Why We Exist
The technologies implemented and maintained by the ITS/CV technicians will literally change the world. The opportunity to vastly reduce traffic fatalities, mitigate the environmental footprint of motor vehicles, and save enormous amounts of time and money through the emerging field of connected and autonomous vehicles hinges on the ability to recruit and train effective technicians.
A severe shortage of training materials, curriculum, standards, procedures, and certification capability for ITS and CV technicians has been indicated by industry professionals and government officials across the country. This has resulted in a workforce that lacks the knowledge and skills necessary to install, maintain, and repair the ever increasing volume of devices and advanced vehicles to be found on tomorrow’s roadways.
Who We Are
Transportation Tech began as a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant awarded to Valerie Lefler MPA, CEO of Integrated Global Dimensions, LLC. It is a woman owned business based in Lincoln, Nebraska.
About Our Team
Valerie Lefler MPA, President & CEO
Ms. Lefler graduated from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln in 2005 with a degree in Business Administration after studying International Economics abroad at the University of Oxford. She received her master’s degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in Public Management from the University of Nebraska—Omaha in 2012.
Valerie has over 13 years of project management experience, involving over $37 million in nationally recognized research, education, and technology transfer initiatives. She has worked extensively with program sponsors at the state and federal levels, including, but not limited to, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration, the U.S. DOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration, the Transportation Research Board, the Nebraska Department of Roads (NDOR), and the Nebraska Department of Education.
Ms. Lefler served as Program Coordinator for the University of Nebraska—Lincoln’s Nebraska Transportation Center (NTC) and the Mid-America Transportation Center (MATC) from 2003–2013. At UNL Valerie worked with over 150 faculty members from 8 universities in 13 different academic disciplines. In addition, from 2004–2012, she served as the ITS Heartland Chapter Administrator, which serves ITS professionals in Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Oklahoma.
Ryan Johnsen, Vice President
Mr. Johnsen graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Sciences. He has over twenty years of experience working in small startup business enterprises in a wide variety of fields. He is presently involved in the development of an online training service for ITS technicians, construction career promotion, and a distributed ride-share program.
Our Development Partners
Metropolitan Community College
Dr. Tom Pensabene, Executive Director, Workforce Innovation Division and Dean of IT and E-Learning
Dr. Pensabene holds a Doctorate in Education/Instructional Design, is an ACT certified WorkKeys® occupational profiler, and serves as the PI for National Science Foundation projects focused on scenario based, online learning (the Midwest Center for Information Technology) and IT‐enabled, automated systems (Automate!). Dr. Pensabene began his postsecondary career in 1996 as Manager of instructional design at the University of Oklahoma, joining MCC in 2000 as the Dean of IT and E‐Learning. As Dean, Dr. Pensabene provides guidance for the largest IT training program in the region, offering a range of programs such as IT security, embedded systems, networking, and database, and a customizable virtualist degree allowing specialized certifications (such as ITS).
In 2012, Dr. Pensabene coordinated efforts for MCC’s first cross‐disciplinary degree, offered through a virtual, cross‐disciplinary department, the Center for Advanced and Emerging Technology (CAET). While retaining his role as Dean of IT & E‐Learning, in 2013 Dr. Pensabene was appointed to serve as the Executive Director of the new Workforce Innovation Division (WID). The mission of WID is to develop and pilot new programming for industry‐driven training across MCC.
Currently, WID oversees several US Department of Labor and National Science Foundation initiatives, all of which include the development of scenario based, technology‐enabled training modules to build skills in the Transportation arena.
Karen Wegner, Instructional Systems Designer
Ms. Wegner holds a Master of Education in Adult Learning/ Human Resource Development from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. She is an active member of the eLearning Guild, and currently serves on the Board of the Association for Training and Development ‐ Nebraska. Other professional associations have included International Society for Performance Improvement, Organization Development Network, Project Management Institute, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and the National Staff Development Council.
At MCC, Ms. Wegner leads teams and provides instructional design, development, and delivery of scenario based, video enhanced, digital learning solutions. Ms. Wegner is schooled in practices that support universal design and open education resources and is certified in DACUM (Developing A CUrriculuM), a proven approach for occupational profiling and the design of industry relevant, competency based training. Ms. Wegner also provided leadership to obtain an electronic tool enabling the design of competency based education – critical for industry‐responsive training.
Michigan Tech Research Institute
Colin Brooks, Senior Research Scientist
Colin Brooks is a Lab Manager and Senior Research Scientist at the Michigan Tech Research Institute, a research center of Michigan Technological University, where he directs the environmental and transportation research programs for the Institute. His recent research has focused on developing and demonstration applications of remote sensing technologies for transportation infrastructure assessment to help improve the efficiency of asset management. He has been leading a Michigan DOT (MDOT) project on developing a new user-friendly, 3-D tablet-based tool for recording and accessing bridge inspection data. He has been working with MDOT to integrate aerial imaging technologies into traffic monitoring operations as part of southeastern Michigan ITS operations. Colin holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Management from Duke University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Pre-Forestry from Lenoir-Rhyne College of Hickory, NC, and is currently pursuing a mid-career PhD through Michigan Tech. He is a member of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), and the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF).
