James Brent, Ph.D.

Dr. James Brent joined the faculty in 1994. James is a native of Southern California who received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Bachelor of Fine Arts in Advertising from Southern Methodist University in 1988. Dr. Brent received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Ohio State University in 1995. He has published articles on judicial politics in journals such as American Politics Quarterly, Justice System Journal, American Politics Review, and the Southeastern Political Review, as well as editing a reader in American government and co-authoring a chapter in The Internet Upheaval by M.I.T. Press. He served as chair of the SJSU Academic Senate from 2001 to 2003. He has been department chair since July 2006. His heroes include former Supreme Court Justices William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall.



Nick Compin, Ph.D.

Dr. Nick Compin graduated in 1988 from CSU Chico with a B.A. degree in English. He worked for the California Journal, a public affairs magazine, and at State Net, the nation´s largest legislative tracking firm (1990-93), both in Sacramento. He returned to academia at the University of California, Irvine, receiving an M.A. degree in Social Ecology in 1996 (Rail Transit Station Development and the Municipal Land-Use Decision-Making Process) and a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning in 1999 ( The Four Dimensions of Rail Transit Performance: How Administration, Finance, Demographics, and Politics Affect Outcomes).

Nick began working as a transportation planner for the California Department of Transportation in 2000 and is currently on loan to the California Transportation Commission in Sacramento where, among other projects, he is helping to spearhead a project to include performance measures in the process used to program California´s transportation projects. In the past, Nick worked for a private consulting firm, was involved in numerous qualitative and quantitative research projects and taught transportation planning courses at UC Irvine. Currently, he teaches the graduate level MTM 215 – Transportation Systems Planning and Development – at SJSU´s Mineta Transportation Institute.

Nick has written academic papers and articles and delivered presentations on the inclusion of transit-oriented development (TOD) in areas near transit stations in California and the incorporation of transportation-related performance measures into existing governmental decision-making processes. His research interests focus primarily on the practical introduction, implementation and impact of transportation planning concepts in government.

He is a longtime member of the American Planning Association and the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers.



Frances Edwards, Ph.D.

Dr. Frances L. Edwards is an associate professor and director of the Master of Public Administration program at San Jose State University. She is a research associate of the Mineta Transportation Institute, and a member of the Editorial Board of the Public Administration Review (PAR). She is co-author with Friedrich Steinhausler of two books in the NATO Science Series on terrorism threats, and with Brian Jenkins on 9/11, as well as numerous chapters for text and professional books. She has written more than 30 professional journal articles, most recently on Hurricane Katrina for two issues of The Public Manager, and on federal homeland security grants in State and Local Government Review. She is a member of the ASPA Hurricane Katrina Task Force, and has been a member of the Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness at Harvard University; the Bioterrorism Working Group at Stanford University; threeNATO expert workshop panels on terrorism; and a commissioner on the California Seismic Safety Commission. For 25 years Dr. Edwards was a practitioner, including 14 years as the Director of Emergency Preparedness for San Jose, California, the nation´s tenth largest city. She has a Ph.D. and M.U.P. from New York University; a MA from Drew University; and a Certificate in Hazardous Materials Management from University of California, Irvine.


Dan Goodrich

Dan Goodrich was born and raised in Southern California. He served ten years active duty in the United States Marine Corps, four of those in its Security Forces. He served an additional six years in the United States Army Reserve. His individual awards include the Army Commendation medal, one Army and two Navy Achievement medals and the President's 100 tab. He earned a Bachelors´ Degree in Political Science and Masters´ Degree in Public Administration from San Jose State University. He is currently a research associate for the Norman Y. Mineta Transportation Institute, Chair of the San Jose Metropolitan Medical Task Force exercise group, and fellow of The Foundation for Defense of Democracy.



Peter J. Haas, Ph.D.

Dr. Peter Haas is the Education Director for the Mineta Transportation Institute. He has been affiliated with MTI since 1995, when he became certified as a Research Associate. His education includes a B.A. from Valparaiso University, an M.A. in Political Science from Kent State University, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Haas has extensive experience with transportation issues. He served as a project panelist for the National Highway Cooperative Research Program, National Research Council, Panel H-8; National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA), Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation 1997–2000; Transportation Cooperative Research Program, National Research Council, Panels F-6, F-6-A, and B-10; Evaluation of Ignition Interlock Pilot Program for DUI Offenders for the California Office of Traffic Safety (with E.M.T.), and as a consultant to the AC Transit Board of Directors (Alameda County, California).

Dr. Haas is also serving as a team member on an MTI-sponsored project examining system design for transit security.

He is the author of "Voting Outcomes of Local Tax Ballot Measures with a Substantial Rail Transit Component: Case Study of Effects of Transportation Packages" (with Richard Werbel), Transportation Research Record, no. 1799, pp. 10-17, 2002; Understanding Transit Ridership Growth: Case Studies of Successful Transit Systems in the 1990s, (with Alison Yoh and Brian Taylor), Transportation Research Record, No. 1835 2003, pp. 111-120; Why Campaigns for Local Transportation Funding Initiatives Succeed or Fail (with Richard Werbel and Linda O. Valenty). Norman Y. Mineta International Institute for Surface Transportation Policy Studies, 2000; Capital versus Operating Grants for Transit: Economic Impacts for California (with David Lewis, Jianling Li, Kelly L Samples, Brian Taylor, and Stephen Van Beek). Norman Y. Mineta Institute for Surface Transportation Policy Studies, 1997.

Dr. Haas served as the Program Director for the Master of Public Administration for San José State University and has developed numerous courses during his career. He was the recipient of a 2003 Fulbright Senior Specialist grant to teach at Vidzieme University in Valmiera, Latvia. He also conducted research there concerning performance evaluation and local government.


