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Tag: transit CEO leadership

Cleveland’s Joe Calabrese: Innovator Par Excellence

November 30, 2017 0 Comments

      Joe Calabrese

Over the past quarter-century I’ve learned that the public transportation authorities that are really good at getting significant, out of the box change accomplished are invariably led by a CEO/GM who is passionately committed to playing – and well prepared to play – what I call the Innovator-in-Chief role.  The CEO/GM is the only person in your authority who can wear the Innovator-in-Chief hat for the simple reason that no one else brings to the change game the formal authority, influence, access to resources, and time required to spearhead an out-of-the-box change effort and to overcome the inevitable … Read the rest

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Nat Ford on Hitting the Ground Running As a New CEO

October 5, 2017 1 Comment

Nat Ford

You’ve got to bring incredible passion to survive and thrive at the 24/7 job of heading a public transportation authority. If you don’t, there’s a clear and present danger the inevitable pressures will wear you down and dangerously dull your effectiveness.  This is one of several gems of practical wisdom that Nat Ford, Chief Executive Officer of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority and former CEO of Atlanta’s MARTA and San Francisco’s SFMTA, shares in his thoughtful new podcast for boardsavvytransitceo.com.  One of Nat’s preeminent professional passions – sure to be one of his top leadership priorities as APTA’s new … Read the rest

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Nashville MTA’s Innovative Budget Submission Pays Off Handsomely

September 8, 2017 0 Comments

Steve Bland

This scenario will probably sound familiar to many if not most of our readers:

Board members over the course of one or more lengthy work sessions thumb through a massive budget tome consisting of page after page of numbers relating to numerous operational and administrative functions and myriad expense line-items.  Provided with little guidance in navigating a hugely complex document, they get bogged down in the        details and engage in nit-picking rather than making serious policy choices.  Sensing that they aren’t making a fundamental  difference in the affairs of the transit authority by working their way through the Read the rest

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Discussing Board Committees at APTA’s Transit Board Members Seminar on July 24

August 11, 2017 0 Comments

It was a distinct privilege and pleasure teaming up with Dave Stackrow in presenting our “Building a Rock-Solid Transit Board-CEO Partnership” program on July 24 in Chicago at APTA’s Transit Board Members and Board Support Seminar. You no doubt know that Dave chairs APTA’s Transit Board Members Committee and serves on the Executive Committee.  He is also the long-time Chair of the Board … Read the rest

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How Are You Doing as Your Board’s Chief Governing Partner?

July 18, 2017 1 Comment

         Doug Eadie

One of the topics that Dave Stackrow (long-time Chair of the Board of New York’s Capital District Transportation Authority) and I are planning to cover in our presentation on July 24 at APTA’s Board Members and Board Support Seminar in Chicago – “Building a Rock-Solid Transit Board-CEO Partnership” – is what questions board members might ask to determine if candidates for the CEO position in their authority are board-savvy enough to function at a high level as the board’s “Chief Governing Partner.” This is a really high-stakes matter since experience has amply demonstrated that truly board-savvy CEOs who … Read the rest

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The Chief of Staff Alternative To a Chief Operating Officer

July 7, 2017 0 Comments

       Doug Eadie

The May 19 post at this blog explored the CEO-chief operating officer leadership structure, which has proved very effective in freeing up CEO time for direct interaction with the governing board and with key external stakeholders, while ensuring adequate attention to internal operations. However, dividing the chief executive office into a CEO and a COO is not a viable option for many  nonprofit and public organizations, either because the CEO directly supervises too few executives to justify a COO or the organization’s culture militates against the CEO-COO structure.  If your transit authority falls into one of these categories, … Read the rest

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Aurora Jackson: a Board-Savvy CEO at the Helm at Lane Transit District

June 2, 2017 0 Comments

      Aurora Jackson

Listening to Aurora Jackson (“A.J.”) describe how she’d gone about building a solid partnership with her new board at the Lane Transit District (Eugene, Oregon) in our podcast recording session a couple of weeks ago, I was struck by what a great mentor she’d make for new transit CEOs. It’s nothing short of amazing when you consider she’s been at the helm of LTD for only 18 months.  I recalled some CEOs from the recent past who’d gotten off on the wrong foot with their new boards and barely kept their jobs after a brutal couple of years.  … Read the rest

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Have You Considered Adding a Chief Operating Officer To Your Executive Team?

May 19, 2017 0 Comments

         Doug Eadie

A two-person executive office consisting of a chief executive officer who focuses on the relationship with the board, strategic planning, and external/stakeholder relations, and a chief operating officer (COO) who oversees all internal operations, is a staple in the for-profit sector. And these days I’m seeing the configuration more frequently in larger public and nonprofit corporations where several senior executives once reported directly to the CEO.  There’s a pretty compelling reason for adopting this executive management structure:  freeing up the CEO to focus upward and outward – interacting intensively with her board of directors, promoting her organization’s image … Read the rest

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Don’t Wait Until the 11th Hour To Do Succession Planning

March 7, 2017 0 Comments

         Doug Eadie

Many, perhaps most, transit board members and CEOs see succession planning as a negative process that boards get involved in when their relationship with their CEO is frayed or even totally broken.  But in my experience, developing a CEO succession plan isn’t just a very positive process, it’s also part of the imprint – the legacy – that that a really board-savvy transit CEO will want to leave in her authority.  CEO succession planning, which a recent report of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City defines as “a structured process to ensure leadership continuity,” should deal with … Read the rest

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Two More Tips For Transit CEO-Aspirants

March 1, 2017 0 Comments

I opened the “Hit the Ground Running With Your New Board” webinar I recently presented for the New York Public Transportation Association by describing two “facts of life” in the public transportation business:  that surviving and thriving as a CEO depends on a rock-solid board-CEO partnership; and that this critical partnership is difficult to build and in the best of times fragile.  Indeed, I’d say that board-CEO relations is pretty treacherous terrain even for seasoned CEOs, much less for brand new CEOs who’ve never worked with a board.  One of the challenges that all CEOs face is the plethora of … Read the rest

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