Mayor's Office Press Release

Mayor Turner Makes More Changes At METRO

March 18, 2016 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner has selected two new City appointees for the METRO Board and wants two existing board members reappointed.  University of Texas Health Science Center Professor Lex Frieden and Taylor Construction Management President Troi Taylor are being appointed to the board for the first time.  Sanjay Ramabhadran and Christof Spieler will be reappointed. 

“It is good to have a mix of new ideas and institutional knowledge,” said Mayor Turner.  “This new board will reflect the diversity of Houston and a diversity of thinking and experience that will be beneficial as METRO works to increase transit options and improve mobility in the area.  METRO has made many improvements in recent years.  I want to see the agency continue to excel.”

Lex Frieden
Frieden is recognized as one of the founders of the independent living movement in the early 1970’s and was instrumental in conceiving and drafting the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.  In addition to his teaching position at UT, he is an adjunct professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine and directs the Independent Living Research Utilization Program at TIRR Memorial Hermann – a research, training and technical assistance program on independent living for people with disabilities.  He has served as chairperson of the National Council on Disability, president of Rehabilitation International and chairperson of the American Association of People with Disabilities.

Frieden holds degrees in psychology from the University of Tulsa and the University of Houston and has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Law (LL.D.) by the National University of Ireland. He has received two Presidential Citations for his work in the field of disability, has given more than 1,000 lectures and presentations and has had writings published more than 100 times. He is currently leading a national research study to evaluate the impact of the ADA and to identify population group disparities related to employment, transportation, housing and community living.

Troi Taylor
Taylor has eight years of experience in healthcare development and seven years of life sciences and higher education experience.   He has delivered 10 consecutive multi-million dollar capital improvement projects ahead of schedule and under budget.  He has substantial experience in the planning and construction of healthcare and industrial infrastructure facilities that includes working on projects for MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Hermann Healthcare Heart and Vascular Institute, Memorial Herman Mischer Neuroscience Institute and Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. 

Taylor is a graduate of Prairie View A & M University and has a Master of Business Administration, Finance from the University of Houston.  His professional affiliations include the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers and the Project Management Institute.

Sanjay Ramabhadran
Ramabhadran is managing partner at VERSA Group LLC.  Before that he was vice president of CP&Y- an architectural and engineering consulting firm - a principal at Arcadis Engineering and project manager for Lockwood, Andrews & Newman, Inc.  He has extensive civic and community involvement that includes board positions, membership and service to more than a dozen local organizations. 

Ramabhadran was selected as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce in 2012 and as one of the Five Outstanding Young Texans & Houstonians by the Texas Jaycees & Houston Jaycees in 2011 and 2010.  He holds a Master of Science Civil Engineering degree from Texas A&M University and a Bachelor of Science in Instrumentation Engineering.

Christof Spieler
Spieler is vice president and director of planning for the Houston office of Morris Architects, where he works on a variety of public and private planning projects and heads efforts on Building Information Modeling.  Prior to joining Morris, Spieler worked as a consulting structural engineer. He teaches at Rice University’s School of Architecture and advises student design-build programs at Rice and the University of Houston.

Spieler, who relies on METRO for most of his daily trips, has written and spoken extensively on transit and urban planning and has helped Houston neighborhoods shape transportation projects.  He holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Rice University. He was named one of Mass Transit Magazine's "40 under 40" in 2013, Rice's Outstanding Young Engineering Alumnus in 2009 and one of Building Design and Construction Magazine's "40 under 40" in 2008.

Mayor Turner previously nominated Carrin Patman to be the new chair of the METRO board. City Council will be asked to confirm the mayor’s selections at its March 23, 2016, meeting.