Thomas McCarter As president of New Jersey‘s Public Service Railway for 23 years, Tom McCarter was responsible for putting together the nation’s only statewide transit system in 1928. A multimodal transit pioneer in the 1920s, McCarter also developed a two-tier revenue approach, in which standard trolley and bus rides cost a nickel and rides on luxury coaches with cushioned seats ran riders 10 cents. Today, McCarter Highway in Newark, N.J., is named after him.
Carl Wickman, a Swedish miner, established a short motorbus service between the small mining towns of Hibbing and Alice, Minn., in the heart of the rugged Mesaba Iron Ore range in 1914. Wickman and a blacksmith friend, Andrew “Bus Andy“ Anderson, set up their transportation service with $600. The two arranged hourly departures from Hibbing to Alice with a seven-passenger Hupmobile that Anderson stretched to seat 10 passengers. The fare was 15 cents one way or 25 cents round trip. Wickman’s bus service, which eventually became known as Greyhound Lines, had a groundbreaking effect on motorcoach transportation in the U.S.
Thomas Conway Jr.
In the 1920s and ‘30s, Thomas Conway Jr. made key contributions to the electric railway sector. He was president of Chicago Aurora & Elgin electric railway, and in 1929 formed the Electric Railway President’s Conference Committee (PCC). The goal of the committee was to develop a replacement for the 74,000 streetcars then in service in the U.S. Conway also helped to develop the “bullet” cars for Philadelphia & Western Railway and sold Detroit on a fleet of new PCC cars over General Motors’ objections.
Clessie Cummins, a self-taught mechanic and inventor, has been called the father of the American truck diesel. Cummins generated 33 U.S. patents over 56 years, and was president of his diesel engine company for 19 years. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of Automotive Engineers have posthumously honored him for pioneering achievements. During World War I, Cummins was convinced that an engine technology invented by Rudolph Diesel in the 1890s held great promise for fuel economy and durability. It was then that Cummins secured manufacturing rights from a Dutch diesel licensor and began making six-horsepower, four-cycle models in 1919. By 1929, Cummins mounted a diesel engine to a used Packard limousine and made history by creating America’s first diesel-powered automobile. Buses were soon to follow.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt recruited Guy Richardson, former CEO of Chicago Surface Lines, during World War II to preside over the Office of Defense Transportation. Richardson’s leadership in this capacity was imperative, particularly because of wartime rationing of gasoline and rubber and the stoppage of automobile manufacturing. When the war ended, Richardson returned to Chicago and placed the largest-ever PCC car order for 600 cars. After the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) came into existence, the 600 cars were upgraded to become PCC rapid transit cars that served the rapid transit system for many years.
Bernard Ford spent much of his illustrious transit career as an executive for both the Northeastern Illinois Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and the CTA. He joined the CTA in 1956 and eventually rose to chief administrative officer. After joining RTA, Ford became responsible for coordinating the area’s rail and bus systems and was soon named general manager. In 1974, Ford extended his transit influence overseas, serving as consultant to the United Nations Development Program and mission leader for review of railway training programs in Zambia. He was recognized for being an effective spokesman for transit on Capitol Hill and for playing a vital role in many of the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) committees.
Frank Martz Henry
In 1908, the company that would later become the Martz Group was started with a single bus under the name of White Transit Co. In 1922, Frank Martz Coach Co. was formed for intercity operations and grew to become one of the first carriers of the National Trailways bus system. In 1964, Frank Martz Henry, the grandson of founder Frank Martz, took control of a company after his father, Frank Martz Jr., died in a helicopter accident. Under Henry’s leadership, the company has grown to include eight major motorcoach companies spanning the East Coast from Florida to New York City. The Martz organization now employs more than 400 people and operates 250 coaches.
Al Cormier, president and CEO of the Centre for Sustainable Transportation (CST) in Mississauga, Ontario, started his transit career in the late 1950s working as an engineer for the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. During the next half-century, Cormier became one of the most active and influential public transit figures in Canada. From 1980 to 1996, he was CEO of the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA), and from 1997 to 1999, he was instrumental in coordinating activities for the Global Congress and City Transport Exhibition of the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) show held in Toronto in 1999. As founding director of CST, Cormier has dedicated his efforts to educating both Canada and the world about the importance of responsible, sustainable transportation.
