WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 16, 2021) – The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is proud to honor 10 organizations and leaders with awards for their vision, leadership, and commitment to public transportation. The association is also honored to induct four new members into the prestigious APTA Hall of Fame.
The 2021 APTA Awards recognize organizations and leaders in the public transportation industry in North America who have demonstrated significant leadership, are outstanding role models of excellence, and whose accomplishments and innovations have greatly advanced public transportation.
“APTA’s award recipients are exemplary organizations and community leaders. I am proud of their achievements and grateful for the work they have done to push our industry forward. To my friends and colleagues who are this year’s awardees, I offer my deepest congratulations,” said Jeff Nelson, APTA Chair and General Manager, Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District (MetroLINK), Moline, IL.
“Congratulations to all who have been recognized for their accomplishments and for making positive impacts in their communities. The four inductees into the APTA Hall of Fame have dedicated their careers to strengthening our industry,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas. “The systems and individuals being recognized have made our industry more innovative and have been at the forefront of building for the future in an unprecedented time of challenge and change.”
OUTSTANDING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
4 MILLION OR FEWER TRIPS
Mountain Line, Missoula, Montana
Mountain Line has had a strong three years of action and investment to become a more efficient, sustainable and inclusive agency. Its Board of Directors committed to a zero-tailpipe-emissions fleet by 2035. They have been awarded a $1 million grant and an additional Low-No grant from the Montana Departure of Environmental Quality to purchase new electric buses, thus moving their fleet to 40% electric. A mill levy increase ballot initiative passed by record margins which will allow Mountain Line to increase its service by 28% in January 2022. They have formalized its commitment to diversity and inclusion with the Board adopting an official inclusion policy.
OUTSTANDING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM ACHIEVEMENT AWARD -MORE THAN 4 MILLION BUT FEWER THAN 20 MILLION TRIPS
Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT), Sacramento, California
SacRT is the largest transit provider in the capital city of California, operating bus, light rail, microtransit and paratransit within nearly 400-square miles. From 2018-2020, SacRT lowered fares, expanded service, completed a comprehensive route optimization; introduced one of the nation’s biggest and most successful microtransit services, regained the trust of city jurisdictions and reannexed them back into SacRT, implemented the nation’s first free rides for student program of its magnitude; achieved double-digit ridership growth; and increased operating reserves by nearly 500% – all for the first time in its 48-year history.
OUTSTANDING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM ACHIEVEMENT AWARD -20 MILLION OR MORE TRIPS
Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Chicago, Illinois
Few transit agencies in the United States have made more progress in modernizing their system over the last several years than the Chicago Transit Authority. CTA has completed, started work on, or begun planning more than $8 billion in improvement projects, among them: reconstruction or rehabilitation of 40 CTA rail stations—nearly 30 percent of the entire rail system; purchase of the CTA’s newest-generation electric buses, delivery of CTA’s newest-generation railcars and started the largest capital project in CTA history, the Red and Purple Modernization project. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, CTA has been one of the only U.S. transit agencies to continue to run full scheduled service. Even at the height of the pandemic, when cities, businesses and schools were largely closed, CTA still carried more than 250,000 riders each day — essential workers and those needing to make necessary trips.
City of San Luis Obispo (SLO Transit), San Louis Obispo, California
In efforts to better communicate with riders who may either have a hearing, visual, cognitive, or selective-cognitive impairments, the City of San Luis Obispo’s public transit system (SLO Transit) is the first in the world to integrate reactive smart lighting, as a feature of its transit fleet. The project aims to solve and reinforce vehicle operational status while enhancing the riding experience by integrating innovative visual cues.
Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA), Jacksonville, Florida
When the Northeast Florida region shut down, the JTA kept moving through a unique partnership with the esteemed Mayo Clinic to transport COVID-19 samples on the medical facility’s sprawling campus using the JTA’s Ultimate Urban Circulator (U2C). The autonomous vehicles went fully operational during the pandemic to provide life-saving assistance. In addition to other innovations, JTA instituted a “Frontline Foodservice” initiative that included a collaboration with local restaurants to provide daily meals to front line health care workers and launched “Wellness on Wheels” by retrofitting four fixed route buses into mobile vaccination clinics in underserved communities.
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro), Los Angeles, California
LA Metro’s Career Pathways Program/Workforce Initiative Now–Los Angeles (WIN-LA) make up LA Metro’s innovative workforce development program that was established to focus on creating career pathways in the transportation industry. The SEED School of Los Angeles County will be the nation’s first public boarding high school (grades 9-12) to focus specifically on the future workforce needs of the global transportation infrastructure industry. The SEED School is an essential part of LA Metro’s Career Pathway, and it is an opportunity to build a qualified workforce for the transportation industry, while also giving local opportunity youth a pathway to meaningful careers and fulfilling lives. In October 2020, then LA Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington joined LA County officials for the official groundbreaking. The inaugural class of SEED LA students will arrive in August 2022. The school is in South LA and the new development will include the boarding school, 180 units of affordable housing, community-focused retail, a public plaza and a job training center.
