Keynote Speakers

John Danner
Strategist, Innovation Catalyst


Day 1 Keynote Speaker
John Danner is a thought leader, trusted advisor and respected teacher at the intersection of leadership, innovation, strategy and entrepreneurship. For over four decades, John has helped senior business, nonprofit and government executives all over the world navigate rapidly changing environments like high tech, healthcare, energy, financial services, and consumer products. John brings a rare blend of senior-level experience plus broad industry perspectives to every engagement. He advises Fortune 500 companies as well as startups in fields as diverse as healthcare, energy, finance, enterprise services, technology, and consumer products. 

John anchors executive education programs for industry and government on five continents, works with the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Berkeley, and teaches tomorrow's leaders at UC Berkeley and Princeton University. He earned MPH and MAEd degrees at UC Berkeley, and his BA from Harvard.

Rachel Carpenter
Caltrans Chief Safety Officer


Day 2 Keynote Speaker
Rachel A. Carpenter was appointed the California Department of Transportation’s (Caltrans) first-ever Chief Safety Officer effective January 2020. She is Caltrans’ highest-level subject matter expert on safety practices and policies, and manages the day-to-day operations of the newly established Division of Safety Programs. Prior to this position, Ms. Carpenter served as Caltrans' Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Branch Chief, where she envisioned and established the Caltrans’ Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Program. Before joining Caltrans, Ms. Carpenter worked with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Livable Streets Subdivision where she was a project manager and design engineer for multiple bicyclist safety, pedestrian safety and traffic calming projects. She began her career as a staff engineer with TechLaw Inc. working on hazardous material remediation projects. Ms. Carpenter is a member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Committee on Bicycle Transportation. She holds bachelor’s and master’s of science degrees in civil engineering (and a minor in music) and she is a licensed professional civil engineer in California. 

Jeanie Ward-Waller
Caltrans Deputy Director, Planning & Modal Programs


Day 3 Keynote Co-Speaker
Jeanie Ward-Waller is the Deputy Director, Planning and Modal Programs. Jeanie has served as Acting District 2 Director, and provided leadership as Caltrans’ Sustainability Program Manager in the Director’s Office where she led the growth of the Sustainability Program in implementing new initiatives across Caltrans. Jeanie has a master’s degree in Engineering for Sustainable Development from the University of Cambridge and a master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at Brown University.

Tony Dang
Directors Office Sustainability Program Manager


Day 3 Keynote Co-Speaker
Tony Dang serves as the Sustainability Program Manager in the Director’s Office. Tony joins Caltrans with over a decade of experience in the non-profit sector working at the intersection of transportation, sustainability, and equity to create more vibrant, livable, and just communities. Prior to joining Caltrans, Tony served as the Executive Director of California Walks where he oversaw the organization's policy advocacy, community engagement programs, and technical assistance services. At Cal Walks, Tony worked alongside dozens of communities across California to secure millions of dollars to implement their community-driven vision for active transportation. Tony is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, a certified instructor of the Safe Routes to School National Course, and a League of American Bicyclists Certified Instructor (LCI # 6010). Tony holds a BA from Stanford University in Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity.

Ryan Chamberlain
Caltrans District 12 Director


Day 4 Keynote Co-Speaker
As District Director of Caltrans in Orange County, Ryan Chamberlain works with Caltrans’ partners and stakeholders to fulfill Caltrans’ mission to provide a safe, sustainable, integrated and efficient transportation system to enhance California’s economy and livability. He joined Caltrans in 1999 and has held positions at Caltrans headquarters, Districts 7 and 12, in Local Assistance, Environmental Planning and Transportation Planning. Director Ryan oversees 860 employees who plan, design, construct and maintain 1,964 lane miles of roadway. Ryan is currently a lead for Caltrans’ Strategic Management Plan Goals for sustainability, livability and economy, while serving on boards of directors for six public agencies. Ryan graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a degree in Environmental Studies. Ryan and his wife Jodi have two children and live in Orange County.

Amarjeet Benipal
Caltrans District 3 Director


Day 4 Keynote Co-Speaker
30 years of experience with Caltrans, including his current assignment since September 2014 as the District 3 Director, which covers the following 11 counties: Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba. He also has project delivery responsibility for the 22 counties that make up Districts 1 and 2 of the North Region.

Prior to being named the District 3 Director, Benipal served as the Acting District 10 Director (Stockton) from August 2013 through June 2014. He also has served as the State Pavement Engineer and the Deputy District Director for Design, Project Development, Program/Project Management, and Design in North Region (Districts 1, 2 and 3) and in District 7 (Los Angeles).

Sam Hassoun
Global Leadership Alliance


Day 5 Keynote Speaker Co-Speaker
Sam Hassoun is the founder and president of Global Leadership Alliance, Inc. (GLA). He started his engineering career with the Bechtel Corporation where he worked on several nuclear power plants as well as space and defense projects in Michigan, Texas and California. Since joining Caltrans in 1988, Sam spent several years in design, construction, and maintenance of numerous transportation projects. He was appointed to the Director’s Office as the Quality Program Manager for Caltrans. He subsequently served as the Office Chief of Partnering where he was responsible for developing and incorporating Partnering principles and specifications into Caltrans construction projects as a way of doing business, and pioneered Caltrans to be the first public agency to have on-line performance measures for Partnering.

Sam holds a certificate in Mediation and Conflict Resolution from UC Berkeley. He is an international trainer, a keynote speaker, and presenter on Partnering and Leadership. He is a consultant to numerous organizations and companies on Collaborative Dispute Prevention Systems.

Dara Wheeler
Caltrans Chief, Division of Research, Innovation and System Information


Day 5 Keynote Co-Speaker
Dara Wheeler is Chief of Research, Innovation and System Information (DRISI) for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).  Dara brings 29 years of broad public service experience with her that serves DRISI's wide spectrum of research activities needs.  Dara is responsible for managing a staff of 150 engineers, planners, and environmental researchers, and administrative personnel with a budget of nearly $70 million annually.  The Division under her leadership embarks on types of projects that are diverse, ranging from highly technical to study of socio-economic impact of transportation infrastructures.