How We Work

Founded in 1993, Transportation Choices Coalition is a policy and advocacy nonprofit dedicated to making transportation accessible to all in Washington State. We pass policies that support more transit, bike, and pedestrian improvements at the state, regional, and local levels.

We are leading the way to build a transportation system that connects people to jobs, education, housing, health care, communities, and each other. We bring together a variety of partners from across the state to work toward a common goal — more transportation choices that get you where you need to go.

We are making Washington State a national leader on transportation.

What We Do

Policy Research

& Information Sharing

Advocacy

& Coalition Building

Education

& Community Engagement

Mission & Vision

 

Our mission: Transportation Choices Coalition brings people together to advocate for safe, sustainable, and equitable transportation across Washington.

Our vision: We envision thriving, transit-oriented communities where people of every race, class, ability, and zip code can get where they need to go.

 

Our Priorities

  • Pass policies that increase transit service, reduce carbon emissions, and foster healthy and thriving communities. Monitor the implementation of passed policies to ensure accountability and equitable outcomes.
  • Increase funding for transit, bike, and pedestrian infrastructure through advocacy that organizes communities to champion more transportation choices.
  • Build intersectional coalitions that bring together business, labor, social justice, environmental, health, and transportation advocates to win policies and funding.
  • Enhance public awareness and support for transit, bike, and pedestrian choices through our education partnerships with businesses, universities, neighborhoods, and other community organizations.
  • Urge the development of racial and social equity programs and tools at agencies and governments to help them center and evaluate equity within their work.

Equity Matters to Us

We are committed to centering equity in our work. When we preserve and grow access to frequent, reliable, and affordable transportation, all communities regardless of race or income have the opportunity to thrive. We improve transportation access and opportunity for all when we focus on the outcomes for low-income people, people of color, youth, seniors, and people with disabilities. We center equity by instituting the use of race and social equity analyses in policy and process development, center low-income and people of color expertise in decision making, share power and access, and focus on the priorities of historically marginalized communities. We’re continuing to learn and listen to deepen our understanding of racial justice and the intersections of racism, whiteness, and transportation. We invite you to dive into our transportation equity work here.

There Is No Mobility Justice Without Racial Justice

Our Team

Kirk Hovenkotter (he/him)

Kirk Hovenkotter (he/him)

Executive Director

Kirk believes that fast, frequent, and reliable transit is key to building more accessible and inclusive communities. Prior to Transportation Choices Coalition, Kirk served as Executive Director of Commute Seattle, the non-profit that makes walking, biking, and transit the first choice for everyone in the Emerald City.

Kirk previously served as the Executive Director of Move Redmond. While there, he led the organization’s work to make it easier to walk, bike, and bus for the 100,000 people who go to work or school in Redmond, Washington. During his six years at TransitCenter, he developed the organization into a nationally recognized leader in transit policy. He advised mayors, county executives, and transit agencies on effective approaches to bus network redesigns and fare policy. He has spoken about ridership trends and what makes transit useful in national outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Wired, and Governing. In his spare time he loves film, cooking, croissants, and going on adventures by bike. Email Kirk.

Kelsey Mesher (she/her)

Kelsey Mesher (she/her)

Deputy Director

Kelsey Mesher supports the Executive Director and staff, with the goal of building excellent organizational and people infrastructure. She leads TCC’s work in cultivating a compassionate and equitable workplace culture, engaging with TCC’s member agencies, and growing its network of supporters. Kelsey served as TCC’s Advocacy Director for three years before stepping into her current role. Prior to joining TCC, Kelsey worked as a bicycle advocate, launching campaigns and organizing efforts for safe and protected places to bike in Seattle. She has a Masters in Public Health from the University of Washington’s Community-Oriented Public Health Practice program, and sees transportation policy and planning as a means to building healthier, fairer and more resilient communities. Email Kelsey.

