Western District Officers Election


The results of our Western District elections were announced at the annual meeting in Anchorage. Congratulations to our newly-elected officers!

2011/2012 Officer LIST:

  • President: Alyssa Reynolds
  • Vice President: Walter Okitsu
  • Secretary-Treasurer: Karen Aspelin
  • International Director: Monica Suter

Original Post:

All members are encouraged to vote.  Regardless of how you vote, please vote and make your voice be heard. The deadline for voting electronically has been set as late as possible to allow you to meet and/or learn about the Western District candidates before voting.  Thanks for helping the Western District serve its members efficiently and effectively!


  • Candidate for President: Alyssa Reynolds
  • Candidate for Vice President: Walter Okitsu
  • Candidate for Secretary-Treasurer: Karen Aspelin
  • Candidate for Secretary-Treasurer: Cathy Leong
  • Candidate for International Director: Patrick Gibson
  • Candidate for International Director: Doug Smith
  • Candidate for International Director: Monica Suter



Alyssa Reynolds, P.E.

City of Henderson

I am honored to be selected as a candidate for Western District President.  ITE has meant a lot to me both professionally and personally, and I value every opportunity to give back to the organization. As Western District President, I pledge my time and effort to maintaining the excellent service, programs, and outreach Western District members have come to expect of our leaders.  I also pledge to continue the innovation and progressive nature that has been the hallmark of our District.

During these challenging times, relevancy is particularly important for a professional society.  Why should an individual spend precious funds to maintain society membership?  The District should provide training, services and information exchange that are useful to the average member while keeping costs affordable.  Efficient and regular communication through appropriate and accessible mediums can assist in this effort.  Extra communication effort should be focused on outreach to students, younger members, and agency members to ensure connectedness and continuity within the Institute. Additionally, fiscal responsibility should also be a primary consideration of the District.  District funds should be used efficiently and prudently, while maximizing relevancy to members.

I’ve been a member of ITE since my undergraduate years at Montana State University.  I served as the student chapter president in 2000/2001.  Shortly after arriving in Nevada, I was elected to the Nevada Chapter Board, and following my service in Nevada, I was elected to the Intermountain Section Board.  The geography and structure of our section is unique to the District.  This structure affords extra years of ITE experience as well as experience dealing with both local and region-wide ITE issues.  In addition to serving as an officer, I was appointed to be the Western District Student and Faculty Initiatives Chair in 2005, which allowed me to continue my contact with students and young professionals.  During my service with ITE, I have had the good fortune to attend ITE conferences at the Section, District and International levels and to learn firsthand how positive and beneficial those experiences can be for all members.

I’m currently employed with the City of Henderson, a progressive and customer-service oriented agency.  My primary duties include traffic engineering studies, asset management, safe routes to school, and citizen interaction.  Prior to joining the City I worked for Orth-Rodgers & Associates performing a variety of duties from travel demand forecasting to traffic signal design. My employer supports and encourages ITE participation.


Walter Okitsu, PE, PTOE, PTP (Fellow)

Principal, KOA Corporation

In my current term as Secretary-Treasurer of ITE’s Western District, I have developed not only a better understanding of the financial and administrative aspects of this district, but also the processes involved in running an efficient and successful operation. I have developed a deep appreciation for the efforts of the various officers, directors, and committee chairs, and I vow to match their vigorous efforts as District Vice President.

I recognize that the last few years have not been good for most professional technical societies in the US, but our Western District has managed to retain its membership and actually grow. When I talk to officers of societies representing electrical engineers, chemical engineers, and mechanical engineers, they are envious of ITE’s success in avoiding the shrinkage that they’ve been suffering. We can attribute our success in part due to the student initiative program of the last decade that has provided a youthful vitality to our District. We also benefit from having what was effectively a “rainy day fund”, building decent financial reserves during the boom years so that we could maintain our programs.

One more thing that works in our District’s favor is that we cover the most wonderful geographic area in the world, making for some outstanding travel opportunities for our families in conjunction with the Annual Meetings. My wife and two elementary school-aged children have attended the last 5 Annual Meetings, ever since I served as technical session chair for the Honolulu 2006. It’s been a pretty easy sell since then: Portland, Disneyland, Denver, and San Francisco. I hope to encourage more of our members to recognize the benefits such combining of career training and vacation time. I look forward to seeing all of you in Anchorage this summer.

