Recognizing the need to create opportunities for women and diverse owned firms, Marcy Szarama founded Destination Enterprises, Inc. (DE) in 2005. DE is a Los Angeles based firm providing construction and project management, claims and litigation support professional services to the public and private sector throughout California. As President of DE, she assembled a team of women-owned firms who were selected for the construction management of the Airport Metro Connector, the largest contract awarded by LA Metro to a female-owned coalition.
Szarama is a trailblazer in the Construction Management space, beginning in the “trenches” as one of the first female Resident Engineers on the Metro Red Line subway in Los Angeles prior to founding DE. DE’s work is greatly diversified with staff working on numerous Los Angeles County Metro rail projects, including as SBE Prime to Metro for Construction Management Support Services (CMSS) for Rail Projects, under which DE delivered on over 40 Task Orders including the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station,"The New Blue” $350M renovation and the Burbank Airport North Metrolink Station, completing three weeks early and 10% under budget. DE is also providing claims, construction and project management services on the $1.2B Metro Crenshaw/LAX Project, BART Transbay Tube, LA County Dept. of Public Works, SANDAG Mid Coast, NCTD Escondido Line and numerous significant public works projects.
Szarama is a graduate of UCLA in Political Science/International Relations and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program. She is driven by a commitment to conscious capitalism, diversity, and demonstrating the capacity and capabilities of small and women-owned firms. Szarama serves on the Senior Leadership Network Advisory Team of Conscious Capitalism International and BuildOUT California’s Rainbow Roundtable.
Paul Bews brings over 30 years of experience to Ghirardelli Associates where he serves as Division Director of their Rail Transit & Systems Division Mr. Bews will focus on the growth of the rail division, employee development and building on the firm’s unique culture to deliver the best client services available.
Mr. Bews was a Risk and Assurance advisor to the 2012 London Olympics. He has a proven capability to manage and integrate stakeholders. His experience delivering complex transportation system challenges, coupled with his robust transportation background, gives him the ability to develop, implement and manage successful solutions for high-value, complex, and challenging programs.
Paul has proven success in supporting and delivering strategic transportation, transit and mobility projects and programs, particularly those with multiple stakeholders in a regulated and end state-focused environment. His areas of expertise include alternative delivery methods, mobility solutions, integration of complex transportation projects, operational management, and risk management. This combination of expertise allows him to focus on the end result of successful project and program delivery, operations and the efficient movement of people and goods. Mr. Bews understands behavioral change, sustainable mobility and whole-of-life issues in transportation and transit projects, and has advised governments, regulatory authorities, transportation agencies, and infrastructure providers across the world on sustainable mobility, program management, operations and risk.
Mr. Bews has written and presented more than 5 papers addressing mobility and the interaction of engineering, policy and people .
"The Future of Sustainable Mobility" – Presented at the Perspectives Conference Lisbon Portugal 2012, and World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Geneva, Switzerland 2013, London City University London 2014
“Rewarding for Less Congestion – Dutch reverse Road Pricing” Presented at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Geneva, Switzerland 2013 and London City University 2013
"The Future of Technology in California Transportation Infrastructure" – Presented at the Focus on The Future Event, San Francisco, 2017
“Rail Risk Best Practice – Cross Sectoral Lessons to be Learned” – Presented at the 2nd International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety- Chicago May 2007
PROF. SUE KERSHAW, FICE, FAPM
Professor Sue Kershaw, FICE, FAPM is globally recognized for her record of driving complex transport and construction programs to delivery. She is currently President of the Association for Project Management, a member of the Mayor of London’s Infrastructure Advisory Panel, and a Royal Academy of Engineering visiting professor at the Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management, UCL.
In March 2020, Ms. Kershaw joined Costain as Managing Director of Transportation to lead the Group’s Transport business sector, implement a sustainable growth strategy, and deliver profitable relationships with customers.
