Valerie is an international expert in rural transportation and mobility as a service in low population density communities. In less than a year, Feonix has launched programs in 5 states with notable partners, including the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center, Easterseals, the AARP Office of Driver Safety, and the Michigan Department of Transportation.
Prior to Feonix, she spent 2 ½ years leading one of the nation’s top mobility start-ups - Liberty Mobility Now, the first rural-focused Mobility as a Service (MaaS) provider in the US. The start-up was serving more than 300 zip codes across 3 time zones and had a national agreement with UnitedHealthcare.
Lefler was featured by Smithsonian Magazine, as one of the "Top 9 Innovators to Watch in 2018" and also was highlighted in publications such as the New York Times, NPR, and the Christian Science Monitor.
Before starting Liberty, Lefler worked at the University of Nebraska at Omaha where Valerie served as a Principal Investigator on a $1 million grant to improve rural public transportation for the Nebraska Department of Transportation. Working with 62 rural transit providers and 103 nonprofit agencies she assisted organizations with Title VI civil rights regulations as well as expanding their public involvement activities which in-part led to dramatic increases in rural transit ridership statewide.
Prior to being involved in public transportation, Ms. Lefler served as Program Coordinator for the University of Nebraska‐Lincoln Nebraska Transportation Center and the Mid‐America Transportation Center from 2003 – 2013 where she had the opportunity to manage research activities with over 150 faculty from 8 universities in 13 different academic disciplines.
Valerie has over 15 years of project management experience, involving over $37 million in nationally recognized research, education, and technology transfer initiatives. She has worked extensively with program sponsors at the state and federal levels, including, but not limited to, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration, U.S. DOT Federal Transit Administration, the U.S. DOT Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, the National Academy of Sciences Transportation Research Board, the Nebraska Department of Transportation, and the Nebraska Department of Education.
In 2005 Valerie graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln with a degree in Business Administration after studying International Economics abroad at the University of Oxford. She received her master’s degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in Public Management from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2012.
Ms. Lefler grew up on a large family dairy farm in southeast Nebraska, where they managed over 300 cattle and 700 acres of crop producing land.
Kate Schramm graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Biology from the University of South Dakota. Kate specializes in building connections and creating partnerships within communities to create effective change. She has worked for non-profits, educational institutions, religious institutions, and most recently as an Area Manager for Liberty Mobility Now, a rural-focused (MaaS) Mobility as a Service start-up. Instituting positive change in her home community has always been a way of life for Kate. She continues to volunteer as a board member for the transit system in her hometown, Yankton Transit. In addition to Yankton Transit, Kate is on the board for Keep Yankton Beautiful and volunteers with United Way LINC and SPARK, Pathways Shelter for the Homeless, the City of Yankton Parks and Recreation Committee, and the Optimist Club. Kate has made it her personal and professional mission to use her desire to serve and ability to lead to put all of the necessary pieces together to remove mobility barriers and create positive mobility solutions in communities around the world.
Kitty Schmersal graduated from Bellevue University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. She has a diverse background in developing and maturing Business Continuity programs in multiple industries. Kitty’s areas of expertise include project management, incident response management, information security administration, risk management assessments, third-party vendor review criteria, and internal auditing enhancements.
Kitty’s skills include planning, proof of concepts, customizing applications, client presentations, training, and preparing executive summaries. Kitty has enjoyed roles as an application specialist for a Department of Defense project, and as a leader for incident response teams following natural and man-made disasters.
Kitty is excited about joining Feonix - Mobility Rising and serving others with their mobility needs.
Heather graduated from Southeast Community College in 2008. Having a background in nursing, experience working in rural hospitals, home health, long term care and family medicine organizations, she understands the mission and value that transportation accessibility directly impacts the health of patients and their access to care.
In addition to nursing, Ms.Gaytan has a background in sales, business, and event planning. She is excited to be working with Feonix to have the opportunity to help with the mission of empowering communities to improve their access to care and employment.
