Meet the Executive Team

Titles and bios for the Executive Team at the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), including Director, Deputy Director, Group Directors of PBOT's seven business groups, and leads for Communications, Intergovernmental Affairs, Asset Management, and Strategy
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Millicent Williams - Director

Millicent Williams is a career public servant committed to providing meaningful service to the residents, businesses, and visitors of every jurisdiction she has worked in.

A graduate of the Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University’s School of Business and Industry in Tallahassee, Millicent was a five-time mayoral appointee and served as agency director or senior executive for three separate agencies under three consecutive Washington, D.C. mayors. There she led teams dedicated to national service administration, grantmaking, emergency management and homeland security policy, and plan implementation.

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, she worked in various roles ranging from coordinator of emergency management operations to parks planning and community engagement administrator.

Millicent rejoins PBOT after managing PBOT’s Capital Delivery division from 2017 to 2020, then serving as PBOT Deputy Director until May 2021. After her years at PBOT, Millicent served as Otak’s Oregon/SW Washington Regional Director for the Public Sector and as Corporate Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Millicent lives in Portland and is the proud mother of a 24-year-old son, Ethan. Ethan was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in early childhood. Since then, Millicent has created solutions to ensure her son—and families struggling with being classified as other-abled—mature into full, independent members of society. Her experience with her son has also influenced the way she manages teams and structures her work.

Over the course of her career, Millicent has realized her desire to serve and to ensure the equitable distribution of critical resources and services in communities across the U.S., throughout the Caribbean, in countries in western, central, and southern Africa, and in southern India. Her passion remains to connect with and serve local communities,  demonstrating how our government can (and does) work to serve their interests.

Affiliations and memberships

  • Rail-volution National Steering Committee 
  • WTS International 
  • Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO), Immediate Past President, Oregon/SW Washington Chapter 
  • Black Emergency Managers Association (BEMA) 
  • International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) 
  • Project Management Institute (PMI) 
  • National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA) 
  • Women’s Home & Overseas Missionary Society, AME Zion Church 
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. 
  • US Autism and Asperger’s Association 
  • Autism Society of America 

Tara Wasiak - Deputy Director

Headshot of Tara Wasiak

“I’m thrilled and honored to serve PBOT in this role,” said Tara. “Not only is PBOT a great place to work, but the work of our bureau, our collective effort to get Portland moving toward a safer, more accessible, more equitable future is an exciting and energizing mission. I am very proud to be a part of this team and associated with this transformational  work.”

Tara returns to her role as Deputy Director after six months as Interim Director during the search for a new director. Before her role as Deputy Director, Tara was Group Director of Maintenance Operations. In the latter role, she was involved in advancing PBOT’s equity goals by diversifying the Maintenance Operations workforce. Pre-Covid, she helped organize a career fair for jobs in Maintenance Operations. It was a massive undertaking and they reached larger audiences by rethinking how to advertise jobs and bring people into the bureau. “People don’t know the variety of things we do,” said Tara. The job fair gave them a chance to show participants all of the different opportunities there are at Maintenance Operations.

Another major area of focus for Tara was better integrating Maintenance with the rest of the bureau and improving project delivery for small capital project work. Tara led a reorganization of Maintenance Operations and aligned resources better around all of the groups. She added two divisions and created new positions to be more efficient in how Maintenance delivers the work and supports employees. She wanted to make sure that staff would be better supported in terms of opportunity and professional development.

All of these experiences inform Tara’s work as PBOT’s Interim Director. She will continue to support PBOT in reducing its silos and being more transparent. This includes considering how PBOT delivers its work and how it’s aligned with our strategic plan.

Alex Bejarano - Right-of-Way Management & Services Group Director (Interim)

Alex has worked for PBOT since 1994. He started at the city as an Engineering Technician, then as a Transportation Plan Review Engineer. Since 1998, Alex has progressively undertaken more responsibility in supervisory and management roles at PBOT. He looks forward to bringing his skills and experience as Interim Group Director of the Right-of-Way Management & Services group, formerly known as Development, Permitting & Transit. 

