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July 20, 2021
Boston, MA

Introducing Optimus Ride’s Advisory Board

Bringing together a powerhouse team of mobility, public transit, and real estate development leaders.

We are thrilled to officially introduce Optimus Ride’s Advisory Board: Gabe Klein (Chair), Carla Bailo, Abe Naparstek, Lois Scott, and Phil Washington. This dream team unites decades of experience and the brightest minds across the various sectors required to grow the autonomous vehicle space and enact real change for people and communities. Their expertise includes urban policy, city and regional government, automotive, public transit, real estate, and more. The team will lend their deep expertise as we collectively drive toward our shared vision of a more equitable, sustainable, and connected future of transportation.

Optimus Ride Advisory Board – [from left to right] Gabe Klein (Chair), Carla Bailo, Abe Naparstek, Lois Scott, and Phil Washington.

At Optimus Ride, we’re connecting people and communities with a new kind of ride: all-electric, shared, community-friendly, autonomous shuttles. We meet critical mobility needs, advance AV technology, and deliver convenient, fun, affordable rides for communities. Our approach is a win, win, win, but requires a united vision and cross-functional effort by community leaders. Our advisory board brings years of experience in these cross-functional areas, lending diverse perspectives and extensive expertise.

"I’m honored to represent this advisory board of passionate and experienced industry leaders as we support Optimus Ride in delivering on our shared vision of a more connected, sustainable, and equitable future of transportation. As a key player in the industry, Optimus Ride is poised to radically enhance transportation and transit connectivity via low-cost, low-speed, hyper-local shared mobility services that better connect people and communities."

– Gabe Klein, Chair of Optimus Ride Advisory Board

Our all-star team of advisors have paved the way in mobility, transportation, and infrastructure. Their experiences and expertise speak for themselves. Members of the board have led the Biden/Harris transportation-transition team, Chicago and Washington DC’s Department of Transportation, LA Metro Transportation Authority, Denver Regional Transportation District, Nissan R&D, Ohio State mobility R&D, the Center for Automotive Research, finances for the City of Chicago, and $10 billion mixed-use real estate portfolio at Brookfield Properties, to name a few. Not to mention, they are smart, humble, passionate people we welcome aboard our team of Optimists.

“This advisory board is a true extension of our team and we are grateful for the fresh perspectives they bring to Optimus Ride to help deepen our understanding of the markets we serve and strengthen our industry relationships. Optimus Ride and its customers and partners will benefit from this impressive group’s expertise that spans the transportation industry. As we continue developing our technology, working with new communities, and delivering our mobility service, their input and guidance will make a mark on the future of mobility.”

– Sean Harrington, CEO of Optimus Ride

Meet the Optimus Ride Advisory Board

Gabe Klein (Chair)

Gabe is the co-founder and partner at CityFi where he advises governments and companies worldwide on innovation in cities. Notably, Gabe recently served as part of the Biden/Harris Transportation transition team. He is the former Commissioner of the Chicago and Washington DC Departments of Transportation, where he took a people-first approach when building new public transit stops, creating the first and largest bikeshare system in the US, and revamping public spaces and trails. When it comes to creating clean, friendly transit for neighborhoods, Gabe has done it all. A visiting fellow for the Centre For Livable Cities in Singapore working on a “car-lite” city-state, a fellow at the Urban Land Institute, Venture Partner at Fontinalis Partners (>$300 million funds), author of Start-Up City, former VP at Zipcar, former National Director of Stores at Bikes USA, and former CEO and founder of electric powered, organic food truck chain, On The Fly.

Gabe relentlessly pursues innovation in service of social good, unlocks the power of collaboration between public and private sectors, and focuses on the triple-bottom line. He’s an Optimist.

How can AV technology make the greatest impact in cities and communities today?
“Low-speed, low-cost, shared, autonomous shuttles offer a tremendous opportunity for city and community mobility. The average speed in cities during rush hour is less than 10 mph and less than 15 mph normally. Cities are not about speed, but rather reliability of service. The adoption of autonomous shuttles for short-distance, fixed-route local trips (complemented by walking and biking) can increase safety and quality of life for all.”

Carla Bailo

Carla is the President and CEO of Center for Automotive Research (CAR). Carla is a leader in engineering and vehicle program management with 42 years of experience in the automotive industry. Under her leadership, CAR continues to be a preeminent resource of objective and unbiased research, analysis, and information regarding the North American automotive industry. She is the former AVP for mobility research and business development at Ohio State where she led Columbus to winning the US DOT Smart City Challenge and Drive Ohio Program. Carla lends 25 years of experience at Nissan North America, Inc., where she served as SVP of research and development.

Carla has deep roots in the automotive space, in fact one of her earliest jobs was working on an assembly line at an automotive factory filling truck rear axles over grates. From assembly line to Nissan executive to CEO of CAR, Carla has grown with the industry and experienced the evolution of mobility. She’s been part of the transition from ownership to usership and understands smart cities and the need for equitable and clean transit options.

What is the biggest benefit autonomous technology can lend to mobility and transportation?
“Providing mobility to those who never had or lost the ability to drive. If delivered through a business model that serves both transportation teams and community members, and focusing on glaring gaps in connectivity such as first mile/last mile trips, AV technology can help bring mobility to those who need it most.”

