September 15, 2022
Leading By Example: A Message From Philadelphia President Daniel Villanueva
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage month is very special for me as a Hispanic transportation professional working to support the industry in providing safe, accessible, and equitable transportation for all. Through high school, college, and as an adult, public transportation has played an indispensable role in my life. Like me, many minorities and persons living in economically disadvantaged communities rely on public transportation to connect to education, opportunities, employment and resources. I consider it a privilege to bring my lived experience with me in leadership and decision-making roles at AECOM and COMTO to positively impact minority communities and inspire the next generation to consider careers in transportation.
As my career began as a traction power engineer for a small French company in Philadelphia, it never crossed my mind that I might have the opportunity to make an impact in our minority communities. A technical career didn’t often afford me the time to think outside my projects and the bigger role these projects played in the lives of those served. Fast forward to 2022, now with a leadership role as President, COMTO Philadelphia and Rail Systems Department Manager (Philadelphia) at AECOM, I have the opportunity to encourage and inspire young minorities within the transportation industry and contribute towards safe and quality public transportation systems. I share my passion for this industry and giving back to our minority communities especially, in hopes that leading by example makes a big difference.
Recent highlights for me included supporting COMTO Philadelphia’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Networking Breakfast Committee. During this event we gathered major prime consultants and matched them with DBE’s to increase their exposure to Prime Consultants. Another important event this year, during my first event as President of the Philadelphia COMTO chapter, we hosted the 23rd Annual Scholarship Fundraiser Golf Outing. This program provides the financial support to minority students for their post high school education. Experiencing the strong industry support from major consultants, mid-size, small and DBE firms was such a satisfying experience.
As a minority and having once been a person in need, I know firsthand the importance of having a voice, having the support to succeed and transportation systems that are safe, equitable and accessible. As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s each do our part to ensure more opportunities for minorities of all backgrounds are realized within the industry. If you aren’t a member of COMTO or Latinos in Transit, I encourage you to join today! We need the proper representation of minorities making decisions for our communities to see continued progress and support for our minority communities to improve everyone’s quality of life!
President, COMTO Philadelphia
Rail Systems Department Manager, AECOM