Sam Desue Jr. is the new GM of TriMet.
Desue, who currently serves as the agency’s interim GM and COO, was selected following a national search and extensive community engagement efforts conducted by the agency and the TriMet Board. He is TriMet’s first GM of color in the agency’s five-decade history.
“I am honored to be selected by the board as the next general manager of this impressive agency,” said Desue. “While we are collectively facing significant challenges as we recover from the impacts of the pandemic, I have full confidence in the TriMet team, our regional partners and in the strength of the community we serve. With a critical lens on equity and social justice, I will diligently work to advance new customer, safety, maintenance, and climate initiatives.”
Desue joined TriMet in 2019 as COO, where he managed six of the nine TriMet divisions, and provided strategic direction, transportation planning, policy development, and oversight.
In March of this year, Desue was named the agency’s interim GM after his predecessor, Doug Kelsey, retired. In this role, Desue advanced climate initiatives and championed safety, maintenance, and critical equity and social justice policies.
More recently, on Monday, Desue announced the agency’s move to 100% renewable electricity for the MAX light rail system, TriMet’s electric buses, and all TriMet-owned facilities. This move is expected to reduce the agency’s carbon footprint by more than 25%.
Prior to his time at TriMet, Desue began his career in transport as a bus operator for Gray Line of Alaska. He also served at three different public transportation agencies in executive level positions, including Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA), Pierce Transit, and Community Transit. He has more than 27 years of public and private transportation experience.