Our members are seeing the value of ITE membership, and I will strive to have our District live up to that loyalty. I am honored to be nominated for this important position, giving me the opportunity to continue serving the Western District.


Karen Aspelin, P.E., P.T.O.E.

After a dozen years of service to the District, I am excited by the prospect of serving in a leadership position.  My experience serving the Institute includes:

Technical Committee Chair, Western District, 2003-present

International Student Data Collection Liaison–2009-2010

New Mexico Section Officer, 1999-2002

Local Arrangements Committee General Chair, District 6 Annual Meeting, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2001

ITE International Outstanding Executive Committee Member, 2000-2001

Traffic Engineering Council Executive Committee, 1995-2001

ITE Member since 1994

I received a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Virginia (1991) and an M.S. in civil engineering from Texas A&M University (1993).  Although A&M had a very active student chapter, it was not until I started working as a professional in Las Vegas, Nevada that I was introduced to ITE, when my co-workers invited me to an ITE chapter luncheon.  When I moved to Albuquerque in 1995 I received a warm reception from the New Mexico ITE section, too.  Soon afterward I became the general chair of the year 2001 District annual meeting, which I have compared to orchestrating a three-day wedding for 400 of your closest friends.  From 2002 to 2007 I put my career on the back burner to raise my two children and be primarily a stay-at-home mom until they were both in school.  During that time I continued my service to ITE as the technical committee chairperson.

I believe all of these experiences have provided me with an excellent background to serve as the District’s next secretary-treasurer. As an officer, I will have the following three main priorities:

Fiscal responsibility – I will vote to spend the District’s money as if it were my own, carefully considering what the District is getting in return for each dollar spent.

Make student participation in the annual meetings meaningful. Students receive full registrations for our annual meetings for nearly free, with nothing expected in return.  We need to ensure that this opportunity is used by these students as a stepping stone into our industry and not just as a junket subsidized by other meeting attendees.

Focus on the technical products of our District.  We often get wrapped up in meeting just to plan the next meeting.  Our members and student members have a tremendous amount of knowledge that it is ITE’s responsibility to share among its members.

Thank you!


Cathy Leong, P.E., ITE Fellow

I am honored to be selected as a candidate for Secretary-Treasurer for the Western District and look forward to the opportunity to continue serving ITE.  As the Chair of the District’s Student Endowment Committee, I have become acquainted with a number of Western District officers and, through this interaction, have developed a keen understanding the goals and needs of the District.

Vision and Goals

Continued support for the Student Endowment Fund and student initiatives programs.  The implementation of the strategic and investment plans that I helped to develop for the Endowment Fund will ensure the sustainability of our student programs.

Advocate fiscal responsibility for our District including promoting the affordability of District meetings and events.

Improve District responsiveness to the needs of our members.  Coming from the Hawaii Section, I understand that rapid responses are necessary to overcome the physical separation between our sections and chapters.

ITE Service and Leadership Roles

During my 15+ years as an ITE member, I have had the opportunity to serve in a variety of service and leadership roles that have provided me with first-hand experience regarding the needs of members at both the student and full member levels.  Since 2008, I have served as the Chair of the District’s Student Endowment Fund Committee and have worked diligently with my committee to grow the Endowment Fund from $50k to over $250k.  Prior to that, I served as the LAC General Chair for the 2006 District Annual Meeting held in Hawaii which was a great success with over 400 attendees.  I have also remained active on the Section level serving as mentor for the University of Hawaii ITE Student Chapter for their Western District Data Collection Fund projects.

