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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis July 29, 2011
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Michael P. Melaniphy Named Next APTA President

Michael P. Melaniphy has been selected as the next President and Chief Executive Officer of APTA. In a unanimous vote on July 26, the APTA Board of Directors selected Melaniphy, Vice President Public Sector for Motor Coach Industries, to lead the association. He has spent his entire professional career in public transportation, beginning as a bus driver while a student at Indiana University.

A very active APTA member and an industry leader with 23 years of public and private sector experience, Melaniphy was also unanimously recommended by the Presidential Selection Task Force, which conducted an extensive, wide-ranging search for the best candidate to replace William Millar, who is retiring Oct. 31 after 15 years as APTA President.

The task force, comprising 12 APTA members that included APTA Vice Chair Gary Thomas, president/executive director, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, as chair, recommended Melaniphy to become APTA’s next president “because we believe he is uniquely qualified to take our association to the next level,” Thomas said.

“Michael Melaniphy is an outstanding choice to lead our association forward in this critical time,” said APTA Chair Michael J. Scanlon, general manager/chief executive officer of the San Mateo County Transit District in San Carlos, CA. “He is eminently qualified and brings broad-based experience in both the public and private sectors. I am very pleased that we have found in Michael a leader who not only loves our industry and has dedicated his career to improving it, but also has the vision and leadership skills to move our industry forward.”

“Michael’s extensive experience, his advocacy skills, strong management and business skills, and his dedication to and passion for public transportation are a perfect match for the attributes the APTA Board of Directors determined necessary for APTA’s next president,” said Thomas. 

Millar said: “I have known and worked with Michael for many years and he is a superb choice to lead APTA. Also, I am delighted to have a Leadership APTA graduate succeed me. Michael will be an inspiring leader for our association and the excellent APTA staff.”

“I am thrilled to be selected as APTA’s next president,” Melaniphy said. “I pledge to do my absolute best to serve all our members and ensure that our association is laser-focused on strengthening and improving public transportation. I am honored to be named Bill Millar’s successor. His leadership has brought our industry unprecedented success and I will build on his legacy to take our association to the next level of accomplishments and influence.”

Melaniphy, who serves on the APTA Board of Directors, has long been an active APTA member. He is first vice chair of the Business Member Board of Governors and chairs the APTA International EXPO Committee and Awards Committee. He is a graduate of Leadership APTA and has served as a member of the APTA Nominating Committee and on such critical APTA task forces as Framework for the Future, Governance, and Reauthorization.

Prior to his current position, Melaniphy worked at First Group and its predecessor companies, serving as general manager for public transit systems in Charlotte, NC; Wichita, KS; and Hamilton, OH; and as assistant general manager in Laredo, TX. In addition to studying under the legendary transportation Professor George Smerk at Indiana University, he served as a bus driver for basketball coach Bobby Knight’s players.

The selection process began with Scanlon’s appointment of Thomas and the 11 other APTA members to the task force at a meeting of the Board of Directors on Jan. 7, 2011. The task force worked on a schedule and process designed and vetted by the APTA Board of Directors.

Once appointed, the task force competitively selected APTA member Krauthamer & Associates to serve as its executive search firm. It also began to define the qualities most important in the next APTA president by reaching out to transit CEOs, transit board members, business members and APTA committees, and finalizing that list after obtaining guidance from the APTA Board of Directors in March. The task force then crafted a job description grounded in those qualities and began the recruitment process.

Melaniphy was selected from among a large, diverse candidate pool that included 180 candidates. The task force narrowed the field over the course of a three-round review process that included several hours of interviews, review of written submissions, and vigorous background investigations on the finalists.

Thomas summed up the work of the task force: “There were several extremely well qualified candidates and the final decision was a difficult one. It was very gratifying to have so many qualified candidates with such dedication and passion for our industry and association. As a task force, we are confident that we have selected the very best candidate to lead our association.”

“I want to thank the task force members for their hard work and dedication,” Scanlon added, “and congratulate them on their outstanding choice.”

Melaniphy begins serving as APTA’s president on Nov. 1. He will join APTA prior to that to work with Millar until his retirement to ensure a smooth transition.



Photos by Ron Wyatt

Michael Melaniphy, center, with APTA Chair Michael J. Scanlon, right, and APTA Vice Chair Gary Thomas. 

William Millar, right, who will retire as APTA president on Oct. 31, shakes hands with his successor, Michael Melaniphy.


Michael Melaniphy, seated left, the next president and chief executive officer of APTA, joins Gary Thomas, seated right, chair of the Presidential Selection Task Force. Task force members in attendance at the Board of Directors meeting, standing, from left: Angela Iannuzziello, Greg Evans, Jerome Premo, Sharon Greene, Peter Varga, Flora Castillo, and David Armijo. Task force members who participated virtually were Mattie “M.P.” Carter, Arthur Leahy, Diana Jones Ritter, and Phillip Washington.

Presidential Selection Task Force Members
Chair: Gary C. Thomas, president/executive director of Dallas Area Rapid Transit, and vice chair, APTA
David J. Armijo, principal, Armijo & Associates, Tampa, FL
Mattie "M.P." Carter, commissioner, Memphis Area Transit Authority, and immediate past chair, APTA
Flora M. Castillo, CHIE, board member, New Jersey Transit Corporation
Greg Evans, M.Ed., vice president, Lane Transit District Board of Directors, Eugene, OR
Sharon Greene, principal, Sharon Greene and Associates, Laguna Beach, CA
Angela Iannuzziello, P.Eng., F.E.C., vice president, transit and transportation planning, GENIVAR, Toronto, ON
Arthur T. Leahy, chief executive officer, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Jerome C. Premo, global transit director/executive vice president, AECOM, Los Angeles, CA
Diana Jones Ritter, managing director, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York
Peter Varga, chief executive officer, Interurban Transit Partnership (The Rapid), Grand Rapids, MI
Phillip A. Washington, general manager, Regional Transportation District, Denver
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