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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis February 10, 2012
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Transit CEOs Meet at Annual APTA Seminar in Orlando
BY PAMELA L. BOSWELL, APTA Vice President-Program Management and Educational Services

More than 130 public transportation agency executives, deputies, and other industry experts gathered in Orlando, FL, for the recent 2012 APTA Transit CEOs Seminar. This annual professional development event focuses on leadership and executive skills.

Hosted by John Lewis, chief executive officer, LYNX-Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority, Orlando, the seminar program addressed APTA Chair Gary C. Thomas’ initiatives of value, agility, and thought leadership. Sessions included executive exchanges, peer-to-peer presentations, labor relations, public transportation security, new business models, improving customer service, working with the media, and using an evidence-based transportation management process.

APTA President & CEO Michael P. Melaniphy and Thomas, also president/executive director, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, welcomed attendees. Later, they conducted a roundtable featuring updates on advocating for the federal surface transportation authorization bill, regulatory issues, and feedback from discussions during the “lunch by system size” on how APTA can increase the value of its membership and better serve the needs of chief executive officers and their public transportation agencies.

A Few Highlights
New this year, in addition to the president’s breakfast for new and nearly new transit CEOs, Melaniphy hosted a conversation over breakfast for deputy chief executives, focusing on what APTA can do to support them in their careers and methods for increasing their association involvement.

In the session “Policy & Trends in Surface Transportation,” Joshua Schank, president and CEO, Eno Transportation Foundation, stated that “one thing we need to do is reframe the discussion about federal funding for public transportation so it is not all about the money, but also policy change.” He said the focus must be on making sure the federal program has a very real and clear purpose, including articulating national goals and performance metrics.

“New Business Models” addressed how public transit agencies under difficult economic conditions have been resourceful in creating new partnerships and business models, leading to more funding, less costs, better streamlining of operations, and more ridership. Presenters included Matthew O. Tucker, executive director, North County Transit District, Oceanside, CA; Meredith Birkett, acting general manager, Chittenden County Transportation Authority, Burlington, VT; and Neil Petersen, executive advisor, CH2M HILL.

John Patterson, who spoke at the session “Wired: How Your Customers Have Changed and What to Do About It,” noted that recessions have made customers value the riding experience more than ever before. Further, through social media, customers stay more informed and will look for what others say about a product or service.

The seminar also included sessions on the importance of staying on message and the art of maintaining control of media interviews; the much anticipated “peer-to-peer” presentations featuring eight CEOs sharing best practices and initiatives; and strategies to improve quality service through the use of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 as factual approaches to decision making.



Photo by Roberto Gonzalez

APTA Chair Gary Thomas, left, and APTA President & CEO Michael P. Melaniphy listen during the Transit CEOs Seminar Roundtable.

Photo by Herman Sandoval, LYNX

Presenters at the peer-to-peer session include, from left, Phillip Washington, George Greanias, Thomas Fox, Will Hudson, Terry Garcia Crews, Will Kempton, Michael Allegra, Carl Sedoryk, Aurelio Rojo Garrido, and Yves Devin.



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