During the ‘60s and early ‘70s, Al Sterling, former Motorola representative, was instrumental in developing the forerunner to the present day APTA Business Members. Sterling arranged annual golf outings and meetings attended by representatives of major suppliers to the transit industry. These events, which often took place at luxury hotels and lasted several days, helped create a culture of good working relationships among vendors and transit professionals, while also serving to raise funds for major association conferences and annual meetings.
Alfred “Alf” Savage
A retired horticulturist and a lifelong educator, Alf Savage has more than 25 years of management experience with both private and public organizations throughout North America. Among his many senior appointments, he was CEO of CTA, general manager at the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), president of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority in Buffalo, N.Y., and commissioner of public affairs in the city of Edmonton, Alberta. While with TTC, Savage directed a vast expansion of Toronto’s transit network and a resurrection of PCC cars. His endeavors include multiple public service stints and extensive community involvement.
George Krambles’ 43 years in the transit industry began at CTA, where he ascended to executive director after work in the design and maintenance of rapid transit rolling stock, power and communications equipment. During the unification of private urban transit into one public authority, Krambles developed system changes to maximize the benefit of merging duplicate elements into a multimodal integrated network serving an expanded service area. He also served on several committees with APTA and provided expert testimony to legislative bodies on funding and regulatory matters.
During a career spanning more than 45 years with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Daniel Scannell was a key contributor to public transportation in that region. Chief among his efforts was leading difficult negotiations with the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) and Amtrak for construction of a new train control center at New York’s Penn Station. Scannell entered the industry in 1955 as general counsel for New York City Transit (NYCT). In 1971, he was named senior executive officer of the agency. During four years of his tenure, he improved the subway’s on-time performance from 80% to 95%. Scannell also spearheaded an effort to revive failing MTA infrastructure through a series of capital plans that totaled $34 billion. Scannell was a dedicated APTA member and served as its chairman in 1988.
At the age of 44, Alan Boyd was selected by President Lyndon B. Johnson to help start the new U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) by serving as its first secretary. Because Boyd had headed the very task force that recommended developing the DOT in the first place, his selection was an appropriate choice. During Boyd’s tenure as secretary, which lasted from 1967 to 1969, the DOT issued the first federal motor vehicle safety standards. Also under his leadership, the Urban Mass Transportation Administration (now the Federal Transit Administration or FTA) was transferred out of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and into the DOT. After leaving the DOT, Boyd became president of the Illinois Central Railroad and, later on, president of Amtrak.
Though he began his career as a transit journalist, B.R. Stokes went on to become a major domestic and international figure in the industry. Stokes joined the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) as information director in 1958 after writing about the agency for the Oakland Tribune. He became a key architect of BART and worked his way up to the position of general manager, which he held for more than 10 years. In 1974, Stokes was named the first executive director of a newly restructured APTA, where he emphasized the efforts of both bus and rail transit. Stokes left APTA in 1979 to become director general of the Saudi Arabian Public Transport Co., where he oversaw the initiation of public transit in seven cities and intercity services among four cities. He also contributed to overseas operations in several other countries, including the Philippines, Venezuela and Thailand.
In 1967, Jackson Graham was the first general manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA) and was greatly responsible for expanding its rail system. A graduate of Oregon State University, Graham served with two engineering combat units in Europe during World War II and commanded two engineer aviation groups during the Korean War. He later was district engineer in Portland, Ore., and then brigadier general in charge of all civil military construction for 14 states. He became a two-star general in 1966 and retired from the military in 1967, the same year he took the general manager post at WMATA. He retired in 1976.
Former general manager of the Montreal Metro and director of construction for its subway system, Lucien L’Allier, was also president of the American Transit Association (ATA) and CUTA. L’Allier, who passed away in 1978, was also engineer and director of public works for the city of Montreal, and the chief engineer for the construction of Ile Notre-Dame and the enlargement of Ile Sainte-Helene for Expo ‘67. He also served as the president of the Montreal Transit Commission starting in 1964, and of the Montreal Urban Community Transit Commission from its creation in 1970. During his tenure, he served as chief engineer for the initial network of the metro. Due to his contributions to Montreal, the planned metro tunnel was renamed in his honor.