William Buller, Research Engineer
Mr. Buller is a Research Engineer at the Michigan Tech Research Institute and the Senior Systems Engineer for the Technology Service Corporation of Silver Springs, MD. Mr. Buller has received a B.A. Physics, Albion College and a M.S. Engineering Physics, University of Virginia. He is an expert in characterization of sensor and system performance and has applied his work to problems in missile defense, passive RF imaging, cognitive radio and autonomous vehicles. He has led research and development efforts for characterizing the radar signatures of automobiles and deer, and designed the first RF-realistic surrogate for automotive safety tests. Mr. Buller is currently the lead engineer for Michigan Tech’s support of NHTSA development of a V2V Basic Safety Message for Heavy Vehicles. He also serves as a member of SAE Active Safety Test Target Validation and Correlation Task Force Mr. Buller shares pending patents on the use of retro-reflective radar patch antennas for identification of highway infrastructure and determination vehicle-tractor articulation.
Abbas Mohaddes, Principal
Abbas Mohaddes is a co-founding principal of CAVita and has over 30 years of experience in policy and the application of technology in transportation systems, including area-wide traffic management, connected vehicles, traveler information, and multi-modal systems development and freight technology. He is an internationally recognized expert in ITS, and has published and presented over 60 articles at industry organizations around the world.
Mr. Mohaddes is a founding member and past chairman of the board of ITS America and current chair of the ITS America Leadership Circle. He is a member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Executive Committee; fellow at the Institute of Transportation Engineers; member of the University of California Irvine Chief Executive Roundtable; board member of the National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE), and a member of the Board of Trustees at the Mineta Transportation Institute.
He is a former CEO of Iteris, a leading transportation systems service and product, publicly traded company. He served the company as its president and CEO from March 2007 to February 2015. He also served on the board of directors from 2005 to February 2015. He led the transformation of Iteris into a software-based traffic management information technology organization through significant organic growth and acquisition strategy.
Abbas holds a B.S. degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in transportation engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He also holds an Executive Management certificate from UCLA Anderson School of Management.
Dr. Peter Sweatman
Peter Sweatman is a co-founding principal of CAVita and has over 30 years of experience in transportation research and innovation, and the application of R&D. That experience encompasses vehicles, drivers, and infrastructure and impinges on technology, policy, and strategic planning. He is a trusted national voice on safety, ITS, transportation research and education, connected and automated vehicles, and freight technology and policy. His professional experience covers private industry, academia, and government. He has worked extensively in Europe and Asia-Pacific as well as the United States.
Dr. Sweatman is a past chairman of the board of ITS America, and also served as founding chair of the ITS America Leadership Circle. He served on the U.S. Department of Transport’s ITS Advisory Committee, as well as a number of roles with the Society of Automotive Engineers. At Transportation Research Board, he chaired the recent EU-US Symposium Towards Road Transport Automation, and served on the Committee on National Research Frameworks: Application to Transportation. He is currently working with the industrial consortium Together for Safer Roads.
He served as director of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) from 2004 to 2015, and founded the Michigan Mobility Transformation Center (MTC) in 2013. He currently serves as director of the MTC, and was responsible for the launch of Mcity on July 20, 2015: “the world’s coolest test facility” (Bloomberg). He also serves as executive advisor to the UM’s Data Science Initiative.
Dr. Sweatman holds a degree in mechanical engineering and a Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne.
JPID Consulting, LLC
Dr. Judy Perkins, President & CEO
Dr. Judy A. Perkins holds a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering and her civil engineering area of specialization is transportation engineering. She is a Texas A&M University System (TAMUS) Regents Professor, a licensed professional engineer in the state of Texas, and has worked with the intelligent transportation systems (ITS) educational community for over 14 years. In addition, Dr. Perkins has been a leader in the education and private industry arena for over for over 28 years.
Dr. Perkins retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the military with 32+ years of service. During her years of military service, Dr. Perkins served as a petroleum officer, transportation officer, logistician and has worked with several Department of Defense research laboratories and centers. JPID Consulting, LLC is a women‐ and veterans‐owned company that has research and practical experience with Intelligent Transportation Systems ‐ Connected Vehicle (ITS‐CV) educational curricula offered in post‐secondary educational institutions. JPID Consulting, LLC has a rich history in the workforce development, conducting research, and developing and evaluating curricula offered in post‐secondary educational environments. JPID Consulting, LLC has designations as a SB, SDB, SVOB, and SWOB company.