At PBOT Alex’s primary focus has been managing and creating policies, procedures, permitting, and inspection practices for public and private utility franchises. Over the years, he’s also led many PBOT initiatives. This includes writing PBOT’s first diversity plan, creating the co-located Public Works Permitting section, implementing small cellular wireless facility permits, and helping craft rules for electric vehicle charging, among many others. 

Alex is a Licensed Professional Civil Engineer and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Portland State University. He is also a third generation U.S. Army veteran. When he is away from work, he enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, walking around and exploring Portland, and very much appreciates—occasionally—being accepted by his two cats. 

Wendy Cawley - Traffic Systems & Operations Group Director

Wendy Cawley headshot, PBOT

Wendy Cawley returned to her role as Group Director of PBOT's Traffic Systems & Operations after serving as Interim Deputy Director during the search for a new director. She began working for PBOT in 1997 because she wanted to interact more with people in their neighborhoods. Since that time Wendy has worked in Traffic Operations, Traffic Design, Project Management, and Development Review. In 2010, Wendy accepted a position as PBOT’s Traffic Safety Engineer and helped shape the High Crash Corridor program that eventually became the Vision Zero program. Wendy was appointed as PBOT’s first female City Traffic Engineer in March 2020.

As Traffic Systems & Operations Group Director, she was responsible for managing the Signals & Street Lighting, Traffic Design, Traffic Operations, and Temporary Traffic Control sections. These sections are responsible for designing new streets, redesigning existing streets, creating traffic control plans to help people move through and around construction sights, designing street lighting systems to help Portlanders move safely in dark conditions, designing and timing traffic signals to keep Portlanders moving safely and efficiently through busy intersections, and investigating and responding to neighborhood safety concerns, such as requests for new crosswalks or stop signs. Wendy remains proud to have managed the 80 staff that make up this group – they are some of the most talented traffic engineers and technicians in the nation. 

Wendy has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington. Outside of work, Wendy likes to travel with her husband, visit her kids at college, hike, golf, and play piano.

Shoshana Cohen - Intergovernmental Resources & Policy Affairs Manager

Headshot of Shoshana Cohen

Shoshana Cohen joined PBOT in 2015. Since that time, she has worked in a variety of roles related to intergovernmental policy, revenue development, mobility, climate, and equity. Shoshana now manages the Intergovernmental, Resources & Policy Affairs team within the Office of the Director. Working closely with the city’s Office of Government Relations, Shoshana and her team track state, regional, tribal, and federal transportation policy and funding initiatives as well as help to advance PBOT goals. Her team also leads revenue development for the bureau and liaises with city hall. Shoshana has helped lead PBOT’s congestion pricing policy work since 2017 and served as the co-project manager for the Pricing Options for Equitable Mobility Task Force. She has enjoyed grappling with complex pricing and funding challenges and hopes to help chart a path toward a more stable, sustainable, and equitable transportation funding future.

Shoshana began her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal, West Africa. Prior to PBOT, she also worked for a variety of small nonprofits in both Portland and Chicago. She worked part-time for a number of years while caring for her daughters who are now teenagers. 

She holds a Master of Urban Planning and Policy degree from the University of Illinois Chicago and a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. 

Todd Liles - Engineering Services Group Director (Interim)

A native Oregonian, Todd has been working in the public sector and the transportation field since 1990 when he began his career as a construction engineer with the Oregon Department of Transportation. In 1996 Todd joined PBOT, going on to design and construct local improvement districts (LIDs), housing and community development projects, as well as dozens of federally funded multimodal projects.  

In 1999, Todd became the supervisor of PBOT’s Construction & Inspection division where he worked with Maintenance Operations to develop a program to help with capital construction, now known as the Quick Build Program. Over Todd’s many years with the bureau, he has designed and overseen construction for many projects, including the Chinatown Streetscape, the E Burnside Street Couplet, SW Naito Parkway, the Lower Albina Overcrossing, along with pavement rehab projects across the city. He also played a large role in getting PBOT self-certified in construction contract administration.  