On three separate occasions, Lou Gambaccini retired from the transit industry but was called back for his expertise. In a career spanning four decades, he headed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, NJ Transit and SEPTA. In fact, while with the New Jersey Department of Transportation, Gambaccini spearheaded the efforts that established NJ Transit, which is now one of the largest transit agencies in the U.S. “I can see no alternative but an increasing transit role driven in part by the very success of the growth of highway traffic, which must impel relief by providing alternatives to gridlock and to the declining mobility of our population.” — Gambaccini in 1999.
Nominated by President Richard Nixon, John Volpe, three-time governor of Massachusetts, became the nation’s second secretary of transportation in 1968. Prior to his gubernatorial terms, Volpe served as the Massachusetts Commissioner of Public Works for nearly four years when in 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower named him as the interim, but first, Federal Highway Administrator, in charge of the new interstate highway program. As DOT secretary, Volpe is credited with implementing the concept of a government-subsidized passenger rail system, which become known as Amtrak. He gained Nixon’s support for legislation that, when finally passed, set up a governmental corporation — National Railroad Passenger Corp. — of which Volpe was the first chairman. The corporation changed its name to Amtrak in 1971. Later in his career, Volpe served as the U.S. ambassador to Italy between 1973 and 1977. In September 1991, the DOT renamed the Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Mass., the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in his honor. Volpe passed away in 1994.
Harold Fisher was a former chairman of the New York MTA and APTA chairman from 1978 to 1979. During his tenure at APTA, Fisher hosted a major address on public transportation made by President Jimmy Carter at the 1979 APTA annual meeting in New York City. This was the only time a U.S. president had addressed APTA. Fisher also served as vice president of the UITP. Fisher was responsible for developing the MTA’s first long-tem capital plan, won millions of extra federal and state transit dollars for the Accelerated Transit Program of station improvements, forged a unique financing agreement with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for the purchase of new subway cars and made the decision to save the Franklin Avenue shuttle.
As general manager of BART, Keith Bernard led the agency through difficult times and steered it toward success. After BART’s Transbay Tube caught fire in 1979, Bernard directed recovery efforts and initiated an industry self-regulated safety program. Among Bernard’s other achievements were improving labor relations, launching and overseeing a $500 million expansion program for BART and spearheading an agreement with San Mateo County for an extension to San Francisco International Airport. Bernard served as general manager of BART for more than 10 years and went on to become managing director of transportation for the Eurotunnel, which runs high-speed service between the U.K. and France.
William Ronan was responsible, at least in part, for several “firsts” in his long career of public service. After serving for seven years as a secretary for New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, Ronan became the first chairman of the newly created MTA and headed the agency when it took control of LIRR and NYCT. Through roles as Port Authority of New York commissioner and chairman of the Urban Transportation Development Corp., Ronan further impacted the transit environment in the New York City area. Perhaps most importantly, as president of the Institute for Rapid Transit (IRT), Ronan engineered the 1974 merger between IRT and the American Transit Association, creating the group that is today known as APTA. Ronan served as APTA’ s first chairman.
After entering the transportation industry at the age of 15, Leo Cusick went on to serve as an executive level official for several major transit agencies across the country, including systems in New York, Chicago, Boston and Kansas City, Mo. At the time of his retirement, Cusick was chief operating officer of the Northeastern Illinois RTA. His impact on Chicago’s Metra was such that the agency named one of its passenger rail units the “Leo J. Cusick” in his honor. Cusick was also inducted into APTA’s Hall of Fame.
Been there, done that. Perhaps more than anyone in the public and private bus industries, Bill Luke can make that claim. Luke, a long-time member of METRO’s Editorial Advisory Board, has, by his own account, ridden on 78 intercity bus lines in the 48 continental states and also traveled on sightseeing and tour services in Hawaii and Alaska. Luke, 80, has also ridden on transit systems in 112 U.S. cities, 15 Canadian cities and 53 other countries. A curiosity about bus building is also evident in Luke’s experiences. He’s visited and toured 88 bus manufacturers worldwide. In addition to his appetite for bus travel, Luke also has strong urges to write about the industry. In 1965, he and his wife Adelene founded Bus Ride Magazine. He’s also compiled several books, including Bus Industry Chronicle (2000), Greyhound Buses 1914-2000, Trailways Buses 1936-2001 and Trolley Buses 1913-2001. In 1998, Luke was inducted into APTA’s Hall of Fame. Since 1981, he’s been executive director of Buses International Association.
