PBOT hires communications chief and new ‘equity and inclusion’ manager

PBOT hires communications chief and new ‘equity and inclusion’ manager


John Brady (L) and Zan Gibbs will assume major roles July 27th.
(Photos: Linkedin)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has announced two major new hires: a Communications Director and an Equity and Inclusion Manager.

Both people should be a big help to PBOT Director Leah Treat and Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick as they press forward with Portland Progress, a two-year workplan launched back in February.

The new Communications Director is John Brady. Brady has an impressive resume that includes stints as a university professor (he has a PhD in political science), journalist, political advisor, speechwriter, and more. Originally from southern California, Brady worked in the office of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for eight years. During that time his various positions included Housing Policy Coordinator, Transportation Policy Director and Deputy Director of Communications. Most notably, Brady handled the messaging and implementation around L.A.’s citywide bicycle plan.

Brady, whose @JSBinthe503 Twitter account includes retweets of Janette Sadik-Khan, L.A. bike share and affordable housing news, moved to the Portland area in 2013 to take a job with Nike where he’s currently employed as a senior writer in their global communications office.

At PBOT Brady will manage all internal and external messaging as well as the development of a strategic communications plan. The position pays $99,600 per year at the top end (not including benefits).

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PBOT will shake up their communications department a bit to make room for Brady. According to spokesman Dylan Rivera, the bureau has eliminated the position held by Diane Dulken. Dulken was hired in May 2013 along with Rivera to handle media relations. Rivera is now the Public Information Officer and will report to Brady. PBOT plans to hire another person to handle public involvement later this year.

In related news, PBOT now has an Equity and Inclusion Manager for the first time ever.

Zan Gibbs has been hired to fill this new position. Gibbs brings, “20 years of experience designing and implementing equity programs and training modules in Portland,” said a statement from PBOT Director Leah Treat. After three years working on the programs side at the Community Cycling Center, Gibbs left in 2012 to train health workers in Rwanda, Africa. After that she worked for non-profits with a focus on training them how to make sure their programs were as inclusive as possible. She most recently worked as Racial Justice Trainer for Western States Center.

At PBOT, Gibbs will be called on as a “technical resource and a leader in advancing equity goals.” As we reported back in February, this is a high-profile position that PBOT says will impact “all areas and functions” of the 750-person bureau.

If you’re curious what exactly PBOT means by “equity,” here’s how they define it as it relates to their Safe Routes to School program:

“… policies that increase the accessibility of transportation choices and their benefits to currently and historically underserved populations, including people of color, people experiencing poverty, people with disabilities, and people who experience language barriers.”

PBOT Director Treat has made equity a priority. She has put together an internal Equity Committee made up of 14 PBOT staffers from each department in the agency.

Gibbs’ position pays $104,280 per year at the top end of the range.

Brady and Gibbs start their new positions on July 27th.

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