Hester Serebrin (she/her)

Hester Serebrin (she/her)

Policy Director

Hester’s decade-long love affair with walking to work drew her to TCC, where everyone has an “alternative” commute and everyone works hard for policies that support pedestrians, bicyclists, and bus riders. After 10 years in the private sector, Hester ditched the corporate ladder and started climbing a nonprofit one instead: She first volunteered at TCC, then interned, and then worked as a contract employee before finally taking the Policy Analyst and then Policy Director positions. She has a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. Hester sits on the Washington State Transportation Commission. Email Hester.

Andrea John-Smith (she/her)

Andrea John-Smith (she/her)

Interim Operations and Development Director

Andrea John-Smith recently joined Transportation Choices as Interim Director of Operations and Development as TCC progresses through its leadership transition and gears up for the 2024 legislative session. Andrea offers extensive interim executive leadership experience, having served in leadership roles with more than twenty Puget Sound area nonprofit organizations over the last twenty-five years. Most recently, Andrea served as Executive Director of an education equity organization called Sound Discipline, and in interim leadership roles for a variety of youth development organizations.

Coming out of the pandemic, she embarked on a Masters program in clinical mental health counseling at Antioch University. One day she hopes to run a neighborhood-based wellness center.  A long-time practitioner of Zen Buddhism, she aspires to talk less and listen more. Her passions are music, cooking, baking, paddling, and traveling.

Andrea got her start in the nonprofit sector as a side gig while singing professionally. Her love of jazz brought her together with her husband of 33 years, Darryl Smith. Together, they raised their daughter in Seattle’s Rainier Valley where they reside today with their red Doberman, Toby.

Email Andrea.

Matthew Sutherland (he/him)

Matthew Sutherland (he/him)

Advocacy Director

Matthew Sutherland (he/him) leads TCC’s work in building support among elected officials, transportation leaders, and the public for equitable transportation policies and practices. Combating Climate Change, improving economic opportunities for everyone, and creating both healthier and safer communities #TakesTransportation. Matthew firmly believes that we need to invest in transit in a transformational way, and hopes that he can convince legislative bodies to agree!

Matthew recently finished supporting the state’s COVID-19 response as an Officer in the National Guard, and also served as a Political Director for the Biden campaign in WA. Before that, he was the Vice-President of Legislative Affairs for Graduate Students at WSU, and worked in Olympia to pass policy that helped create equitable access to Higher Education for all. Matthew has an M.A. in Political Science from Washington State University.

You can typically find him on your local rugby pitch, the light rail, or watching the Coug game.

Email Matthew.

McKenna Lux (she/her)

McKenna Lux (she/her)

Engagement & Events Manager

McKenna joined TCC in June 2021 as Events Specialist. She brings experience in community outreach and civic engagement from her previous roles with Congresswoman Jayapal’s district office and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Washington State. McKenna fell in love with reliable and safe multimodal transit while completing her graduate degree in Leiden, Netherlands. She envisions a world where transit empowers communities and is thrilled to join TCC’s efforts to bring more and better transit choices to all Washingtonians. Email McKenna.

Susan Gleason (she/her)

Susan Gleason (she/her)

Development Manager

Raven Cruz (she/her)

Raven Cruz (she/her)

Operations Manager

Raven is Transportation Choices Coalition’s Operations Manager. Growing up in the Philippines, Raven’s dad spent time bringing all the neighborhood kids to school because transportation was so unreliable. When her family moved to Seattle, transit was a game changer. Buses and trains made it easy to get from home to school and to work, and seeing her mom’s experience at a unionized workplace sparked her interest in advocacy. Raven enjoys taking her young daughter on transit and the ferry, and showing her all the ways she’ll be able to get around as she gets older. Email Raven.

Nivya Murthi (she/her)

Nivya Murthi (she/her)

Policy Analyst

Nivya is a management and public policy professional with a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. At TCC, she supports research and policies that improve access to transit with an equitable framework. She strongly believes that sustainable public transportation solutions have the potential to address the climate crisis. With a strong commitment to building diverse and inclusive communities and a depth of public policy experience in multinational contexts, she prioritizes making public goals more accessible and actionable through her work. Email Nivya.

