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Machesney Dies; 43 Years with Vapor Bus-Wabtec

James A. Machesney, 83, of Naples, FL, a longtime public transportation professional and member of the APTA Hall of Fame, died July 31.

Machesney had a 43-year career with Vapor Bus International-A Wabtec Company, supplying equipment for the public transportation industry. At the time of his retirement, he was senior vice president. He was inducted into the APTA Hall of Fame in 1999.

For APTA, Machesney chaired the Associate Member Board of Governors (now the Business Member Board of Governors or BMBG) from 1986 to 1988. During his tenure, the first APTA staff member was assigned to work with associate members, as they were at the time; an associate member was appointed to serve as vice chair of all APTA standing committees; and the first business plan for business member activities was developed.

He was the first recipient of the APTA Associate Member Outstanding Contribution Award (now the Outstanding Business Member).

Machesney was a member of several APTA committees in the late 1990s, including the APTA Board of Directors Past Chairs, EXPO Advisory, High-Speed & Intercity Passenger Rail, and Legislative.

“Jim Machesney was an active and continuing voice for the business members,” said Jim Pearson, marketing manager, Vapor Bus International. “During the time when he chaired the BMBG, he led a major campaign to increase business member membership—to persuade businesses that participated in trade shows but were not active as members to make that switch.” Pearson also cited Machesney’s participation in development of the APTA Standard Bus Procurement Guidelines.

Longtime public transit professional Bernard Ford, who has also chaired the BMBG, described Machesney as “a great individual, a great human being, and a man who was a great influence on the business side of the public transit industry.” He added: “I would call Jim my first mentor in the BMBG. You could trust him; when he told you something, it was going to happen. He was a really honest, straightforward business guy.”

Another former BMBG chair—Alan Wulkan, senior vice president, HDR/InfraConsult—said: “This is very sad news. Jim was a real gentleman, a strong voice for business members, and a good friend to many. I know he will be missed.”

The family suggests donations be made to the American Heart Association, National Center, 7272 Greenville Ave., Dallas, TX 75231; or the United Church of Marco Island, 320 N. Barfield Drive, Marco Island, FL 34145. To submit online condolences, click here.

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