Headshot of Joanna M. Pinkerton, president and CEO of Central Ohio Transit Authority

Joanna M. Pinkerton, PE, BSCE ’98, president and CEO of Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), will serve as the keynote speaker for Ohio Northern University T.J. Smull College of Engineering’s 2024 Spotts Lecture. The free, public event will take place Monday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Freed Center for the Performing Arts.

Pinkerton’s presentation is titled, “Who Are You Engineering For?”

COTA is a regional mobility organization providing services to Columbus and Central Ohio. With a service area covering 562 square miles across five counties serving 1.4 million residents, COTA employs more than 1,000 team members and provided more than 19 million passenger trips in 2019. Since joining COTA in April 2018, Pinkerton has focused on organizational transformation— delivering innovative mobility solutions in response to a rapidly growing community and changing customer preferences, as well as addressing equity issues with both the physical and digital mobility needs of many residents.

Pinkerton joined COTA with more than 20 years in the engineering and transportation industries. Prior to COTA, she served as the Chief Operations Officer at the Transportation Research Center Inc., the nation’s largest independent automotive proving ground and vehicle development and testing center, and home to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) Vehicle Research Test
Center.

Her previous experience also includes leadership roles with The Ohio State University, as the senior associate director of The Ohio State University Center for Automotive Research, as well as the co-director of the Honda-Ohio State Partnership, the nation’s largest industry academic-based partnership. She also served at the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), where she was responsible for targeting transportation investments to support economic growth in the manufacturing and tech sectors in Ohio.

Pinkerton holds a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering and is a professionally licensed engineer in the state of Ohio.

The Spotts Lecture series was established by the T.J. Smull College of Engineering in 1986 to bring distinguished speakers to the 91ֱcampus annually to provide students with greater insight to about engineering and computer science professions.