Mr. Ryan McKinley has over 25 years of engineering and scientific research experience, including technical leadership and management of a number of programs involving development and safety analysis of concepts/technologies pertaining to railroads, heavy rail transit, automated people-mover (APM), monorail, personal rapid transit (PRT), and automotive systems. His primary focus is safety of processor-based control systems, including communications-based train control (CBTC), positive train control (PTC), interlocking control, and advanced train control technologies (ATC) in general. Safety standards/guidelines/regulations experience includes MIL-STD-882, AREMA Section 17, IEEE 1483, IEEE 1012, EN 50126, EN 50128, EN 50129, EN 50159, ISO 26262, IEC 61508, and 49 CFR Part 236 Subparts H and I, among others. He worked with US Class I and passenger railroads generating FRA-required PTC implementation and safety plan documentation. He has acted as Independent Safety Assessor (ISA) program manager for New York City Transit CBTC programs and has generated and assessed safety case documentation for various advanced train control products and systems internationally, including Copenhagen Metro, WMATA, BART, LA Metro, PATH, Sao Paulo Metro, San Juan Tren Urbano, London Underground, Singapore, and APMs in Munich, Minneapolis, Detroit, and the Middle East. In addition to his transportation safety experience, Mr. McKinley has led and supported safety/risk programs for nuclear weapons maintenance systems, chemical demilitarization systems, servo and PLC-controlled US Air Force (USAF) C-17 training simulators, USAF OH-58F aircraft weapons systems, and CBRN terrorism.
Mr. Kevin Chandler has over 25 years of experience working with transit agencies across the United States and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for rail and bus modes, including operations and maintenance. Mr. Chandler was project manager for providing technical support for Volpe Center and FTA’s Office of Safety and Oversight and Office of Research, Demonstration and Innovation. This work included development of internal FTA resource materials and concept papers for MAP-21 (49 U.S.C. Section 5329) and safety management system (SMS) rule-making including safety performance criteria, measures, and targets required in national and agency (states and transit agencies) safety plans, as well as strategic planning for data collection, quality control, and analysis. Mr. Chandler also developed multiple FTA external guidance documents related to all hazards, safety, security, and emergency preparedness. Mr. Chandler is well versed in state safety oversight (SSO) program development and operation of oversight activities from both the FTA and state perspectives. He supports the operation of the SSO program in multiple states. In the six years following the acts of terrorism on 9/11, Mr. Chandler led a team of security and emergency management experts to provide technical assistance to 25 of the largest 50 transit agencies in the United States. Mr. Chandler also has experience in supporting safety assessments for communications-based train control (CBTC) and positive train control (PTC) projects. He is an instructor for the Transportation Safety Institute Safety Management System curriculum, and has received the Transportation Safety and Security Program Certificate for Rail.
Mr. Don Eldredge has over 35 years of experience leading a variety of technical programs for government and industry, including work performing safety analysis and audits of railway and aircraft control systems. He has extensive experience in rail transit operations procedures and planning for safety, security, and emergency management through work with FTA and State Safety Oversight (SSO) programs, as well as other transit agency-specific projects in security and emergency management. He has co-authored a number of guidance documents developed for FTA and was actively involved in the FTA’s Office of Safety and Oversight development of the MAP-21 processes, focusing on the development of Risk-Based Safety Management System (SMS) processes that will enhance transit agency, state, and FTA safety programs. Mr. Eldredge previously worked at the FAA Technical center in the Aircraft Certification Research Branch, where he developed Integrated Assurance methodologies to be used for certification of digital systems on aircraft.
Mr. John Fedikovich has extensive experience in rail transit control and operation, beginning his career as a Rail Operator, and culminating as the Director of Rail for MARTA in Atlanta, Georgia. With more than 30 years experience in the rail transit industry, Mr. Fedikovich has acquired extensive knowledge in the control and operations of Light and Heavy Rail transit in Cleveland and Atlanta. He has extensive training and experience in Consolidated Train Dispatch Systems (CTDS), Automated Dispatch Systems (ADS), rail transit operation, and accident investigation.
