Stephanie D. Nellons-Paige has more than 30 years of senior executive experience leading business and strategic partnership development for Fortune 500 companies in public transportation, fleet and facilities maintenance and food services management. A lifelong servant leader and philanthropist, her career has spanned the public and private sectors and focused on improving outcomes for cities through infrastructure building and partnership development. She is adept at working with diverse constituencies and exhibits refined and transformative leadership that moves the pendulum toward success on complex projects.
She is the Chief Executive Officer and Board Vice Chair of the Nellons Paige Group, Inc. (NPG), a strategic consulting firm, which she co-founded with her husband, Rod Paige, U.S. Secretary of Education (2001-2005). The firm provides business development expertise to the private sector, infrastructure investment entities, foundations, K-12 and higher education institutions and cities, and also advises clients on diversity and economic inclusion. NPG has helped clients in the transportation, food service and facilities maintenance industries generate nearly $1 billion in revenue and residuals.
Nellons-Paige believes public transportation spurs the economic vitality of cities. Recently, her service as a Managing Director for Texas Central Railroad led to the development and implementation of a business and workforce opportunity policy to ensure economic inclusion of small, rural, women-minority, and veteran-owned companies on the nation’s first high-speed rail project. Additionally, she collaborated with international partners to design and execute a workforce development plan to prepare 17,000 people to build and operate the $25 billion project.
Nellons-Paige has served in numerous leadership roles in public transportation. She developed the first industry relations plan for Ryder Public Transportation (First Group America), which supported business development by educating key officials on the benefits of outsourcing and resulted in multimillion-dollar partnerships. She also led more than $40 million of practical research studies for the Transportation Research Board to assist transportation providers across the nation improve service to the riding public.
During her tenure with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), Nellons-Paige made an indelible print during one of its most memorable periods of growth, the addition of 60 rail miles, a project that transitioned thousands of commuters from cars to buses and trains. Working in planning, construction and operations at WMATA, one of her proudest accomplishments was implementing the transportation and facilities requirements for the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 for the region.
Nellons-Paige was appointed to the Texas Southern University (TSU) Board of Regents by Texas Governor Greg Abbott in October of 2020. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner appointed her to the city’s Minority and Women Business Ecosystem Assessment and Covid-19 Health Equity and Response task forces. She is a member of Gulf Coast Workforce Board and the Cooperative Mobility for Competitive Megaregions Advisory Board. She also serves on the advisory board for Global Solutions Team, Toronto, Canada and the board of Ancora Education, a group of private post-secondary schools in 10 states across the country.
She previously served as private sector chairman of the Education Task Force for the American Legislative Exchange Council. She was elected by peers and supported by mayors, to serve as co-chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Business Council, which is comprised of more than 100 corporations and foundations.
Nellons-Paige has received various accolades for professional, civic and community leadership and advancing diversity and economic inclusion strategies. She is a longtime member of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) and Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS), which recently recognized her with the Rosa Parks Diversity Leadership Award. Her contributions have been acknowledged by the Regional Hispanic Contractors Association and the and Regional Black Contractors Association, and in 2015 she was named one of Houston’s Top 30 Most Influential Women and one of 10 Iconic Women.
Her community service continues as a Diamond Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and as a board member for the Delta Research and Education Foundation, where she serves on the fund development committee. As a member of the Links, Incorporated, she serves as national co-chair for fund development and chair of Vision 20/20, coordinating fundraising efforts to support the execution of their outstanding programing in communities internationally. Nellons-Paige was recently named to the Motown Museum National Legacy Council, where she is actively raising funds to support the expansion of the museum in Detroit, Michigan.
Nellons-Paige is originally from Baltimore, Maryland. and Nellons-Paige holds Bachelor of Science in Urban Studies and Master of Science in Transportation Management degrees from Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland.