Safe Routes to School National Partnership Hires New Key Staff

2-26-07

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Deb Hubsmith, Coordinator, Safe Routes to School National Partnership,
415/454-7430
Robert Ping, State Network Manager, Safe Routes to School National Partnership 503/289-0441
Kathy Gutowsky, Program Associate, Safe Routes to School National Partnership
812/335-1844

Boulder, CO - The Safe Routes to School National Partnership, hosted by the Bikes Belong Foundation, has hired two new staff members—Robert Ping as state network manager and Kathy Gutowsky as program associate. With funding support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Bikes Belong Coalition, Ping and Gutowsky will join the Partnership in advancing Safe Routes to School (SRTS), a $612-million federal program designed to create safe, convenient, and fun opportunities for U.S. children to walk and bicycle to and from schools.

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership is a fast-growing network of more than 250 organizations and professional groups working to set goals, share best practices, secure funding and inform agencies that implement SRTS. Deb Hubsmith, coordinator of the SRTS National Partnership said, "With Robert and Kathy on board, we will take the Safe Routes to School movement to the next level."

As the state network manager, Ping will establish SRTS networks in 10 states to leverage resources and maximize SRTS federal funding by linking leaders associated with health, education, smart growth, youth, and bicycle/pedestrian issues. His efforts will be focused on identifying successful programs in states that have the greatest needs, and ensuring that statewide policy initiatives are developed to remove barriers associated with walking and bicycling to school.

Ping has provided SRTS technical services to Oregon communities and the Oregon Department of Transportation for the past three years, and remains chair of the Oregon Walk+Bike to School Committee and a liaison to the Oregon Safe Routes to School Advisory Committee. He formerly managed Portland, Oregon’s SRTS program, providing comprehensive services to 19 schools. Ping was appointed to the National Safe Routes to School Task Force in 2006, and is a member of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals. Formerly a San Francisco Bay area resident, he was administrative and communications director of the Bay Area’s Transportation and Land Use Coalition and worked as director of the Bicycle Community Project. He was also director of Pedal Power youth education programs and the associate director of Trips for Kids-Marin, focusing on serving low-income youth. Robert has more than 20 years experience in youth non-profit program management and has been an alternative transportation and environmental advocate for 25 years.

As program associate for the SRTS National Partnership, Gutowsky will provide program, communications, and administrative support for the Partnership. In that role, Gutowsky will develop the Partnership’s information database, produce written and electronic materials, conduct research on SRTS issues, and manage and maintain the Partnership’s new website that will serve all 50 states.

Based in Bloomington, Indiana, Gutowsky has 15 years experience providing print and web-based marketing solutions and project management to regional and national non-profits and corporations. She has developed databases, maintained websites, and provided media outreach and writing for events that have included the Tour de France, the Amgen Tour of California, the Tour de Georgia, and the ESPN X Games. She spearheaded the launch of a local SRTS program in Bloomington in 2005, and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in information architecture at Indiana University. Her cycling background includes work as a guide and program manager for VéloSport Vacations.

Bikes Belong Coalition
The Colorado-based Bikes Belong Coalition is the national coalition of bicycle suppliers and retailers working together to put more people on bicycles more often. Through national leadership, grassroots grants, and promotion, Bikes Belong works to make bicycling safe, convenient, and fun. For more information, visit bikesbelong.org.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful, and timely change. For more than 30 years, the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org.