Mr. Brian Kummerer has over 20 years of experience including three as the SSO Program Manager for the State of Ohio (ODOT). Under his leadership, Ohio became the first state to have a fully Certified SSO Program Compliant with the FTA regulation, 49 CFR Part 674. Mr. Kummerer has supported SSO Programs in Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin, Ohio, Texas, Washington, Puerto Rico, and New Jersey and experience building an SMS for TriMet in Portland.
Mr. TJ Thorn has more than 25 years of safety and environmental experience in both the practitioner and oversight roles within the transportation and manufacturing sectors. Most recently he served as the Chief Safety Officer for the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, which included both Bus and Rail oversight. Mr. Thorn was also involved in the design, construction and start-up of the Cincinnati Streetcar system and led several committees during the startup and operation of the streetcar system. Mr. Thorn also serves as Associate Staff for the Transportation Safety Institute where he is an instructor for the Effectively Managing Transit Emergencies course.
Mr. Jon Floridia has over 15 years of experience working in rail and system safety, including development and execution of internal safety audits as a member of the System Safety group at New York City Transit (NYCT). The work for NYCT’s internal audits included planning and strategy, building the sampling, reporting, and development of recommendations and corrective actions. Mr. Floridia previously served multiple roles at Amtrak, including Conductor, Instructor, and Rules Compliance for the Train and Engine Department. Mr. Floridia conducted operational and safety compliance evaluations in accordance with Amtrak, NORAC, and FRA guidelines; including cab signal testing, brake testing, radio communication procedures, train handling, RWP work zones, and General NORAC rules.
Mr. Tim Walters has more than 30 years of technical safety, maintenance, and reliability engineering experience, exclusively in the transportation and medical device industries, focusing on rail transit, freight and passenger railroads, automated people-movers (APM), monorails, and commercial aircraft systems and components. Mr. Walters has direct technical experience working on rail vehicle subsystems, communications-based train control (CBTC), positive train control (PTC), wayside signaling, and automatic train control technologies (ATC), as well as flight controls, jet engines, avionics, and flight data and management systems. Mr. Walters has supported safety engineering and certification efforts for various rail systems and vehicles in the USA and abroad, including North American Class I Railroads, Alaska Railroad, and driverless APM systems at international airports in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Dubai, Munich, and Jeddah.
Mr. Jonathan F. Luedeke is an industry leader in safety assessments of systems, equipment, technologies, and concepts for transit, railroad, high-speed rail, automotive, bus, people-mover, avionics, and defense industries. Assessments led and performed by Mr. Luedeke include safety analyses and safety audits of safety critical signaling/train control systems/equipment, including communications-based train control (CBTC) and Positive Train Control (PTC) technologies, as well as the development and assessment of safety assurance processes. Assessments are based on leading safety standards and regulations such as MIL-STD-882, AREMA (Section 17), IEEE 1483, IEEE 1012, Title 49 CFR 236 Subparts H and I, CENELEC, and others, as well as his experience and knowledge of current industry practice gained over his 34-year career in rail safety. He assessed safety V&V methodologies worldwide in the rail, defense and other industries and developed a practical safety V&V methodology for the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center and the FRA that served as basic information for the Railway Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) in development of the FRA rule in 49CFR236 Subpart H. Much of the information in the associated report in that program was utilized in Section 17 of the AREMA standards. He also has experience assisting clients in cross-acceptance activities in which safety cases developed according to CENELEC standards were assessed against US safety standards and practice.
