year's event kicked off on the morning of Saturday, July 16, with the Annual Scholarship Fundraiser Golf Tournament hosted by COMTO Philadelphia, which raised funds for the COMTO National Scholarship Program.  More than 140 participants enjoyed a day of golf at the Rancocas Golf Course, and our congratulations go to the winning foursome of Angelo Perryman, Arthur Fennell, Mike Martin, and Ken Martin, who came in at 15 under par.  We give a special thanks to COMTO Philadelphia for their support of the COMTO National Scholarship Program.


The winning golf foursome


Also on Saturday morning, a large contingent of students participated in the Garrett A. Morgan Youth Symposium, featuring keynote speaker Michael Blake.  This annual event introduces high school students to transportation industry issues and potential career paths.  We thank our industry colleagues who shared their experiences in preparing for transportation-related careers.  COMTO Philadelphia turned up the heat on Saturday night with their Legacy Event held at the African-American Museum, where attendees enjoyed an evening of food, drinks, entertainment, and dancing.   

The morning of Sunday, July 17, began with an inspirational ecumenical service by Minister Michael Robinson featuring the stunning vocals of native Philadelphian Charlene Holloway.  Some attendees enjoyed workshops by Teuila Hanson of AECOM and Paul Larrousse of NTI, while others participated in technical tours of sites including the Philadelphia International Airport, the manufacture of SEPTA's Silverliner V Regional Rail Cars, and SEPTA's Control Center Operations.  Sunday afternoon's schedule included a workshop featuring Dr. Barbara K. Gannon of the ENO Center for Transportation Leadership, and the COMTO Board of Directors held their meeting in the afternoon as well.  On Sunday evening COMTO hosted a new member orientation that was very well attended.  Later, attendees visited the National Constitution Center for the Welcome Reception to enjoy food, fun, and networking.

On Monday, July 18, COMTO hosted a packed Legislative Breakfast featuring moderator Doris McMillon and keynote speakers William Millar of APTA, Marc Morial from the National Urban League, and former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater, during which the panel discussed the latest legislative challenges for our industry. 


Doris McMillon, Marc Morial, Rodney Slater, and William Millar

Donna Brazile


Following the Legislative Breakfast, attendees gathered for the Opening Plenary Session, which began with a color guard, the National Anthem sung by our own Jessica Drennon, and a rousing performance by the pioneering Philadelphia soul singing group The Delfonics.  A number of dignitaries including Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter spoke, and the keynote address was given by Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile

Monday morning's Opening Plenary Session was followed by a number of concurrent workshops tacking a variety of topics important to our industry, and the early afternoon saw the opening of the exhibit hall and accompanying Exhibit Hall Power Hour which provided exhibitors with some dedicated time to meet with attendees.  Following additional concurrent workshops in the afternoon, Monday evening's HUB Connection brought together HUBs and primes for a keynote address by Brandon Neal and the opportunity for strategic discussions.

The morning of Tuesday, July 19 began with the Founder's Breakfast, featuring COMTO Founder Reverend Jerry Moore, Ret. LTC Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch, and moderator Doris McMillon.  After the Founder's Breakfast, attendees gathered for Tuesday's Plenary Session, with opening remarks provided by Therese McMillan of the Federal Transit Administration and keynote speaker Joseph C. Szabo of the Federal Railroad Administration.  After a morning of concurrent workshops, COMTO hosted a Scholarship Awards Luncheon to honor those students who have been awarded scholarships as part of COMTO's National Scholarship Program. 


Jackie Davison, Doris McMillon, Reverend Jerry Moore

Ret. LTC Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch

Joseph Szabo


Tuesday afternoon featured additional concurrent workshops, and after the general membership meeting on Tuesday afternoon, attendees prepared for Tuesday night's Industry Awards and Recognition Banquet.  After a tasty dinner and dessert, as well as some light entertainment, the audience celebrated the winners of the 2011 Industry Awards, and attendees closed out the evening with networking and dancing.

We would like to thank all of our partners, sponsors, and exhibitors for their support of this year's National Meeting and Training Conference.  We also thank our members and attendees for their participation - we look forward to seeing you in Denver in July 2012 for the 41st National Meeting and Training Conference, hosted by COMTO Colorado State!

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