Karen E. Philbrick, Ph.D.
Karen E. Philbrick, Ph.D.Executive Director

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 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. 

Dr. Philbrick was appointed by US Secretary of Transportation (ret.) Ray LaHood to the USDOT Transit Advisory Committee for Safety (TRACS) in 2012 and she has received consecutive reappointments from Secretaries Anthony Foxx and Elaine Chao, respectively. In this capacity, she chaired the task force 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 time, she has served as CUTC Treasurer, Secretary, Vice President, and, in 2018, was elected President. She also has the privilege of serving as the President of the Research and Education Division (RED) of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) where she simultaneously serves as a member of the ARTBA Board of Directors and Executive Committee.

Committed to advancing and retaining women in the transportation industry, Dr. Philbrick also serves her profession on the Women in Transportation Seminar (WTS) Foundation Board, where she is serving her second term. Since 2016 she has been an appointed member of the advisory board for the Los Angeles Metro Office of Extraordinary Innovation (OEI), and in 2018 she joined the Executive Committee for the City and County Pavement Improvement Center, UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies. She serves her community as an active member of the Rotary Club of San José where she 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 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 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, Ph.D.
Deputy Executive Director

Hilary Nixon was appointed Deputy Executive Director in 2018. Previously, she served as MTI's Director of Research and Technology Transfer and as a Research Associate for MTI where she was principal investigator, co-principal investigator, or research team member on 19 MTI research publications. Prior to her current role at MTI, Dr. Nixon was 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.


Asha W. Agrawal, Ph.D.Asha Weinstein Agrawal, Ph.D.
Director, National Transportation Finance Center; Education 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. Her research agenda is guided by a commitment to the principles of sustainability and equity: what planning and policy tools can communities adopt to encourage environmentally-friendly travel and improve accessibility for people struggling with poverty or other disadvantages? She has explored this question most deeply through two substantive areas, transportation finance policy and the travel behavior of pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders. Dr. Agrawal earned a B.A. from Harvard University, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. 


Frannie Edwards, Ph.D.Frances Edwards, Ph.D.
Deputy Director, National Transportation Security Center

Frances L. Edwards, M.U.P., Ph.D., CEM, is professor and director of the Master of Public Administration program at San Jose State University. She is also Deputy Director of the National Transportation Security Center at the Mineta Transportation Institute of the College of Business. She has a master's degree in international relations, a master of urban planning and a PhD in Public Administration. She is a Certified Emergency Manager with over 20 years experience as a director of emergency services in California, including fourteen years in the City of San Jose and eight years in Irvine. For eighteen months she was acting assistant fire chief in the San Jose Fire Department. She has served as Budget Analyst for the Irvine, California Police Department and Assistant to the City Manager in Florham Park, New Jersey. Her most recent peer reviewed journal article is “Effective Disaster Response in Cross Border Events” in the Journal of Contingency and Crisis Management. She is co-author with Dan Goodrich of Introduction to Transportation Security, and with Friedrich Steinhausler of two books on terrorism in the NATO Science Series. She is also co-author with Dan Goodrich of a chapter in the ICMA Green Book Emergency Management, as well as co-authoring nine major publications for MTI, and chapters in professional books and over 30 articles. She is also the US Chair for the European Union's CAST project, creating a common curriculum for disaster response training for first responders. She provides ICS/SEMS/NIMS and Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan writing, review and training for Caltrans. She has been Director of the San Jose Metropolitan Medical Task Force and the San Jose Urban Area Security Initiative, and a commissioner on the California Seismic Safety Commission. Among her honors are Governing Magazine's Public Official of the Year 2002, San Jose Magazine's Power 100, and the Devoted Service Award Class A from the San Jose Fire Department.


Brian Michael JenkinsBrian Michael Jenkins
Director, National Transportation Security Center

As a leading authority on terrorism and sophisticated crime, Brian Michael Jenkins works with government agencies, international organizations and multinational corporations. He has directed MTI’s continuing research on protecting surface transportation against terrorist attacks. He is also a senior advisor to the president of RAND. From 1989-1998, Mr. Jenkins was deputy chairman of Kroll Associates, an international investigative and consulting firm. Before that, he was chairman of RAND’s Political Science Department where he also directed RAND’s research on political violence. 

Mr. Jenkins has a B.A. in fine arts and a Masters Degree in history, both from UCLA. He studied at the University of Guanajuato in Mexico and at the University of San Carlos in Guatemala where he was a Fulbright Fellow and received a fellowship from the Organization of American States. 

Commissioned in the infantry, Mr. Jenkins became a paratrooper and a captain in the Green Berets. He is a decorated combat veteran having served in the Seventh Special Forces Group in the Dominican Republic and with the Fifth Special Forces Group in Vietnam. He returned to Vietnam as a member of the Long Range Planning Task Group, receiving the Department of the Army’s highest award for his service.

