A Recap of Our First Ever Field Trip with YPT Philly!


Thank you to our new friends at YPT Philadelphia for reaching out to us for such a great opportunity! A joint field trip to Wilmington, DE was a great way to wrap up our first year as a YPT chapter and we’d definitely join our Philadelphia peers for future events.

Getting there

For the big day, YPT Philadelphia enjoyed a trip on SEPTA’s regional rail, our Baltimore Chapter had to come up with an alternative since MARC does not run trains north of Perryville (sounds like a discussion topic). Some of YPT Baltimore took a ride on Amtrak, and the rest carpooled with a Zipcar named Stiffbeards.

At Amtrak

Once in Wilmington, DE we headed to Amtrak’s Consolidated National Operations Center (CNOC) and Centralized Electrification and Traffic Control (CETC) facility. Our education began with an excellent presentation on Amtrak’s on- and off-board recycling efforts. Amtrak began its recycling program roughly four years ago and has made strides in not only making recycling easy, but taking the time to train its staff and to educate passengers on how to recycle. Our presenter pointed us to the Amtrak blog which has a post about both on-board and industrial recycling programs.


Kelsey explains choosing the right recycling receptacles on Amtrak platforms. Recycling receptacles need to be bomb-proof and, in Wilmington’s case, wind-proof on those high, above grade platforms.

The CNOC tour allowed the group to see how the various roles at Amtrak work throughout the day to ensure service is running smoothly through proper equipment distribution and management of operations. We were walked around the floor and stopped to talk to friendly and knowledgeable staff on how they manage operations for thousands of miles of track, over 80,000 passengers, and hundreds of Amtrak trains per day. As a young professional, a few observations at CNOC were reassuring to see:

  • A group of newly hired engineers touring the floor at the same time,
  • A diverse mix of employees at all levels, and
  • A very well thought out, open floor plan allowing staff to collaborate quickly when issues arise.

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2015-2016 YPT Baltimore Board Elections

The first year transitioning from PAYT Maryland to YPT Baltimore has been challenging but fun as we’ve held some of our most attended quarterly events and built new relationships with other organizations. Moving into our second year as a YPT chapter, we hope to inject more energy and participation from our members, and are looking forward to our first year opening board positions to the election process!

To be a part of our mission, “Connecting transportation professionals to collaboratively innovate and present informed solutions to challenges facing the transportation industry,” you can become a member, run for a board position, or attend future board meetings which are open to all members.

YPT Baltimore will be holding board elections very soon! Similar to the international board, you must be a due paying member to vote and to run for a board position.

Here are some steps to participate in board elections:

  1. Check your membership status by logging in to yptransportation.org.
  2. If you’re not a member, you have until the end of September (for election purposes) to become a member by using the link here.
  3. Submit your name and candidate statement for one of four board positions using this form.
  4. If you’re not running for a position, but would like to vote, keep an eye out for upcoming emails and activities regarding board elections!

Once we have candidate statements submitted, we’ll hold a happy hour for candidates and members to mingle and discuss the future of our chapter. Specific dates for membership deadlines, candidate submission deadlines, and other election updates will be forthcoming.

Have a question? Leave a comment or email us at yptbaltimore@gmail.com.


Lunch with the 2015 MDOT Fellows and BWI Leaders

YPT BWI MDOT fellows lunch

From BWI: Wayne Pennell (COO) and Ralign Wells (Director, Office of Parking and Transportation); From YPT Baltimore: John Gasparine (Chair), Mike Helta (Vice Chair), and Jade Clayton (Treasurer); Fellows: Alaina Farsace (Towson University), Niyah Henson (Towson University), Obafemi Oluwasola (Morgan State Univ.), Tom Roesser (Johns Hopkins Univ.), Rebecca Coates (UMBC), Theophilus Aluko (UMBC); Not Pictured: Lauren Cawley (St. Mary’s College) and Hannah Schmitz (Program Coordinator at UMBC)

There are a total of ten fellows participating in UMBC’s MDOT Fellows Program this year. Those ten fellows represent five colleges and universities and more than ten different areas of study. Despite the incredible diversity of backgrounds and areas of study, each fellow was matched with one of MDOT’s modal administrations and gained valuable experience working closely with executive leadership on various projects.

On Tuesday afternoon, YPT Baltimore had the honor of connecting seven of the ten fellows with two established leaders in the Baltimore Region’s transportation industry. BWI’s Chief Operating Officer, Wayne Pennell, was more than willing to meet with the fellows at the request of YPT Baltimore and UMBC’s Program Coordinator for Applied Learning, Hannah Schmitz. We are especially grateful that Pennell was able to attend as he recently took on CEO responsiblities while BWI transitions into new leadership.

The MDOT fellows were also treated to a bonus visit from the airport’s Director of Parking and Transportation, Ralign Wells, who was able to provide a different but complementary perspective of the industry. Pennell was able to speak from experience in the Army, and on a career in aviation in the private and public sectors. Wells described a career begining in public service as a bus driver, making it all the way to MTA administrator before bringing his leadership skills to BWI. Both Pennell and Wells enthusiastically shared their stories about their professional careers and generously provided insight on how the fellows could find their own success in the transportation industry.

The young fellows asked thoughtful questions about what motivates professionals in the transportation industry, and how those motivations change in the private sector versus public sector. Then fellows asked Pennell and Wells, and members of the YPT Baltimore board, about their own motivations and mentors while working in transportation. Reflecting on the lunchtime discussion, the major theme was that of building relationships. Pennell emphasized relationships and building a professional network throughout his talk with the fellows who ended the lunch eager to find mentors and make connections.

YPT Baltimore can not agree more with the importance of relationships and making connections. That is what this lunch and our events are all about. That said, we hope to continue a longlasting relationship with Hannah and the MDOT Fellows Program in order to provide similar experiences to future participants.

Check out photos from the lunch!