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
Bradley Mims has been a leader in the transportation industry in both the government and the private sector for over forty years. Mims has dedicated his career to serving as an advocate for diversity and inclusiveness in the transportation industry. As the former President & CEO of Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO), a 50-year-old organization dedicated to ensuring maximum participation of minorities in transportation, Mims advanced the organization’s mission of promoting better conditions and circumstances by which representatives of all minority groups may achieve meaningful representation, participation, and beneficial results within the multi-modal transportation industry. Mims assumed his current position as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Deputy Administrator in February of 2021.
OUTSTANDING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATON BUSINESS MEMBER
Huelon Harrison has been an advocate for public transportation since joining the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Board of Directors in 1998. Harrison has been in active in APTA since 1999, first serving in leadership roles as a transit board member, culminating in receiving APTA’s Transit Board Member of the year award in 2005. Now as an APTA business member and former chair of the Business Members Board of Governors, Harrison has assisted many large firms to identify qualified small DBE companies for the purposes of obtaining business opportunities on large contracts. Harrison is the principal of Legacy Resource Group (LRG).
OUTSTANDING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION BOARD MEMBER
Cindy Chavez’s leadership, professionalism, and integrity reverberated throughout the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) as it struggled, like transit agencies worldwide, with severe ridership and revenue losses, and health threats to front-line workers. As the President of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, she was ever-present with the duties of running the first county in the nation to order a shutdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. She also demonstrated excellence as a leader when VTA experienced a horrific mass-shooting incident in May 2021 at its light-rail facility in downtown San Jose.
OUTSTANDING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION MANAGER
Dorval Carter, Jr.
Over the course of a more than 30-year career, Dorval R. Carter, Jr., President of the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), has established himself as a respected leader and trailblazer in the public transportation industry. Since becoming CTA President in 2015, he has overseen a record level of investment and modernization, and over the past year has steered the agency through the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. He has consistently been customer-focused: working toward the best policies, investments and service-delivery strategies to enable the CTA to serve its 1.5 million daily riders most effectively. Equity and fairness have been guiding principles for Carter since he joined the CTA as staff attorney in the 1980s, and he has continually been a catalyst for expanding equitable opportunities. Through outreach, engagement and innovative partnerships, Carter has ensured that CTA investments directly boost the communities in which they are made and provide opportunities for those who live in those communities.
HALL OF FAME
Before Grace Crunican retired in 2019 as the general manager of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) she oversaw more than 3,500 employees and $30 billion of transportation infrastructure. That was, however, only the culmination of a four-decade pioneering transportation career. Crunican’s career has steadily demonstrated how to build a more resilient, sustainable and equitable future for public transportation, always proving that agencies can adapt and find opportunity in the path forward. Crunican has been actively involved in APTA for almost 30 years and has been asked to serve as a moderator, panelist, or speaker at nearly every major APTA Conference since the late ’90’s. She has been a stalwart member, rarely turning down a request to serve on a task force, committee or council.
Delon Hampton (posthumously)
Dr. Delon Hampton devoted his career to civil engineering and its application to public transportation until his retirement in 2018 from the engineering consulting firm that he founded in 1973, Delon Hampton & Associates, at a time when there were few black-owned engineering companies. He was also elected the first African American President of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). After joining APTA in 1998, Hampton actively participated in and held leadership roles in many committees and is a former chair of the Business Member Board of Governors. Hampton devoted his life and career to academia and engineering. He leaves a legacy of significant contributions to public transportation through design and construction of light rail systems, commuter rail systems, streetcars, subways and associated facilities.
Throughout his nearly 50-year career in the transit industry, Arthur Leahy has exemplified APTA’s core values. Leahy served with distinction earning numerous personal and organizational achievements and accolades, while making a sustained commitment to mentor a diverse set of future leaders to help keep the transportation industry strong well past his own storied career. As the leader of several large transit agencies, Leahy has been an active member of APTA for decades. He most recently was recognized by APTA as the Public Transportation Manager of the Year in 2017.
Since the 1980’s, Stephen Schlickman has been a tireless advocate for people with disabilities, creating fair and equitable transit access, and leading diversity and inclusion efforts. In 1975 Steve started his journey in transportation as a bus driver and retired from his last full-time position as the Executive Director of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Urban Transportation Center in 2015. Active in APTA for over 40 years, Schlickman has had a significant hand in implementing strategics to create coalitions that positively affect federal transit funding policies.
For more information, visit apta.com.
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public- and private-sector organizations which represent a $80 billion industry that directly employs 448,000 people and supports millions of private sector jobs. APTA members are engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products.