The Missouri Public Transit Association (MPTA) announced the election of Leah Christian, Parking Manager for the City of Columbia, and Laura Machala, Transportation Planner II at the Mid-America Regional Council in Kansas City, to its Board of Directors. Both individuals will serve a two-year term.
Christian has more than a decade of public service experience. As Parking Manager for the City of Columbia, Mo., she oversees operations for Columbia’s parking utility and the city’s public transportation system, Go COMO. Prior to working in this capacity, Christian served as a Transportation Planner for the Columbia Area Transportation Study Organization (CATSO), a Management Fellow for the City of Columbia’s Managers office and as the Communications Manager for the Missouri Environmental Assistance Center. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin, and she holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Missouri Truman School of Public Affairs.
Machala has been serving in her current position with the Mid-America Regional Council since 2015. In this capacity she helped to manage the development of Smart Moves 3.0: The Long-Term Transit and Mobility Plan for the Kansas City Region. The plan was designed to expand and improve transit and align mobility services, along with pedestrian and bicycle facilities, to better serve the community—especially when it comes to jobs accessibility. Machala has also served as the Solar Energy Coordinator for the Mid-America Regional Council, worked in the Public Works Department for the City of Kansas City and as a land use planning consultant in San Francisco, Calif. She received a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Oberlin College and a master’s degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“The Missouri Public Transit Association is pleased to welcome Leah and Laura to its Board of Directors,” said Kim Cella, executive director of the Missouri Public Transit Association. “Their background and expertise will go a long way towards furthering the organization’s efforts of developing a variety of programs to facilitate education and networking among transit professionals in Missouri.”