Natalie Lubsen (she/her)

Natalie Lubsen (she/her)

Communications Manager

Natalie got a taste of transportation advocacy working with Seattle Neighborhood Greenways in 2014, and then honed her communications skills at YES! Media, where she managed audience development and marketing for many years. Most recently, she worked with the Kicking Gas campaign to help 118 homes electrify their heating, and created a revolving loan fund to support projects related to the just transition. She believes moving away from car-dependence is critical for equity, accessibility, and climate resilience, and as a non-driver, she deeply appreciates both public transit and walkable neighborhoods. She enjoys taking long walks to eat pastries and watch birds. Email Natalie!

Our Board

Richard de Sam Lazaro

Richard de Sam Lazaro

Board President

Richard de Sam Lazaro manages state and local government affairs for Expedia Group, a family of travel and technology brands including Expedia.com, Travelocity, Hotwire, Orbitz, and Vrbo. In this capacity, Richard oversees Expedia Group’s regulatory and public policy efforts in municipalities, counties, and 17 states/provinces across the Western United States and Canada.

Prior to joining Expedia Group in 2017, Richard served for several years on the staff of Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). As Senator Murray’s coordinator on Health and Education, Richard developed the Senator’s relationships with stakeholders in Washington State while she chaired the Senate Budget Committee. Through the Senator’s 2016 election, Richard took over all of the office’s outreach efforts in Seattle.

Richard moved to Seattle from Olympia in 2011 to assist then-candidate Jay Inslee develop an economic development policy platform that aimed to foster growth in the life science, clean energy, technology, military, agriculture, maritime, and aviation sectors.

Richard lives in Seattle’s Central District with his wife, Madeline, and their dog Dan. In his free time he enjoys traveling and serves on the boards of Child Care Resources and YouthCare.

Dan Kully

Dan Kully

Board Vice President

Dan Kully is a communications expert and award-winning media consultant with over twenty years of experience advising a host of corporations, organizations, candidates and issue campaigns in nearly every state in the nation. Dan has advised numerous ballot measure campaigns, from helping pass crucial transportation initiatives, passing progressive policy reforms defeating defeating anti-tax measures, and passing crucial education funding. In addition to his role at Sound View Strategies, Dan is the managing Partner of the National political media consulting firm, Kully Struble and has served as the media consultant to many elected officials including Governors, Members of the US Senate and House, and locally working with Senator Patty Murray, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib, Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Kristina Walker

Kristina Walker

Board Secretary

Kristina Walker is the Executive Director of Downtown On the Go (DOTG), downtown Tacoma’s transportation management association. She has led the organization since 2011 and in 2014, DOTG grew from a small program to an independent organization in partnership with the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, the City of Tacoma, and Pierce Transit. Walker serves the Washington State Commute Trip Reduction Board and PSRC’s Transportation Demand Management Steering Committee. She is a UW Tacoma Urban Studies board member and a former City of Tacoma Transportation Commissioner.

Sam Zimbabwe

Sam Zimbabwe

Board Treasurer

Sam Zimbabwe is a Practice Builder at Kimley-Horn where he advances and supports local transportation planning and strategic investment across the United States. He has over twenty years of experience in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors designing, building, and operating transit and communities where transit is the first and best transportation option. Formerly the Director of the Seattle Department of Transportation, Sam believes that only communities that are transit-focused can truly be just, equitable places and that high-quality transit that recognizes riders’ dignity is something every Washingtonian deserves. Sam is a daily King County Metro rider and he and his wife force their children on various transit adventures every time they take a vacation.

Katie Garrow

Katie Garrow

Board Member

Katie Garrow was elected to serve as Executive Secretary-Treasurer of MLK Labor in September 2021. Garrow previously served as Deputy Executive Secretary.

