For Immediate Release (22-05)
Contact: Madison Butler, firstname.lastname@example.org
President Biden Announces Five Nominees to Amtrak Board
Washington, D.C.—Only weeks after the Rail Passengers Association called on the White House to make the Amtrak Board of Directors a top priority, President Joe Biden announced that he will be nominating five people to the Amtrak Board.
Just hours ago, President Biden announced his intention to nominate David Capozzi, Anthony Coscia, Christopher Koos, Samuel Lathem, and Robin Wiessmann to the Amtrak Board of Directors. This tranche of nominees includes several new faces, as well as the renomination of Mr. Coscia, the sitting Chair, and Mayor Koos, who was previously nominated.
“America’s passengers asked President Biden to make the Amtrak Board a top priority, and he did,” said Rail Passengers President and CEO Jim Mathews. “We applaud the White House for taking these concerns seriously, and we look forward to working closely with these nominees to understand their vision for Amtrak’s future.”
Thanks in part to the work of the Rail Passengers Association and its professional staff, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) contained several important reforms to Amtrak's Board of Directors. In an effort to make the railroad's top policy-setting body more representative of the riding public, the BIL requires that Amtrak Board Members include two members from the Northeast Corridor, two from Long-Distance Routes, and two from State-supported corridors. It also injects more transparency into Board proceedings by requiring three annual public engagement sessions: with the disability community, Amtrak employees, and the general riding public.
It has not been announced which of the nominees represent which business lines. Apart from Mayor Koos (Illinois), the nominees to the Board all live in the Mid-Atlantic.
There are three remaining seats on the Amtrak Board that are still awaiting nominations.
The following bios are excerpted from the White House press release:
David Capozzi: “Capozzi… was the Executive Director of the U.S. Access Board from 2008-2020 and was the Director of the Board’s Office of Technical and Information Services from 1992-2008. Prior to joining the Access Board, Capozzi was Director of Project ACTION and Vice President of Advocacy for Easter Seals, and was the National Advocacy Director for the Paralyzed Veterans of America. He was a member of the legal team and lobbying captain for the disability community that helped craft the Americans with Disabilities Act. Capozzi was the lead negotiator on the Department of Transportation’s Federal Advisory Committee that negotiated proposed regulations implementing the Air Carrier Access Act, and chaired the Urban Mass Transportation Administration’s (UMTA) ADA Federal Advisory Committee. He received the 2020 Service to the Citizen Award and an award from the Zero Project recognizing his longstanding cooperative efforts with the European Commission to harmonize global ICT accessibility standards. Capozzi serves on the United Spinal Association’s Board of Directors, Mobility Fitness’ Advisory Committee, and Access Living’s Program Committee. He is an Advisory Council Member for Morphic, and a Member of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals Built Environment Taskforce.”
Anthony Coscia: “Coscia serves as Chairman of AMTRAK Board of Directors appointed to the Board by President Barack Obama in 2010 and reappointed in 2015. Coscia is a partner and Executive Committee member of Windels Marx, LLP one of the region’s oldest law firms and has for over 30 years worked on transactions in the finance, real estate, healthcare, and infrastructure areas. Coscia also serves as a Director of OceanFirst Financial Corp and the Neighborhood Property Group, LLC; Vice Chairman of the Gateway Development Commission; and Senior Advisor to Oaktree Transportation Infrastructure Fund, L.P. He previously served as Chairman of Suez North America Inc. and a Director of Suez SA.”
Christopher Koos: Mayor Chris Koos was elected to his first term on the Normal Town Council in April of 2001. He was sworn in as Mayor of the Town of Normal on February 17, 2003, and his current term runs until 2025. Koos has the longest running term of any mayor in Normal’s history… He currently serves on the Advisory Board of Transportation for America and is Vice Chair for Passenger Rail with the US Conference of Mayors.”
Samuel Lathem: “Rev. Samuel E. Lathem was elected as the first African-American President of Delaware State AFL-CIO in October 2003, a position that he continues to hold today. In 1965, Lathem began work at the Chrysler Plant in Newark, Delaware. He was elected and served two three-year terms as Chief Steward in the Body Shop at Newark Assembly Plant. He was appointed as Civil Rights Chairman of Local 1183 UAW. He was then assigned the position of Administrator of the UAW-Chrysler Training Center in 1990 and was promoted to an International Rep of the UAW in February 1999… Lathem also serves as Chairman of the Delaware Advisory Council on Career and Vocational Education.”
Robin Wiessmann: “Robin Wiessmann is Executive Director and CEO of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA). As CEO of PHFA, she manages operations and directs initiatives that promote development of affordable rental housing, and provide financing for homeownership. Prior to PHFA, Wiessmann served as Secretary of Banking and Securities in the cabinet of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, and previously as State Treasurer of the Commonwealth. Wiessmann has devoted her career to both the private and public sectors. As a national infrastructure investment banker, Wiessmann was a Founding Principal and President of Artemis Capital Group, the first women-owned investment banking firm on Wall Street, and held positions at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch… Wiessmann is Secretary/Treasurer of the National Council of State Housing Agencies and is on the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Economic and Community Advisory Council. She served as Secretary of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors and Chair of the Non-Depository Committee, and served multiple other economic development, policy, and supervisory boards(.)”
About Rail Passengers Association
The Rail Passengers Association is the oldest and largest national organization serving as a voice for the more than 40 million rail passengers in the U.S. Our mission is to improve and expand conventional intercity and regional passenger train services, support higher speed rail initiatives, increase connectivity among all forms of transportation and ensure safety for our country's trains and passengers. All of this makes communities safer, more accessible and more productive, improving the lives of everyone who lives, works and plays in towns all across America.