Lawrence Simonson is a wingtips-wearing, cargo bike-riding, rad dad from Columbia, Missouri. He grew up as a military brat in small towns all over, but dreamed of one day living in a big city and riding his bike to work. His first job out of college required a 40-minute drive that was a drain on his finances and his quality of life. He quit. This experience focused his attention on how transportation options affect our opportunities, and how many people are ignored and held back when having to own and drive a car is the only option. He felt compelled to do something. He took a temporary position with Local Motion and now years later he is Chief Executive Officer, advocating for walking, biking, and transit solutions to meet people’s everyday transportation needs. And he’s living his dream of riding bikes to school and work with his kids. Lawrence believes that when a transportation system serves the needs of the most vulnerable people in a community, it works best for everyone.
Becky Reed, a St. Louis native, has called Columbia home since the late 90s when she attended Mizzou to study English and then later, Columbia College for finance and accounting. Columbia’s central location, and its family-friendly environment, have made it a great place to put down roots. Becky has four kids and has spent her career blending her work with being a parent. You might have seen her in her former role as a bookseller, where she loved fostering children’s literacy and pairing the perfect book with the perfect person. She joins Local Motion as Finance Director and looks forward to bringing her talents to the advocacy realm to create positive change in the community that she loves.
Rikki Ascani is a runner and outdoor adventurer originally from Ironton, Pennsylvania. She discovered her lifelong passion for the environment and social change while studying fish and wildlife conservation at Virginia Tech. After her partner’s PhD program brought them both to Columbia, Rikki wanted to walk a path that more directly connected her with the people and environments she hoped to serve and preserve. She now works as Local Motion's Community Engagement Director where she’s excited to work on the ground in the community, out from behind her desk, to see and shape how change takes hold over time. Rikki wants to build deep and lasting connections to our community and environment. You might also run into her exercising her activism muscles with Peaceworks. Rikki loves to garden and is in the process of transforming the Local Motion office into an indoor rainforest.
Gabi Jacobs is a stylish dressing track and field star from Bloomington-Normal, IL. She proved to be anything but normal as she excelled in discus at The University of Missouri, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Master’s degree in education, focusing on positive coaching. While working at a local grocery store, she noticed Local Motion's mission on the dime token donation box. She followed up and realized how much Local Motion's work applied to her life. Gabi now works for Local Motion as Community Engagement Coordinator, where she connects Local Motion's mission and vision to the community. When she is not out playing disc golf at one of Columbia's beautiful courses, you can catch her at a local coffee shop jamming to some indie, or cruising around town on her purple speckled Giant Iguana mountain bike. Gabi believes that when you get around town outside of a car, you connect with people and build relationships, and that you don’t just simply move through a community, but you become part of it.
If you need advice on your next camping trip or river adventure Taylor is a great person to ask. Taylor March is an avid backpacker, sailor, and canoeist and has spent a great deal of time exploring Missouri and Kentucky’s outdoors. Taylor grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and has spent the majority of his adult life getting around in a car lite way, primarily travelling by foot, bike, or the bus. Currently Taylor lives in St. Louis City, with his wife and daughter, but he gets around the state frequently with family connections across much of Missouri. Taylor comes to Missourians for Responsible Transportation (MRT) after serving as Program Director at Trailnet for close to eight years, where he has left a lasting impact of kindness, knowledge, professionalism and passion for helping people outside of cars move around the city. Taylor is looking forward to working together with communities across the state to make Missouri an even easier place for all Missourians to get around.
If you are choosing your next vacation destination, Jackson is the person to ask! Jackson Hotaling is a history aficionado and world traveler from Webster Groves, Missouri. Throughout his international travels to 58 countries, Jackson quickly realized how important public transportation and accessibility are to meeting your basic needs. But Jackson has always been interested in how people get where they need to go whether he was in China or Peru riding public transit or recognizing the transportation challenges of Greater St. Louis in the wake of COVID-19. When he saw an opening at Missourians for Responsible Transportation (MRT), Jackson knew he could combine his passion for community engagement and transportation equity. Jackson works with MRT Executive Director, Taylor, traveling around Missouri and meeting with community leaders who want to increase walking, biking, and transit options for all Missourians.
Cindy DeBlauw grew up primarily in St. Louis, but now resides in Hartsburg, Missouri. Cindy and her husband have three loving daughters, two who live in Hartsburg and one who lives in Switzerland. Cindy began her journey into the transportation realm in 2010 while working at The University of Missouri Extension. She recently retired from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services where she spent most of her career working on nutrition and physical activity programs. She joined Missourians for Responsible Transportation in May 2022 as Interim Project Director where she is helping communities adopt complete streets policies and active transportation plans. She is committed to making healthy choices the easy choices for all Missourians. When she isn’t working Cindy enjoys riding horses, cycling, hiking with her dogs and gardening.