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October 12, 2009

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Check the classifieds for nine public transit positions, including three chief executive jobs!
 
2009 APTA ANNUAL MEETING

APTA Honors ‘Best of the Best’ at Awards Luncheon

The public transportation industry honored its top leaders and agencies in North America on Oct. 6 at the APTA Awards Luncheon during the 2009 APTA Annual Meeting in Orlando. Awards Committee Chair Alfred Harf, executive director of the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, Woodbridge, VA, presided at the event.

Organizational Awards
The Utah Transit Authority in Salt Lake City, UT, received APTA’s Innovation Award for its electronic fare collection system, which accepts personal credit and debit cards in addition to passes issued by the agency. The fare system has a built-in validation feature: when the rider taps a transit pass or credit/debit card on the bus, the operator instantly receives a validation message on the on-board computer and allows the individual to board. UTA inspectors on board the system’s trains have a small inspection device that registers the “tap” a customer made on a platform reader prior to boarding.

The Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award went to systems in three different ridership categories.

The Greater Lynchburg Transit Company (GLTC), serving the city of Lynchburg and Madison Heights, VA, received the honor as Outstanding Public Transportation System providing more than one million and fewer than four million annual trips. The agency has seen its service increase from 15 to 28 peak fixed route buses over the past three years. Other GLTC innovations include the introduction of certified transit operator safety training, transfer center security, automatic video surveillance on buses, and a computerized maintenance and inventory program.

The award for Outstanding Public Transportation System providing more than four million and fewer than 30 million annual trips went to Intercity Transit in Olympia, the capital of Washington State. In addition to its fixed routes, which saw a 50 percent growth in ridership in the past three years, and Dial-A-Lift paratransit, the agency operates more than 190 vanpool groups that provided 700,000 trips last year alone. Intercity Transit also provides such specialized services as Community Vans, offering retired vanpool vans by reservation, at a low cost, to support group travel for non-profit and public sector agencies; the Van Grant Program, which awards retired vanpool vans to local nonprofit groups; and Village Vans, a federal Job Access Reverse Commute program operated with South Puget Sound Community College and 19 other community partners, providing fare-free transportation of low-income individuals in pursuing employment and skills training as well as job training opportunities for its volunteer drivers.

San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) was honored as Outstanding Public Transportation System providing more than 30 million annual trips. MTS provided a record number of trips, about 91 million, while simultaneously effecting significant cost savings. In addition, MTS has introduced 224 new buses into its fleet over the last three years and redesigned its entire network of service to increase operational efficiencies—at a time when the state totally eliminated state transit assistance funding.

Individual Awards
The Outstanding Business Executive of the Year Award went to Tim Solso, president and chief executive officer of Cummins Inc., to recognize his company’s support of environmental practices and partnerships. Solso has overseen Cummins’ efforts in improving its product—creating diesel engines with very low carbon dioxide emissions levels and very high efficiency—and supporting public transit while also improving the environment and increasing energy usage efficiency. Cummins is a participant in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders Program and has been named to the Dow Jones World Sustainability Index each of the last four years in recognition of its economic, environmental, and social leadership.

Delon Hampton, chairman of Delon Hampton and Associates in Washington, DC, received the Outstanding Public Transportation Business Member Award. Hampton has been active in APTA since the 1970s, serving as chair and/or member of nearly every major standing committee of APTA; he is the current vice chair-business member-at-large and a former vice chair-research and technology and chair of the Business Member Board of Governors. He served on task committees such as the one that developed the Public Transportation Partnership for Tomorrow program, the last two APTA Strategic Planning Committees, and the TransitVision 2050 Task Force.

APTA presented the Outstanding Public Transportation Board Member Award to two recipients: Gregory J. Nickels, board chair of Sound Transit in Seattle, and David M. Stackrow, board chairman of the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) in Albany, NY

Nickels, also the mayor of Seattle since 2002, is a founding member of the Sound Transit board, serving continuously since 1993. His support of transit included co-sponsoring a 1988 advisory ballot that resulted in 70 percent of voters supporting construction of a light rail system. Nickels also led the creation of an ambitious transit system expansion plan supported by an additional half-cent in retail sales tax—which voters approved last year despite a down economy.

Stackrow was appointed to the CDTA board in 1995 and was elected its chairman in 2001. He launched a restructure of the board of directors that then developed a strategic business plan for employees and stakeholders. Stackrow’s other efforts include simplifying the fare structure to eliminate transfers and zone and express surcharges, adding hybrid buses to the fleet, and securing funding to complete the Rensselaer Rail Station.

John B. Catoe Jr., general manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), was recognized as APTA’s Outstanding Public Transportation Manager. Catoe oversaw record service during the inauguration of President Barack Obama, which included an unprecedented 17 hours of rush-hour rail availability. In the fall of 2008, Catoe rallied the industry to leverage its collective power on the courts and on Capitol Hill to resolve transit leasing agreements—heavily at risk. Catoe has shifted WMATA’s 30-year focus from construction to operations and customer service. His APTA activities have included chairing Leadership APTA and serving as co-chair of the Legislative Committee’s Reauthorization Task Force.

Hall of Fame
APTA welcomed Bernard J. Ford to the APTA Hall of Fame during the award ceremony, bringing the total number of Hall of Fame members to 116.

Ford—the only APTA member to have served both as the association’s president (now chair) and chairman of the Business Member Board of Governors—has spent more than 50 years in the public transportation industry: more than 30 years with the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Northeastern Illinois Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and over 20 years as a transportation consultant. He joined the private sector in 1985 and became principal for public transportation projects at McDonough Associates in 1988. A highlight there was serving as a project principal on developing Chicago’s Millennium Park—a multi-modal transportation facility. Ford continues to promote public transit in Chicago as chairman of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee.

 

 

 Tom Hodek, general manager, world wide bus business, for Cummins Inc., right, accepts the Outstanding Business Executive of the Year Award on behalf of Tim Solso from James G. Srygley of S&A Systems Inc.

 Delon Hampton, left, receives the Outstanding Public Transportation Business Member Award from presenter Z. Wayne Johnson of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, and Transportation District.

 

 

 Deborah Wathen Finn of The Wathen Group LLC presents the first of two Outstanding Public Transportation Board Member Awards to Michael Williams, project development officer at Sound Transit, accepting on behalf of the system’s board chair, Gregory J. Nickels.

 The second Outstanding Public Transportation Board Member—David Stackrow, left—receives the award from Frank Kobliski of the Central New York Regional Transportation Authority.

 

 

 John B. Catoe Jr., left, the 2009 Outstanding Public Transportation Manager, accepts the honor from Alfred Harf of the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission.

 Bernard Ford became the newest member of the APTA Hall of Fame. Dr. David Hillock, president of Transit Associates, accepts the honor on Ford’s behalf from Stephanie Pinson of Gilbert Tweed Associates.



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