Garrow brings years of political, union and community organizing to the position, including five years of executive experience at MLK Labor. Katie got her start in the labor movement organizing domestic workers and day laborers through a hiring hall in the San Francisco Bay Area. She went on to represent public sector workers at the City of Seattle at PROTEC17, before joining the staff at MLK Labor.

At the Labor Council, Katie’s focus has included a very successful push to grow labor’s political power beyond Seattle and into South King County where union members make up as much as 40% of the electorate. She worked to elect more than 50 union members as mayors, city council members, and school board directors in Seattle and South King County. She has also led the Labor Council’s work around anti-racism, climate change, and young worker organizing.

Garrow was born into a working-class family in Grays Harbor County in WA, where her father was a union boilermaker and her mother worked in rural economic development. She witnessed firsthand the decline of such logging towns like hers in the area. Consequently, she is rooted in the plight of the rural working class, but is also passionately devoted to making the labor movement relevant and representative of women, people of color, and LGBTQ workers who have been left out and at times excluded from our unions and American prosperity. Katie earned a BA in Spanish from Pacific Lutheran University. She is currently engaged to be married to a public school teacher. They have two daughters.

Jacob Gonzalez

Jacob Gonzalez

Board Member

Jacob Gonzalez is a practicing urban planner with a focus on strategies to increase access to housing and transportation. He has worked for over ten years in the Puget Sound and Tri-Cities (Pasco) leading several planning initiatives and plans on metropolitan and regional transportation planning, land-use, affordable housing, downtowns, and, public engagement.

He has served on the Board of United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties, the Census Transportation Planning Committee and as Chair of the Downtown Pasco Development Authority.

Jacob earned his Bachelor of Arts in Geography from the University of Washington and is currently pursuing his Master of Public Administration from Claremont Lincoln University. He enjoys traveling across the United States and internationally documenting his travels with his camera.

Patience Malaba

Patience Malaba

Board Member

As Policy Manager, at the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County, Patience Malaba brings a decade of experience in community development, policy advocacy and organizing to her work. She leads the process of setting HDC’s annual policy priorities and manages HDC’s advocacy engagement to advance the annual priorities. Prior to joining HDC, Patience managed Seattle for Everyone, a broad coalition of affordable housing developers and advocates, for-profit developers and businesses, labor organizations, environmentalists, and urbanists to advance the first-ever comprehensive package of affordable housing policies in Seattle, known as the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA).  Early in her role with Seattle for Everyone, Patience worked with Futurewise, a statewide growth management and civic planning organization, on promoting equitable, environmentally sound housing and land use policies. On behalf of HDC, she serves on boards and committees that include the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC)’s Growth Management Policy Board and the Washington Low Income Housing Public Policy Committee.

Emily Mannetti

Emily Mannetti

Board Member

Emily Mannetti is the Transportation Client Account and Business Development Manager at Jacobs. She has close to twenty years of experience providing communications strategy and policy guidance to transportation agencies and government partners. She has supported some of the Puget Sound’s largest capital projects including the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program, East Link Light Rail, the Seattle Streetcar, and the Puget Sound Gateway Program. She specializes in coalition building and stakeholder engagement and is a passionate advocate for smart growth strategies that enhance access to, and movement within, the Puget Sound region.

Angie Peters

Angie Peters

Board Member

Angie Peters is the General Manager at Valley Transit in Walla Walla, Washington. Valley Transit provides transportation services for a wide range of people to ensure access to medical care, employment, education, social services, recreation, and other social determinants of health locations. Angie is deeply committed to enhancing accessibility in public transit and is genuinely passionate about sustainable mobility. Her vision revolves around promoting equitable transportation, taking proactive steps to bridge accessibility gaps, and advocating for policies prioritizing accessible infrastructure. Believing in public transit as a catalyst for positive change, she works to empower individuals to access essential services and opportunities, and leverages her involvement with the Washington State Transit Association, Washington State Transit Insurance Pool, and Walla Walla and Columbia County Accessible Community Advisory Committee to increase this access and hone best practices.

