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. Also, in recognition of his years of service, CATA’s new administration and maintenance building was named for Dr. Spychalski during the 2018 facility dedication and open house.

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 since 1968. 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 - Harris Township

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

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 adult children and four grandsons.

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.

Mark Parfitt - Patton Township

Mark Parfitt joined the CATA Board of Directors in 2016 as a representative from Patton Township.

Mark is the founder of Mark Parfitt Consulting, a management and marketing company based in State College. Prior to launching his own business, Mark spent nearly a decade in strategic marketing for higher education, including the rebranding and repositioning of SUNY Adirondack near Lake George, NY and the development of a nationwide talent acquisition marketing strategy for job openings at Penn State’s 24 campuses across Pennsylvania. His work has been recognized as the recipient of multiple industry awards, including a Mark of Excellence award from the American Marketing Association.

Mark earned a Master of Business Administration from the State University of New York — Empire State College, a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership from Saint Francis University, and an Associate in Specialized Business in Business Administration — Management & Marketing from South Hills School of Business & Technology.

Richard Kipp

Mark grew up in the Centre Region and currently lives near the Wildernest development in Patton Township. The countless events and activities, first-class resources, and strong economy are all reasons he enjoys living, working, and volunteering in the State College area.

Kelly Felix - State College Borough

Kelly Felix joined the CATA board of directors in 2017 as the representative for State College Borough.

Kelly is an Assistant Vice President with Reliance Bank. She specializes in residential mortgage lending. She has been in the mortgage/banking industry for 17 years. Reliance Bank is a mutually owned, community financial institution.

She graduated with a degree in Environmental Science from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

Kelly was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area. She currently resides in State College Borough with her husband David and two daughters Maya and Norah.  She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and multiple outdoor activities. Kelly loves being a part of the Centre County community and all that it has to offer.

Louwana Oliva, Secretary - 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, where she served as Director of Communications and then Assistant Executive Director at the Akron METRO Regional Transit Authority. 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 General Manager, her focus has been 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 and administrative offices for the expanding staff. CATA has now replaced 40 buses, as well as added five additional vehicles to its 71-vehicle fixed route service fleet, and is more than half way through a $32 million facility expansion project.

Louwana Oliva

Ms. Oliva serves on the Human Resources Committee and as a national mentor and steering committee member for the Emerging Leaders Program 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 graduate of Leadership APTA and a member of the Small Operations Committee. In addition, she chairs the Human Resources Committee for the Pennsylvania Public Transportation Association (PPTA), serves on the board at PennTRAIN (Pennsylvania Transportation Resources and Information Network) and has served on the SAFTI (State Association for Transportation Insurance) workers’ compensation pool board of directors.

Since moving to the State College community, Ms. Oliva has become involved with several local organizations, previously serving on the board of the State College Food Bank, as secretary for 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, and with the Junior Women’s Club where she chaired the Elves Shop, which raises funds to assist local non-profit organizations.

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