Student Leadership Summit

Paula Flores


Paula Flores is currently working as a transportation planning practice leader in Greenman-Pedersen, Inc (GPI). She leads transportation planning, design and implementation projects with a focus on mobility planning, transportation safety, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, parking operations and travel demand management. Ms. Flores has worked in various positions in different transportation agencies, including Stantec, ITE, and Alta Planning + Design. She has over 33 years of professional experience in managing and directing a variety of transportation planning projects that required the preparation of environmental impact statements, mobility plans, strategic plans, feasibility studies and traffic studies.

As a team builder and a dynamic leader, she also has led exceptional teams of planners, environmental specialists, landscape architects, and engineers to successfully address the long term needs of her clients. In addition, Ms. Flores has dedicated a considerable portion of her time to the ITE.

Fermin A. Diaz


Fermin A. Diaz is the vice president and regional leader in the company of Stantec. He has been a successful civil engineer and corporate leader for the past 40 years. He has played a major role in the company’s success and growth from a design engineer of a local company of 40 to a multi-office organization with more than 900 employees service the Gulf States and Caribbean Basin. Mr. Diaz applies his knowledge to corporate needs as well as contributes his time, experience, and leadership skills to professional organizations and the community. While serving as President of the Florida Institute of Consulting Engineers (FICE), Mr. Diaz recognized the need to institute a forum for cultivating effective leaders from those emerging principals of consulting engineering firms.

His passion for building a strong leadership network within the engineering profession resulted in the formation of the FES/FICE Leadership Institute with the full support of the FICE Board of Directors and in total collaboration with the President of FES and the FES Board of Directors. The overall goal of the institute is to build new leaders who share the same love and dedication and hold the same high ethical standards as those who currently serve as principals of their firms. He has been involved in a multitude of organizations that promote professional and personal development.

Robert H. Bishop

Dean of Engineering

Robert H. Bishop is the Dean of Engineering at the University of South Florida and is a full professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering. He also held the endowed position of Opus Dean of Engineering at Marquette University. Previously, he was the Chairman of the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at The University of Texas at Austin where he held the Joe J. King Professorship and was a Distinguished Teaching Professor. Dr. Bishop received his Ph.D. from Rice University in Electrical and Computer Engineering and his M.S. and B.S. in aerospace engineering. Dr. Bishop received his Ph.D. from Rice University in Electrical and Computer Engineering and his M.S. and B.S. in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M University.

He is a specialist in the area of systems theory, guidance and control of aerospace vehicles, and navigation and estimation theory with applications across a broad range of global challenges. His current research interests are in the area of advanced navigation algorithm development with fast-to-flight characteristics, integrated navigation and guidance for planetary precision landing, small satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Mark House

Beck Group

Mark House currently serves as Director of Strategic Projects at Beck Group, which means he works with Beck’s leadership and business development team to seek out investors. Mr. House holds a Florida Class “A” General Contractor’s license as well as an engineering degree specializing in aerospace engineering. As a 1980 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, he served for more than five years on active duty. Upon leaving the military in 1985, he began his commercial construction career in Tampa as a project manager with a local contractor specializing in educational facilities. Mr. House opened a specialty contracting company from 1989 to 1996, when he sold the company to Shaw Industries and remained as president of the Tampa office.

Joining Beck in 1999, Mr. House was tasked with developing the firm’s new Integrated Services Division. He was promoted to Chief Human Resource Officer in 2002 and moved to the corporate headquarters in Dallas. In 2006, He moved back to Florida lead the Tampa Regional Office, before being promoted in 2014 to lead Beck’s Strategic Projects group. Mr. House maintains a constant presence in the business and civic community through service on multiple boards.

David Gwynn, P.E.

FDOT Distrcit 7 Secretary

Mr. Gwynn spent 30 years in the private sector, providing consulting services to the transportation industry before joining FDOT in January 2016. He co-founded TEI Engineers & Planners in 1991 and led the growth of the firm to over 125 staff members throughout Florida and Georgia. He later served in senior executive roles for several large engineering consulting firms, leading business units of up to 700 staff members throughout the Southeastern United States. As the District Seven Secretary, David provides administrative oversight for the planning, development and operations for all transportation modes within Citrus, Hillsborough, Hernando, Pasco and Pinellas counties.

Mr. Gwynn is a 1983 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree. During his military service, David served as a Field Artillery Officer in the U.S. Army as well as the Florida National Guard. In addition, he also holds a Master of Transportation Engineering degree from the University of Florida. Mr. Gwynn resides in Tampa with his wife and has five children and two grandchildren.

Katie Batill-Bigler

Patel, Greene & Associates

Katie Batill-Bigler is the Marketing Director for Patel, Greene & Associates. She has spent her career exploring the power of effective communication strategies. Earning a B.S. in Journalism from Ithaca College, she began her career as a broadcast news producer in a top 50 market. Katie returned to academia to complete M.S. degrees in Public Relations and Environmental Studies from the University of Syracuse and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, respectively. She then joined an advertising firm, managing national clients like Time Warner Cable before entering the A/E/C industry. For the past several years, she has led communications, branding, marketing, and business development for civil engineering firms in Tampa Bay.

Joe Lauk

Patel, Greene & Associates

Joe Lauk is the Group Manager for Patel, Greene & Associates Roadway design department. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 2007. Mr. Lauk has 12 years of experience, including seven years with the Florida Department of Transportation in In-house Design and Consultant Project Management, working with resurfacing, rehabilitation, and restoration (3R) projects and new construction projects. He has managed projects from new alignments, to interchange reconstructions, to minor sidewalk projects and understands the importance of strong communication skills from the perspective of being a client and a consultant, as well as a co-worker and supervisor.