Les Reardanz

Les Reardanz

Board Member

Les is currently the General Manager of the Whatcom Transportation Authority (WTA) in Bellingham, Washington. WTA provides transportation services designed to connect people to opportunities such as employment, medical care, education, social services, and recreation. As part of connecting people to opportunities, WTA is also working to use transportation to enable community efforts tackle complex problems like workforce housing, climate change, and better mobility for underrepresented communities.

Prior to joining WTA in 2021, Les worked for the Port of Everett, Washington for ten years as both its Chief Executive Officer and the Deputy Chief Executive Officer. Les’ other leadership roles have included the City of Bellingham’s waterfront redevelopment manager, the interim director of the Whatcom Museum, and as a retired Navy Reserve Rear Admiral.

Les is an attorney by training and focused his practice on municipal law before moving into executive leadership roles.

Kylie Rolf

Kylie Rolf

Board Member

Kylie Rolf is Downtown Seattle Association’s Vice President of Advocacy & Economic Development. Prior to joining DSA, Kylie most recently served in Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office as Director of Legislative Affairs and Major Initiatives.

Kylie brings rich experience on numerous urban issues critical to DSA members and ratepayers. In her time at the Mayor’s Office, she helped lead and oversee a variety of priority projects for the administration on policies ranging from housing and homelessness to worker protections to funding initiatives for education and public facilities.

In her free time Kylie enjoys reading novels with a focus on mystery, crime, or interesting character studies, is an avid crossword puzzler, enthusiastic exerciser, and an even more enthusiastic eater. She lives downtown with her husband and small dog.

Charla Skaggs

Charla Skaggs

Past Board President

Charla Skaggs has been assisting public agencies and other organizations with effective communication for more than 20 years, primarily focusing her time on port and transportation issues. She counts herself lucky to have been part of most of the major transportation initiatives in the Puget Sound region in recent years, ensuring that people can get to home, work, and play, and goods move from ship to shelf in time for your next shopping trip. She lives in Tacoma with her husband Eric and their dog Max the Wonder Mutt.

Jeremy Une

Jeremy Une

Board Member

Coming soon

Caleb Weaver

Caleb Weaver

Board Member

Caleb Weaver has led efforts to develop forward-looking public policy on a variety of issues, including ridesharing and shared new mobility options, state and local transportation planning, and the availability of a social safety net for the modern workforce. An attorney by training, Caleb previously spent many years managing policy and communication issues for corporate clients and senior government officials at the state and federal levels.

Job Openings

There are no current job openings at this time. Follow our work through our newsletter to be the first to learn about opportunities.

Annual Reports

Transportation Choices Coalition is a member-supported 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. To learn more about what we’ve been working on recently, check out our Annual Reports. TCC’s 990’s are available to the public upon request.

Contact information:

Coalition partnership opportunities: Kelsey Mesher, kelsey@transportationchoices.org

Donations and funder partnerships: susan@transportationchoices.org

For media inquiries or speaking engagements: comms@transportationchoices.org

Website issues: office@transportationchoices.org

Address: 1402 3rd Ave. Suite 310, Seattle, WA, 98101

Phone: 206.329.2336

 

Partners & Funders

Transportation Choices Coalition brings together community groups, businesses, public agencies, and individuals from across the state to work towards a common goal – more transportation choices for a stronger economy, cleaner environment, and healthier communities.

Interested in becoming a partner or funder?

Directions to our office:

1402 3rd Ave #310, Seattle, WA 98101 

Our office is located on the 3rd floor (accessible by elevator) of the Joseph Vance building at 3rd and Union in downtown Seattle. You can easily get here by bike and transit. You can bring your bike up to our office or lock it on the rack in front of the building. We are a block away from the University light rail station. There are an abundance of bus routes that stop near our office. You can use King County Metro’s Trip Planner and Sound Transit’s Trip Planner to find the best route for you. 

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