Driving Equitable Outcomes Through Electric Vehicles (WTS Webinar)

Billions of dollars in federal funding are being put to work in support of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Although electric vehicles make up less than 1% of the nation’s 250 million light duty vehicles on the road, significant growth is already underway. A limited used car market has been a barrier to EV adoption in underserved areas, even though they often have some of the lowest air quality and stand to benefit the most from EV adoption. This panel of experts will provide the OEM, utility, and minority business perspective on how public agencies, utilities, electric vehicle charging companies, automakers, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders can drive more equitable outcomes aligned with the federal Justice40 initiative.

Moderator: Katie Zehnder, PE, PTOE, AICP has over 24 years of experience, all with HNTB, leading teams to achieve innovative and complex transportation infrastructure and modernization programs. The past seven years these programs have focused on smart cities, electrification, and most recently advanced air mobility – many with equity and greenhouse gas goals. Since 2016 she has played a key role in many of the countries’ signature EV programs for municipal, transit, state DOT and aviation clients. Her team recently supported 10 state NEVI plans. Katie has a civil engineering degree from Union College in Schenectady, NY, and an MBA in management information systems from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband, Don, and their daughter, Ashley Marie.


Emily Gallo, AICP, is Director of Infrastructure and Mobility Equity, Vice President, for HNTB, where she supports transportation agencies, policy makers, community leaders and project teams in creating more inclusive infrastructure. Emily previously served the City of New York, where she was Chief of Staff at NYCDOT, Chief of Staff and Policy Director at the Taxi and Limousine Commission, and transportation policy analyst at the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. Emily is actively involved in the WTS Greater New York Chapter and has served as Director-at-Large since 2020.  She is also the founder and co-chair of the Chapter’s Appointments Committee to advance women for consideration for Boards, Commissions, and high-level job opportunities. Emily has a B.A. in American Studies from Yale University and a Masters in City and Regional Planning from UPENN School of Design.

Ben Tesfazghi is the Director, Federal Affairs at Auto Innovators. Ben joined the Auto Innovators in July 2022 as a part of the Federal Affairs team to support the association’s federal advocacy work, particularly around transportation automation, safety, and electrification. Most recently, he was Senior Manager, Legislative Affairs at the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) where he worked with Congress and policymakers on behalf of franchised automotive and truck dealers. Earlier in his career, he served in advocacy roles at the Renewable Fuels Association, Total Healthcare Solutions and Ballard Spahr LLP and worked for the House Committee on Homeland Security and American Express. Ben received Bachelor of Arts degrees in political science and homeland security from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).

Yazmin Alfonso, Director of Programs at EVHybridNoire, leads programmatic initiatives to enhance project development, management, and evaluation. Yazmin works on strategies for the future growth and development of projects and programs overall. Yazmin comes to EVHybridNoire with over eleven years of non-profit experience within a diverse range of skills including program & project management; operations; grant management; community engagement; strategic partnerships; and development. Previously, Yazmin served as the Director of Programs at the National Hispanic Medication Association, leading a team of nine creating advocacy awareness campaigns with Hispanic physicians to help eliminate health disparities and improve health literacy for the Hispanic community. Yazmin also worked at the Elizabeth Dole Foundation as the Manager of City and Community Initiatives, where she served as the program lead for the Hidden Heroes Cities and Counties Program. During Yazmin’s tenure, she galvanized 160+ municipalities and four states to become part of the Hidden Heroes initiative supporting military and veteran caregivers while cultivating sustainable strategic partnerships. Yazmin holds a Masters in communications from Walden University and a Bachelors Degree in Communications and Media Studies from the University of Cincinnati.

Dr. Brandy Brown is an experienced energy strategist with deep industry knowledge and demonstrated success in advancing decarbonization solutions from conception to implementation. Currently, she is Chief Innovation Officer at Walker-Miller Energy Services, where she blends research and emerging technology to deliver innovative energy solutions to historically marginalized communities. Additionally, she serves on the faculty of the School for Sustainability and Environmental Studies at the University of Michigan. Prior to joining Walker Miller, Dr. Brown served as Climate & Energy Advisor and led the Office of Climate and Energy which was created by Governor Whitmer in 2019 to coordinate the state’s climate action efforts. She was responsible for developing the policy and implementation strategy for state-wide decarbonization efforts, coordinating state departments on climate action, providing guidance to local governments, and advancing renewable energy throughout Michigan. Dr. Brown holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Evaluation from Western Michigan University where she researched the methodological characteristics of energy evaluation and used meta-evaluation to assess quality and validity. Additionally, she earned a Master of Public Administration degree and a bachelor’s degree in Communications, Law, Economics, and Government from American University in Washington, D.C.

Register here: https://www.wtsinternational.org/events/driving-equitable-outcomes-through-electric-vehicles

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