As a member of the APTA Hall of Fame, and with more than 52 years of service in public transportation, Robert Buchanan has made vast and varied contributions to the transit industry. From 1981 to 1994, Buchanan served as deputy vice president of APTA and was responsible for organizing meetings, setting up trade show and conference activities, dealing with existing members and bringing in new members. Membership grew substantially during his tenure. With experience on both the public and private sides, Buchanan also served as a mentor to myriad emerging transit leaders and worked on international transportation endeavors.
Reba Malone’s first foray into the transportation industry in the early 1970s was as a board member for San Antonio Transit, which became VIA Metropolitan Transit, where she served for 11 combined years. As a board member, Malone worked for and won a vote for a dedicated source of funding for the transit system. It was also during this time that, as a member of APTA, she became the first woman elected chair of the association, serving from 1986 to 1988. With funding again a prominent issue, Malone worked diligently for reauthorization of TEA 21 legislation during her tenure. Malone is currently involved in various APTA committees, including the legislative and reauthorization task forces and the expo committee. She is also chairwoman of the APTA Foundation, for which she is an ardent fundraiser. In 2002, she formed her own consulting firm, Reba Malone and Associates, to stay involved in the transportation industry.
John Simpson is best known for serving as president of NYCT from 1979 to 1983, a challenging period when the transit system required intensive rehabilitation. In leaving the post, Simpson said the elected officials often use public transit for political purposes. Prior to his tenure in New York City, Simpson was general manager of the Regional Transportation District in Denver from 1973 to 1979 and was credited with helping the agency expand and modernize its fleet of buses. Simpson, a graduate of West Point, was also active with APTA, serving as the vice president of governmental affairs in 1979 and testifying before Congress on APTA’s behalf on numerous occasions.
Drew Lewis served as U.S. Secretary of Transportation from January 1981 to February 1983 and helped pass the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982. Lewis convinced President Ronald Reagan to support a 5-cent increase in the gas tax for transportation, with 1 cent devoted to transit. This led to transit receiving 20% of any gas tax increase designated for the Highway Trust Fund. After his two-year stint running the DOT, Lewis returned to the private side of the industry.
Peter Picknelly took the reins as president of Peter Pan Bus Lines Inc. in 1964 at the age of 33. Before that, he had 14 years of experience with the Springfield, Mass.-based motorcoach company that his father founded in 1933. That same year, Picknelly capitalized on the 1964-1965 World’s Fair in New York by offering one-day trips all year, resulting in the introduction of motorcoach travel to more than 40,000 customers. Since then, Picknelly has expanded the company to include charters and group tours. Peter Pan has since become one of the largest tour operators in the U.S., operating 10,000 charters a year with 400 coaches, more than 1,500 employees and annual gross sales of more than $60 million. In addition to his duties with Peter Pan, Picknelly has held various positions with numerous bus companies, including serving as president of Springfield Transit Management Inc. for more than a decade. During this time, he helped negotiate two labor contracts between the company and its union employees. He has also served as director and past president of the New England Bus Association and director of the American Bus Association (ABA), where he founded and chaired the annual ABA Marketplace.
It is impossible to measure the impact Thomas Hock, president of Professional Transit Management Ltd. (PTM) in Loveland, Ohio, has had on the transportation industry since 1974. Working primarily as a labor negotiator and consultant, both with PTM and ATE Management and Service Inc., Hock has handled a vast number of transit management contracts and arguably become the most recognizable labor negotiator in the history of public transit. Says Mary McLain, general manager at TRANSPO in South Bend, Ind., “Because he served as head negotiator for multitudes of companies in their labor agreements, his influence spans decades of transit employees’ pay, benefits and work culture.”
