The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) board has appointed Leslie S. Richards, Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation secretary, as the authority’s general manager. Richards will join SEPTA in January following the retirement of Jeffrey D. Knueppel, general manager. Richards will oversee the transit system’s 9,500 employees and all aspects of its operations. At PennDOT, Richards instituted policies based on sustainable infrastructure investments and innovation, including the Transportation Investment Plan, a strategic investment approach for the department’s 12-year capital program.
Gov. Tom Wolf (D) of Pennsylvania named Yassmin Gramian acting PennDOT secretary, effective Dec. 6, and said he intends to nominate her as the department’s secretary. Gramian had been PennDOT executive deputy secretary since June. Before that, according to her LinkedIn page, she was a senior vice president for WSP USA and HNTB. Earlier, she worked for other engineering firms. Her private-sector work included overseeing complex transportation and infrastructure projects, including Philadelphia’s Roosevelt Boulevard Multi-Modal Corridor Program.
Design firm SmithGroup has hired Jill Swensen as principal and studio leader at its Pittsburgh office. Swensen, who previously served as a principal at Stantec, specializes in the programming, planning and management of complex educational and research facilities. In her new role as a studio leader, she will work with the firm’s higher education, science and technology and health groups on sustainable spaces for college, university and health care clients in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the Eastern U.S. Swensen’s portfolio includes projects for Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Anwer Hasan was promoted to MidAtlantic region construction services director at WSP USA. Hasan, who previously was senior vice president of water services at the Louis Berger Group, aims to continue expanding WSP’s program management and construction management services in the region.