Industry mourns passing of COMTO president/CEO, Cunningham

Posted on June 24, 2014

Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) President/CEO Julie Cunningham passed away today.

"We are all totally devastated and no words can adequately express our sorrow. Julie was a brilliant leader, who over the past decade moved COMTO from good to great. We thank her; we will miss her, as we continue to honor her," said Robert H. Prince, Jr., COMTO National Chair in a statement.

Since her 2001 appointment as head of COMTO, she effectively led the national trade association in unprecedented growth — moving from a single focus of public transit to a focus of multi-modalism, now including aviation, port authorities and state departments of transportation.

Cunningham served on President-Elect Barack Obama’s Transition Team at the U.S. Department of Transportation and provided expert testimony before the U.S. Congress, including the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Senate Democratic Caucus. 

Statement by APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy:

“We mourn the loss of a member of the APTA family. Julie Cunningham, president and CEO of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO), passed away today.

Julie singlehandedly increased the stature and influence of COMTO. Her strong will and passion heightened the profile and voice of minority professionals throughout the transportation industry.

Julie often said her mission is for people of color to have a seat at the table. Her legacy is the many individuals who have served, and are still serving, in influential roles in transportation, and the many young people she has mentored who will have seats at the table.

Julie has long been affiliated with APTA. Before being named to lead COMTO in 2001, she was a Transit Board Member for the Laketran transit system in Ohio, and was a regional representative on APTA’s Transit Board Members Committee’s Executive Council.

Julie worked very closely with APTA on many fronts. She was instrumental in developing a formal and expanded partnership and collaboration between APTA and COMTO in such areas as strategic planning, policy forums, and workforce development. She also served on APTA’s Diversity Council.

Julie was a catalyst for APTA and COMTO working together to promote and support historically underutilized businesses. She helped launch a series of APTA-COMTO Assembly program sessions initiated at both organizations’ conferences, focusing on best practices and ways to enhance the sustainability of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises.
APTA also worked very closely with COMTO to find ways to more broadly disseminate the Transit Cooperative Research Program reports, and Julie spearheaded its very successful Ambassador program.

On a more personal note, Julie was a mentor to me when I became APTA president/CEO in 2011. She helped me navigate my transition to the association world. She was an excellent sounding board, and I will miss her direct and honest advice.

The APTA family offers its sympathies to Julie’s daughter and her family, and to the many members of COMTO. We celebrate Julie’s life and give thanks for her many accomplishments.”

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

New Flyer advances 3rd-year installment of 100 SEPTA hybrid-electric buses

The hybrid diesel-electric Xcelsior buses support SEPTA’s “SEPT-AINABLE 2020” program, focused on achieving sustainability through a “triple bottom line” approach that includes the natural environment, healthy communities and workforce, and economic vitality.

Utah Transit names new Provo to Orem BRT route

With more than 350 names submitted for consideration by the public, the agency approved naming the new project the Utah Valley Express, or UVX.

BusCon 2018 Call for Papers Deadline 3/16

Topics can be related to delivering superior customer service, employee training & retention, solving operational challenges and ideas for cost-cutting, technology and data best practice, revenue generation, and business-building.

Fla.'s JTA receives $16.9M grant for new BRT line

The 18.5 mile Red Line will be the longest corridor in the network and nearly doubles the footprint of the existing First Coast Flyer system, connecting more people to jobs, education, healthcare, and entertainment.

Van Hool to build 40 hydrogen buses for German fleets

The order for Cologne and Wuppertal makes it the largest order for hydrogen-powered vehicles ever placed in Europe.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment



Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close