After a successful 20-year career in public administration, Alan Kiepper transitioned to public transit and made numerous contributions. He served as general manager and CEO of the Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) of Harris County in Texas from 1982 to 1989, during which time the agency was awarded APTA’s Public Transportation System Outstanding Achievement Award for large systems. At the end of Kiepper’s tenure, on-time performance of buses had risen to 98% and accidents decreased to a then low 2.1 per 100,000 miles. As president and CEO of NYCT from 1990 to 1996, Kiepper introduced a customer service orientation for employees, lowered major subway crime by 64% and lowered operating costs by more than $100 million. Continuing his efforts in transportation, Kiepper left the public sector in 1996 to join Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas Inc. as senior vice president, assisting in the development of new transit projects and advising on operating issues.
Richard Page, now a principal consultant with Parsons Brinckerhoff, offers more than three decades of experience in the effective management of public agencies and private organizations, including transit agencies in Seattle and Washington, D.C. In the position of executive director of Seattle Metro, Page was responsible for all transit and wastewater activities. Under his leadership, the agency increased its capital budget program and broadened its financial base to include more financing and federal grants. He also expanded the bus transit fleet, extended service, created a simplified two-zone system to make the system more user-friendly and modernized the vehicle fleet, including electrical trolleys and the overhead system. President Jimmy Carter appointed Page administrator of the Urban Mass Transit Administration, where he managed the federal grant program. During his tenure at the administration, Page decentralized authority to the regions and instituted quarterly reviews of major rail projects.
During his tenure as executive vice president of APTA, Jack Gilstrap steered the association through difficult years for the transit industry and managed to double its membership, which shot from 600 to 1,200. Under Gilstrap’s leadership, beginning in 1980, APTA attained financial security, raising reserves from zero up to $10 million. He oversaw the creation of more than 50 new programs, including the American Public Transit Foundation scholarship program and the Transit Cooperative Research Program. Upon his retirement from APTA in 1996, the association initiated a scholarship in his honor. He was also inducted into its Hall of Fame. Prior to joining APTA, Gilstrap served for 10 years as general manager of the Southern California Rapid Transit District.
As the first African-American woman in the U.S. to head a major transit system, Carmen Turner was instrumental in improving and growing WMATA during her tenure as general manager from 1983 to 1990. Turner secured support from the federal government to complete WMATA’s Metrorail system and expanded it from 42 miles and 47 stations to 73 miles and 63 stations. During Turner’s era of leadership, WMATA won APTA’s Public Transit Agency Outstanding Achievement award, which is given annually to the top agency in North America. Turner passed away in April 1992, and later that year became the first woman to be inducted into the APTA Hall of Fame. The Philadelphia Chapter of the Woman’s Transportation Seminar, of which she was a member, initiated the annual Carmen E. Turner Graduate Scholarship in her honor.
In the late 1970s, Bob Graham of EPRI helped to develop what would later become APTA’s Business Member Board of Governors (BMBG). He rallied business members to demand a more active role in the operation of what was then called the American Public Transit Association. Later, he authored the bylaws that still govern the BMBG today. Graham insisted that business members who are appropriately elected be allowed to serve on APTA’s Executive Committee. More than two decades later, APTA opened vice chair positions to business members. This breakthrough changed APTA’s character and identity. In 1994, Graham was honored with APTA’s Outstanding Public Transportation Business Member award.
If nothing else, David Gunn deserves to be on this list based solely on the number of transit agencies he’s held high positions with. In a career that has witnessed multiple angles of transportation, Gunn has been president of NYCT, general manager of TTC, chief operating officer for SEPTA, general manager of WMATA, head of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and president and CEO of Amtrak. It’s tough to find more prestigious transit positions than these. As for specific accomplishments, at SEPTA, he reduced operating costs from $138 million to $97 million per year while rebuilding and replacing its subway cars, buses, trackless trolleys and trolley fleets. At WMATA, Gunn developed the accelerated construction plan and initiated building of three of four remaining segments of the planned 103-mile rail system. He also developed and implemented a multi-year, $1 billion capital rehabilitation program. At the end of his five-year tenure with MBTA, Gunn was successful at reducing the transit authority’s cost per passenger-mile to the lowest in the nation.
On Capitol Hill, James Howard was a strong advocate for the transit community during his 11 terms as a representative in Congress. Howard, (D-N.J.) was elected to Congress in 1965 and retained his seat until his death in 1988. He served as chair of the House Public Works and Transportation Committee from 1981 through 1987 and was a vital proponent for public transportation in New Jersey and the nation at large. To that end, Howard ensured that New Jersey received the funding necessary to begin its public transit network. He helped obtain transit funding at a time when federal government was cutting back. He also worked with NJ Transit and the New Jersey Department of Transportation on major legislative initiatives such as the Surface Transportation Act. Howard was inducted into the NJ Transit Hall of Fame in 2001.
