The Conference of Minority Transportation Officials recently honored Sharon Greene, director of HDR’s Finance Practice, as a recipient of the Women Who Move the Nation Award. Greene received the award during the sixth annual Celebrating Women Who Move the Nation breakfast in Washington, D.C., held each year during Women’s History Month. The awards celebrate outstanding women transportation executives whose contributions advance the industry.
Greene earned bachelor’s degrees in English and economics at Tufts University before entering Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. She earned a master’s degree in city and regional planning, one of only three women in her class.
Greene’s drive to improve communities stemmed from an experience prior to graduate school. She worked with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, conducting an alignment study for a new highway corridor. The corridor extended across undeveloped areas of Staten Island, connecting Brooklyn and New Jersey. The study process employed an innovative geographic information system and map overlay method to limit social and environmental costs, which irrevocably changed the future of highway corridor planning. In the process, Greene discovered a passion for transportation planning and policy, applied to Harvard and later joined the Boston chapter of the newly founded Women’s Transportation Seminar (now WTS International).
While Greene’s career started on the East Coast, many of the projects for which she is most recognized took root in other parts of the country. As executive director of the Los Angeles–San Diego Rail Corridor Joint Powers Authority, Greene was the chief architect behind the now landmark funding model used to create Metrolink, today a staple of transportation in Southern California and the second largest commuter rail network in the nation. Through her company, Sharon Greene + Associates, which she established in 1985, Greene went on to help many other agencies leverage funding and sophisticated finance for transportation infrastructure. She helped clients including the Utah Transit Authority, LA Metro, Valley Metro Rail in Phoenix, the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority and the Israeli Ministry of Transport.
HDR acquired Greene’s company in 2013 and today she is based in HDR’s Irvine, Calif., office. She continues to help clients use innovative finance to make great transportation infrastructure possible. Greene currently provides services for the robust Link Union Station project in Los Angeles, and the $8.2 billion Honolulu Rail Transit project in Hawaii. Her work has been cited by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Authority and other public sector clients as exemplary financial analyses for capital investments.
“The fact that Sharon is being recognized with this remarkable award is no surprise to any of us who work with her,” said HDR Transportation Group President Charlie O’Reilly. “She brings a visionary approach and extensive knowledge to address infrastructure funding and financing for our clients.”
Building on four decades in the industry, Greene applauds today’s greater inclusiveness in STEM education and advancements made possible by organizations such as COMTO. “It is a fantastic and necessary organization,” she said. “Joining the cadre of exceptional women who have been recognized with this honor in previous years makes it extra special.”