Sen. Inouye legacy honored for rail work
Former U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (HI), who passed away last year, was given the APTA 2013 Distinguished Service Award for his many transportation achievements including his tireless efforts “to improve mobility and seek transportation solutions for Hawaii’s residents and visitors.”
Inouye, who was influential in securing federal funding for the Honolulu rail project, passed away Dec. 17, 2012, two days before the City and County of Honolulu and the FTA signed a historic full-funding grant agreement. The agreement secured $1.55 billion in federal funding for the construction of Honolulu’s rail transit system.
Additionally, as a ranking member of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committees, Inouye helped introduce a bill (2006 Maritime, Rail and Public Transportation Security Act) that provided $3.5 billion for transit security.
Denver RTD’s Washington named top manager
Phillip A. Washington
Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) GM/CEO Phillip A. Washington has been selected for the Outstanding Public Transportation Manager Award.
During his tenure, Washington has undertaken a remarkable number of innovative, cost-effective and customer-focused initiatives to build projects and improve service to the public. The most visible is RTD’s FasTracks Program — the largest voter-approved transit expansion in the nation.
“This is a direct reflection on the excellence of the entire RTD organization and the great work the agency performs every day,” Washington said. “I truly appreciate the remarkable support from my fellow board members, the RTD staff and our stakeholders. I am very grateful and a bit overwhelmed.”
Hall of Fame inducts Simonetta
Rick Simonetta, business development, rail and transit, at Burns Group will be inducted into APTA’s Hall of Fame.
Simonetta, who has more than 40 years of experience in the industry, successfully led the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority during the 1996 Olympic Games and was in charge when Arizona’s METRO light rail system launched on schedule and under budget. He has also been instrumental in the career development of many transit professionals through mentoring, training and supporting active participation in APTA.
“I was active in APTA when the Hall of Fame was created, and over the years, have witnessed the induction of transit industry superstars,” said Simonetta. “I am in awe that I have been selected to join these highly respected pioneers and leaders of our industry.”
Millar’s leadership, achievements honored
Former APTA President William Millar will be inducted into the association’s Hall of Fame. Millar, who is currently a consultant with Chicago-based firm Lochner, led the association from 1996 to 2011 and left a distinguished legacy of diligently promoting public transportation and helping increase federal investment levels.
“I see the APTA Hall of Fame Award as the highest recognition APTA can give in its regular awards program,” Millar said. “For me it represents a symbol of respect for the body of work and contributions I made to APTA and the transit industry over my 40-year career by my peers. I am very honored to receive it.”
When asked what accomplishments he’s proud of, Millar cited leading APTA and the Port Authority of Allegheny County; starting Pennsylvania’s Free Transit Program for Senior Citizens; leading the effort at APTA that tripled the annual federal funding for public transportation; being the founder of the Transit Cooperative Research Program and much more.
His proudest achievement, he said, is founding the ACCESS Paratransit Service in Allegheny County, Pa. in 1979.
“It used innovative approaches to involving both the private and not-for-profit sectors to provide service. It set the stage for the remainder of my career, and most importantly, allowed thousands of Pittsburghers to live fuller and more complete lives by being able to travel independently outside their homes over the 34 years since it started,” he said.
Wochele is Business Member of the Year
Charles “Chuck” Wochele, managing partner/owner of TransitConsult LLC, has been named APTA’s Outstanding Business Member.
A member of APTA’s 2012-2013 Executive Committee, Wochele held a variety of positions at Alstom Transportation from 1997 to 2012, ranging from VP, marketing and sales, rolling stock, to VP, industry & government relations.
“When Alstom took over the Hornell, N.Y. manufacturing facilities in 1997, we had 50 employees, which we were able to grow to over 1,000 employees by 2009,” said Wochele. “Being part of the team that brought that many jobs to a depressed area was the highlight of my career.”
DART board member Chrisman honored
Dallas Area Rapid Transit Board Member Randall Chrisman was named APTA’s Outstanding Public Transportation Board Member. He was appointed to the board in 2002 to represent the cities of Carrollton and Irving, Texas and served as chair in 2008 and 2009.
In addition, he is secretary of APTA’s Transit Board Member Committee, chair of the Transit Board Members Legislative Subcommittee and vice chair of APTA’s Authorization Task Force.
“It’s a privilege to work with so many talented transit professionals and board members in both the DART service area and from around the country to deliver the service our customers deserve,” Chrisman said. “I am very appreciative and humbled by this honor.”