After a nationwide search, the Community Transit Board of Directors yesterday named Emmett Heath as Chief Executive Officer of the Snohomish County public transportation agency, Community Transit.
Heath served as Director of Administration at Community Transit for 10 years before taking over as CEO in an acting capacity last summer following retirement of the former CEO.
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Heath is taking control of an agency that is on the rise. On June 7, the agency will resume Sunday bus service after a five-year absence. Community Transit will also be adding more mid-day and Saturday bus trips for a total 17% service increase in June.
“We’re back in growth mode. Today, we have every driver and every bus out on the road, yet we know there are still unmet needs in our community,” said Heath. “This agency is hiring more drivers and ordering more buses, and we are going to need a new long-term funding source to get us to the next level. Resource advocacy, operational excellence and customer satisfaction are among my highest priorities.”
Heath identified several strategic focus areas for the agency:
• Resource advocacy
– Securing state legislative authority to seek additional local transit funding.
• Operational excellence and customer satisfaction – Investing more heavily in the existing bus network and re-engineering an antiquated customer comment process.
• Technological innovation – Providing customer information on mobile platforms and using data collection to support cost-effective improvements and coordination with other transit providers.
• Capital development – Moving forward with several significant projects including a new Seaway Transit Center near Paine Field, a second Swift Bus Rapid Transit line, a radio system replacement and implementing the next generation of ORCA.
• Leadership and workforce development – Positioning the agency for future growth through fiscal discipline, skilled management and successful workforce development so that the agency can continue to have the best workforce delivering the best services.
• Regional and local partnerships – Customers expect seamless inter-operation among regional transportation providers, and close collaboration with local jurisdictions as we all work together to improve our transportation network.
“I have been honored to work for a great company that cares about its customers and its employees,” said Heath. “As CEO, I am highly motivated by the goal of contributing to a valuable legacy for future generations.”
Prior to joining Community Transit, Heath served in executive roles at the Snohomish County PUD and King County Metro Transit for more than 25 years. He and his wife live in Arlington.