Team Members

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Founder, Norman Y. Mineta

Secretary, US Department of Transportation (Ret.) and founder of the Mineta Transportation Institute

Secretary Norman Y. Mineta is well known for his work in transportation – including aviation, surface transportation, and infrastructure – and national security. He is recognized for his accomplishments in economic development, science and technology policy, foreign and domestic trade, budgetary issues and civil rights, as well as his perspective from having served in Congress for over 20 years and in the Cabinets of both Republican and Democratic presidents.

For almost 30 years, Secretary Mineta represented San Jose, California – the heart of Silicon Valley – first on the City Council, then as Mayor, and then from 1975-1995 as a Member of Congress. Throughout that time, Secretary Mineta was an advocate of the burgeoning technology industry. He worked to encourage new industries and spur job growth, and he supported infrastructure development to accommodate the industry and its tremendous growth. 

Secretary Mineta served as the Chairman of the House Transportation and Public Works Committee from 1992-1994, after having chaired the Subcommittee on Aviation and the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation. He was the primary author of the groundbreaking ISTEA legislation – the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991. While in Congress, he co-founded the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and was Chair of the National Civil Aviation Review Commission in 1997.

In 2000, Secretary Mineta was appointed by President Bill Clinton as the United States Secretary of Commerce. At the Department of Commerce, Secretary Mineta was known for his work on technology issues, for achieving international cooperation and intergovernmental coordination on complex fisheries issues, and streamlining the patent and trademark process.

From 2001-2006, Secretary Mineta served as Secretary of Transportation by President George W. Bush. Following the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, Secretary Mineta guided the creation of the Transportation Security Administration – an agency with more than 65,000 employees – the largest mobilization of a new federal agency since World War II.

Since 2006, Secretary Mineta has been Vice Chairman of Hill & Knowlton based in its Washington, DC office, providing counsel and strategic advice to clients on a wide range of business and political issues. Recognized for his leadership, Secretary Mineta has received numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom – our nation’s highest civilian honor – and the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy, which is awarded for significant public service of enduring value to aviation in the United States.

He is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.

 

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Directors

Karen Philbrick, PhD
Executive Director

Executive Director

Mineta Transportation Institute

Karen Philbrick serves as the executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) at San José State University, a position she has held since 2014. 

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Hilary Nixon, PhD
Deputy Executive Director

Hilary Nixon has served as Deputy Executive Director for MTI since 2018. Previously, she served as MTI’s Director of Research and Technology Transfer. Dr. Nixon is an active researcher and educator specializing in transportation and environmental planning and policy.

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Asha Weinstein Agrawal, PhD
Education Director and National Transportation Finance Center Director

Asha Weinstein Agrawal is Director of Education and Director the MTI National Transportation Finance Center. She is also Professor in the Urban and Regional Planning Department at San José State. 

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Brian Michael Jenkins
Director, National Transportation Security Center

As a leading authority on terrorism and sophisticated crime, Brian Michael Jenkins has directed MTI’s continuing research on protecting surface transportation against terrorist attacks for many years. He advises and collaborates with government agencies, international organizations, and multinational corporations.

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Frances Edwards, PhD
Deputy Director, National Transportation Security Center

Frances L. Edwards, MUP, PhD, CEM, is professor and director of the Master of Public Administration program at San José State University. She is also Deputy Director of the National Transportation Security Center at the Mineta Transportation Institute of the College of Business.

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Hon. Rod Diridon, Sr.
Retired Founding Executive Director

Rod Diridon, Sr. served as founding executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute until 2014 when he moved to Emeritus status. Mr. Diridon has chaired more than 100 international, national, state and local programs, most related to transit and the environment. He provides legislative testimony on sustainable transportation issues and is regarded by many as the “father” of modern transit service in Silicon Valley. 

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Staff

Jennifer Cao
Administative Student Assistant

Jennifer Cao joined MTI as a student assistant in 2019. She is studying Hospitality Management with an emphasis in Finance and Accounting at San José State University. Responsible for MTI’s organizational tasks, Jennifer creates spreadsheets and timelines in order to organize MTI’s business processes.She has traveled and relocated around the world to pursue education. Initially, she moved to the United States from her hometown in Vietnam to study abroad in the state of Michigan for her junior year of high school.

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Irma Garcia, M.A.
Communications and Operations Manager

Irma Garcia has served at MTI since 2018. A San José native, Irma holds a master’s degree in English and Comparative Literature from San José State University. At MTI, Irma manages the institute's internal and external communications, overseeing the development of newsletters, press releases, blogs, social media campaigns, and web content creation among other communication activities.

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Jasmine Guan
Student Assistant

Jasmine Guan is a student assistant in the communications and workforce development sector at MTI. She is currently pursuing a B.A. in Communications with a minor in graphic design as an undergraduate student at San José State University. Jasmine has interned with Teach for America and has held various positions in clubs and organizations on campus, including Interact, Chinese American Student Exchange Program, and ASB. Jasmine believes in building a strong and healthy community.

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Tam Tran
Student Assistant

Tam Tran is a student assistant at MTI. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Environmental Studies at San José State University. The interdisciplinary curriculum with Environmental Planning and Transportation courses inspires Tam to get involved in the community, where she has translated Vietnamese for the participants, surveys, and assisted on some data collection and research.

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Alverina Weinardy, MUP
Graphic Designer

Alverina Weinardy is a practicing interior designer with experiences in commercial, including offices and affordable multi-family housing, and residential projects. She joined MTI as a graduate student research assistant in 2017. She is currently responsible for MTI graphic design materials. Alverina holds a BFA in Interior Architect and Design from the Academy of Art University and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from San José State University.

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Contact Us

SJSU Research Foundation   210 N. 4th Street, 4th Floor, San Jose, CA 95112    Phone: 408-924-7560   Email: mineta-institute@sjsu.edu