The majority of managers and top executives at transit agencies in the U.S. are White, says Latinos in Transit President Alva Carrasco. Organizations such as hers and the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials are working to change that, however, and diversify the transit management ranks to better reflect its front-line workforce, which predominantly consists of people of color.

Carrasco has been with Latinos in Transit since its inception in 2016. She started her career in public transportation 30 years ago, as an entry-level administrative assistant, when she was one of very few Latinos in administrative positions, she said. “Nobody looked like me.”

Today, in addition to leading LIT, Carrasco is vice president, transit and rail national business line, west region market lead, at transportation engineering and design consulting firm WSP USA. Smart Cities Dive spoke with Carrasco shortly before LIT’s Leadership Summit, Sept. 23-24 in Dallas.

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

SMART CITIES DIVE: Tell me about Latinos in Transit.

ALVA CARRASCO: Latinos in Transit started very organically about 15 years ago. A very small group of Hispanic professionals would see each other every year at the major conferences. We would just talk about how great it’d be if we had some kind of a group that could get together on a regular basis to network and support each other and mentor each other throughout our careers because of the lack of [other] Latinos in the industry. We finally formed as an official nonprofit in 2016 with the help of some [industry] veterans and titans from the transportation industry.

Read the full article about Latinos in Transit by Dan Zukowski at Smart Cities Dive.