James Helmer

Jim has served local governments in the traffic and transportation field for over 32 years. Retiring in 2009 from the City of San Jose as its Transportation Director after a 21 year career with the City, Jim now focuses on teaching, continuous learning and engineering consulting in the connected fields of safe and sustainable transportation, lighting and energy. Jim has co-authored guidelines on the development of polices, ordinances and regulations for the installation and operation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the states of Washington, California and Hawaii. Jim is a Masters graduate of the Mineta Transportation Institute and he also holds an undergraduate degree in Transportation Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He holds licenses to practice Civil and Traffic Engineering in the State of California, and resides in Santa Cruz County.


Matthew J. Holian

Matthew J. Holian, Ph.D.

Matthew J. Holian is an Associate Professor at San Jose State University in the Economics Department and a research associate at the Mineta Transportation Institute. He completed his Ph.D. in Economics in 2008 at the Ohio State University. His scholarly publications have appeared in such publications such as Journal of Housing Economics and Public Choice. His research focuses on industrial, public, transportation and urban economics.

Will Kempton

Will Kempton

Will Kempton is the chief executive officer of the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), serving in the position since 2009.

The OCTA is responsible for planning, financing and coordinating Orange County's freeway, street and rail development as well as managing bus services, commuter-rail services and paratransit service. OCTA has 1,500 employees, a $1.1 billion annual budget and is governed by a 17-voting member board of directors.

Prior to joining OCTA, Kempton was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as the director of the California Department of Transportation. For five years, he oversaw a nearly $14 billion budget and 22,000 employees, and was responsible for managing the daily operations of California's transportation system, including more than 50,000 miles of highways. Kempton also has served as the City of Folsom's assistant city manager for community services and was a member of the city's Parks and Recreation Commission for eight years. 

Kempton's career has spanned nearly 40 years in transportation, public service and government affairs. He is recognized as an authority on public infrastructure financing, sales-tax programs and project delivery. He is known for his results-oriented leadership style, his consensus approach to problem solving and for developing innovative solutions in order to achieve positive outcomes.

Kempton and his wife Beverley live in Orange County and have four adult children, Mark, Laurie, Carrie, and Christina.


Joseph Kott, PhD, AICP, PTP

Joseph Kott, PhD, AICP, PTP

Dr. Joseph Kott has over thirty years of experience in transportation planning at the local, regional, and state levels for both public agencies and private consultancies. He served as Chief Transportation Official for the City of Palo Alto, California for seven years. Dr. Kott teaches courses in transportation and the environment at the Mineta Transportation Institute, planning sustainable urban and regional transportation within the Stanford Program on Urban Studies, history and theory of urban and regional planning within the San Jose State University Department of Urban and Regional Planning, and urban environmental planning within the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Santa Clara University. Dr. Kott is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and is a certified Professional Transportation Planner (PTP). He is also a Charter Member of the American Planning Association and a Fellow of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.



Matt Raymond

Matt Raymond has thrived in marketing and communications for the past 25 years. He’s promoted public transportation in Denver, Dallas and Los Angeles. Matt spent the last decade as chief communications officer for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority where he led one of the most aggressive rebranding efforts the transportation world has seen. His work was featured in Communication Arts and Fast Company and led Metro to be the first public agency ever to receive the global “Rebrand” award – the highest international recognition for excellence in brand transformation and repositioning. Matt also initiated and led the effort to pass Measure R – a 2008 transportation sales tax for Los Angeles County. Matt departed Metro to create Celtis Ventures a full service marketing and communications firm specializing in public brand management.

Matt began his transportation career in 1991 with Denver RTD. Matt introduced light rail to the region and developed a complete line of transportation programs specifically designed for business, including the Eco Pass – the “most successful transit pass program in the country,” according to the U.S. General Accounting Office. In 1996, Matt moved to DART in Dallas, where he served as AVP of marketing and advertising where he introduced light rail, commuter rail, and HOV projects. Matt created a variety of new transportation services and programs and was responsible for DART´s redesigned customer information system and new fare structure. In 2002 Matt joined the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) as the chief communications officer. He oversaw nearly 300 people, a budget in excess of $65 million and a transformation that brought Metro to unprecedented levels of customer satisfaction and public support. Matt and his team opened light rail lines, introduced bus rapid transit (BRT) and created the largest vanpool program in the country. Matt restructured Metro’s fare system including LA’s first regional pass and first day pass and oversaw the implementation of TAP - the largest smart card based fare system in the country. Matt holds a Masters´ Degree in marketing and a Masters´ Degree in public administration from the University of Colorado at Denver. He received his Bachelors´ Degree in business from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Matt is currently the president and CEO of Celtis Ventures, LLC (CeltisVentures.com) a full service marketing and communications firm specializing in public brand management located in Hermosa Beach, California.



Gary Richards

Gary Richards has been the transportation reporter at the San Jose Mercury News since 1991 and writes a six-day-a-week column based on questions sent in by readers. He is a graduate of Iowa State University and was a sports writer for nine years in Iowa before joining the Mercury News in 1984. Gary and his wife, Jan, live in San Jose and have two children. He has taught at the Mineta Institute since 2001.


Ben Tripousis

Ben Tripousis

Ben Tripousis is the Northern California Regional Director for the California High-Speed Rail Authority. For over a decade he served as the Transportation Policy Manager for the City of San Jose. In that role he was responsible for the development of Transportation Policy Guidelines for the City of San Jose and was the liaison to all local and regional transportation agencies. He was also the Chief Transportation Policy Advisor to the Mayor of San Jose and served on local Congressional and State Assembly staffs.