As director of transportation planning and, later, general manager for the Ottawa Transit System, John Bonsall planned, designed and operated the city’s Busway rapid transit network over a period of 20 years. The system, which opened its first section in 1983, went on to become North America’s largest busway operation. In 1993, Bonsall joined McCormick Rankin International in Ontario, where he served as the transportation planning and engineering firm’s president. Bonsall helped spread busway transit across the globe, working on systems in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.
Jim Lammie is the former president, director and CEO of Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc., and has had a crucial involvement in some of the nation’s most high-profile public transit projects throughout the 1980s and ‘90s. Among an exhaustive list of projects that he led or assisted with are Boston’s Central Artery Tunnel, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Blue Line, the Downtown Seattle Transit Project, the BART airport extension, Atlanta’s Five Points Station, light rail in Pittsburgh, maintenance at WMATA and NYCT’s vehicle procurement program. An APTA Hall of Famer, Lammie also provided FTA project management oversight.
The late Sharon Banks was a pioneer for both minorities and women in the transit field. As the first African American to chair the Transportation Research Board Executive Committee and the first to head AC Transit in Oakland, Calif., Banks became accustomed to breaking barriers in her career. She pursued policies encouraging inclusion and diversity and helped popularize the notion of viewing transportation in broader social and economic contexts. Banks has both an annual innovation award and scholarship given in her honor.
Currently CEO of Valley Metro Rail in Phoenix, Richard Simonetta has in the past 20 years headed some of the nation’s most influential agencies. While at the helm of Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), Simonetta oversaw the city’s transit preparations for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, which included the on-time completion of more than 20 major transit projects. He’s served as general manager of other award-winning agencies, including the Central Ohio Transit Authority in Columbus and the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Transportation Authority. Simonetta is also a former APTA chairman.
In his nearly 30 years as a Pennsylvania representative, Congressman Bud Shuster made important contributions to transportation infrastructure through several pieces of legislation. His campaign to spend Highway Trust Fund revenue on highway and transit improvements was reached in 1998 when he crafted the landmark TEA 21 act, which authorized $218 billion over five years. He also introduced a bill to modernize the financing of the railroad retirement system and to provide enhanced benefits to employees and beneficiaries. For the final six years of his career, Shuster served as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In 2000, the House ethics committee rebuked Shuster for allegedly accepting improper gifts and favoring a lobbyist. He retired from office the following year, citing health concerns.
During more than three decades in transportation management, operations and development, John Dyer made vital contributions to systems across the country. As general manager of the Southern California Rapid Transit District in Los Angeles, Dyer secured funding for initial phases of the Metro Rail subway. He also planned the transportation system for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games. In Miami, Dyer served as CEO of the Metropolitan Dade County Transportation Administration. There, he oversaw the development of the elevated heavy rail and downtown peoplemover, which was the first turnkey project built by a transit agency in the U.S. with federal funds.
Shirley DeLibero was the first African-American woman to serve as chair of APTA. She also enjoyed an eight-year tenure as executive director of NJ Transit before venturing to Houston to become president and CEO of Metro of Harris County, where she oversaw the implementation of the city’s first light rail line. She also served roles at Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), WMATA and MBTA. Among many honors, DeLibero won the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials’ (COMTO) highest tribute, the Thomas G. Neusom Founders Award, as well as the 2002 COMTO Award for Outstanding Community Service and the Trans Texas Alliance’s Most Effective Advocate Award. Good Housekeeping magazine dubbed her “The Engine That Could,” and in 1999 named her one of the Top 10 Women in government. Former President Bill Clinton requested that she represent the industry on the Senior Advisors Group to the President’s Council on Year 2000 conversion.
As general manager of the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District in Portland, Ore., James Cowen was responsible for the construction of the area’s light rail system. Dubbed Metropolitan Area Express (MAX), the system began operating in 1986 on a 15-mile track between Gresham and downtown Portland. MAX has since grown to 44 miles of track with about 80,000 rides each weekday. In 1990, Cowen won APTA’s Outstanding Public Transportation System Managers award. He has also served as the association’s chairman. Currently, Cowen is president of Oahu Transit Services in Honolulu.