From 2006 through 2013, Ms. Kershaw served as the Deputy Director of Transport and head of Program Management: Transport, for London’s Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA). The ODA was the statutory authority charged with delivering the venues, infrastructure, and legacy for the London 2012 Games. Ms. Kershaw’s responsibility was to ensure the safe and efficient movement of the “Games Family” and the millions of “Games Spectators” while keeping London and the rest of the UK moving.
In her role, Ms. Kershaw led three teams, comprising a total of 60 people, and managed the working relationships with all stakeholders across the transport industry. She is a much sought-after public speaker across the UK and Europe and was a featured presenter at the International Project Management A ssociation (IPMA) World Congress held in Australia in 2011.
EVENT 1 PANELISTS
DR. DAS MOOTANAH FICE, FAPM
Dr. Das Mootanah, FICE, FAPM, is CEO at Metro Express, Ltd. in Quartre Bones, Plaines Wilhems District, Mauritius. He is a Program & Risk Director with many years of international senior management experience (London, Sydney, Mauritius) in cross-sector Strategic Management, Complex Program Management & Operations, Transformational/Change Management, Risk Management & Assurance, Business & Financial Planning, high-profile Mega-Infrastructure Project Leadership, Civil Engineering, Strategy & Management Consulting, Innovation, and R&D.
His experience includes senior management experience in Infrastructure Mega-Projects (High Speed Rail - HS2), London 2012 Olympics, Railways (London, Dublin), Highways, Public Transport, Construction & Civil Engineering, Financial Services, Regulatory (Financial, Economic, Rail), Government Advisory, Innovation, Research, Sustainability, and Health & Safety.
He spent 5 years as CEO of high-profile international organizations implementing innovative mega-infrastructure projects ($500M).
For 5 years he was part of the Transport Leadership of the London 2012 Olympic Games where he oversaw Program & Risk Management (£100 Million to £multi-Billion), operational planning, and innovative assurance to achieve the myriad of deadlines associated with the Games.
Other professional highlights include:
15 years as Senior Program & Risk Management Professional & Director across multiple industry sectors as well as Transport / Rail Consulting in London / UK, Sydney, Dublin/ Irish Republic (with Projects value from $100 Million to $1 Billion) achieving major change, transformation, and risk reduction
5 years Leadership of Innovation Programs with CIRIA & others, developing innovative processes, technologies, and value & risk along with PhD research in the United Kingdom
Dr. Mootanah has overseen implementation of best-practice Enterprise Risk Management for Sydney RailCorp and International Rail Benchmarking; and improved organizational maturity in risk management practice
Dr. Mootanah is author of numerous publications in Program / Project Best Practice, Risk Management, Program/Project Management, Policy-Making, Value Management, Benchmarking, and Assurance & Innovation
He is a fellow of the UK Institution of Civil Engineers (FICE) as well as a Fellow of the UK Association for Project Management (FAPM). He holds a PhD in Project Management (Risk & Value) and a Masters (Distinction) & Bachelor in Civil Engineering
Stephen Cheung is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of LAEDC and the President of World Trade Center Los Angeles (WTCLA). In his role as COO, he brings together the capabilities of LAEDC's mission-delivery department areas, including: Business Assistance and Industry Cluster Development; LAEDC's Institute for Applied Economics; Communications & Marketing; and Public Policy, into a single team that delivers the LAEDC's critically important, public-benefit mission.
Cheung also leads investment attraction to the LA County region on behalf of both LAEDC and WTCLA, and facilitates successful location of new businesses, projects, and deals from both international and U.S. investors into the region. He also leads the team that supports international trade and international connections for organizations based in LA County.
In 2020, Stephen Cheung was elevated to COO after serving as Executive Vice President of LAEDC and continues in his concurrent role as President of World Trade Center Los Angeles, a title he has held since coming to the organization in 2014. Prior to that, Cheung was the Secretary General of International Trade and Foreign Affairs for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and was responsible for managing policies and programs related to the Port of Los Angeles, Los Angeles World Airports, International Affairs and Global Trade. In this role, he was the lead organizer for Mayor Garcetti's previous international trade missions to Mexico, China, Korea, and Japan. Furthermore, Cheung implemented the city's strategic plan to make Los Angeles a global capital of clean technology by building the infrastructure to support research, development, and manufacturing with key partners.
