Faculty


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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.

 

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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.

 

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Donna Kelsay DeMartino

Ms. DeMartino, general manager of the San Joaquin RTD, joined the agency in 2001 as Assistant General Manager. She brings more than 20 years of supervisory and management experience in the transit industry. Prior to joining RTD, she served at the Sacramento Regional Transit District (RT), where she spent five years as part of the light rail start up team. While at RT, Ms. DeMartino also worked in the Operations Support, Engineering and Construction, and Facilities Management Departments where her responsibilities included capital facilities management, contract administration, and project management. Ms. DeMartino earned a Bachelor’s Degree in education from CSU Sacramento, and a Master’s Degree in transportation management from the Mineta Transportation Institute. She obtained a teaching credential while at CSU Sacramento, and completed a construction management program at UC Davis. Ms. DeMartino is a Fellow of the Eno Transportation Foundation, and a graduate of the Leadership APTA (American Public Transportation Association) program. She serves on the California Transit Association’s Executive Committee, and she teaches classes for SJSU, University of the Pacific, and other academic institutions.

 

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Rod Diridon, Sr.

Rod Diridon, Sr., the son of an immigrant Italian railroad brakeman, worked his way through college as a railroad brakeman and fireman. He is now known as the “father of modern transit service” in California's Silicon Valley. His political career began in 1971 as the youngest person ever elected to the Saratoga City Council. He retired, because of term limits, after 20 years and six terms as chair of both the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and Transit Board. He is the only person to have chaired the San Francisco Bay Area´s (nine counties and 104 cities) three regional governments – the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and the Association of Bay Area Governments.

Rod has chaired more than 100 international, national, state and local programs related to transit and the environment. He served in 1993 as the chair of the American Public Transit Association in Washington DC and more recently as the North American Vice Chair of the International Transit Association in Brussels. He has been an advisor to the Federal Transit Administration and in1995 chaired the National Research Council's Transportation Research Board's Transit Cooperative Research Program. Rod currently chairs TRB's study panel on "Combating Global Warming through Sustainable Transportation Policy." He frequently provides testimony to state legislative and congressional committees. He has been especially effective in developing local, state and national coalitions supporting legislative objectives.

His hands-on transportation experience includes chairing nine Major Investment Studies (alternative analyses) for the CalTrain System, Guadalupe Corridor Light Rail Project, Fremont-South Bay Corridor (BART to Silicon Valley) Project, Tasman Corridor Light Rail Project, Vasona Corridor Board and others. He has served on the operating policy boards for CalTrain, the Capital Train (Sacramento to Silicon Valley), the Altamont Commuter Express Train (ACE, from Stockton to Silicon Valley), and others. Those duties included service on the negotiating teams for the development of management contracts with Amtrak and other service providers. He was, in mid 2001, appointed by the Governor to the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) Board which he was subsequently elected to chair.

Promoting international understanding and commerce, then-Supervisor Diridon founded and has been the principal liaison for the Santa Clara County Sister County Commissions with the Province of Florence, Italy and the Region of Moscow, Russia. He has given speeches promoting mass transportation and environmental protection in more than 45 US cities and a dozen foreign countries.

He is on the Corporate Boards of Directors of the San Jose National Bank and the Empire Broadcasting Company. From 1969 to 1976, he founded and served as president of the Decision Research Institute, where he developed a “shared survey” research procedure subsequently adopted by the UNICEF. In 1976, Rod chaired the campaign for the first successful half-cent sales tax for a transit district in California. He subsequently chaired five successful regional and one statewide transportation master plan elections and tax measures. He is president and founder of the California Trolley and Railroad Corporation, chairs the area's League of Conservation Voter's Board, and is active in numerous community environmental protection, historic preservation, and youth programs.

He is especially proud of son Rod, Jr. (a Santa Clara City Councilmember) and daughter Mary Margaret (Director of Counseling for the Silicon Valley YWCAs). His wife, Dr. Gloria Duffy, was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in charge of the Nunn-Lugar program and negotiated 41 disarmament treaties with the former Soviet satellite countries. She is now the CEO of the Commonwealth Club of California. Rod is currently the Executive Director of the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) created by Congress in 1991.

Rod earned a BS in Accounting and an MS in Business Administration from San Jose State University, where he was selected an outstanding College of Business Graduate. He served as a US Navy officer with two Vietnam combat tours. He was chosen one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of America in 1972, listed in Who´s Who in America since 1974 and among the ten most influential Silicon Valley leaders in 1990. He was named one of the "Millennium 100" who contributed most to the success of Silicon Valley in the past millennium. Upon his retirement from elected office in 1994, the historic Amtrak/CalTrain Station in San Jose was renamed the San Jose Diridon Station in his honor. He has received numerous other awards and citations.

 

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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.

 

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Stan Feinsod

Mr. Feinsod is an independent Passenger Rail Consultant and Business Development Advisor to Ratp Dev USA.  He has more than 25 years of experience as a manager of rail operations, consultant, operations contractor and project development expert.  He has consulted on operations and program planning for the California High Speed Rail project and is currently co-chairman of the APTA High Speed Rail/Commuter Rail Joint legislative committee and active in industry advocacy on high speed passenger rail funding and development.  He has worked on passenger rail projects in California (BART, CAHSRA, Long Beach Streetcar, Sacramento Streetcar, SMART, Caltrain, Metrolink, San Diegan Corridor), Georgia (Commuter Rail and Intercity Rail Plans), Puerto Rico (Tren Urbano), Texas (TRE), New Jersey (NJ Transit), and has an extensive resume of contributing to the development of commuter, regional and local rail projects. 

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.