Abe Naparstek

Abe is the Chief Operating Officer of G&S Investors where he helps to manage the real estate and solar investments across the company’s portfolio. Prior to G&S, Abe was EVP at Brookfield Properties managing a team and pipeline responsible for over $10 billion of mixed-use development in Boston, New York, and Washington DC. (Notably, Optimus Ride has partnered with Brookfield Properties, bringing autonomous shuttle services to The Yards in Washington, DC and Halley Rise in Virginia.) Prior to Brookfield, Abe spent nearly 15 years at Forest City Enterprises, managing mixed-use real estate developments up and down the east coast. Abe’s roots are in public policy. He served as Assistant County Manager of Allegheny County, PA (home to Pittsburgh and a population of 1.2 million), instituting policy initiatives around economic development and government relations, including Tax Increment Funding packages for over $250 million for development projects. Today, in his local community, Abe serves on the board of directors of Neighbors Together, a social service non-profit in central Brooklyn.

Abe brings years of extensive experience in real estate development, economic development, and government relations. He incorporates the possibilities of thoughtful real estate development, energy efficient infrastructure, and social investment as he builds toward a brighter future.

What is the most important aspect of AV technology?
“To me, it’s the positive impact it will have on climate change. I imagine a day where AVs dramatically reduce the number of cars on the road and are powered with clean energy.”

Lois Scott

Lois is a senior finance executive, entrepreneur, and civic leader. She serves on the board of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago and Kroll Bond Rating Agency and Sunrise Transportation, and chairs the Milken Institute’s new program for Excellence and Equity in Public Finance (sponsoring the Municipal CFO Forum, CFOs of the top 30 cities in the U.S.). She is the former CFO for the City of Chicago where she financially oversaw essential city services as well as many of the city’s public-private infrastructure partnership contracts. Lois started her career as a top performer at one of the world's largest investment banking firms and rose through the ranks, ultimately managing Midwest Public Finance Operation and the Transportation finance teams. Among her many impressive experiences serving both public and private markets, Lois was the CEO of a national financial advisory firm for nearly a decade, a special advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative on Infrastructure, chair of the Management Committee of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (450-person, $800 million organization), and a White House Fellow.

Lois leads with optimism and a firm belief that connecting talented, passionate people to each other will bring about a better world. It’s no surprise that throughout her career, Lois has been extremely active in her community, serving on boards and taking active roles in dozens of organizations, connecting people with the resources they need in order to succeed.

What sets Optimus Ride apart?
“A management team that is authentically diverse and passionate. Look around the leadership team and you’ll see a diverse group of people that range in age, background, and skills. The life experiences of that team assure a richer conversation, a more thoughtful approach to deployment of AV technology than most corporate leadership teams.”

Phil Washington

Phil is the newly appointed CEO of Denver International Airport. He recently chaired the Biden/Harris transportation transition team, ensuring critical national transportation needs, initiatives, and policies were prioritized and carried forward. He is the former CEO of both Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) and Denver Regional Transportation District. In his time at LA Metro – one of the most heavily trafficked, car-centric locations in the world – Phil was the key leader in major transit projects and innovative partnerships and pilots via the Office of Extraordinary Innovation. Think: $7 billion budget, $18-$20 billion in capital projects, 11,000 employees, 1.2 million boarding passengers daily, a fleet of 2,200 clean-air buses, and six rail lines. He was key to passing Measure M: 40 major highway and transit projects, over 40 years, creating 778,000 jobs, and providing $133.3 billion in economic impact for the region. In Denver, Phil implemented the FasTracks program, the West Corridor Rail Line project, the award-winning Denver Union Station project, and the nation’s first and only $2.2 billion transit public-private partnership.

It’s fair to say, Phil is a large-scale transit and ground transportation guru. His work and efforts have been recognized time and again with prestigious awards and honors, including President Obama naming him a White House Transportation Innovators Champion of Change. His roots in public service stem from his formative childhood in the Southside of Chicago and began with 24 years of service in the United States Army.

What are you most excited about in joining the board and working with Optimus Ride?
“I’m excited by the unique combination of true infrastructure superstars on this Advisory Board. The Board and the Optimus Ride team have the opportunity to set the standard in how the industry thinks about AV technology. We don't know what is truly possible, we’re just scratching the surface of the technology.”

We asked our board members what the future of mobility looks like, and their responses inspire.

“The future of mobility is…

  • ...only limited by our imagination.”
  • ...Electrifying!" It is electric, it is safety-focused, it is empowering for individuals and it is so much more fun than the congestion, polluted, and stressful mess that we experience today.”
  • ...ACES (automated, connected, electric, and shared) – it will provide ladders of opportunity for all.”
  • ...reliable, healthy, cost-effective, connected, and equitably serving."
  • ...Optimus Ride!"

We look forward to working closely with our advisors and welcome them to our team of Optimists. Their diverse perspectives across automotive technology, city planning, and other transportation industries and years of experience and hard work in public transit, real estate, and finance are invaluable. Together, we’re well positioned and determined to drive toward a more innovative, sustainable, and connected future of transportation.

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