PPT’s election for our Board of Directors will run from July 12th-August 9th. All PPT Members in good standing should cast their ballots for our next leadership team!
Please read this blog with bios on all the candidates before casting your vote. An overview of our election process and a guide on how to vote and the ballot are at the bottom of this blog.
We are excited to announce the following slate of candidates who were nominated to join the PPT Board of Directors. PPT Member can vote for the next round of leaders who understand the importance of our work for transit justice in Allegheny County – leaders who are looking to become more involved in directing the course of our campaigns, communications and actions.
Learn more about the nominees in their bios below and select the one who you feel can help usher our organization and movement into a new era of advocacy, connectivity and engagement.
As a reminder, there are 6 board seats available for PPT General Members and 1 seat available for a unionized transit worker PPT Member. All those elected will serve from August 2023 to August 2025.
All candidates are listed below in alphabetical order by first name. There is a photo and short bio for each candidate to give background on their past work for transit justice and other issues. Each nominee has approved and contributed to their bio.
PPT Members can vote for up to 6 of the following candidates to fill PPT General Member seats on our Board of Directors:
- Barb Warwick (she/her)
- Bonnie Fan (they/them)
- Dean Mougianis (he/him)
- Gabriel McMorland (she/her)
- Joy Dore (she/her)
- Kris Chandler (he/him)
- Mona Meszar (she/her)
- Nickole Nesby (she/her)
- Paul O’Hanlon (he/him)
- Teaira Collins (she/her)
Then, PPT Members can vote for up to 1 of the following candidates to fill seats reserved for Transit Workers on our Board of Directors:
Barb Warwick (she/her)
My name is Barb Warwick and I have been a member of PPT since 2019. I live in Four Mile Run and first became involved with PPT as part of the fight against the Mon-Oakland Connector. That experience really opened my eyes to the power of community activism and to what an amazing organization we have in PPT.
Professionally, I have always considered myself to be somewhat of a workhorse who is fully committed to any project I take on. Having had lots of experience in the corporate arena, I am always happy to “suit up” and meet with political leadership and transit authorities to press for policies that support equitable, affordable, and sustainable transportation systems.
My communication style is diplomatic, but persistent. And, with 20 years’ experience in marketing communications, I know how to stay on point and on message. As a writing and editing professional, I can also help ensure that content put out by PPT is always clear, concise, and engaging. The way I see it, PPT saved my community and public park from being overrun by the Mon-Oakland Connector. Whether chosen for the Board of Directors or not, I feel such gratitude to you all and look forward to continuing to work together for transit equity and justice for many years to come.
Bonnie Fan (they/them)
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)
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)
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.
Joy Dore (she/her)
Joy is a frequent transit user, and a lifetime public transit advocate. She believes that the fruits of everyone’s hard work are starting to pay off. As an example, the city is not reauthorizing the SPIN scooters. This means that the injuries, blocking public sidewalks that prevent an accessible use of them for the disabled, and other challenges these scooters presented will be mitigated.
Before the pandemic, she was a volunteer with the TIRES transportation committee. Joy has done extensive lifelong advocacy work including recently as a Food Justice Ambassador, Stormwater Ambassador with Grounded, advocacy with Moms Rising, and am an active volunteer with LAMP (Library for Accessible Media) and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (She was selected as a neighborhood ambassador, and also is an active member of the Friends of the Library Downtown. Joy holds the Vice President office there). She has also actively volunteered at First Presbyterian soup kitchen and First Trinity Lutheran for years, and teaches classes in American Sign Language (like found at this link). Joy has also attended multiple trainings for Homewood Children’s Village Leadership Institute for leadership, advocacy, and housing/transit advocacy. She believes that these experiences in spite of the past year being a personally challenging year with a cancer battle and losing my fiancee (who passed away from cancer 6/21/22) prepared her to advocate for the importance of public transit.
Her vision would be to continue the fight for equitable, accessible, and affordable transportation.
