Board Member Spotlight: Wendy Ernzen

Wendy Ernzen

For this month’s “Who Is TRU?”, we want to honor five-year board member, Wendy Ernzen, who is stepping down from her position this month. Wendy first found TRU while serving as a consultant at the Woodward Avenue Action Association. During that time, Wendy observed how vital public transportation access is to building a competitive city. 

Transit is a gateway to opportunity, and essential for attracting young talent. Having reliable public transit gives people better access to jobs, education, healthcare, and just opportunities to ‘play’ [personal enjoyment]” 

Wendy Ernzen

Wendy now works at The Arc of Northwest Wayne County (Arc NW), a local nonprofit part of a national network that provides direct assistance to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Having a “global concern, local focus” mindset, The Arc NW addresses the most pressing community needs. For individuals with developmental disabilities, transit is a common one.        

The answer is simple: Public transit

“As an example, one in 59 kids in Michigan has autism. For some, they will never drive. Riding public transportation can give them independence.” 

Wendy’s daughter also has developmental disabilities, who may not drive herself. In one of the first Transit Impact Stories, Wendy makes a strong case for effective regional transit

Wendy presented at the 2016 TRU Transit Awards

 “There’s also many Michigan adults with disabilities whose parents are aging…perhaps some can rely on family members or a future with self-driving cars, but what will the rest do? The answer is simple: public transit. Transit that is predictable, reliable, and timely so a girl with autism like my daughter can use it on her own.” 

Wendy identifies TRU’s authenticity as the reason she stayed on the board. “This is a passionate group of people…who are talented and dedicated to this issue” she remarks.

In addition to serving as Board President, Wendy was also an active participant in TRU’s strategic planning and spoke at TRU events.  TRU thanks Wendy for her years of service and valuable contributions! 

Wendy (center) with the TRU Board of Directors 2018