Board of Directors profiles

John C. Spychalski, Chairman - Ferguson Township

Dr. Spychalski has been a member of the CATA Board of Directors as a representative of Ferguson Township since 1980 and currently serves as Chairman of the Board. He has ridden public transportation in State College regularly since the early 1970s. Dr. Spychalski earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from St. Joseph’s College in Indiana, and Master of Business Administration and Doctor of Business Administration degrees from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.

Dr. Spychalski is Professor Emeritus of Supply Chain Management in the Smeal College of Business at Pennsylvania State University. Transportation-related subject matter has been the primary focus of his teaching and research throughout his academic career. From 1978 to 2006, he served as editor of the Transportation Journal, a refereed periodical for the publication of research-based articles on topics in transportation, logistics and supply chain management. He has participated in numerous transport-focused professional meetings in both North America and Europe..

John C. Spychalski

In 2015, chairman Spychalski received the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Outstanding Board Member Award for over three decades of service on the CATA board and overall contributions to the public transportation industry.

Dr. Spychalski and his wife, Mary Ann, have two adult children and three grandchildren. The Spychalskis have lived in the Park Hills subdivision of Ferguson Township for over thirty-five years. Dr. Spychalski’s stress-relieving activities include studying of the history of all modes of transport in all parts of the world, and the building of “O” scale operating models of early-to-mid-twentieth century interurban and intraurban electric railway equipment.

Joseph L. Davidson, Vice Chairman – College Township

Mr. Davidson has represented College Township on the CATA Board of Directors since 1995. He had been nominated by a former College Township Council Member that thought Mr. Davidson was qualified for the position, having been a part-time Campus LOOP bus driver. He still holds his Commercial Driver's License with passenger and air brake endorsements.

Mr. Davidson has over thirty five years of retail business, management and some finance experience. He currently serves as the Centre County Recorder of Deeds. He is a life long Centre Region resident, and a graduate of Penn State with a degree in Business Administration.

Joe lives in the same home in Harris Acres in College Township that’s been in his family for over fifty years. He lives there with his wife, Wendy and their son Hayden. In his spare time, Joe enjoys collecting and operating Lionel toy trains and is a muscle car enthusiast. He also serves as an active member and past Chief of the Boalsburg Fire Company and as Chartered Organization Representative for Boy Scout Troop 31 in State College.

Joseph L. Davidson

Richard Kipp, Treasurer – Harris Township

Mr. Kipp has served on the CATA Board of Directors as the Harris Township representative since 1993 and as the Board Treasurer since 1999.

Mr. Kipp graduated from Penn State and the Cleveland Institute of Art, with degrees in graphic design and industrial design. He began work as an automobile designer in 1969 in Warren, Michigan with the Chevrolet Division of General Motors. He later worked as a consumer products designer for the Westinghouse Corporation and GTE Sylvania. He was employed by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences for 38 years as a designer, manager, and associate director, retiring in 2010.

Mr. Kipp was born in New Kensington, PA, and was raised there and in suburban Philadelphia. He and his wife Phyllis, a free-lance graphic designer and artist, have three children and three grandchildren.

Richard Kipp

Following many years in metropolitan areas, the Kipps thrive on the life of Centre County with its mix of rural residents and students from around the world. Mr. Kipp supports transit as a valuable community resource, and continues to use public transit regularly.

Wendy Pardee - Patton Township

Dr. Pardee joined the CATA Board of Directors as the representative of Patton Township in November of 2015. She is the Chief Executive Officer for Skills of Central PA, a large multi county provider of intellectual disability and behavioral health services.  Dr. Pardee has enjoyed over fifteen years in the human service sector, including her previous position as the Chief Financial Officer for the Community Guidance Center, a behavioral healthcare provider in Indiana, PA.

Dr. Pardee has an interest in high performing nonprofits and achieving operational efficiencies. She has served on community health councils, local YMCA boards, community daycare boards, the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association board, the American Association of University Women, the Centre County Down Syndrome Society, and the Junior Women’s Club of State College.

She has undergraduate degrees in accounting and management of information systems, a Master’s in Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Administration and Leadership Studies.

Tom Kurtz

Dr Pardee enjoys taking the CATA football shuttle to the Penn State games, and in her spare time takes advantage of the numerous hiking and biking trails throughout Centre County.

Tammy Gentzel - State College Borough

Ms. Gentzel joined the CATA Board of Directors as the representative for State College Borough in December 2011. 

Ms. Gentzel has been the Executive Director of the Centre County United Way since 2010.  Prior to holding that position, she served as the Executive Director at Community Help Centre, the Regional Coordinator at Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways and a Project Coordinator at Penn State.

Ms. Gentzel previously chaired the Special Transportation Task Force which was formed to respond to gaps in transportation services that were identified through Voices, Values and Vision, the 1999 county wide needs assessment. She has also served as a community representative on the Centre County Office of Transportation Advisory Committee. 

Tammy Gentzel

Her professional leadership has included Treasurer, of the United Way of Pennsylvania, terms as President of Altrusa International, Inc. of Centre County; Secretary of the Centre County Council for Human Services; Secretary of PA 2-1-1; Co-Chair of The Partnership: Campus and Community United Against Dangerous Drinking; Co-Chair of the SCASD Citizens’ Advisory Group on School Safety; and Key Leader of the Centre Region Care Partnership.

Ms. Gentzel received her B.A. in Political Science from The Pennsylvania State University, and resides with her husband in the Holmes-Foster neighborhood of State College Borough.

Louwana Oliva - CATA General Manager

Louwana Oliva, became CATA’s first female General Manager on July 1, 2014. She has been employed in the public transportation industry for over 20 years, coming to State College from Akron, Ohio. Prior to this, Ms. Oliva’s varied career included positions in public relations, management and patient advocacy with a series of non-profit organizations including a trade association, the Girl Scouts and an Area Agency on Aging. She is a graduate of The University of Akron.

Ms. Oliva first came to CATA in 2010, serving as the Authority’s Assistant General Manager. As Assistant General Manager her focus was internal staff reorganization, replacement of CATA’s aging bus fleet, and design of new facilities for the maintenance and storage of CATA’s growing programs and fleet. During her tenure, CATA has replaced 40 of its 66 vehicles, as well as added five additional vehicles for fixed route service, and has broken ground on the new facilities which are expected to take three years to complete. A strategic plan is also underway..

Louwana Oliva

Ms. Oliva serves as the Vice Chair of the Human Resources Committee for the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), through which she is involved in national transit workforce development initiatives, and has presented training to the association’s leadership program on diversity issues in the industry. She is also a member of the Small Operations Steering Committee. She chairs the Human Resources Committee for the Pennsylvania Public Transportation Association (PPTA) .

Since moving to the State College community, Ms. Oliva has been involved with a number of local organizations such as the State College Food Bank, the Greentree Neighborhood Association, and as a member of the Community Development Block Grant Citizen’s Advisory Committee for the Borough of State College. Ms. Oliva has also been active with Leadership Centre County since her graduation from the program in 2011.

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