Minnesota's Road to Volunteer Drivers Virtual Forum Series 3rd Stop: Volunteer Driver Recruitment and Promotion

Minnesota's Road to Volunteer Drivers Virtual Forum Series with State of Minnesota wordmark over an aerial view of a road and autumn leaves on trees

January 20, 2021


The third stop in the MCOTA volunteer driver virtual forum series, Minnesota's Road to Volunteer Drivers, focused on research about volunteer drivers in rural Minnesota and specific tips for recruiting volunteer drivers.

Forum Materials


Tom Gottfried

Tom Gottfried is executive director of the Minnesota Council on Transportation Access (MCOTA) and program director for mobility management with the Office of Transit and Active Transportation at the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), where he's served 30 years in various administrative roles. Tom has more than 40 years of transportation and transit experience from operations to management. Tom is a Metro State University graduate in business administration and has a master's in business management from the University of St. Thomas.

Tim Henkel

Tim Henkel is assistant commissioner for the modal planning and program management at MnDOT and serves as chair of numerous state and local committees, including MCOTA. During a transportation career of more than 35 years, he has worked with local government, the private sector, and MnDOT in several areas, including executive leadership of multimodal planning, program management, and project development and delivery. Tim also serves as chair of several national transportation committees for the Transportation Research Board (TRB), the Association of American State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO), and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP).

Julie Tesch

Julie Tesch has been president and CEO of the Center for Rural Policy and Development since 2018. The Center, based in Mankato, Minnesota, is a non-partisan, not-for-profit policy research organization dedicated to benefiting Greater Minnesota by providing policymakers with unbiased information and evaluation of issues from a rural perspective. Previously, Julie served as executive director of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture in Washington, D.C.

Whitney Oachs

Whitney Oachs is a second-year master's student in public policy at the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a researcher at the Center for Rural Policy and Development. Whitney is from the St. Croix River Valley in northwestern Wisconsin and has lived in the Twin Cities for the past seven years. She is dedicated to fostering understanding between urban and rural points of view through policy, education, and open dialogue.

Martin Lepak

Martin Lepak has worked as a transportation advocate with the transit division of the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) since 2013. His main focus is to recruit and train volunteer drivers to provide medical- and employment-related rides to individuals in northeastern Minnesota. Prior to COVID-19, the Arrowhead Transit volunteer-driver program had in excess of 250 active volunteer drivers providing rides to individuals in 14 northeastern counties. Martin also has served on the Saint Louis County Board of Commissioners and the AEOA Board of Directors. In addition, he served as weatherization manager for the Duluth AEOA weatherization office and, earlier in life, had a career in the printing industry before owning and operating his own residential construction business.

Professional Development Hours

To the best of our knowledge, this event meets the continuing education requirements for 1.0 Professional Development Hours (PDHs) credit. If you participated in this virtual forum and would like to request a PDH form, please email kkirk@umn.edu. We will email the form.

More Information

Please contact Kaydee Kirk at 612-626-5854 or kkirk@umn.edu with any questions.


Sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), the Minnesota Council on Transportation Access (MCOTA) in partnership with the Minnesota Volunteer Driver Coalition.