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Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrian Safety Month Kickoff | Speaker Bios

Umesh Shankar
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Umesh Shankar is the Division Chief for NHTSA’s Data Reporting and Information Division. In this role, his division is responsible for providing motor vehicle crash data support to all internal and external highway safety professionals. His division updates the most frequently used NHTSA traffic safety fact sheets on 16 topics annually, along with the annual data release. More recently the division has started working on data visualizations that provide interactive and dynamic data visuals of relevant topical crash data.

Chuck DeWeese
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Chuck DeWeese is the current chair of the Governors Highway Safety Association. He is also the Assistant Commissioner for the New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Committee. Prior to his appointment as Assistant Commissioner, he spent 15 years working for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as a Special Agent, Field Office Supervisor, and acting Division Administrator. As the Assistant Commissioner of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee for the last 12 years, DeWeese has been the driving force behind many of their traffic safety campaigns and programs, including the Distracted Driving Enforcement Project, the State’s Impaired Driving Advisory Council, and the pedestrian safety education and enforcement project in New York City.

Jon Ross
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Jon Ross is the Senior Editor and Communications Specialist for the Michigan State Police, Office of Highway Safety Planning. Prior to joining the OHSP in 2018, he was the senior producer of the award-winning “Wardens” TV program on the Outdoor Channel. He also was a sports anchor and reporter for the local NBC affiliate in Lansing. Ross has a degree in journalism from Michigan State University.

Trenda McPherson
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Trenda McPherson is the Bicycle Pedestrian Safety Program Manager for the Florida State Highway Safety Office. She serves as an External Board Member for the Florida State University Transportation Center and as one of NHTSA’s Highway Safety Program Management Instructors. Prior to joining the Florida Department of Transportation, McPherson managed the Federal Grants Compliance Team at Florida State University.

Ian Thomas
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Ian Thomas is a veteran of the walkable communities movement. He served on the America Walks Board of Directors for seven years, until his appointment as the State and Local Program Director in September 2014. In 2000, he co-founded the PedNet Coalition of Columbia, Missouri, and led the organization as its Executive Director for 13 years. Among several accomplishments, he coordinated the campaign to pass Columbia’s Complete Streets policy in 2004 and in 2013, was elected to the Columbia City Council, where he continued to expand healthy community policies. He is a member of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council.