John M. Lewis Jr.
Chief Executive Officer
LYNX-Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority
How many people do you employ?
Just over 1,100 people.
How long have you worked in the industry?
I have worked in the transportation field for 20 years, with the past 11 years in public transportation.
How long have you been an APTA member? 7 years
What drew you to a career in public transportation?
I’ve always had an affinity for transportation policy, first working for Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) as a legislative aide. I started out in operations for the Maryland Department of Transportation working on the highway side, where I was staff director for the Inter County Connector project. I then began working in policy, where I was project manager for the highway sound barrier policy. This was the first time we implemented outreach to communities that were advocating and asking for sound walls. That really was my first real taste of the impact of transportation infrastructure on communities from an operations standpoint.
But even with accomplishments at the state level, I was looking for more immediate impacts, so transit operations was my goal.
The first month I was in operations, we had wheels literally falling off our vehicles—that was crisis under fire. I had been looking for more excitement, more action—and I got it!
From the very beginning, it’s always been about infrastructure and transportation for me.
What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource – that helps you do your job?
I like the ability to pick up a phone or shoot an e-mail and get a quick response on what’s going on at the federal level. APTA is just a one-stop shop where you can get everything and anything you need.
Please explain why or how this has helped.
At the federal level, that helps in terms of long-term planning, particularly from a financial standpoint. Our really getting a handle on what federal aid is available and what the funding levels are for public transit are going to be absolutely essential.
Just last week, for example, prior to holding discussions with our local elected officials and board members about the importance of extending the commuter tax benefit, I was able to go to APTA’s web site and pull down the most recent information—the status of the legislation. As a result, my board and those officials will be contacting their congressional delegation members to support the extension.
What do you like most about your job?
I love that it’s a hands-on, day-to-day operation. I get to measure my performance and the performance of my agency each and every day in terms of—Did we do our job? Did we deliver people safety, effectively, and efficiently? I love that I have the ability to evaluate that on a daily basis—and do it better the next day!
What is unique about your agency/business?
There is actually more to the central Florida region than the theme parks! We provide service to over 2,500 square miles in three counties—besides just International Drive.
Make sure you see John's video, now that you've read this!