Better Know a Board Member - Avital Barnea
In this eNews edition, we are getting to better know Avital Barnea, the Deputy Secretary for Transportation Planning at the California State Transportation Agency.
Avital grew up in Billings Montana and headed from the Mountain West to the Midwest for College, earning her master’s degree in urban and regional planning and her bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Minnesota.
Avital is passionate about serving the public and as such her career in transportation has been entirely in the public and nonprofit sectors. Her career has been focused on transportation policy and funding, spanning all modes across passenger and freight. During graduate school she worked in bus operations at Metro Transit in Minneapolis. She then moved to Washington, DC where she worked at the Federal Transit Administration, the US Senate Committee on Finance, the Office of the Secretary at the US Department of Transportation, and AASHTO. In 2019, she moved to Sacramento and currently serves as the Deputy Secretary for Transportation Planning at the California State Transportation Agency.
Avital has been a WTS member for more than 10 years, serving in a variety of volunteer roles at the Chapter and International levels. She served on the Executive Board of the WTS Washington, DC Chapter from 2012-2019, including two years as Chapter President! She started her involvement with WTS in the Minnesota Chapter, and currently volunteers and attends board meetings for WTS Sacramento and WTS Los Angeles. She also currently serves on the WTS International Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force as well as the WTS International Chapter Operations Task Force. In addition to her involvement with WTS, she sits on the Eno Center for Transportation’s Board of Regents, the SACOG Race, Equity, & Inclusion Working Group, the Transportation Research Board’s Standing Committee on Rail Rolling Stock and Motive Power, and is a member of Young Professionals in Transportation and the Road Gang!
She is passionate about the impact transportation has on the community and the impact WTS has on opportunities for women in transportation. From Avital…
“Transportation is such an integral part of society and daily life, and it has impacts across equity, accessibility, health and safety, sustainability, the economy, and more. WTS provides a valuable service to the transportation industry by offering opportunities to advance women and bring greater diversity to transportation disciplines. This is important because a more diverse workforce leads to greater diversity of thought and ultimately more successful outcomes. WTS also teaches young women and girls about careers in transportation and is working to support the next generation of transportation leaders.”
In her free time Avital plays music – she was originally a music performance major in undergrad before switching to a geography major, music minor. Her main instrument is oboe and she plays in the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra! She also enjoys genealogy research and has built an extensive family tree.
Thank you Avital for your dedication to WTS, WTS Sacramento, and the greater transportation industry!