Long Beach Transit chief receives top APTA award

Posted on July 19, 2012

Laurence (Larry) W. Jackson, in his fortieth year as a leader and innovator at Calif.-based Long Beach Transit and in the public transportation industry on a local, regional, national and international level, was named the “Outstanding Public Transportation Manager” for 2012 by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

Since 1983 APTA, the leading national advocacy group for public transportation, has organized this annual awards program that recognizes public transportation excellence in leadership and innovation.

“Larry has been and continues to be a role model for the staff here at Long Beach Transit, for the transportation industry as a whole and for the community of Long Beach. He has made a lasting impact on how the industry functions and how we serve our residents, and he does it all selflessly. No one is more deserving of this award,” says Long Beach Transit’s Chief Administrative Officer & Senior Vice President, Marcelle Epley.

During his time at Long Beach Transit, Jackson has brought innovation and major advancements to the industry and the Long Beach community. As early as 1975 he implemented LBT’s Dial-A-Lift service, before the Americans with Disabilities Act came into existence. This gave residents who were otherwise confined to their homes the freedom to travel outside. Twenty years later, he also made it safer and more secure for customers utilizing wheelchairs by being the first to make a bus fleet 100% accessible for persons with disabilities.

In the early ‘80s Jackson was integral in the development of the Long Beach Transit Mall, a central regional hub for rail and bus transit in Southern California. Nearly 30 years later he coordinated the mall’s renovation, completely modernizing it into a transit “gallery” that serves 25,000 riders daily. The First Street Transit Gallery doubles as a public art space and is a well-lit and safe transit hub that Long Beach residents can be proud of.

With this distinguished award, Jackson’s accomplishments are being further recognized by some of the industry’s most notable figures. “Larry Jackson has spent nearly 40 years inspiring the employees of Long Beach Transit and helping to advance public transportation on the national level,” said APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy. “He is an outstanding role model, not only as a public transit manager, but as a leader in the industry.”

Jackson is also responsible for popular Long Beach services and programs like the downtown fare-free Passport, the AquaLink and AquaBus water taxis, the CSULB U-Pass program and real-time GPS bus tracking. He brought modern European design to Long Beach in 2009 with the introduction of the latest hybrid gasoline electric buses, and by the end of 2012 will welcome in 64 Compressed Natural Gas buses to the Long Beach Transit fleet as well as a CNG fueling station.

Jackson is the nation’s fifth longest tenured President of a transit agency in the United States, and in that time he has played a major role in the development of his staff. Carl Sedoryk, General Manager and CEO at Monterey-Salinas Transit District in California, was one of Jackson’s past employees. “Throughout his career Larry has ensured that workforce development programs are in place to train and mentor the next generation of leadership for both Long Beach Transit and for the industry as a whole. One remarkable result of these efforts is demonstrated by the fact that over a half dozen of our industry CEO’s, including myself, have at some point worked with and been trained by Larry Jackson,” Sedoryk says.

The official award ceremony will be held at the APTA Annual Conference on October 2, 2012 in Seattle in front of public transportation industry leaders from across the country.

Long Beach Transit serves 27.8 million boarding customers in Long Beach, Lakewood and Signal Hill — as well as portions of Artesia, Bellflower, Carson, Cerritos, Compton, Hawaiian Gardens, Norwalk and Paramount — with regular bus and shuttle services including the Passport. Water Taxi service is available during the summer months on the AquaBus and AquaLink.

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