In 2007, Todd took a supervising engineer role as Pavement Manager in PBOT’s Construction & Pavement Management division. He was promoted to Division Manager in 2015, where he has implemented the new Microsurfacing & Pavement Preservation Program.  

Todd has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the Oregon Institute of Technology and has been a Professional Civil Engineer since 1996. In his spare time, he enjoys water and snow sports and is a big outdoor enthusiast including hiking and elk hunting. He also enjoys spending time with his grown-up kids’ families, taking them on camping trips, and playing board games. 

Jeramy Patton - Business Services Group Director 

Jeramy Patton

Jeramy was appointed as the Business Services Group Manager in February of 2017. Business Services is the backbone of the bureau, providing efficient and comprehensive back-office support to over 900 employees. With a staff of around 70 employees, Jeramy manages the bureau’s work regarding technology services, administrative support, personnel management, procurement & contracts, timekeeping, employee safety & training, risk management, finance, budget, strategic planning, process improvement, and performance management.

Jeramy joined the City of Portland in 2003 as a financial analyst in the City Budget Office. Throughout his 13 years in the office, Jeramy coordinated the City’s budget process, provided budget and policy analysis for five Mayors, served on the City’s implementation team for a new Enterprise Resource Planning system, and was the office’s first Deputy Director, serving in that capacity for four years. Before joining the City, Jeramy spent two years with the State of Oregon Budget and Management Division and was a legislative assistant during the 2001 State Legislative Session. Jeramy has a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Oregon State University.

Outside of work, Jeramy enjoys spending time outdoors camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, and coaching youth soccer.

Art Pearce - Policy, Planning & Projects Group Director 

Art Pierce

Art has been with PBOT since 1998. He started as Group Manager in December 2013. He oversees the Transportation Planning, Project Management, and Active Transportation & Safety divisions in the group, with a staff of over 70 people. The group guides transportation ideas through the long-range planning and policy, project development, and construction stages.

Prior to his current position, Art was a Senior Capital Project Manager for PBOT. His work focused on public transit corridor development and neighborhood revitalization. His projects included the planning and implementation of Portland’s South Waterfront District, and the Portland Aerial Tram. In 2009, Art led the planning and funding for the reconstruction of SW Moody Avenue, including a $23 million dollar “Innovation Quadrant” TIGER Grant award.

Art has a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies from the College of Wooster in Wooster, OH, and a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State University.

Katie Root - Assets & Infrastructure Manager

Headshot of Katie Root, PBOT

Katie joined PBOT in 2018, initially supporting PBOT’s Office of Strategy & Innovation and now as the Asset Manager. In that capacity, she is responsible for developing and overseeing the bureau’s overall strategic asset management goals, as well as managing and monitoring PBOT’s assets and current conditions.

Katie’s experience includes 20 years of leading the strategy and management of federal and local programs and projects, applying continuous improvement. This includes human-centered design, lean, and agile principles to promote innovative thinking, continuous improvement, and rapid delivery of services.

She holds a Juris Doctorate from Catholic University and Bachelor of Art in English and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Hannah Schafer - Communications Director

Headshot of Hannah Schafer

A born-and-raised Portlander, Hannah spent the first 10 years of her career in Israel working on cross-cultural, transboundary environmental initiatives. Her work put her at the forefront of Israel’s environmental movement and creation of the nation’s solar energy industry.  

Since her return to Portland in 2015, Hannah has had the pleasure of wonking out on local transportation issues and leading award-winning communication campaigns on a variety of topics including Vision Zero, Fixing Our Streets, Better Naito, Parking Kitty, and more.   

Today, Hannah leads a small but mighty team of talented communicators focused on building public awareness and engagement around PBOT’s numerous projects, programs, and policies to advance safety, mobility, equity, and transportation justice. Outside of work, Hannah can usually be found e-biking around the city or working in her garden. 

Wendy Serrano - External Equity Services Manager

A native Tapatia, Wendy grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico until her family relocated to Milwaukie, Oregon in 2001. Wendy became bilingual while living in Oregon and credits her immigrant experience as the roots of her advocacy to ensure underrepresented communities are heard within government structures. Losing her grandmother in 2009 to traffic violence and growing up transit-dependent in the region made Wendy passionate about building safe, equitable, and accessible transportation systems. 

