James Campbell

Cullen Davis

Spinning Our Wheels for Bike Month

May 22, 2017 – May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities throughout California. Employees working on California High-Speed Rail are excited to be a part of the fun and work biking into their daily train commute.

May is Bike Month Presentation

Leading up to May is Bike Month, the California High-Speed Rail Authority offices in Sacramento held a free one-hour bike clinic presented by Eric Navarro of Sacramento City Bicycle Works. Staff learned about traffic safety skills when riding, the proper way to navigate one way streets on your bike, keeping your bike road-ready, and tips and tricks for what to have with you on the road. He answered questions covering everything from the best type of bike pump to the cost of a traffic ticket for running a stop sign on a bike (more than $300!).

Senior Graphic Designer Cullen Davis is happy to incorporate biking into his commute, where he bikes to his local train station. “Biking is practical transportation—it just makes sense,“ said Davis. “I encourage everyone to see if cycling can fit into their commute.”

For Davis, conditions in LA have become increasingly favorable in recent decades. Air pollution controls have led to cleaner air, and there is an increase in dedicated bike lanes and bike-friendly transit. “Southern California weather makes biking comfortable for almost the whole year, and most of the city is flat, easy-riding terrain,” he explained.

The Metro parking lot in North Hollywood fills up every day before 8:00 a.m., but Davis finds plenty of space for his bike. He owns a roadster that he enjoys driving, but no car is fun in heavy traffic or hunting for parking. “Riding a bike doesn’t add much time to my commute,” he said. “I get extra exercise, sun and fresh air.”

Michael Murphy

Keeping Our Environment on Track

May 8, 2017 – In large infrastructure projects, it is important to figure out what is right for the environment while moving the project forward. Soar Environmental works as a subcontractor on the high-speed rail project, overseeing environmental strategy for Tutor Perini Zachry Parsons (TPZP), the company building from north of Madera to south of Fresno. Soar makes sure all environmental mitigation measures and permit conditions are adhered to.

“Soar Environmental acts as a go-between to make sure the contractor is implementing policies that are legal and consist of best management practices,” said founder and CEO Michael Murphy. “We make sure they are careful to conserve the environment and protect assets like water, animal and plant species and Native American artifacts.”

“Soar’s challenge is figuring out what’s right for the environment while being able to keep the project going. For example, there are only 17 acres of Hairy Orcutt Grass in the world, and some is in the project alignment.” Soar worked with California environmental permitting agencies, as well as local farmers, to set up places to relocate the grass out of the corridor so it can continue to grow.

“It’s been quite rewarding having people who work for me employed on a contract that will be going on for quite some time,” Murphy stated. “Knowing that my employees, their spouses and their children have a future provides real peace of mind.”

James Campbell

A Dedicated Career Track in Transportation

April 26, 2017 – James Campbell has dedicated his career to transportation projects in California, and it has all lead up to his work on the California high-speed rail program. In addition to award-winning accomplishments working on high-speed rail, he serves as Vice-President of the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society (SBRHS) where he shares his love of one of the first high-speed locomotives from the 1920s at the Fullerton Railroad Museum.

James’ transportation career began in college as a bus driver in San Diego, after a summer job in high school shipping pickles on his cousin’s farm. His career in transportation continued after college, as he worked in various roles with agencies along the Los Angeles to San Diego corridor, moving to WSP|Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) in 2006 to work in Rail Operations on projects with Amtrak, Caltrain and others nationwide. James was the Deputy Project Manager with the Orange County Transportation Authority, after which he was promoted to Manager of Business Development for Rail in Southern California which included the high-speed rail program.

Dating from 1927, this is the first high-speed locomotive.

Currently, James is a Technical Specialist working on the high-speed rail program on the Burbank to Los Angeles and Los Angeles to Anaheim project sections. Last year he was named one of the ‘Top 40 Under 40’ by Mass Transit Magazine for his accomplishments in transportation. This year, James was acknowledged with an award from PB in the Project Management under $3 million category.