Professional Qualifications

Currently, I am a Project Manager and Senior Traffic Engineer with the Traffic and Transportation Group at Wilson Okamoto Corporation (WOC) in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Over the last 13 years at WOC, I have had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of traffic and transportation projects.  In addition, I have been fortunate to receive a number of ITE and professional awards during my career including the following:

2007-2008 Young Professional Achievement Award by the Western District

2007 Young Engineer of the Year, selected by the Hawaii Society of Professional Engineers

Presidential Proclamation, 2005, for service as 2006 Annual Meeting LAC General Chair


Patrick A. Gibson, PE, PTOE

Fellow, ITE

I am a second generation traffic engineer – ITE is in my DNA.  Growing up, most family vacations were spent at hotels that just happened to be hosting the International ITE Annual Meeting.

My father was Deputy Traffic Engineer for the City of Detroit and then Director of Traffic Safety Engineering for the Auto Club of Michigan (AAA), so I started counting cars and reading collision diagrams very early.

He was General Chairman of the 1974 Annual Meeting in Detroit, and I got drafted for the Local Arrangements Committee.  He was elected to the International Board of Directors, serving from 1975-78.

Over the past 42 years, I have been an active member of three different Sections – Illinois, San Francisco, and Southern California.

My son – third generation ITE – is a member of the San Diego Section.

I have been on the Western District Board as the WesternITE Editor, a member of the Student Initiatives Committee, and as the Chair of the Student Endowment Fund.  I ran the James H. Kell Student Competition multiple times, and I serve as the UCLA Student Chapter Faculty Advisor.

I have participated in International and Section Technical Committees on shopping center design, shared parking, trip generation, stop sign applications, and mixed-use development.

My 15 years of part-time teaching at San Jose State University, East Los Angeles College, and UCLA give me an appreciation for how fast the profession is changing and how tough it is for students to find a job.

Two years ago I started my own transportation consulting firm.  I have a staff of ten talented people that make it possible for me to run for International Director.


In the current economy, ITE faces real challenges as we struggle to find jobs for our young engineers and keep our current staffs trained and gainfully employed.

ITE must spend its limited resources delivering services that most directly benefit its members.  Tough choices must be made about which existing services to maintain and which new initiatives to pursue.

Student-focused programs that attract talent to the profession must continue.

ITE’s recent use of email and webinars are examples of cost-effective technical applications that maximize communication with our members.

I consider it an honor to be one of the two people nominated by the Western District Board to run for International Director. I will do my best to represent you, and I would appreciate your vote.


Douglas E Smith, P.E. (Member)
Vice President, URS Corporation,

Santa Ana, CA

I am honored to have been offered the opportunity to be a candidate for International Director (ID) of the Western District. As ID, you act as a liaison between the district and international ITE. This provides me with the opportunity to continue to work with people I respect through ITE. As your representative at the international board level, I bring 30 years of professional experience obtained while serving in many different elected or appointed positions at ITE Section and Western District levels. I believe that ITE is the best professional organization available to planners and engineers. I will work to represent our district and improve the international organization.

In past involvement, I have served many roles within ITE. Locally, I have worked my way through the Southern California section from Technical Chairman to Past President.  I served as the Technical Co-Chair for the 2002 Annual Meeting in Palm Desert.  Most recently, my experience as WesternITE Managing Editor provided me with knowledge of the functions of the institute that will guide my actions.  I have attended most of the Western District Annual Meetings since 1991.  Recently, I have focused on becoming more involved at the national level through work on the Traffic Engineering Council executive committee and the Sustainability Task Force.

ITE is a great organization. I want to continue the strong initiatives that have been supported previously.  In addition to supporting ITE’s Mega Issues, I have five primary goals as International Director:

Represent the district at the international level with emphasis on keeping the district strong

Continue to support the successful Student Endowment Fund while expanding it to insure that students we support find jobs in our industry

Provide members with solid programs that are affordable and family friendly

Control spending to insure our financial stability as an organization

Finally, work at the national, state and local level to educate our political leaders and the public on why we should continue to fund transportation programs

In the current environment, we have many challenges facing our industry. keeping our eye on long term goals is very important.  As International Director, my goal will be to think and act in the long term interests of International ITE and the Western District.  I look forward to your support in these efforts.


Monica M. Suter, PE, TE, PTOE

City of Santa Ana, CA

I’m honored to have served as Western District President (2008-2009).  “Promoting the Profession” is a Western District Strategic Goal.  As your President, I shared my “Getting to ‘Yes’ With the Public & Elected Officials” presentation throughout the District to promote our profession through enhanced communication/sales skills.  These tools are critical to achieve safety for all transportation users.