Concurrently, Cheung was the Director of International Trade for the Port of Los Angeles - the busiest container port in North America and was responsible for developing programs to increase trade through the Port of Los Angeles and facilitate goods movement through the Southern California region.
Cheung currently sits on the Board of Advisors of UCLA's Luskin School of Public Affairs and Sister Cities of Los Angeles, while also serving on LA Metro's Sustainability Council and Biz-Fed's International Trade Committee. He has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Regional Export Council and the Los Angeles Business Council.
Stephen was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Los Angeles where he received both his Bachelor of Arts in Psychobiology and Master of Arts in Social Welfare from UCLA. He is fluent in both Mandarin and Cantonese.
Ernesto is a Deputy Executive Officer with Metro’s Highway Program. He is responsible to the delivery of multiple highway improvement projects across LA County. During his 13 years at Metro, Ernesto has worked with multiple stakeholders to advance several Measure R and M Highway Programs and initiate several projects, many of which are now moving into construction. Prior to joining Metro, Ernesto worked in the private sector as a transportation planner on various highway and transit improvement projects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Cal Poly Pomona and a Master Degree in Transportation Management from San Jose State University and is a graduate of Metro’s Leadership Academy.
Julie Owen, DIF(ICEC) F(GPC), is a senior leader and manager with over thirty years of experience in program and project management, program and project control, cost engineering, scheduling, contract administration and claim analysis. She is a dynamic thought leader and innovation advocate with a proven ability in business transformation. She works as Senior Executive Officer of Project Management Oversight for Los Angeles Metro managing the $160 billion over 50-year capital program to improve Los Angeles County transportation infrastructure.
Ms. Owen oversees team members supporting the following projects that will be integral to transportation for the Olympics:
Regional Connector transit
Airport Metro Connector Station
Purple Line Section 1, 2, 3
GoldLine Extension to Pomona
East San Fernando Valley Transit
Link Union Station
I-5 North Capacity Enhancements
I-105 Express Lanes
Ms. Owen manages the program control department serving the highway, regional rail, transit, and small transit and bus capital repair programs. She often serves as program management department liaison working on cross functional teams across departments for business improvement initiatives. She managed implementation of the enterprise-wide business management system for capital program management.
She has worked in transit, defense, wastewater, and vertical building industries and on all sides of the table including owner, contractor, and construction manager. She is a published author and international speaker. Her highly interactive presentations have been enjoyed by audiences around the world.
Mr. George L. Pla is the Founder and CEO of Cordoba Corporation, a California-based full-service engineering firm specializing in the delivery of infrastructure projects in the transportation, education, water, and energy sectors. A history of Mr. Pla's founding of Cordoba Corporation and his philosophy of leadership is recorded in a curriculum-based case study by the Harvard Business School.
For nearly 40 years, Cordoba Corporation has worked on complex infrastructure projects throughout California, earning recognition from Engineering News-Record as a "Top 50 Program Management" and "Top 100 Construction Management" firm in the nation, as well as a "Top 100 California Design" firm.
Mr. Pla's entrepreneurship and financial knowledge has also been demonstrated through the founding, development, and sale of two banks: First American Bank (OTC: FTAB) and Santa Ana Business Bank (OTC: SABB).
Mr. Pla was unanimously elected on January 28, 2021, as President of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission is a Joint Powers Authority between the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, and the Sixth District Agricultural Association (referred to as the California Science Center), an institution of the State of California. George was appointed to the Coliseum Commission in November 2019 by Governor Gavin Newsom.
The Commission's purpose is to provide for the ongoing operation and maintenance of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the Banc of California Stadium (the location of the former Los Angeles Sports Arena).