Robert R. Kiley
Robert Kiley’s influence has spanned both sides of the Atlantic. In the U.S., he served both as chairman and CEO of NYCT and as general manager of MBTA. He also was president of the New York City Partnership and Chamber of Commerce. Kiley is known for aggressively lobbying for government subsidy of transit as a means to improve service, upgrade infrastructure, improve the economy and create jobs. In 1990, Kiley received APTA’s Distinguished Service award. In 2001, Kiley crossed that Atlantic to become commissioner of Transport for London. Surviving an attempt to have him ousted within a year of his start, he has helped to institute a highly controversial congestion pricing system that has resulted in a 30% reduction in traffic in London.
Rod Diridon, known as the father of modern transit service in California’s Silicon Valley (Santa Clara County) region, began his political career in 1972 as the youngest person ever elected to the Saratoga (Calif.) City Council. Diridon has since chaired more than 100 international, national, state and local programs related to transit and its various effects on the environment. In 1993, he served as APTA chairman and was on the Management Committee of UITP. As an advisor to the FTA, he chaired the National Research Council’s Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) . Diridon has given speeches in more than 45 U.S. cities and a dozen foreign countries, promoting mass transit and environmental protection. He is currently executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute in San Jose, Calif., which focuses on international surface transportation policy issues.
Few transit officials could imagine a scenario as horrific as the one that faced Larry Reuter on Sept. 11, 2001. The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan roiled the entire city’s transportation system and disabled a key 1,500-foot stretch of the subway system. Reuter, president of NYCT, was instrumental in seeing that the agency helped to provide evacuation services and support to emergency workers at Ground Zero. Over the next several months, NYCT worked tirelessly to meet the transportation needs of a spiritually devastated city and bring back a sense of normalcy. For his efforts in responding to the crisis, Reuter was named the 2002 Outstanding Public System Manager by APTA. Reuter, head of the nation’s largest transit system, has also served as general manager of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose, Calif., and WMATA.
As the 14th U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Norman Mineta oversees a federal agency with 100,000 employees and a $58.7 billion budget. Yet, his profile and responsibilities have grown and are continuing to grow after the events of Sept. 11. Since then, he has taken actions to establish interim security measures and assume responsibility for the creation and operation of the Transportation Security Administration. From 1975 to 1995, he served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for San Jose, Calif., where he specialized in transportation issues and championed investment increases. During this time, he chaired the House Public Works and Transportation Committee, as it was then known, between 1993 and 1995. Mineta also chaired the committee’s Surface Transportation Subcommittee, where he was the primary author of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, which shifted decision-making on highway and transit planning to state and local governments.
Jenna Dorn, administrator of the FTA, heads a 500-employee agency and manages a $7 billion annual budget that supports public transportation services across America. After being unanimously confirmed by the Senate in July 2001, Dorn was put to the test early by responding to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Dorn and the FTA have put together a team of transit, terrorism and intelligence experts that have traveled to 37 of the nation’s largest transit agencies, subway systems and light rail systems to conduct thorough vulnerability and threat assessments. Training and reviews of emergency response plans were also a paramount focus for the FTA. Also under her leadership, the FTA introduced performance-based incentives to encourage all transit agencies to focus on increased ridership. Increased emphasis on cost-effectiveness of transportation projects is also a key Dorn focus. This is Dorn’s third presidential appointment. Previously, she served as the assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Labor under President George H.W. Bush and was the associate deputy secretary of transportation under President Ronald Reagan.
William Millar has been at the helm of diverse campaigning efforts to Congress for the advancement of transit, while helping bring APTA’s membership and meeting attendance to all-time highs. As current APTA president, he has served on the boards of several organizations, including the TRB and the TCRP. Before joining APTA, Millar served for 13 years as executive director of the Port Authority of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, where he oversaw the opening of the city’s first light rail system. Prior to his tenure at the Port Authority, Millar developed Pennsylvania’s Free Transit Program for Senior Citizens as well as other aid-based transit programs for the state DOT. He has served with the Intelligent Transportation Society of America and the Transportation Technology Center.