When he’s not working on transportation projects, James presides on the staff of the SBHRS, promoting the social and historical significance of railroads in the southwest through the operation and display of steam locomotive #3751. Dating from 1927, this is the first high-speed locomotive and capable of attaining speeds of over 100 miles per hour. It is also the main attraction at Fullerton Railroad Museum’s Railroad Days event May 6 and 7. James is also the 2017 President of the Railway Association of Southern California, promoting diverse professions within the railroad industry.

Ah’nesha Worshim and Darrell Patterson

Sustainability Begins at Home

April 3, 2017 – Ah’nesha Worshim and Darrell Patterson are friends concerned about global warming. Like many in Southern California, their concern fuels sustainable decisions in their lifestyle, transportation and work lives.

Ah’nesha Worshim

After becoming aware of devastating pollution in China caused by fabric processing, Ah’nesha decided to start an eco-fabrics business. Her studies in Fashion Merchandising at Cal State Long Beach take her to Downtown Los Angeles where she looks for fabrics made from natural sources like cotton, hemp and bamboo.

Ah’nesha plans to move to Los Angeles “to start using public transportation and get away from auto traffic congestion.” After a recent visit to New York City she noted, “Nothing is more than 25 minutes away using public transportation—it’s a great experience.” She looks forward to a one-trip fare in California that includes high-speed rail.

Darrell Patterson brings a passion for sustainable transportation to his work with the Southern California Association of Governments, and believes “we are all trying to find a way to live a sustainable life.” He is adamant that high-speed rail is key to inter-regional travel and looks forward to leaving long car trips behind and taking high-speed rail weekend trips to San Francisco.

Darrell observed, “People from all cultures with innovative ideas, coming together in stations like Union Station in Los Angeles that will include high-speed rail, are part of the future connecting all of us.”

Tom Blackburn

Growing Throughout the State

March 22, 2017 – Over the last three years, Tom Blackburn has dispatched a small cadre of environmental professionals to assess parcels lying in the pathway of the high-speed rail project. He owns Blackburn Consulting, a certified small business that has geotechnical and geoenvironmental experts determining the level of contaminants on properties the Authority may be required to purchase.

Blackburn Construction worker

Workers use several methods to complete property evaluations—desk audits of properties, interviewing property owners, researching regulatory records, reviewing aerial photos and deploying drill rigs to determine the most effective way to remove stop leakage and remove contaminants.

In addition to doing geotechnical work in the Central Valley, Blackburn’s team provides independent assurance testing and environmental site assessment services to multiple construction packages.

Blackburn has offices in Auburn and West Sacramento and recently established a location in Fresno. He attributes the firm’s expansion to its work on high-speed rail. “Working on the high-speed rail project has been rewarding,” Blackburn said. “It has helped us get established in Fresno.”

Donn Ross-Jones of Transition Music Corporation

A Private Office in Fresno

March 6, 2017 – Leevel Tatum says it’s always a good day when he’s sitting eight feet high over the highway. “I like it because it’s my own private office and it’s a challenge,” Tatum laughed. He is the owner of BBL Tatum Truck and drives oversize wide load tractor trailers—hauling steel rebar, granite tile roofing material and other equipment for high-speed rail construction sites throughout the Central Valley. Tatum landed his initial contract on the project in March 2016. Since then, he’s signed two more contracts and has jobs on multiple construction packages.

Tatum opened his Fresno-based firm 16 years ago. Certified as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and a Disadvantaged Business Entrepreneur (DBE), high-speed rail is his first government contract. “This has been a financial blessing for my family,” said Tatum. “I may be able to purchase another truck and hire another driver.”

“High-speed rail will transform downtown Fresno and increase jobs by bringing in more people. They’ll either be traveling through and stop here or make their home here and work elsewhere. Either way, it will help the economy.”