As an advocate for progressive change and growth within various realms of public policy, I have dedicated my life and career to building community and creating active engagement within programs and initiatives. With a background in non-profit administration, creative arts, writing, transportation policy, and political campaigning, I love to work outside of the realm of expectation and seek to look outside-the-box for areas of innovation and exploration. With these values leading the charge, I hope to help usher PPT into a new era of advocacy. An era that continues to uplift transit operators and provide them with the resources to live – and work – in safe and fair environments. An era that focuses on the relationship between land use, zoning, and transportation so that we can build communities that correspond with the transit needs that exist today to prevent the disasters of tomorrow. An era that elevates the importance of historical context and restorative justice so that we can reconnect communities with access to jobs, fresh food, places of enjoyment, and beyond. An era that sees changes within our transit infrastructure so that we can have bus shelters at every stop, sidewalks that are accessible for all ages and abilities, and an equitable system that provides actual coverage and frequency for all. Valuing connectivity, I seek to build coalitions with organizations and community stakeholders in order to address where transit overlaps with other policy initiatives. I seek to help PPT hold those accountable who might stand in the way or prevent our region from expanding in the most equitable, accessible, and sustainable ways possible.
With regards to PPT, shortly after becoming a member, I have been part of the Communications Committee filling in and helping out with whatever was asked of me. Most recently, I have assisted with the candidate profiles for the Allegheny County Executive race and drafted some copy for the PPT website. In tandem with this, externally, I have volunteered on numerous political campaigns, uplifting progressive candidates who I have felt could truly make a difference for all people and communities. Most recently, I conducted relational organizing for Sara Innomorato’s County Executive campaign, and look forward to helping hold her office accountable assuming she wins the general election in November 2023. Additionally, due to my work for the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), I am actively engaged in many transportation related initiatives throughout the country. I have conducted programming that was part of the Better Bike Share Partnership and the American Cities Climate Challenge, during which I led roundtable discussions, wrote case studies, facilitated in working groups, and assisted with the drafting and copyediting of transit-oriented guidance.
Mona Meszar (she/her)
Mona is a queer trans woman born in Shawandasse Tula, Massawomeck, and Monongahela/Osage lands (Fayette County). She is involved in anti-colonialist, anti-authoritarian, anti-racist, environmentalist, and abolitionist struggles – rooting herself in queer anarchist perspectives. In 2018, she was part of a cohort of PPT fellows who worked on the Beyond the East Busway Campaign, and has a sincere appreciation for PPT’s commitment to community led campaigns. During Covid she helped canvass riders, pass out PPE, and phonebank membership. She believes public transit should be free, reliable, environmentally sustainable, and accessible & disability informed. If elected to PPT’s steering committee, she would be excited to work with others to re-vitalize the Beyond the East Busway Campaign. In particular, extending bus rapid transit service to East Pittsburgh and Mon Valley neighborhoods; better connecting them to affordable housing, healthy affordable food, healthcare, and green & recreational spaces. Mona currently resides in Pittsburgh, and enjoys making music, backpacking, bike touring, reading, cooking, meditating, doing yoga, and gardening.
Nickole Nesby (she/her)
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)
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)
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)
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!
Overview of PPT’s Board Election Process
Pittsburghers for Public Transit is a grassroots, democratic, member-led organization that fights for racial justice and public transit as a human right. The election of a Board of Directors from and by our general membership is a cornerstone of what keeps us accountable to our members. The Board is responsible for strategizing and executing the organization’s campaigns, outreach, governance, and fundraising.
The Board’s Executive Committee chooses how many seats will be up for PPT’s board election each year. Our bylaws say that our Board can be anywhere from 5 to 15 people and that 2 seats are reserved for transit workers connected to a local transit union. Earlier this year our Board’s Executive Committee decided to open 6 seats to be elected from our general membership, and 1 seat to be elected to a transit worker.
Each spring, the PPT membership nominates fellow members to run for the Board of Directors. If those members accept the nomination, then they are invited to submit a photo and bio to be placed on the ballot, and they are invited to speak about their qualifications at the July General Member Meeting.
PPT Members in good standing can cast their ballots for two weeks in July. The nominees with the highest vote totals are invited to join the Board of Directors for a 2-year term.
How can PPT members vote?
PPT Members in good standing can cast their ballots from July 12th to August 9th using the form below. The nominees with the highest vote totals are invited to join the Board of Directors for a two-year term. As a reminder, all active PPT members commit to doing the following:
- Agree to uphold PPT’s Transit Bill of Rights.
- Pay dues to support our budget. We encourage members to give at least $2.75 monthly (the cost of a single PRT fare), but no one is turned away because of funds.
- Take part to help us win our campaigns. PPT Members contribute to our campaigns in many different ways, and you can find the way that’s right for you. This could mean anything from joining meetings to voting in our elections, participating in a committee, spreading the word on social media, to speaking up for transit at a public meeting.
If you are unsure of your PPT Membership status, you can check by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone ( 412-626-7353 ).