APTA congratulates the graduates of the Leadership APTA Class of 2014.

During the year, class members discussed transit leadership key issues important to their system, resulting in the development and delivery of five leadership projects during the program year.

They presented highlights of their projects during the 2014 APTA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Houston, TX. Each team’s presentations and papers are available here. We highly encourage you to download and read the results of their interviews, findings and related research.


Team 1: Change Your World: Transit Funding & the Grand Community Vision

Team members, pictured left to right:

  • David Springstead
    Senior Director of Engineering & Development
    Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority
  • Julie Norton-Dew
  • Interim General Manager/CEO
    Waccamaw Regional Transportation Authority  

  • Ericka Mitchell
    Assistant Chief Employee Relations Officer
    San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit 
  • Eileen Rodriguez (Coordinator)
    General Manager, Administration & Information Management
    Charlotte Area Transit System
  • Kimberly Proia
    Senior Project Manager
  • Bryan Smith
    Director of Planning
    Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority

In the current political and economic environment, transit agencies are under increasing pressure to improve accountability, efficiency, performance and transparency to secure funding. This project is based on interviews with transit CEO’s and General Managers to understand how leaders use performance measures performance measures to manage the effectiveness of their organizations and its interactions with internal and external stakeholders. Our team is focusing on the challenges and barriers to implementing performance measures across an entire agency and how the agency itself or its senior leadership is held accountable for achieving results. We want to show how successful leaders have made the shift from measurement and reporting to management and improving by highlighting examples of successful techniques used to proactively manage an organization’s progress.


Team 2: Developing the Leader Within: Foundations of Effective Techniques

Team members, pictured left to right:

  • Apolonio Del Toro
    Chief Operations Officer
    SunLine Transit Agency
  • Karen Harvey (Coordinator)
    Director-Human Resources
    American Public Transportation Association
  • Dee Leggett
    Senior Consultant
    LTK Engineering Services
  • Ana Ripalda
    Department Manager of Bus Operations
    Orange County Transportation Authority

 This project examines the potential threat to transit agencies posed by cyber crime and explores the best practices that transit agencies might implement to ferret out and address vulnerabilities in their IT systems. The team researched the types of cyber threats that have thus far been documented, the existing and developing legal framework and critical guidance issued by U.S. agencies and the private sector. The team then conducted interviews with federal agencies, industry groups, private consulting firms and transit agencies sector to determine what industry best practices for cyber security are currently being implemented and whether a consensus as to best practices exists. Our report summarizes the results of this research and highlights for heads of transit agencies, regardless the size, what high impact ‘quick wins’ that a transit agency can implement in order to better secure its IT systems and prevent targeted cyber attacks.

Team 3: Building Collaborative Partnerships: A Route to Future Success

Team members, pictured left to right

  • Joe Raquel
    Director of Planning
    Foothill Transit
  • Jameson Auten
    Vice President of Regional Service Delivery
    Kansas City Area Transportation Authority
  • Marie Benton
    Senior Manager, Fleet Services Support
    Dallas Area Rapid Transit
  • Brent Boyd (Coordinator)
    Senior Transportation Planner and Rail Operations Analyst
    San Diego Metropolitan Transit System
  • Ben Limmer
    Transit Director
    Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.

 This project explores the transit’s role in the successful execution of major special events (such as professional sports championships, the Olympics, political conventions, and cultural or community festivals) and identifies how effective executive leadership during these events can enhance a transit property’s reputation. Hosting large, widely attended special events presents both opportunities and challenges. Well-run and coordinated transit service contributes not only to the success of the event, but also to the public image and standing of the transit property and its leadership within the community. On the other hand, poor performance can damage the property’s image and have repercussions that extend long after the event has come and gone. We will evaluate a range of issues that must be considered by transit agencies’ executive leaders when supporting such events to identify the most important factors that executives should focus on when planning and implementing transit service for special events. The goal is to provide specific leadership lessons that transit executives can use to make special events a success while enhancing their property’s reputation for excellence.

Team 4: Where Did All the Money Go? Strategies for Successful Tax Referendums

Team members, pictured left to right:

  • Sue Dreier (Coordinator)
    Chief Operations Officer
    Salem-Keizer Transit
  • Julie Skeen
    Vice President- Denver Manager of Operations
  • Santiago Osorio
    Director of Operations Training
    Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County
  • Michelle Kendall
    Vice President
    Parsons Brinkerhoff
  • Taiwo Jaiyeoba
    Transit Principal Business Development Lead for The Carolinas

This project provides insight to transit agency executives on the vital connection between a well-organized procurement function and sound business practices. Effective procurement methods not only lead to cost containment, but also support long range planning goals and help form and maintain healthy partnerships with private business and suppliers. Through analysis of interviews with agency CEO’s and senior procurement staff from various sized systems, this project explores CEO and board involvement in procurements, procurement placement within organizational structure, uses of technology, innovations, common procurement challenges and success stories. By identifying common themes through analysis, this project delivers best practices and innovative procurement concepts immediately usable by the industry. The recommendations of this project challenge transit agency leaders to review their current procurement practices and consider implementing new and/or different methods to streamline procurements for the benefit of transit agencies and private businesses alike.

Team 5: Surfing the Data Tsunami: Agile Data/Information Strategies for Public Transportation

Team members, pictured left to right:

  • Roderick Diaz 
    Director, Planning & Development/Interim Chief Operations Support Officer
    Southern California Regional Rail Authority
  • Mark Ellis (Coordinator) 
    Central Region Manager
    Maintenance Design Group, LLC
  • David Huffaker
    Operations Business Manager/ Acting Director, Facilities and Asset Control
    Sound Transit
  • Louis Cripps
    Administrator, Asset Management
    Regional Transportation District
  • Laura Minns
    Senior Project Manager
    LYNX- Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority

The propose of this project is to outline strategies that, when employed, would help craft an agency=wide data/information management policy. A policy that is agile and can adapt as the needs of the agency changes.

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