I manage a traffic engineering team for the City, have 23 years of private/public sector experience, and joined ITE as a student.  I’ve presented/published several International and District papers and I’m only one of two District Board voting members from a public agency.   My passionate involvement and leadership at the International/District/Section levels has prepared me for International Director.

Significant District progress has been made toward the “Vision and Goals,” below.  We had record student attendance at last year’s District meeting and substantial Student Endowment Fund growth.   We have also kept registration costs relatively low given the challenging economy and look forward to broadening our transportation knowledge together, this July, in scenic Anchorage, Alaska.

International Directors serve on both the Western District and International Boards of Direction.   As International Director, my recent Western District Board experience is relevant to further achieving the below goals, internationally.  Many Western District ideas have been adopted by International given the strong leadership we’ve had from our region.


Promote the Profession/Enhance Communication

Improve Member Value/Cost Benefit

Encourage Webinar & Council Participation

Promote Transportation Safety for All Users

Ensure International/District Fiscal Responsibility

Mentor Students/Professionals, Cross-Generationally


ITE Western District Officer 2006-2010 & *2011:  Secretary-Treasurer through *1st Past President (*Twice), President 2008-2009

ITE Southern California Section, 2000-2005:  Secretary-Treasurer through 2nd Past President, President 2002-2003.  Received District 6 and International Best Section Awards 2003 & Section’s Young Transportation Engineer Award 2001

Orange County Traffic Engineering Council 1997-2002:  Secretary-Newsletter Editor/Treasurer through 2nd Past President, President 1999-2000


International:  Public Agency Council, Vice Chair 2006-2009

Western District Award Committee Evaluator:

Lifetime & Individual Achievement Award 2003 & 2010-2011

Young Professional Achievement Award 2005

Student Chapter Reports/Papers Award & James H. Kell Student Competition Judge 2004


National Committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices Technical Member 2007-Current & ITE Associate Member 2011

Co-Instructor for “MUTCD Update Course” UC Berkeley Tech-Transfer 2006-2009

I respectfully request your vote, comments & suggestions!   (714) 647-5645  &   msuter@santa-ana.org

Electronic Voting

The Western District is again offering its members the convenience of on-line voting.  Your on-line ballot to vote in the Western District election will be accessible beginning Wednesday, June 8, 2011, and on-line voting will close Monday, July 11, 2011 at midnight EDT. If you are a voting member of ITE, and had a valid e-mail address on file with International Headquarters as of June 1st, you will receive an e-mail message from ElectionsOnLine with instructions on how to vote electronically.  Login at www.electionsonline.us/election with your username and the password provided in the e-mail message from “election” with the subject of “Vote Now!”

Paper Ballot Voting

Members wishing to vote by paper ballot can request them via phone (323) 260-4703 x 3121, fax (213) 985-0761, e-mail: wokitsu@koacorporation.com or by regular mail to: Walter Okitsu, P.E., PTP, PTOE

ITE Western District Secretary-Treasurer

Principal, KOA Corporation

1100 Corporate Center Drive, #201

Monterey Park, CA 91030

Paper ballot requests must be received no later than Monday, June 27, 2011, and completed ballots returned to the Secretary-Treasurer no later than Wednesday, July 6, 2011.  Completed ballots may also be returned in person at the Annual Business Meeting on Tuesday, July 12, 2011.

If you need help voting electronically or have questions on the electronic or paper ballot, please contact the District Administrator, Jenny Grote, at 602-262-7217 or jenny.grote@phoenix.gov.

Don’t mix them up

Elections for ITE International officers may be occurring simultaneously as Western District’s, so you may receive multiple messages from ElectionsOnLine.  Please be sure to read each one to ensure that you vote in both elections.

Please Vote

All members are encouraged to vote.  Regardless of how you vote, please vote and make your voice be heard. The deadline for voting electronically has been set as late as possible to allow you to meet and/or learn about the Western District candidates before voting.  Thanks for helping the Western District serve its members efficiently and effectively!

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