Shawn M. Donaghy’s appointment follows a four-month, nationwide search by the Board of Directors  -  Photo: METRO

Shawn M. Donaghy’s appointment follows a four-month, nationwide search by the Board of Directors

Photo: METRO

The North County Transit District (NCTD) announced that its Board of Directors unanimously approved Shawn M. Donaghy as the agency’s new chief executive officer.

Donaghy will take over for interim Executive Director Paul Ballard who was brought on after the retirement of long-time Executive Director Matthew O. Tucker to assist the agency through its leadership transition.

“Mr. Donaghy has the experience and leadership qualities necessary to manage a unique transit agency such as NCTD that includes bus, hybrid rail, and heavy rail,” said NCTD Board Chair Jewel Edson. “We find ourselves at a critical juncture at NCTD as we continue to convert our fleets to zero emissions, pursue redevelopment projects, and ensure a state-of-good-repair for our assets and infrastructure. The Board is confident in Shawn’s ability to successfully lead NCTD.”

Donaghy’s appointment follows a four-month, nationwide search by the Board of Directors.

Donaghy was the CEO of C-TRAN in Vancouver, Wash. He has more than 25 years of experience in public and private intermodal transportation, intergovernmental relations, and executive leadership.

Under Donaghy’s leadership, C-TRAN was twice named the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) “North American Public Transit System of the Year” (2019 and 2022).

“I am honored to have the support of the NCTD Board and for this unique opportunity,” said Donaghy. “With the help of NCTD’s amazing team, I am excited to accomplish the goals set before us that will support the communities of North County. Transportation options built on equitable outcomes, partnerships that improve quality of life and continued focus on economic development will be the key to those shared successes.”

Highlights from Shawn M. Donaghy's Career

For the past two decades, Donaghy has held top-level positions in the transportation sector, in addition to being C-TRAN’s CEO, including COO and vice president for Trinity Metro in Texas and COO for Southwest Ohio Regional Transportation Authority in Ohio.

Donaghy’s career highlights include:

  • An overhaul of C-TRAN’s operations and maintenance campus including the agency’s first electrified fleet, infrastructure for future hydrogen facilities and new buildings;
  • A multi-billion / multi-jurisdictional replacement project of the Interstate 5 bridge connecting the states of Oregon and Washington slated for construction in 2026, and
  • Work on critical projects such as the Cincinnati Streetcar, TEXRail, Mill Plain BRT, and an extension of light rail into Southwest Washington.

Donaghy is a member of the APTA Board of Directors, the Chair of APTA Bus Operations Committee, and the current president of The Bus Coalition, among other affiliations. He will assume the role of NCTD’s CEO on March 1, 2024.

Personnel Changes Across the Transit Industry

Donaghy's appointment follows other leadership announcements across the public transit industry.

Lextran announced its Board of Directors voted to select Fred Combs as the next Lextran general manager, effective January 8, 2024. Combs has been with Lextran for more than seven years, most recently serving as director of Planning, Technology, and Community Relations.

Latinos in Transit (LIT) recently announced that Alva Carrasco is stepping down as LIT Board president. Carrasco served as the LIT Board president during a critical phase of the growth and development of LIT and as LIT’s first vice president when the organization was established in 2016.

After nearly eight years at the helm of the Eno Center for Transportation, Robert Puentes also announced he is stepping down as president/CEO.

Luminator Technology Group named Magnus Friberg as its new CEO. Friberg joined Luminator from Icomera, provider of integrated connectivity solutions for public transportation and a wholly-owned subsidiary of EQUANS, where he served as CEO.

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