Brought to you by All Aboard Florida, Brightline is the new benchmark for train travel in America. All Aboard Florida is part of Florida East Coast Industries, the parent company of successful operations in real estate, transportation and infrastructure.
As the only privately owned, operated and maintained passenger rail system in the United States, Brightline is here to connect you with the people, places and new experiences that South Florida has to offer. We provide express service connecting you to Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach—with planned future service to Orlando. We’ve blended premium train travel and hospitality to make your ride an experience like no other.
We look forward to seeing you on board.
We’re Built by the Best
Patrick Goddard is the President of Brightline Trains, soon to be Virgin Trains USA, the first privately owned and operated intercity passenger rail system in over 100 years.
Patrick was responsible for the company’s development and construction and bringing this innovative system to market. This includes the development of about 1.5msq of Transit Oriented Development around the system’s stations.
He comes from the hospitality industry having worked in hotel development and operations for Hilton Hotels, Loews Hotels and Rosewood Hotels. He also ran a large international Hotel Management Company, Trust Hospitality, for 5 years as its President and Chief Operating Officer prior to joining Brightline in 2016.
He has a degree in hospitality management from the Dublin Institute of Technology with a Bachelor's Degree in Strategic Management from Trinity College Dublin.
Jeff Swiatek oversees the financial aspects of the development and operations of Brightline. He has more than 25 years of experience in international corporate finance, strategy and business development. Most recently, Jeff spent 15 years at AIG in various senior roles spanning mergers and acquisitions, planning and budgeting, business analytics, portfolio management and business development activities. Prior to AIG, he worked in the investment banking department of Goldman Sachs where he helped companies execute capital raising transactions and review acquisition opportunities.
Jeff holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Asian Studies from Dartmouth College and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Myles Tobin is responsible for directing Brightline’s legal affairs and providing counsel on all significant legal issues.
He has more than 38 years of legal expertise in mergers and acquisitions, railroad regulatory compliance and commercial transactions. Prior to joining Brightline, Myles served as a partner in the Chicago law firm of Fletcher and Sippel LLC where he represented Fortune 1000 companies, including several Class I, II, and III railroads, railcar manufacturers and lessors, and financial institutions engaged in railroad financing transactions. He also previously served as Vice President of U.S. Legal Affairs for Canadian National Railway, where he counseled senior executives and directed the legal affairs for 40 U.S. subsidiaries ranging from land acquisition companies, bulk terminals and equipment leasing companies to several large and medium-sized railroads, including Illinois Central, Grand Trunk Western, and Chicago Central & Pacific. Prior to Canadian National Railway’s merger with Illinois Central Railroad, Myles served Illinois Central for nine years, ultimately as General Counsel. Myles also served as General Solicitor for the Chicago and North Western Transportation Company where he handled corporate and regulatory activities.
Myles holds a Juris Doctor degree from Northwestern University School of Law and a Bachelor in Political Science from Northwestern University. He is admitted to practice law in the U.S. Supreme Court, the courts of the State of Illinois, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and numerous other state and federal courts.
Carla D’Alessandro has served as Chief Marketing Officer since December 2019. Carla has extensive expertise in brand building and digital marketing and will lead the strategy and execution of a new dynamic vision for the marketing and commercial teams.
Prior to joining the company, Carla was the CMO of IPIC Entertainment, where she built out national membership and digital programs for a premier experience-driven theater. She also held the position of SVP, Managing Director at Zimmerman Advertising. At Zimmerman, she oversaw marketing efforts across a diverse portfolio of brands including Sam's Club, McDonald's, Michaels Arts and Crafts and Tire Kingdom. She has partnered with marketing teams to navigate sectors and industries that have experienced tremendous change in recent years. Carla credits focusing on the consumer, taking a test and learn approach and investing in best in class technology partners as keys to success.
Carla has a Specialist BA from the University of Toronto and an MBA from the International University of Monaco.
Gary oversees the financial accounting aspects of the company, including all corporate financial reporting, maintenance of internal controls, and overseeing of compliance policies and procedures.
