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2015 DOT Civil Rights Virtual Symposium Speaker Bios - Session 6

Speaking with One Voice: Connecting the DOTs

Session 6: Building a Collaborative State and Federal Relationship

Warren Whitlock, Associate Administrator, Office of Civil Rights, Federal Highway Administration

Warren Whitlock is the Associate Administrator for Civil Rights at the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). In this capacity, he oversees and directs the development, issuance, and implementation of all aspects of FHWA’s Civil Rights policy. Mr. Whitlock leads the development of FHWA’s civil rights strategic initiatives, and establishes systems to monitor and measure the adequacy, impact, and effectiveness of programs. This includes leading and directing the development of new transportation authorization legislation and other policies, regulations, and directives with civil rights implications.

Under Mr. Whitlock’s leadership, FHWA’s Civil Rights Discipline has been reorganized and strengthened to provide greater guidance, compliance and support to federal aid recipients on the state and local levels. Prior to joining FHWA in September 2011, Mr. Whitlock served as the Director of the Office of Civil Rights at the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) from 2009 to 2011. While there, he was the overall manager for the development and implementation of NYSDOT’s Civil Rights policy and program development. From 2002 to 2009, Mr. Whitlock served as the Director of Construction Coordination at Columbia University in his hometown of New York City.

At Columbia University, Mr. Whitlock served as an executive member of the University’s Facilities Management Division that planned and executed the school’s $1.2 billion capital program and $8 billion campus expansion in the Manhattanville area of West Harlem. Among his accomplishments there were the development of a successful minority, women and local business enterprise (MWLBE) initiative that achieved arguably the highest MWBE utilization of any peer institution in the United States and the creation of Columbia’s MWLBE mentor/ program with the City of New York and leading construction industry stakeholders.

Mr. Whitlock has served in various capacities as the Executive Director of the Harlem Community Development Corporation; First Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Community Development Agency and as a Senior Project Manager at the New York City Economic Development Corporation. In addition to other management positions on Wall Street, Mr. Whitlock served as an Education Expert to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Somalia, East Africa, where he lived and worked for four years.

Mr. Whitlock has an AB from Princeton University and a Masters in Real Estate Development from the Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, where is he also a Charles H. Revson Fellow. 

Linda Ford, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Federal Transit Administration

Ms. Ford serves as the Director for FTA’s Office of Civil Rights. In this capacity, Ms. Ford manages the day-to-day activities of the office including personnel matters, program streamlining efforts, custome service standards, and outreach activities. Previously, Ms. Ford served as the Assistant Chief Counsel for the Legislation and Regulations Division in the FTA Chief Counsel’s Office. In this capacity, Ms. Ford Congressional meetings and testimony, drafting assistance for legislation and regulations, and the development of guidance documents, circulars, and policy statements.

During her tenure at FTA, Ms. Ford also served as Senior Advisor to the Administrator from January 2007 until March of 2008. In that position, Ms. Ford served as the Continuous Improvement Coordinator responsible for several continuous improvement initiatives throughout the agency. She also advised the Administrator regarding transit funding and safety and security issues. Previous to taking her current position with FTA in 2005, Ms. Ford was a Senior Attorney in the Office of Regulation and Enforcement, DOT Office of the General Counsel, where she handled regulations on commercial space transportation, hazardous materials, pipeline safety, and railroad safety.

Before moving to Washington, D.C. in May 2001, Ms. Ford served as an Environmental Law Judge for the Office of Environmental Adjudication in Indianapolis, Indiana. She also served as a Deputy Attorney General handling environmental litigation for the Indiana Attorney General’s Office and worked as an attorney for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management handling hazardous waste issues. Ms. Ford received her J.D. from Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis and a B.S. from Purdue University. She is a member of the Indiana Bar and is a former Council Member for the Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section of the American Bar Association and also served as the Section’s Vice-Chair for the Transportation Committee.

Stephanie Neal-Johnson, Undersecretary and Chief Operating Officer at the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, formerly Undersecretary and Interim Chief of Civil Rights, Massachusetts Department of Transportation

Immediately preceding her role at EOLWD, Ms. Neal-Johnson moved progressively through several roles at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). There she successfully combined her experience as an attorney with a vast knowledge of public policy and sharp acumen to advance the objectives of MassDOT. She worked daily to advance MassDOT’s overall goals of being a safety-focused, mission-driven, employee empowered, customer-centric and multi-modal enterprise.

Ms. Neal-Johnson was, most recently, the Undersecretary and Interim Chief of Civil Rights for. In that role, she successfully reorganized and led the Diversity and Civil Rights Department through a unified remedial process to a national leadership position among transportation departments and transit authorities concerning its holistic Civil Rights program. Ms. Neal-Johnson also served as Assistant Secretary/Chief of Staff for MassDOT where she participated in the reorganization and restructuring of the entire organization. While in that position, Ms. Neal-Johnson also oversaw Legislative Affairs working collaboratively with the Secretary in the successful revenue campaign resulting in unprecedented state investment in the Commonwealth’s infrastructure. Upon her arrival to transportation arena, Ms. Neal-Johnson spent a short time as the Director of Public Affairs and Community Relations at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

Before joining the MBTA in 2011, Stephanie was a founding partner of a Boston law firm, where her practice focused on business before government, consulting and advancing their legislative, regulatory and policy initiatives.

Immediately prior, Ms. Neal-Johnson spent nearly a decade in education serving as legal counsel at Phillips Exeter Academy for several years and working in Human Resources at MIT on issues relating to reengineering and employment law. She entered public service through campaigns and later as the legislative director to a State Senator.

Updated: Thursday, January 7, 2016
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