The Tampa Historic Streetcar (THS) Board of Directors was created on November 8, 1999. It consists of seven Board members, four of which are appointed by the Mayor of the City of Tampa and three, by the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) Board of Directors. Each governing body also appoints Alternate members to the THS Board of Directors, with assigned roles and responsibilities. THS Board of Directors is responsible for the operation, management, and maintenance of the Streetcar System
Tampa Historic Streetcar, Inc. Board of Directors
City of Tampa Appointees
Mr. Michael English, President
Ms. Abbey Dohring Ahern, Vice President
Mr. Calvin "Cal" Hardie
Mr. David Mechanik
Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority Appointees
Councilmember Luis Viera
Ms. Melanie Williams
Mr. Eric Johnson
Michael English was one of the original incorporators of THS, Inc. in 2000, and has served on the Board of Directors since then; and has served as Board president most of that time. He was instrumental, along with Board member David Mechanik, in developing the original THS funding plan for Mayor Dick Greco and then-CEO Sharon Dent, including the Endowment Fund and the Special Assessment District. Mr. English, a certified city planner, and urban anthropologist, also serves on Board and Executive Committee of the Tampa Downtown Partnership, and the Advisory Board of the Florida Center for Community Design, USF.
Abbey Dohring Ahern is a principal of the commercial brokerage division of The Dohring Group, which she launched in 2005. The Dohring Group has been in business for over 25 years in the Tampa Bay Area with headquarters in downtown Tampa. Mrs. Ahern’s experience is in Landlord and Tenant Representation, with a focus on office and retail properties primarily in downtown Tampa. Mrs. Ahern is immensely involved in her community, evidenced by her participation and leadership roles including Vice Chairperson for the Downtown Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Committee; a board member of the Tampa Downtown Partnership and Chair of the Special Service District Committee; as well as the founder and past President of DRANA, an association of property owners focused on improving downtown’s commercial district.
Cal Hardie, P.E., serves as the City of Tampa’s Transportation Chief Design Engineer and Capital
where he has worked to improve the safety and efficiency of the City’s transportation network for all
Throughout his tenure at the City, he has worked on many transportation and transit projects,
including the InVision Tampa Streetcar Extension and Modernization Study.
He serves as a member of the Livable Roadways and Technical Advisory Committees for the Hillsborough
County Metropolitan Planning Organization.
Cal grew up in New Orleans, graduated from Louisiana State University, and has lived in Tampa Bay since 2006.
He was appointed by Mayor Jane Castor in December.
David Mechanik was one of the original incorporators of THS, Inc. in 2000, and has served on the Board of Directors off and on since then. He practices in the areas of land use, environmental, real estate transactions, governmental relations, local government law and government relations, including economic incentives. Mr. Mechanik is also a Certified Planner (AICP), as designated by the American Planning Association and a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Court Mediator.
Mr. Mechanik has previously served as a Chairman and member of the HART Board of Directors and President of Tampa Historic Streetcar, Inc.is also active in community activities.
He has also served on many other boards and committees, a few of which are:
Luis E. Viera was raised in the North Tampa/Temple Terrace area and is a 2000 graduate of the University
of South Florida
and in 2003 graduated from Stetson College of Law. He was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2003.
Luis is very active in his local community. He is the former Chairman of the Hillsborough County Bar Association Diversity Committee and a former Chairman of the City of Tampa Civil Service Board. He is a founder and President of Lawyers Autism Awareness Foundation and previously served on the Board of Tampa Bay Best Buddies, an organization which assists and advocates for persons with special needs and developmental disabilities. He was also the Incoming President of the Tampa Hispanic Bar Association and a member of the George Edgecomb Bar Association.
Professionally, Luis has received the following professional awards and citations:
As a Tampa City Councilman, Luis previously served on the Hillsborough County Public Transportation
Commission and serves on the
Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization. He is also Chairman of the Hillsborough County
Metropolitan Planning Organizations’
Transportation Disadvantaged Committee. He is also a member of the Tampa Bay Transportation Management
Area Leadership Group (TMA).
Luis lives in Hunters Green in New Tampa and has one son, Luis Viera II.
Melanie Williams is the Senior Vice President Operations of Frontier Communications’ South Region, where she leads 1.6K employees in delivering incremental growth, strong financials, and safety-focused quality service delivery for customers across seven states. Previously, Ms. Williams served as President of Verizon Florida.
In January 2020, Ms. Williams was invited by The Exceptional women Awardees Foundation to join the 2020 Cohort of Women Leaders, who recognized her for her “persistence, courage, intelligence and ambition.” Ms. Williams is equally dedicated to Frontier’s growth, as she is to celebrating the women who guided and mentored her by paying it forward to the next generation of women leaders. Ms. Williams is also a 2019 ONYX Magazine “Women on the Move” Honoree as one of Florida’s most influential women of color.
Ms. Williams is active in the Tampa Bay academic and volunteer communities. Named to the Board of Directors of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority, by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn in 2018, Ms. Williams was elevated to Vice Chair of that organization in 2019, and also serves on the Safety and Operations Committee. Additionally she is a member of the University of Tampa Board of Trustees, where she serves as its Facilities Committee Chair.
Throughout her career, Ms. Williams has focused her considerable energy on business success through transformational leadership, forward thinking strategy, employee training and empowerment, and executing on the basics. Her guiding principle is the response to the question “How can we help?”
Ms. Williams received her Master’s degree in Professional Development from Dallas Baptist University, and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Nova Southeastern University.
With her husband Victor, four adult children and their 13-year old twins, Melanie enjoys precious family-time activities, including water sports.
Eric Johnson is the Director of Community and Government Relations at Hillsborough Community College. Mr. Johnson develops and executes the college’s strategy for all legislative and budgetary priorities affecting HCC’s 47,000 students. Mr. Johnson builds and strengthens relationships with elected officials, government agencies, business and community leaders and multiple federal, state and local constituencies.
Mr. Johnson is a member of Leadership Florida and Leadership Tampa Bay while also serving on the Board of Directors for the Florida Charter Educational and Bay Area Charter Education Foundations. He also serves as Chair of the Hillsborough County Citizens Advisory Committee and as a board member of the Hillsborough County Charter Review Board.
Mr. Johnson holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of South Florida and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Florida State University.
Tampa Historic Streetcar Board of Directors holds its monthly regular Board meetings on the third Wednesday of the month in the HART Administrative Office located at:
1201 E. 7th Avenue 3rd floor
Tampa, FL 33605
Contact Danielle Arthur, HART Board Administrator at ArthurD@gohart.org or 813-245-3130 for meeting notices and agendas not available above.