Denny R. Stephens, Ph.D., has over 35 years of experience in research, development, field deployment, testing and demonstration of new technologies that improve vehicle safety and mobility, such as connected vehicle and autonomous systems, as well as safety of vehicle energy storage systems such as natural gas, hydrogen and Li-ion batteries. Dr. Stephens has been a leader for decades in developing structured safety strategies for complex vehicle systems. Dr. Stephens is a respected leader in the development, field deployment, testing and demonstration of vehicle safety technology for the USDOT. He led a multi-contractor team, including vehicle manufacturers, in successfully integrating new and retrofit connected vehicle technology in commercial vehicles and in implementing them in the USDOT Safety Pilot Model Deployment. He recently led the successful integration, field deployment, testing and demonstration of Intelligent Network Flow Optimization (INFLO) connected vehicle mobility and safety applications with Washington State DOT along I5 in Seattle. Dr. Stephens assembled and led a multi-disciplinary research team in analyzing safety issues in Li-ion batteries and Li-ion battery vehicles. He developed a comprehensive map for the initiation and progression of Li-ion battery failures in vehicles. Dr. Stephens led and managed a five-year program for the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to assess safety performance of hydrogen fuel cell vehicle fuel systems under crash conditions similar to those prescribed in the existing Federal regulations. Dr. Stephens’ team generated data and performed research-oriented fuel system integrity testing of hydrogen vehicles, hydrogen fuel systems, and fuel system components such as storage containers , container assemblies, valves, pressure relief devices, and packaged fuel systems.
Mr. Josh Gearhardt has over 15 years of experience in the public and private sectors, providing leadership in the areas of program , operational , and financial management. Mr. Gearhardt has a detailed understanding of the inner workings of transit agencies from experience working directly in transit at the local and state agency levels. At the local level, Mr. Gearhardt directed the operation of a public transit agency under the requirements of Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Section 5307. Mr. Gearhardt served on the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC) Technical Advisory Committee and was also a member of the Miami County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) as the transportation representative engaged in planning transportation impacts in emergency settings. At the state level, Mr. Gearhardt was actively involved in FTA Grant Management, Federal Compliance, oversight of small urban and rural transit systems, and managed the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Rail State Safety and Security Oversight Program (SSO) in accordance with 49 USC Part 659. As the SSO Program Manager, Mr. Gearhardt advanced the program to conform to increasing FTA requirements and obtained U.S Department of Transportation Certification in the Transit Safety and Security Program (TSSP).
Ms. Cindy Boyd has 15 years of rail experience, including work supporting multiple state SSO programs and as an employee of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) Safety Department. Ms. Boyd specializes in data analytics and has extensive experience supporting safety audits and root cause analysis for rail accident investigations. She is well versed in SSO activities from both the state and rail transit agency perspectives and has experience with the FTA’s transit-specific safety management system (SMS) framework through her support transit agency SMS development and implementation programs. Other rail experience includes data analysis and financial support for emergency response activities and collaboration with freight railroads in preparing and managing costs for petrochemicals and asphalt shipped by rail.
Mr. Robert Maraldo has over 30 years of transportation experience, including the past 18 years supporting safety oversight programs for commuter railroads, heavy rail transit, and light rail systems. Prior to joining Vital Assurance, Mr. Maraldo was the Metropolitan Chief, Lead Accident Investigator, and Alternate SSO Program Manager for the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Public Transportation Safety Board (PTSB) where he provided oversight and technical assistance to four rail agencies, including New York City Transit (NYCT), Long Island Railroad (LIRR), Metro-North Rail Road (MNR), and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) in Buffalo. He supervised a staff of rail safety specialists who were responsible for conducting safety audits, analysis, and comprehensive accident investigations.
Mr. David Neumeister has supported projects in transportation operations, safety, and security for over 28 years. He has experience and success conducting, leading, and managing transportation research for federal, state, and local departments of transportation and related government entities, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and military clients. For the past seven years, Mr. Neumeister managed or led research projects and safety oversight projects for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Federal Highway (FHWA) and Federal Railroad Administrations (FRA) and security-oriented task orders for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Ms. Jessyca Hayes has over 8 years of transportation experience including 4 as the SSO Program Manager (PM) for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). As SSO PM, she worked with the Cleveland and Cincinnati RTAs to ensure system safety and compliance with all aspects of the ODOT SSO Program. Ms. Hayes has experience with safety oversight, grant administration and management, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) web-based platform: Transit Award Management System (TRAMS) and State Safety Oversight Reporting (SSOR) system, procurement, and Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP). Ms. Hayes currently manages several SSO program tasks and provides technical support on several SSO programs, including programs for the states of New York and Massachusetts.