Prior to joining the Brightline, Gary served as the corporate controller for Loews Hotels & Co. He also held senior technical accounting and operational controllership roles with the Commercial Real Estate Division of GE Capital, served as the deputy controller for SiriusXM Radio, and served as vice president and technical accounting advisor at American Express. He also served at Ernst & Young in various roles, including in the firm’s National Accounting Standards Practice. Gary began his professional career in public accounting in 1989 with Bond Beebe, a certified public accounting and advisory services firm based in Washington, D.C.
Gary graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a BBA in Accounting and is a certified public accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Bridgette Pla is responsible for overseeing the people experience, recruitment and training, and developing the internal culture at Brightline. Her passion is in investing in the people of an organization, building purpose and impact while driving a high-performance culture through development, empowerment and ownership.
Prior to joining Brightline, Bridgette was in the creative advertising world at The Community, where as vice president of people and culture, she supported the agency in its people growth over the course of her tenure, expanding from two to five offices in three different continents. In a span of two years, she and her team led the agency to become recipients of Ad Age’s Best Places to Work award.
She started her human resources career in 1999 in the financial industry specializing in start-up organizational development, helping to grow businesses from local to international level. In 2009, she began her experience in the world of commodities, creating environments that helped to make coffee farmers not only more efficient but also created safer working environments and blending better business by focusing on the most important resource of all, the people.
Bridgette started her studies as an art history major but quickly realized through her NGO volunteer work that she loved working with people and their continued development in a multi-cultural world. Bridgette holds a double major in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and Statistics from Florida International University and has her Master’s in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from George Mason University.
Michael is responsible for overseeing the infrastructure development for the system’s expansion in Florida, including the additional in-line stations between Miami and West Palm Beach, Phase 2 to Orlando and proposed Phase 3 to Tampa. He manages the team responsible for schedule, budget, quality, implementation of safety measures, including Positive Train Control, and environmental oversight.
He is a 40-year construction industry veteran, who previously served as senior vice president at American Bridge Company, one of the nation’s leading civil engineering firms that specializes in building and renovating bridges and other large civil engineering projects.
Michael’s major project construction experience includes the $3.5 billion Tappan Zee Bridge replacement in New York, the $1.9 billion San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge self-anchored suspension span, the Angus Macdonald Bridge in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Las Vegas High Roller Observation Wheel, and the $1.3 billion Queensferry Crossing in Scotland. He also has extensive experience in the Florida construction industry. Michael brings a deep understanding of the success factors for the controlled delivery of large and multi-disciplined infrastructure projects with numerous stakeholders.
Michael earned a Bachelor of Science from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Rollins College. He also completed an executive education program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Gary Cohen oversees the commercial and real estate development, leasing of South Florida assets and development of new future station locations for the Florida system. He has more than 30 years of experience in commercial real estate acquisitions, financing, management and development.
Gary previously worked as partner and managing director of Endeavor Real Estate Partners, which acquires, manages and develops commercial real estate. Gary has founded or become a partner at several real estate development companies, including Paragon Acquisition Group and CMA Companies, Inc. with projects including the Savoy Hotel, a 7-acre parcel on Universal Boulevard in Orlando, 3550 South Ocean in Palm Beach, The Cavalier & Traymore Hotels in South Beach amongst others.
Gary founded MOC Capital Partners, Inc., a real estate investment banking platform that developed relationships with numerous funds that invested capital for projects.
He began his career in banking at Goldome Bank in NYC where he helped build the commercial loan department into the most profitable department at the bank. Gary worked as a consultant to Citibank Private Banking, assisting the team with analyzing portfolios of distressed commercial real estate assets.
Gary holds a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies from the University of Massachusetts.
Ben is responsible for overseeing the government relations, communications and company culture.
Prior to joining Virgin Trains USA, Ben served as a partner of Outside Eyes, a communications strategy agency that worked with major brands and projects that made a transformative impact.