Heather is married and has 2 boys. She grew up in Southeast Nebraska on a dairy and learned the value of hard work at an early age.
Jen started her professional career as a nurse. However, once she entered the work force, she quickly realized she loved the interaction with her patients but did not enjoy the job itself. This led her to pursue her BA in Human Relations with a Minor in Psychology from Doane College. Her decision to change careers became the turning point in her life. Jen joined the insurance industry upon graduation. Experience started in auto claims and moved forward into life insurance. Jen gained valuable skills working in the insurance field such as problem-solving to establish liability,
reading and analyzing policy books gave her the ability to allow her to make fair decisions, and patience and empathy to help customers out of chaos.
Jen is a world traveler. Her travels to the Philippines and Brazil, where she observed severe poverty and hardship, left her with a concern for those in need. That concern has grown into a passion for helping the underserved. Her personal and professional life experiences have brought her to the position at Feonix where she can showcase and utilize her skills for a better cause. Her proven skills in
organizing, prioritizing, and problem-solving have helped her be successful in her role as Office Coordinator. Her responsibilities include accounts receivable, accounts
payable, payroll, human resources, and assisting staff and executives with their needs. She enjoys wearing the many hats and will never turn down the opportunity to learn and grow.
Jessica is a seasoned account manager and a great resource for our team. She has worked at companies such as Gallup, Kawasaki, and Liberty Mobility Now, where she was an assistant call center manager and fleet manager. Combined, she has 10 years of experience in communication and customer service. Jessica is also very passionate about her hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska and became a published poet at the age of 9.
Colin is a great addition to the team with skills in coding, development, and project management. He attended the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, as a Software Engineering student, and received related work experience through Networks, a local non-profit. With his passion for automobiles and driving, he aims to better the lives of those who are unable or choose not to drive themselves, through technology.
April is a professional artist with a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln (UNL). She has varied interests including design, photography, printmaking, ceramic sculpture, and fluid painting media. In addition to a background in art, Ms. Edwards spent 15 years in the service industry coordinating banquets and events, and 7 years working administratively in graphic design, project management, and event coordination at UNL. April has most recently spent time working as a professional newborn photographer and marketing for a local non-profit.
Ferris is a great asset to the team as the decorated videographer. He has earned multiple awards from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, as well as several more from independent exhibitions in Nebraska and Iowa. He is also the proud recipient of two Addy Awards for his work. He is currently a junior at UNL working towards a degree in Graphic Design.
Erin is a graphic designer with nearly a decade’s experience in the field of print and digital design, marketing, and communications. She graduated from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln in 2011 with a Bachelor of Fine Art degree, and has applied that degree toward jobs in a variety of fields. She has always come back to transportation and transportation technologies, however, and is especially thrilled to be helping under-privileged communities get assistance and uplifting through Feonix.
In her spare time, Erin can be found throwing herself headlong into any of a dozen personal projects or working with her two dogs, Ellie and Lucky. Ellie is a feisty performance dog who learns a new trick nearly every day, and Lucky is a frisbee machine, recently earning global placements in his preferred sport, K9 Toss & Fetch.
Kristyn’s educational, professional, and personal experiences are a patchwork quilt of preparation for her role with the team at Feonix. Kristyn graduated with honors from Ohio University with a BS in Organizational Communication and a concentration in Educational Psychology.
Throughout her career, Kristyn has worked with organizations that are driven to further learning, wellness, and community engagement. Kristyn joins Feonix having previously served as a classroom teacher, yoga teacher, office manager, and health-care social worker. Through relocations with her family, she has established herself in local communities across the country, including Ohio, California, West Virginia, and Arizona.
Kristyn’s personal purpose has been to create space within organizations where inspiring ideas and solutions are cultivated. As Content Curator, she will share the powerful stories that empower drivers, riders, and communities.
