Acclaimed Transportation and Mobility Consultancy Nelson\Nygaard Hires City of Portland’s Top Transportation Leader as Managing Director
- Leah Treat will take the helm of Nelson\Nygaard August 1, bringing decades of experience in progressive public policy and programs to the private sector
- Treat is known for spearheading some of the nation’s most revolutionary and socially equitable urban mobility plans
- Strategic hire is a testament to the City of Portland’s global leadership in transportation and mobility innovation
PORTLAND, Oregon—May 14, 2018—Nelson\Nygaard, an internationally recognized transportation and planning consultancy, announced today that Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat will join the firm this summer as its new managing director.
Treat, who has led the 850-person, six-division bureau (known as PBOT) since 2013, is responsible for some of the city’s most innovative transportation and mobility policies and programs. These include Portland’s Vision Zero policy, which resulted in the installation of permanent, automated speed-detecting cameras on high-crash corridors; BIKETOWN, a partnership with Nike that led to the largest smart-bike bike-share system in the country; and new city design standards, which require protected bike lanes in new residential and commercial developments.
The move to Nelson\Nygaard on August 1 will be Treat’s first foray into the private sector. Both she and Nelson\Nygaard leaders believe the timing is right and the value is high.
“After a highly competitive national talent search, we are so pleased that Leah has accepted our invitation to join us at Nelson\Nygaard,” says Paul Jewel, Nelson\Nygaard’s current managing director. “We have found in her, hands-down, the most qualified, most capable, and most dynamic leader to take our firm to the next level—and to help deliver to our clients the most progressive transportation solutions in the world.”
Jewel, who had led Nelson\Nygaard since 2007, was actively involved in Treat’s recruitment and plans to move into a project-focused role once Treat takes over. Treat believes her transition to the role will be natural and immediately impactful.
“I’ve spent more than 20 years working in urban governments across the country, and most of that time has been in transportation. This has provided me with a comprehensive understanding of modern mobility challenges. Mobility is about more than getting from place to place quickly and easily; it’s also about how transportation intersects with education, health, jobs, and equity,” Treat says. “My experiences and broad exposure to urban politics will help both Nelson\Nygaard and the firm’s clients achieve their goals of safe, smart, and equitable transportation.”
Prior to her role at PBOT, Treat served as the managing deputy commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and deputy director of the District of Columbia’s Department of Transportation (DDOT). A native of New Mexico, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Professional Writing and a Master of Public Administration from the University of New Mexico. She joined the Board of Directors of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) in January 2018.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who has worked closely with Treat since he took office in January 2017, says it’s no surprise that Treat was Nelson\Nygaard’s top pick.
“Leah’s talent, combined with her passion and enthusiasm for her work, make her indispensable to the community she serves,” Wheeler says. “The citizens of the City of Portland—myself included—are fortunate to have benefited from her leadership over the past five years. She has helped our city to become the global exemplar of urban mobility and the gold standard for transportation innovation.”
As managing director of Nelson\Nygaard, Treat will continue to live and work in Portland, leading the consultancy from its local office downtown.
The new role will also afford Treat the opportunity to collaborate with Nelson\Nygaard’s parent company, global architecture and design firm Perkins+Will, on urban planning and place-making projects around the world. Already, Nelson\Nygaard is teamed up with Perkins+Will’s Mobility Research Lab on a number of game-changing developments and studies, including the design of San Francisco’s new Mission Rock District and the reimagining of Los Angeles’ Wilshire Boulevard, a joint venture with rideshare company Lyft.
“I was drawn to Nelson\Nygaard because it’s unique in the industry: it’s a consulting firm that puts people first. The company shares the values that have allowed Portland to be a global leader in sustainability by prioritizing walking, biking, and transit, and by making sure the benefits of its thriving economy are spread equitably,” Treat says. “I’m delighted to start this next chapter of my career, and I look forward to working alongside some of the warmest, brightest, and most talented people I’ve ever met.”
Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates is an internationally recognized firm committed to developing transportation systems that promote vibrant, sustainable, and accessible communities. Founded by two women in 1987, Nelson\Nygaard has grown from its roots in transit planning to a 130-person, full-service transportation firm with offices across the United States. Nelson\Nygaard puts people first, recognizing that transportation is not an end in itself but a platform for achieving broader community goals of mobility, equity, economic development, and healthy living. Built on consensus and a multimodal approach, the firm’s award-winning plans are renowned as practical and implementable. For more information, visit www.nelsonnygaard.com.
Perkins+Will is an interdisciplinary, research-based architecture and design firm established in 1935. Founded on the belief that design has the power to transform lives and enhance communities, we collaborate with clients all over the world to create healthy, sustainable places in which to live, learn, work, play, heal, move, and explore. More than 2,200 professionals across over 20 Perkins+Will design studios include some of the brightest minds in architecture, interior design, branded environments, urban design, and landscape architecture. Clients consistently turn to us for our leadership and expertise in areas like sustainability, resilience, health and wellness, and mobility. Additionally, our Research Labs catalyze innovative design technologies and solutions that result in better, smarter, more competitive built environments. In 2018, were named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in Architecture by Fast Company, and we are consistently ranked among the world’s top design firms. Our family of partner companies includes retail strategy and design consultancy Portland; sustainable transportation planning consultancy Nelson\Nygaard; healthcare technology planning firm Genesis; and luxury hospitality design firm Pierre-Yves Rochon (PYR). For more information, visit www.perkinswill.com.