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July 27, 2011

APTA Board of Directors Selects Michael P. Melaniphy as APTA's Next President

In a unanimous vote July 26, the APTA Board of Directors named Michael P. Melaniphy to serve as the association’s next President and Chief Executive Officer. A well-known leader in the industry, Melaniphy has spent his entire career in public transportation, with 23 years of experience in both the public and private sectors.

The selection is the culmination of an extensive process that sought input from all segments of APTA. Melaniphy was the unanimous recommendation of the Presidential Selection Task Force, which conducted a wide-ranging search for the best candidate to replace William Millar, who is retiring Oct. 31 after 15 years as APTA President.

Melaniphy is currently Vice President Public Sector for Motor Coach Industries. Prior to that, he 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.  Melaniphy started his public transit career in college as a bus driver for the campus system at Indiana University, where he studied under the legendary transportation Professor George Smerk.

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

"Michael Melaniphy is an outstanding choice to lead our association forward in this critical time," said APTA Chair Michael J.  Scanlon. "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."  

"The Presidential Selection Task Force unanimously recommended Michael Melaniphy to become APTA’s next president because we believe he is uniquely qualified to take our association to the next level," said APTA Vice Chair Gary Thomas, who serves as task force chair. "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." 

APTA President Millar added, "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."

In accepting the presidency, Melaniphy said, "I am thrilled to be selected as APTA’s next president. 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 accomplishment and influence."

The selection process began with APTA Chair Scanlon’s appointment of Thomas and 11 other APTA members 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 for 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 and congratulate them on their outstanding choice," said APTA Chair Scanlon.

In addition to Thomas, members of the task force are: David Armijo, principal, Armijo & Associates, Tampa, FL; Mattie P. Carter, commissioner, Memphis Area Transit Authority, TN; Flora Castillo, board member, New Jersey Transit, Newark, NJ; Greg Evans, vice president, Lane Transit District Board of Directors, Eugene, OR; Sharon Greene, principal, Sharon Greene & Associates, Laguna Beach, CA; Angela Iannuzziello, vice president, GENIVAR, Toronto, ON; Arthur Leahy, chief executive officer, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, CA; Jerome Premo, global transit director/executive vice president, AECOM, Los Angeles¸ CA;  Diana Jones Ritter, managing director, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, NY; Peter Varga, chief executive officer, Interurban Transit Partnership, Grand Rapids, MI; and Phillip Washington, general manager, Regional Transportation District, Denver, CO.

Melaniphy will officially assume the post on Nov. 1, and will join APTA prior to that date to work with Millar until his Oct. 31 retirement to ensure a smooth transition.  
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