Our History

What AMMA Stands For

In 1987, A-Menninger-Mayeda-Alternative was formed in Los Angeles County, CA as a transportation planning partnership with developed expertise in community-level public transit services and a focus on small urban, rural public and specialized transit. AMMA consolidated and built upon the transit background, human services policy analysis and quantitative skills of its two principals: Tadashi A. Mayeda and Heather Menninger. Since 2003, with the death of Mr. Mayeda, Heather Menninger has been sole proprietor of AMMA Transit Planning.

About AMMA’s Other Founding Partner

“Tad” Mayeda brought to transportation analyses the rigor and quantitative orientation of his training as a physicist. He and Heather worked as business and marriage partners to build a particular orientation to public transit studies that embraced his early training as a research physicist and his later work as a UCLA social scientist, the last phase of a peripatetic career through a variety of other research settings.

Tadashi A. Mayeda 1925 – 2003

World War II and the 442nd Infantry Regiment

Raised in New York City, Mr. Mayeda was studying physics at Hobart College in Geneva, New York when he volunteered to join the US Army in 1943. He became part of the historic all-Japanese 442nd Regimental Infantry Combat Team. He joined the Regiment in France on October 30, 1944, part of the requisitioned “replacements” as the 442nd had just suffered tremendous losses in its successful rescue of the Texas Lost Battalion in the Vosges Mountains. Mr. Mayeda was an I Company platoon sergeant in Italy, through a campaign along the Apennine Mountains where the 442nd was sent to help protect the Gothic Line. He was promoted to Technical Sergeant, the then-highest rank that Japanese Americans could achieve. After the war he returned to resume his studies at Hobart in 1946 and complete his degree in physics. He would go on to graduate work in physics at George Washington University in College Park, Maryland.

Early Work with the National Bureau of Standards

Over the next decade Mr. Mayeda was involved with the work of the National Bureau of Standards in Washington DC, where his project was the hyper-accurate time piece known as the “Atomic Clock”. He moved with the Bureau to the Naval Ordinance Laboratory in Norco, CA. during the height of the cold war when defense work was decentralized from the eastern seaboard. This was followed by association with the CIA as a research physicist, managing intelligence research work that led to the development of the SR-71 Blackbird, predecessor of the Stealth Bomber. Mr. Mayeda was reputedly one of the first children of foreign-born nationals to receive very high levels of security clearance, necessary because of his work decoding data collected from the U-2 high altitude flights of the early 1960’s.

Constructing Large Scale Data Systems

With the reduction of the defense programs in the late 1960’s, Mr. Mayeda joined the National Library of Medicine where he worked on the development of a computerized data retrieval system MEDLARS which became known as MEDLINE, one of the first searchable databases available to the medical profession. Traveling from the hard sciences to the social sciences brought him eventually to UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute (NPI) where he designed and led longitudinal data studies on the effects of deinstitutionalization on persons with developmental disabilities, collecting some of the early data on the impact of the deinstitutionalization policies of the state hospitals during the 1970s and 1980s. His work in the field of developmental disabilities included management of the reliability studies for the then ground-breaking CDER, Client Development Evaluation Report, an early California performance measurement tool by which to assess consumers’ adaptation in the community in various behavioral domains.

A Life and Work Partnership

Through his association with the field of developmental disabilities and the Presidents’ Committee on Mental Retardation, Mr. Mayeda met Heather Menninger. Ms. Menninger was working at that time for the Federal Department of Health and Human Services on community adaptation of de-institutionalized individuals, leading to work with the California State Department of Developmental Services on community-level transportation for a Caltrans-funded study. They went on to form a life partnership that included forming AMMA and raising their daughter, Hana. With his first wife, Patricia R. Mayeda whom he married in 1958, he raised four children in Ontario, California: Carol Mayeda, Timothy Mayeda, Mikko Mayeda, and Christopher Mayeda.

Mr. Mayeda died in February 2003 in Claremont, California at the age of 77.