Congratulations to PPT’s New Board Members!

image description: graphic includes the portraits of all 7 people who won positions on PPT’s Board of Directors in the 2023 board elections.

7 PPT Members were elected to the PPT Board until 2025

Pittsburghers for Public Transit is unique in having a fully democratically, member-elected Board of Directors. Every year, half of the general member seats are voted upon for a two-year term, as well as one of the two specific seats allocated for members of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU). The PPT Board of Directors is comprised of some of our most active organizational leaders, and sets PPT’s strategic direction, oversees staff and the finances of the organization. This summer, because dozens of PPT members called their peer PPT activists, we had a record number of new members join the organization for the Summer Membership Drive, vote in the Board elections, and party down with us at the Summer Member Picnic!

Congratulations to the PPT Members who were elected to the Board for the 6 PPT General Member seats: Ms. Teaira Collins, Bonnie Fan, Paul O’Hanlon, Gabriel McMorland, Dean Mougianis, Nickole Nesby. And congratulations to Kevin Joa, who was elected into the PPT Board seat reserved for unionized transit workers.

We’re thrilled and humbled by the level of wisdom, dedication, and love that these folks bring to the PPT community. It must be said, however, that all of the candidates that ran for the Board are incredible, selfless and deeply appreciated members of our community.

Become a PPT Member today to build the power of our grassroots union

Read some more about the PPT Members who were elected to the Board in our 2023 Board Elections:

Bonnie Fan (they/them)

Image Description: Bonnie Fan speaks at a rally outside Carnegie Mellon University

Bonnie worked in transit for four years before coming to Pittsburgh, seeing laid bare the lack of regard for operators, the policing of riders, and the power-grabbing mindset of management that prevented any kind of internal change possible. While joining Otolunji Oboi Reed’s Equiticity campaign prior, they found a stronger force in mobility justice worked centered in Black and Brown communities.

Seeing the work made possible with PPT’s grassroots mobilization has changed the way Bonnie orients her work. In seeing the narrative arcs of other cities play out, especially for post industrial cities, they are deeply concerned by the secret privilege of private developers, universities and tech companies when it comes to how the public domain should be made and who it should be made for. In this landscape, also complicated by political and financial relationships, PPT has been one of the few where grassroots voice has been able to fight and win for riders and workers without compromise.

Much of the other work they are involved in is against predictive policing and #NoTechForICE – all of which falls in the realm of tools and decisions made in favor of existing oppressive power dynamics.

Dean Mougianis (he/him)

Image Description: Photo of Dean Mougianis holding his video camera on a bus trip to Harrisburg

Dean Mougianis has been a media producer for forty years and an educator for twenty-five. Dean began his media misadventures on a gap year (well, several) in his education when he fell in with a group of people who had the audacious idea of founding a radio station. This became WYEP-FM. He later transitioned to video, worked in a variety of production facilities, then struck out on his own as a freelancer. As a producer, writer, video editor and motion graphic artist, Dean has worked with a wide range of commercial clients, had enough of that, and began working instead for non-profit, labor, and social service clients.

Somewhere in mid-life, Dean decided to pay back the legacy of many people who taught him so much and sought out teaching opportunities. As an educator for the past twenty-five years, Dean has taught courses and workshops in various aspects of video production from beginner to advanced for Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Grove City College, Laroche College, and the Allegheny Intermediate Unit. An early convert to digital media, Dean now specializes in teaching motion graphics and animation.

Dean sees his primary role in assisting and advancing PPT’s communications and media efforts. Along with this he wishes to help develop membership participation and leadership and do what he can to connect PPT to broader transit advocacy coalitions at the state and national level.

Gabriel McMorland (she/her)

Image Description: Gabriel McMorland smiles, looking down, with a blue ribbon on her shirt

Gabriel is a white trans woman, who is also blind and transit-dependent. She has been active with PPT since 2015, and was previously on the Coordinating Committee from 2017-2022. Gabriel was very involved with the Don’t Criminalize Transit Riders campaign and early service campaigns, and on the current campaign around scooters and sidewalks. She was the Community Organizer at The Thomas Merton Center from 2014-2017, and TMC’s Executive Director from 2017-2023, doing work that ranged across racial justice, ecological defense, labor solidarity, immigrant rights, and other moves towards liberation. She is also a musician, and played bass in the live performance of Wheels on the Bus at PPT’s end-of-year celebration. 

Gabriel invests time and leadership into PPT because she needs PPT to succeed. She has seen many times how PPT includes the sidewalks, curb cuts, and crosswalks as part of the overall transit system, and how PPT has centered people with disabilities to ensure that everyone’s needs are served. She believes that the outcomes of PPT’s work are practical, tangible, and truly affect peoples’ lives: PPT enacts its radical values of racial justice and worker justice, and makes them real through organizing. Gabriel’s vision for PPT is to ensure that organizing and leadership development continue to be at the heart of PPT’s work. 

Nickole Nesby (she/her)

Image Description: Mayor Nesby smiles for a selfie in front of a white wall

The honorable Mayor Nickole Nesby is a dedicated public servant with 20 years’ experience in legislative government. In November 2017, Nesby successfully unseated incumbent Phillip Krivacek to become the first female and African American to head the city of Duquesne, PA. She was elected to PPT’s Coordinating Committee in 2019 and is now running for her third term.

No stranger to socioeconomic disparity, Ms. Nesby was born in McKeesport, PA. Her parents were hard working steel mill workers. One of seven siblings who she had to raise when her mother fell victim to the crack epidemic, she refused to allow poverty to derail her goal of attaining higher education. Nesby recently completed her fourth degree, an MBS from Northcentral University in Organizational Leadership Specializing in Nonprofit. While Mayor Nesby has no children of her own, she works to build spaces where all her community’s children can succeed.

As a first-term mayor, Nesby is dedicated to improving the quality of life for Duquesne’s population of 5,481. Plagued by systemic poverty, illiteracy and incarceration, 80% percent of its residents are welfare recipients and of that number, half have criminal records.  Deemed the worst-performing school system in Pennsylvania, Duquesne was forced to close its high school in 2007.

Duquesne’s future may appear bleak, but Mayor Nesby’s aspiration is to make Duquesne a better place to live. She works so that residents have a quality education, affordable housing, better transportation, healthcare, and parks. These are the things that all people deserve, and they can be real by working together.

Paul O’Hanlon (he/him)

Image Description: Paul O’Hanlon sitting in his wheelchair outside in a garden.

My name is Paul O’Hanlon, I’m a retired lawyer.  From 2001 to 2014, I worked for a disability rights law firm, and before that I was the Senior Housing Attorney and Housing Unit Chief with Neighborhood Legal Services Association in Pittsburgh.

I caught the “transit bug” in 1991.  At that time Port Authority began the long process of becoming accessible to passengers in wheelchairs.  Since that time I’ve been involved in advocating for the best, most accessible, area-wide and affordable public transit.  

I have been involved in a number of advocacy issues in Allegheny County, particularly around housing, accessible public transportation, and voter engagement.

Teaira Collins (she/her)

Image description: Teara Collins holds a megaphone while speaking at a PPT rally in 2020

Teaira Collins is a lifelong transit rider, a Hazelwood community leader, a mother and foster mother, and now a grandmother to six grandchildren. Ms. Teaira met Laura Chu Wiens while at Port Authority testifying for improved transit service in Hazelwood, and has since become a leader in PPT’s Our Money, Our Solutions campaign for weekend service on the 93 and the extension of the 75. Ms. Teaira spoke at the City Council Capital Budget hearing press conference about the Mon-Oakland Connector alongside Barb Warwick, and on behalf of PPT during the Poor People’s Campaign Jubilee Caravan. She recently traveled to Atlanta on behalf of PPT on a delegation to connect with other Human Rights organizers across North America, and raise the important connections between public transit, housing, healthcare and food access. She is very active in the community, volunteering with The Mission Continues to help veterans and with the Hazelwood Family Support Center to uplift young mothers. Ms. Teaira also runs her own non-profit to advocate for those like her son Judah and other famlies with children who have Down Syndrome, and fundraises for the National Kidney Foundation to help research related to her daughter’s health. 

Ms. Teaira’s excited about winning weekend service for underserved neighborhoods like Hazelwood, and is passionate about fighting for reliable and safe transit for all communities. She is dedicated to the fight for a permanent low-income fare program because it is needed now more than ever for all communities. Ms Teaira Collins has been:

  • A Hazelwood leader in PPT’s Our Money, Our Solutions campaign to create a resident-based mobility alternative to the Mon-Oakland Connector
  • A PPT organizing fellow for the FairFares campaign and helped sign up dozens of riders for the pilot program
  • A Volunteer and community advocate for The Mission Continues, Hazelwood Family Support Center, PPS PTA, and for people with Down Syndrome and Kidney Disease.
  • A Member of the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council Board of Directors

Kevin Joa (he/him)

Image DescriptionL Kevin Joa wears his PRT uniform for a selfie in front of a chainlink fence

Kevin is a Port Authority bus operator and member of ATU Local 85. He was first elected to PPT’s Coordinating Committee in 2019 and won his re-election in 2021. Kevin has taken part in PPT campaigns to encourage Port Authority board members to ride transit; push for expanded transit funding in PA; and build more affordable housing near great transit. Kevin was part of bus ride-alongs with County Executive candidates to lay out demands for policies that support transit riders and workers for the new leadership of the region. He was most recently quoted on WESA for speaking out at the Pittsburgh City Council hearing about the Spin scooter pilot program about the ways that he’s observed the e-scooters affecting transit access at bus stops. 

Before joining Local 85 as a bus operator, Kevin worked at a local public school system. Kevin also is a proud owner of a beautiful dog!