Directors

Karen E. Philbrick, Ph.D.Karen E. Philbrick, PhD

Executive Director
San Jose State University
408-924-7562
karen.philbrick@sjsu.edu
Mineta Transportation Institute

Karen Philbrick has served as executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) at San José State University since 2014, after five years of service as MTI research director. Dr. Philbrick is responsible for day-to-day administration and management and long-term financial and strategic initiatives.

Prior to joining MTI, she was assistant director of the National Center for Intermodal Transportation at the University of Denver, where her contributions included research expertise on transportation fatigue management and operator response to work-related trauma. 

In 2014, Dr. Philbrick was appointed by US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx to her second term on the USDOT Transit Advisory Committee for Safety (TRACS), where she chaired the working group charged with identifying key elements of a fatigue management program for the transit industry.

Dr. Philbrick was elected to the prestigious Executive Committee of the national Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) in 2013. Since that that, she has served as CUTC Treasurer, Secretary, and, in 2017, was elected Vice President. 

Dr. Philbrick received the 2015 CUTC-ARTBA Award for Administrative Leadership and that same year was honored to receive a commendation on behalf of the City of San Jose from Mayor Sam Liccardo for excellence in transportation policy leadership. In 2016 the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) named Dr. Philbrick a “Woman Who Moves the Nation” and the SJSU Urban and Regional Planning Department presented her an award for significant contributions to faculty and students. In 2017, the Silicon Valley Business Journal named Dr. Philbrick 1 of the 100 Women of Influence in Silicon Valley. Most recently, she was recognized by the YWCA Silicon Valley with a 2018 Tribute to Women Award for her contributions to the field of transportation in the Silicon Valley.

On an international level, Dr. Philbrick has contributed to the development of educational and training materials for intermodal specialists. Her work has formed a key portion of an international training effort and seminar, Innovations and Challenges in Intermodal Transportation, in the Philippines and Indonesia. She has been a member of the US delegation to the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Transportation Working Group since 2000.

Dr. Philbrick serves her profession on the Women in Transportation Seminar (WTS) Foundation Board and as a member of the advisory board for the Los Angeles Metro Office of Extraordinary Innovation (OEI). She serves her community as an active member of the Rotary Club of San José where she co-chairs the Fun and Friendship committee and serves on the Rotoplast and Rotocare committees that offer volunteer-based free medical services. In 2018, she was elected to serve a three-year term on the Rotary Club of San José Board of Directors.

Dr. Philbrick holds a PhD from the University of Denver and an MA and EdM from Columbia University. She earned her undergraduate degree from California State University, Fresno.

Hilary Nixon, Ph.D.Hilary Nixon, PhD

San Jose State University
408-924-7564
hilary.nixon@sjsu.edu
Director, Research and Technology Transfer
Mineta Transportation Institute

Hilary Nixon was appointed Director of Research and Technology Transfer in 2016, after serving for nearly 10 years as a Research Associate for MTI where she was principal investigator, co-principal investigator, or research team member on 17 MTI research publications. In addition, Dr. Nixon is a Professor in the Department of Urban & Regional Planning at San José State. She specializes in transportation and environmental planning and policy, and her research focuses primarily on the factors that influence pro-environmental behavior and the relationship between transportation and the environment. Her research has been published in a wide range of peer-reviewed journals. She earned a B.A. from the University of Rochester and a Ph.D. in Planning, Policy and Design from the University of California, Irvine.

Tom O'Brien, Ph.D.Tom O'Brien

Executive Director, Executive Director, Center for International Trade and Transportation, CSU Long Beach

Thomas O'Brien is the Executive Director of the Center for International Trade and Transportation (CITT) at California State University, Long Beach and the Associate Director of Long Beach Programs for the METRANS Transportation Center, a partnership between CSULB and the University of Southern California. He also serves as the director of the FHWA Southwest Regional Surface Transportation Workforce Center (SWTWC). 

He is both an Eno and Eisenhower Transportation Fellow and a member of the Transportation Research Board's Intermodal Freight Transport Committee.

Hamid Rahai, Ph.D.Hamid Rahai

Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Studies, College of Engineering, CSU Long Beach

Dr. Hamid Rahai is Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Engineering where his responsibilities include managing and overseeing COE centers, grants and contracts activities of $4M-$7M annually, and graduate programs, including the Joint PhD program with Claremont Graduate University (CGU). Dr. Rahai is also director of the Center for Energy and Environment and Services (CEERS) and has been PI and Co-PI of research grants and contracts in excess of $5M in the past ten years. He has over 90 referred technical publications and 30 technical reports and is owner and co-owner of two awarded patents and two pending patents.

Dingxin Cheng, Ph.D.Dingxin Cheng

Director, California Pavement Preservation Center, CSU Chico

Dingxin Cheng is the Director of the California Pavement Preservation Center (CP2C) at California State University, Chico and a Professor in the Civil Engineering Department where he holds the O’Connell Endowed Faculty Chair. Dr. Cheng has managed or co-managed more than $7 million in research projects funded by the California Department of Transportation, California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and others. Dr. Cheng previously co-chaired Caltrans’s Pavement Preservation Task Group strategy selection subgroup and developed a series of online programs including the Strategy Selection Program, Innovation Database, and Pavement Preservation Database. 

Aly Tawfik, Ph.D.Aly Tawfik

Director, Fresno State Transportation Institute, CSU Fresno

Aly Tawfik is the Director of the Fresno State Transportation Institute and an Assistant Professor of Transportation Systems Engineering. His research interests focus on travel behavior data, surveying, modeling and simulation of human travel behavior and transportation systems.