North Carolina Chapter

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COMTO was created to provide a forum for senior minority professionals in the transportation industry.

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  • Ebony Pittman


    Ebony Pittman


    Ebony J. Pittman was named deputy secretary for Business Administration in June 2021. In her role, Pittman directs the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Office of Civil Rights, the Office of Historically Black Colleges and Universities Outreach, Purchasing and Facilities Management. 

    Pittman serves as co-executive sponsor for NCDOT’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Group, which works to develop solutions that create a more diverse and inclusive culture within the department. As part of these efforts, she leads the workforce development workgroup and serves as the environmental justice lead for the agency.   

    Pittman has spent her career dedicated to public service in multiple areas of government. In addition to NCDOT, Pittman also served at the N.C. Department of Justice for 16 years, and the N.C. Human Relations Commission. Pittman is familiar with transportation issues and throughout her career, has provided legal support to NCDOT on a wide range of areas related to the use of highway right-of-way, state contracting and procurement, and personnel matters. 

    She also served as legal counsel for the N.C. Turnpike Authority and supported the agency with the procurement and operation of innovative transportation solutions and technology. In this role, she coordinated with other state tolling agencies, private companies and stakeholders to develop interagency agreements and public-private partnerships.

    In addition to public service, Pittman also has a passion for volunteering and enhancing the quality of life for those often underserved. She volunteers with local nonprofits that focus on making positive, impactful changes in the community. 

    Pittman earned a Bachelor of Arts from N.C. Agricultural and Technical University and a law degree from N.C. Central University School of Law. ​​

  • Tunya Smith

    1st Vice President

    Tunya Smith

    1st Vice President

    As the director of the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Office of Civil Rights, Tunya Smith aims to leverage best practices and resources to promote civil rights programming and build a culture of equity and inclusion across the department.

    Smith has extensive experience in policy and program development, advocacy and economic development through service spanning over two decades.

    Joining NCDOT in May 2018, Smith has served as policy advisor for the Office of Civil Rights and program administrator for Data, Performance Metrics and Reporting for the Technical Services Division. She serves as the chair of the Secretary’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Group and chaired several in-house committees such as the Diversity Spend and Office of Civil Rights Advisory Council.

    In August 2023, Smith was appointed by USDOT Secretary Buttigieg to serve as advisor on re-established Advisory Committee on Transportation Equity.

    In 2023, she was appointed to several Governor’s committees, including the Interagency Work Group on New Americans: Immigrant and Refugees, the Governor’s Office Advisory Group for Hispanic and Latino Affairs, and the Andrea Harris Social, Economic, Environmental, and Health Equity Task Force.

    In 2023, Smith was named Black Business Ink Power 100.

    Smith has been an integral part of NCDOT’s vision to create a more equitable transportation system. More people will be driving autonomous, electric and connected vehicles in the future. As head of OCR, Smith is working with her colleagues in other NCDOT business units to identify environmental justice issues and ensure that people living in historically underserved communities can easily access these new transportation technologies. She is also working to ensure that NCDOT is collaborating with North Carolina’s historically black colleges and universities as they research and develop the new and innovative smart mobility technologies.

    She is also at the leading edge of the agency’s workforce development initiatives, as NCDOT aims to create a workforce more reflective of North Carolina’s evolving population. Smith used her expertise to testify last year before a Congressional committee exploring innovative workforce practices.

    Smith holds both a master’s and bachelor’s degree in business administration and continues to promote and advance all matters of civil rights and equity and inclusion.

    She lives in Raleigh, is happily married and a proud mom of twin boys.

  • Nicole Bennett

    2nd Vice President

    Nicole Bennett

    2nd Vice President

    Nicole Bennett is an urban planner and equity strategist at VHB. For nearly three decades, she has worked to amplify the voices of marginalized and underrepresented communities, ensuring their needs and concerns are at the forefront of planning processes and decisions that impact their wellbeing. Nicole's work involves providing policy guidance to rectify inequities in the built environment that lead to disparities in social, economic, and health outcomes.

    She is a member of COMTO’s Legislative Advisory Council. While serving on the American Planning Association’s Legislative and Policy Committee, she helped develop the Planning for Equity Policy Guide.

    Nicole currently serves on APA’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee and is a past secretary of the Planning and the Black Community Division. She is a founding member of Spaces and Places, which, for five years, developed national workshops in collaboration with community organizations to highlight planning issues in communities of color.

    Closer to home, Nicole is a member of the City of Raleigh’s Planning Commission, where she leads efforts to include equity considerations in the consistency analysis for rezoning cases and the comprehensive planning process. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking Creole cuisine, writing poetry, and spending time at the ocean. Nicole is the proud mom of a college junior and a high school senior.

  • Spencer Franklin


    Spencer Franklin


    Spencer Franklin, PE, a Senior Vice President with the HNTB Corporation, serves as the Carolinas office leader in the firm’s Raleigh office location. With over 28 years of experience in the transportation engineering field, Spencer has an extensive practice in innovative project delivery methods and in leading large, multi-disciplined teams.

    He has experience with traffic engineering, and the planning and design of toll facilities. A registered professional engineer in North Carolina and Virginia, Spencer is a graduate of University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Prior to joining HNTB in 2004, Spencer worked for the NCDOT for 9 years.

  • Ashley Ervin


    Ashley Ervin


    Ashley Bush Ervin is a transportation planner and public engagement and outreach specialist at AECOM. She assists the public through every facet of the engagement and public education process including meeting facilitation and materials, development of outreach and involvement plans. Ashley has entered the Environmental Justice space focusing on the qualitative aspects of community assessment. From 2020 to 2022 Ashley was also AECOM’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion East Region Lead, raising awareness and skills in creating respectful and inclusive work, teaching, learning, and living environments. In her free time, Ashley is a Girl Scout Troop leader, an enthusiastic dog mom, and a karaoke champ.


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We believe that diversity moves the nation.

We believe that the leadership of a massive industry that has the responsibility of transporting all people all the time should reflect the complex mosaic of those they serve. We believe that commitment to inclusion across race, gender, age, religion, identity and experience moves us forward every day.