Management & Operations

L.A. Metro announces first chief innovation officer

Posted on September 29, 2015

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced today the selection of  Dr. Joshua L. Schank as the first-ever head of Metro’s newly created Office of Extraordinary Innovation. Schank’s hire reflects L.A. Metro’s commitment to innovation, accessibility and accountability in transportation for all Angelenos.

Schank currently serves as President/CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation in Washington, D.C., an influential, nonpartisan transportation policy think tank. At Eno, Schank successfully sought innovative solutions to pressing national transportation concerns through consensus and coalition building among industry leaders, elected officials and academics. In this role, Schank also directed Eno’s highly visible working groups on public-private partnerships (P3s), freight, aviation and transportation finance. 

 He started his career at the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority as a transportation planner and went on to work as a Congressional Transportation Fellow and Legislative Assistant in the U.S. Senate. He also worked as a senior associate for two major international transportation consulting firms, specializing in public transit and federal transportation policy. Schank also served as Director of Transportation Research for the Bipartisan Policy Center based in Washington, D.C., where he directed a large panel of former elected officials, policy experts, business executives and civic leaders overseeing a national study of federal transportation policy that resulted in recommendations for accountable, performance-based transportation programs.

“Dr. Schank is highly regarded across the transportation industry as a collaborator and an innovator,” said L.A. Metro CEO Phillip Washington. “He is a leader in transportation policy and driving mobility solutions through his own unique vision.”

In July, just two months after taking the helm as Metro’s new CEO, Washington announced the creation of an Office of Extraordinary Innovation. The intent of this office is to champion new ideas to improve mobility in L.A. County. The responsibilities are threefold: 1) Inform the high-level vision for L.A. Metro through exposure to innovative people, organizations and industries; 2) Support Metro departments in piloting and implementing new and experimental programs and policy and 3) Serve as the primary liaison for new ideas relevant to L.A. Metro coming from entrepreneurs, private sector entities, academia or individuals.

“This office will be responsible for mining and implementing the most out of the box and innovative strategies the transportation industry has ever seen in this country,” said Washington. “This will be our Innovative Strike Force Team in areas such as public-private partnerships, value capture opportunities, high technology and autonomous vehicle impact on transit, as well as leading the agency’s strategic planning efforts.”

Schank earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Urban Studies - Political Science from Columbia University. He earned a Master of Arts Degree in City Planning - City Design and Development from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Ph.D. in Urban Planning with a Transportation Specialization from Columbia University, New York, N.Y. 

He will begin his new role as Chief Innovation Officer on Oct. 5, 2015.

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