Jenni Nix-McGerald, CPSM


Jenni Nix-McGerald, CPSM is a Pursuit Specialist for Arcadis, a leading global design & consultancy firm for natural and built assets. A Certified Professional Services Marketer, Ms. Nix-McGerald is a diverse marketer with nearly 20 years of experience. Graduating from Florida Southern College with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, she spent the beginning of her career working in a variety of industries before moving into A/E/C. Ms. Nix-McGerald takes her broad understanding of marketing, public relations, advertising and business development and applies a holistic approach to support her firm’s goals. She fosters a team-centric atmosphere, encouraging her fellow Arcadians to take a look at the day to day in a different light.

Thuha Nguyen Lyew


Ms. Thuha Nguyen Lyew is a registered PE and PTOE and currently serving as President for the Florida Section of the Institute of Engineers (FSITE). She has participated in a variety of projects that span transportation planning, traffic operations, safety analysis, travel demand modeling, multi-modal planning, and research. With a strong commitment to quality work, professional development, and client service, Ms. Lyew has become one of the young industry leaders in Florida, recognized by Florida’s Institute of Transportation Engineers Section as the “Young Transportation Engineer of the Year” in 2010. With her academic background in traffic operations and many years of practice in transportation planning, Ms. Lyew has the ability to focus on the big picture while understanding critical issues in depth and with respect to how they impact solutions to transportation challenges.

Commissioner Pat Kemp

Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners

Patricia “Pat” Kemp was elected to the County Commission in 2016, representing Countywide District 6. Commissioner Kemp has more than three decades of public service in Hillsborough County. She was Chief Aide to Congresswoman Kathy Castor when Castor served on the Hillsborough County Commission. She also served as Aide to State Representative Sara Romeo. An attorney, she worked both in private practice and for Bay Area Legal Services, providing civil legal services for low income clients. As a journalist, she served as news director and a radio talk show host at WUSF and WMNF. Over the years, Commissioner Kemp has volunteered for many community projects and organizations. She co-founded the Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association. She served in leadership roles at the Sierra Club of Tampa Bay and on the Board of Tampa Crossroads, a nonprofit that provides counseling, treatment, housing and other services to veterans, the disabled and others in need of assistance.

Commissioner Kemp has long been an advocate for improving transportation in the county and the region. She worked with other community leaders to support the Cross Bay Ferry Pilot Project. She currently serves on several boards related to transportation including the HART Board, the Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Tampa Bay Regional Transportation Authority.

Samaneh Khazraeian


Samaneh received her Ph.D. in Transportation Engineering with a focus on Connected Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) technology from Florida International University (FIU) in December 2017. She then joined Stantec as an ITS Analyst and started working on the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport and Tennessee DOT Traffic Management Center (TMC) Upgrade projects. She has worked on several ITS projects including an NCHRP project on CV technology applications for traffic operation and management. She has been the recipient of several prestigious awards including the 2018 and 2016 TRB Best Paper Awards, the 2017 WTS International Leadership Legacy Award and one of the nation’s top twenty graduate students named by Eno Center for Transportation. She has published more than ten research papers on ITS related topics in the Transportation Research Record (TRR), Journal of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) and TRB Annual Meeting proceedings. She is also a reviewer of the TRB Standing Committee on ITS. Samaneh is an active member of Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) as well.

Roger Lindgren

Oregon Institute of Technology

Dr. Lindgren is Professor and Chair of Civil Engineering at the Oregon Institute of Technology. He has wide ranging transportation education and research interests including rut-resisting asphalt pavement design, freeway operations, rural highway safety as well as bicycle-friendly street design.

John Melendez

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART)

Director Melendez earned his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of South Florida, and his Bachelor’s degree in Biological Science from Florida State University. He has 19 years of experience based in Tampa in as a consultant in the transportation planning and engineering industry. His professional experience includes diverse roles ranging from Analyst/Project Manager to Transportation Division Manager.

As a consultant, his background in transportation is rooted in both performing transportation analysis and design, and engaging the public to inform them of the benefits and impacts of the project. His experience in transportation consulting and public involvement includes projects across the State of Florida, as well as some in Texas and Maryland. He has conducted countless transportation studies and supported and managed intersection and roadway design projects for both public and private sector clients.

His professional capabilities include field data collection, operational and qualitative analyses, intersection analysis and design, safety analysis, land use code and policy development, business development, management, contract negotiations, and public involvement. He is currently Project Manager and Outreach Specialist for Stokes Creative Group, Inc., a woman-owned small business providing full-service marketing and public involvement services. ​Director Melendez has been appointed to the HART Board of Directors in February 2012.

Zaki Mustafa, P.E.


He has been very active with Institute of Transportation Engineers for more than 33 years and served at all levels of ITE leadership: as a Student Chapter President, Section President, District President, International Board and recently as the International President.

As the principal transportation engineer for traffic operations, he supervises all of the city-wide district offices and is responsible for the traditional traffic engineering investigations and authorization for all of the traffic control devices for the city.

While serving as the Executive Officer his team designed and installed over 175 miles of bike lanes, designed and installed City’s first People Plaza, designed and installed City’s first 4 parklets, introduced City’s new Continental crosswalk, and designed the City’s first low-cost traffic-calming pedestrian enhancement project as part of Mayor’s initiative, “Great Streets” on Broadway which is being implemented now