Ben served on three presidential campaigns, including 2012, 2008 and 2004. He was a senior advisor to Ambassador Jon Huntsman in 2012 and a public face of the McCain-Palin campaign, serving as a national spokesman and senior advisor to the candidates during the 2008 presidential election. Ben worked for President George W. Bush as a campaign spokesman and as the Press Secretary to the United States House Majority Leader. He also worked in the West Wing of the White House in 2002-03.
Ben earned an MBA from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and History from Bradley University.
Sarah Watterson is responsible for all aspects of business development and delivery for Virgin Trains USA West, including the transit-oriented development and rail infrastructure strategy, design and execution. She was most recently the Head of Development at Florida East Coast Industries, a multi-faceted real estate and transportation company headquartered in South Florida. Sarah has been employed by Fortress Investment Group or its affiliates in various leadership capacities since 2011. .
Previously, Sarah was the CEO of Drive Shack (NYSE:DS), an owner and operator of 75+ golf courses. During her time at Drive Shack, she internalized the management of the company, converted the company from a REIT to an operating company and built out a new business line, called Drive Shack, which nationally develops and operates 10+ acre technology driven entertainment driving range facilities.
Sarah helped lead the acquisition, ownership syndication and restructuring of the Milwaukee Bucks for Fortress owner, Wes Edens, and co-owner, Marc Lasry. Following the acquisition of the team, Sarah moved to Milwaukee to work on the development of a 725,000 SF arena and 20 acres of surrounding mixed use development.
Prior to her time in Milwaukee, Sarah was on the Private Equity team at Fortress Investment Group. She began her career at Goldman Sachs in the Sales & Trading Division.
Sarah graduated summa cum laude from Cornell University with a degree in Applied Economics and Management.
John is responsible for overseeing the rail infrastructure and vehicle maintenance facility construction for the Southern California to Las Vegas system. He manages the team responsible for schedule, budget, quality, implementation of safety measures and environmental oversight.
John has more than 36 years of seasoned heavy civil construction and has experience as owner (public and private), operator, engineer and contractor. He previously served as the director of a Parson led joint venture and had the single-point responsibility for provision of the PMCM services on the $17 billion metro project in the capital city of Saudi Arabia. John was overseeing two design-build contracts for the largest metro under construction in the world. The project employed approximately 50,000 personnel, consisted of 100 miles of double track, 20 miles of tunnels, 60 stations, 32 miles of viaducts, 12 park and rides and 114 train sets.
John has managed or constructed infrastructure with a value more than $220 billion. He began his career with the Southern Pacific Railroad in the USA, has served on five continents and has managed or developed projects in India, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Guinea, Qatar, Libya, Philippines, South Korea, United States, Saudi Arabia, and Australia. In the USA he has managed projects from Chicago to San Francisco, and from Miami to Seattle.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Utah. John is a registered Professional Engineer, licensed general contractor, and a serving Arbitrator or Mediator with the American Arbitration Association. He is an expert in the origination and management of major contracts for complex projects, as well as alternative dispute resolutions.
Adrian is responsible for overseeing the environmental, design, and engineering of the rail system and assisting with the rolling stock procurement for a new high speed rail service connecting Southern California and Las Vegas. He previously oversaw the development and construction for Brightline’s Phase 1 system.
Adrian brings more than 30 years of extensive passenger rail experience and leadership to the team. He previously served as HNTB Corporation Florida district leader and program manager for the Virgin Trains USA Florida project. While at HNTB Corporation, Adrian served as the Florida High-Speed Rail Project Manager where he assisted the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) in its application and strategic planning process for the Orlando-Miami and Tampa-Orlando-Miami segments. He’s also worked on dozens of infrastructure projects, ranging from bridges to toll lanes to highways.
Adrian holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Tulane University and an MBA from Northeastern University. He is a Professional Engineer in Florida (1999) and previously served as the Chair of the Transportation Committee of the Florida Institute of Consulting Engineers (FICE) while leading several subcommittees over the past decade. In 2012, Adrian was awarded the prestigious Ben Watts Partnership Award by FDOT.