At PBOT Wendy oversees community engagement, advisory bodies, and equity policy for the bureau. She leads community initiatives and internal best practices to help lift underrepresented voices from Portlanders. She supervises a small team of dedicated community engagement coordinators.

Wendy has dedicated her professional career to public service. She’s worked for the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber, conducting outreach to local Latine communities on topics of healthcare, education and economic development. She’s served as Field Representative for Congressman Earl Blumenauer, advising the congressman on local Latine and immigrant issues that include immigration, international relations, and human rights. She’s also worked for local transportation agency TriMet leading critical community engagement for capital projects across the region and developing strong relationships with diverse communities to inform equity and engagement policies for the agency. Prior to joining PBOT Wendy lived in Berlin, Germany where she worked at the German Federal Foreign Service as a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow where she led projects that focused on engaging European and American stakeholders on discussions about democracy and immigration.

Wendy holds a bachelor’s in communication studies from Portland State University and an MBA from George Fox University. When she’s not working, Wendy enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends outdoors, salsa dancing and running local races.

Lauren Spear - Strategy, Data & Performance Manager (Interim)

Headshot of Lauren Spear

Lauren has over 10 years of experience working for transportation agencies in the Portland metro area having filled a variety of roles in the areas of data, project, and asset management. Lauren began her career as a GIS Analyst, and quickly began to recognize the significance of data as a transportation agency asset. As she began to take on more of a leadership role, she went on to earn her certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP) and applied this experience to her work in transportation asset information management.  

Lauren joined PBOT in 2021 as the Data Strategist. In this role, she led the development of bureau-wide data strategies and PBOT’s data governance program. She is a data champion who works to bridge the gap between technical and business acumen. She believes everyone has a role in data and is working to develop a data culture at PBOT that embodies this idea. In her current role Lauren's primary focus is to provide strategic, data-driven, and performance-focused direction, guidance and support to PBOT leadership and staff.  

In her time away from work, Lauren enjoys spending time with her friends and family. She and her husband enjoy supporting the Portland Thorns and Timbers (RCTID), and she tries to get out as often as possible to hike and explore the area. 

Mark Williams - Parking & Regulatory Services Group Director (Interim)

Mark Williams headshot

A native of Northeast Portland, Mark has dedicated his career to public service since 1990. Over a span of approximately 23 years, he held six distinct positions at Metro, including the role of Director of Event Services at the Oregon Convention Center and Business Operations Manager at the Oregon Zoo. In 2014, he transitioned to the City of Portland, serving as Regulatory Division Manager at PBOT. Beyond his professional pursuits, Mark cherishes his leisure time which he often spends camping and enjoying the company of his wife, three adult children, and two 5-year-old grandsons. Additionally he finds fulfillment in his volunteer work as a Board Member of Donate Life Northwest and the Cascade Life Alliance.

Jody Yates - Maintenance Operations Group Director

Jody Yates headshot

Jody Yates first joined PBOT in 2007 as a Project Manager, working on the U.S. Congresswoman Darlene Hooley Pedestrian Bridge at S Gibbs Street and served as the city’s liaison to Multnomah County’s Sellwood Bridge project – through the design phase. She went on to become a Division Manager in Maintenance Operations, interim Group Manager for Parking Services, Principal Engineer in Development, Permitting & Transit, before leaving PBOT in 2018 to work for the City of Beaverton. Jody Yates returned to PBOT Maintenance Operations, as Group Director, in February 2022.  

Jody is a Licensed Professional Environmental Civil Engineer and has bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering with an emphasis on environmental engineering. She also brings over 23 years of public works experience at the local level with experience in capital project design, construction management, development and permit engineering, maintenance operations management, and parking management. “I am excited to return to PBOT and be part of the Maintenance Operations team!" Jody said on her return to PBOT. "As a team, we will maintain, repair, and operate the city's transportation, sewer, and storm assets.  Additionally, we will provide emergency response services to our community.”