Since then, he has served on numerous U.S. and international task forces investigating terrorist attacks. In1996, President Clinton appointed Mr. Jenkins to be a member of the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security. He served as an advisor to the National Commission on Terrorism and has served on the U.S. Comptroller General’s Advisory Board. 

Mr. Jenkins is the author of several articles, reports and books, including International Terrorism: A New Mode of Conflict and Will Terrorists Go Nuclear?


Hon. Rod Diridon, Sr.Hon. Rod Diridon, Sr.
Retired Emeritus Executive Director

Rod Diridon, Sr., served as executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute from 1995, four years after the Institute's creation, 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. 

Governors Davis and Schwarzenegger appointed him to the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board, of which he is chair emeritus. He helped found, and is chair emeritus of, the High-Speed and Intercity Rail Committee and the National High-Speed Rail Corridors Coalition of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). He also was president of the national Council of University Transportation Centers.

For a decade, he was North American vice chair of the International Transit Association (UITP) in Brussels. In 1976, he chaired the state’s first successful half-cent sales tax for transit and subsequently chaired successful regional and statewide election campaigns for transportation bonds and financing.

In 1996 he founded and chaired the Transportation Research Board’s study panel, “Combating Global Warming through Sustainable Transportation Policy.” He advised the Federal Transit Administration and in 1995 chaired the Transit Oversight and Project Selection Committee for the National Research Council’s Transportation Research Board. He has provided keynotes in more than 50 US cities and for a dozen international conferences, and he has published numerous related articles.

He began his political service in 1971 when elected to the Saratoga City Council. He retired in 1995 after completing six terms as chair of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and the Transit Board. He also chaired the San Francisco Bay Area’s three regional governments: the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and the Association of Bay Area Governments. He chaired nine successful rail system development project boards. Upon his retirement from public office, Santa Clara County renamed its main train station “San Jose Diridon Station.”

Mr. Diridon received a BS in accounting and an MSBA in statistics from San Jose State University and served as a US naval officer. In 1968, he founded the Decision Research Institute, which he sold in 1977. He has two children, Rod Jr. and Mary Margaret, and four grandchildren. He is married to Dr. Gloria Duffy, former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense and now president and CEO of the Commonwealth Club of California. 


Jill CarterJill Carter
Executive Assistant, Office Manager

Jill Carter is well-experienced with business operations, applying her skills to MTI administrative management and support. She and her husband own a successful automobile repair facility, where she managed office operations, accounting, staffing, sales and general administration. As a librarian for the Campbell School District, Ms. Carter purchased books and equipment, instructed library skills, and organized the book fair. At Bank of America, she was a bookkeeper and teller. She is involved with the activities of her five children, including sports, fundraisers, PTA and classroom support. She attended San Jose State University, where she majored in liberal arts.

Irma Garcia

Communications and Workforce Development Coordinator

Irma Garcia is a San Jose native with an appreciation for the humble beginnings of the Silicon Valley. After earning her B.A. in English, Irma went on to teach middle school English for two years before returning to San Jose Staté University (SJSU) to pursue a master’s degree. While in the master’s program, Irma managed the Urban and Regional Planning Department as well as others departments within the College of Social Sciences. Her duties included managing the department finances, scheduling department events and classes, hiring, supervising student assistants and other day-to-day activities. During her time at with the College of Social Sciences, Irma received the Provost Staff Professional Development Grant for two consecutive years and was recognized with the Staff Service Award in 2017. She is also a former member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and the recipient of the 2017 Owen Milton Boyles Scholarship at SJSU. Irma’s background in writing and public speaking skills translate well into her position at MTI. She has successfully applied her skillset at MTI through such K-12 programs as the Mineta Summer Transportation Institute, the National Flight Academy, the Garrett Morgan Sustainable Transportation Competition; and through local and national collaborations such as the Silicon Valley Bike Summit, High Speed Rail Leadership Summit, MTI Annual Banquet & Convocation Celebration, MTI Finance Summit, and is in the process of enthusiastically developing several more MTI events.   

Joseph MercadoJoseph Mercado
Research Support Assistant

Joseph Mercado joined MTI as a student assistant in 2009.

After graduating with his degree in Psychology from San José State University (SJSU), he remains on staff as a contractor and is responsible for research publication page layout, proofreading, and distribution. Currently a master's candidate for the Human Factors graduate program at SJSU, he is aiming to make an impact in the transportation and automotive industry by conducting research in user-interface design and user-experience.


Alverina WeinardyAlverina Weinardy
Graphic Designer

Alverina Weinardy is a practicing interior designer at Saida + Sullivan Design Partners with specialty in affordable housing projects. She joined MTI as a graduate student research assistant in 2017. She is currently responsible for MTI graphic design work. Alverina holds a BFA in Interior Architect and Design from the Academy of Art University, and is currently pursuing a Master of Urban and Regional Planning at San Jose State University. She has also held internships at the de Young Museum, Artistic Designs for Living, and volunteers time at the American Red Cross Bay Area.

MTI Organization Chart (.pdf)