Kristyn lives in Columbus, Ohio with her family. Beyond her work with Feonix, Kristyn enjoys movement at all times. She is active with her family in the woods and on the river.
Kristyn teaches yoga in her community and is active in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committees in her school district.
Prior to starting work for Feonix in 2018, Holly was employed in the customer service industry for 5 years. She attended Southeast Community College in her hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska after graduating high school. She assists in answering inbound calls, conducting outbound calls to transportation providers, and research assignments.
Elijah Sadd joined the Call Center team mid-summer of 2020. Eli believes that his work as a call center agent can genuinely help improve people's lives. After working in customer service for 4 years, he has grown to enjoy helping customers with their daily needs. Additionally, Eli has special experience in Sales / Management from a local roofing contractor and is currently working towards a degree in Business.
Melanie brings over 25 years of professional experience to the position of Senior Area Manager in Columbia SC. She has held the roles of Director of Training, Talent Development Manager, Systems Trainer, Regional Manager and Operations Business Manager in a diverse industries such as healthcare, service/retail, communications/contact center and foreign government. In 2000, she accepted the challenge of relocating from Canada to Columbia, SC to start-up a new business in the retail wellness industry and has chosen to stay in the southern USA ever since.
Ms Dalton grew up in Montreal, Canada and attended Concordia University. She has received additional certifications in Leadership Training, Motivational Interviewing and Coaching Skills, and Instructional Design. Her early university major was music performance and today she enjoys singing with semi-professional choirs and travelling to places known and unknown.
Shelley Maddox comes to the Feonix team with a varied background. A classically trained musician, Shelley received her bachelor's degree at Maryville College, a liberal arts institution in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, and her master's degree at East Carolina University. Since then, Shelley has worked for educational institutions, church organizations, and in retail management.
Over the last three years, she has provided home healthcare both to her mother and her grandparents where she saw first hand the need for reliable transportation. When approached about this project, Shelley was thrilled to bring her skills, contacts, and personal experience to assist Columbia's Senior Project Manager.
As a social worker, advocate, and community member, Rachel is committed to elevating the voices of the community in order to establish sustainable mobility solutions. The skills and experiences that Rachel brings with her, help her engage in socially-just and change-focused work within communities and social systems. Rachel is particularly passionate about accessibility rights and working alongside people with disabilities to impart positive social change.
John Doherty holds a degree in Communications from the University of Cincinnati. He served as Vice President of Advertising and Sales for cityof.com for 2 years and is also a US Air Force veteran who achieved the rank of Technical Sargent. As a member of the US Air Force, John was responsible for a variety of operations from guarding nuclear weapons, to leading an ER during Hurricane Harvey disaster relief, to special projects as selected by the Air Force Medical Operations and the National Guard Bureau.
As Lead Driver, Stephen brings with him a deep commitment to his community and a passion for helping others. In addition to 15 years professional driving experience, his natural talents for organization and time management as well as his enduring positivity and personable attitude really shine on the frontlines when helping clients. Stephen further serves his community outside work as a USTA Certified Roving Umpire and volunteering as a volleyball coach for local youth.
Jonathan is an experienced, community advocate leader with over 15 years of working in the city of Dallas, TX to get things done. He’s worked to get more bicycle infrastructure implemented on Dallas’ aging roadways, presiding as the first Dallas Bicycle Coalition president and board member of Bike Friendly Oak Cliff. Jonathan is one of the original Better Block’s community volunteers that helped put the design/build concept to work for communities seeking to improve their built environments, and then as a Project Manager working with AARP’s Livable Communities programs in Fort Worth, Columbus, Albuquerque, Des Moines, and several other communities throughout the nation. Additionally, he’s served on city and neighborhood boards, and is a consultant for his neighborhood bike shop in Oak Cliff where he lives with his spouse and two daughters. He’s professional, kind and passionate about neighborhoods and the people who make them great.