Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (TheRide)

Deputy CEO, Planning and Innovation

To Apply

Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (TheRide) has retained the services of Harris Rand Lusk to conduct this search.  Inquiries and/or resume and salary requirements may be directed in confidence to:

Christopher Boylan, Director, Transportation & Infrastructure Practice
Harris Rand Lusk Executive Search
122 East 42 Street, Suite 3605
New York, NY 10168


Please put “Deputy CEO, Planning and Innovation “in the subject.

The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (TheRide), which operates accessible fixed-route bus, commuter bus, demand-response, vanpool and airport service in the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area — home to the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University and Washtenaw Community College — is looking for a C-Suite level transportation professional to serve in the newly created position of Deputy CEO, Planning and Innovation.

TheRide’s over 124 buses, paratransit and service vehicles, 289 employees, and $45M operating and $5.2M capital budgets support 30 routes carrying over 6.8 million trips/yr to over 1,100 stops throughout the region.

The Deputy CEO, Planning and Innovation is responsible for leading and overseeing the planning of all agency services and infrastructure, and related policies, programs and partnerships. This includes identifying needs and opportunities in the community; leading public engagement efforts; development and refinement of plans, policies, programs and standards; and monitoring performance of program design. While fixed-route bus service is a focus, other areas include paratransit, transportation demand management, facilities, and several other services.  The position reports to the Chief Executive Officer.

Direct reports include Services and Data Coordinator, Service Planning and Communication Coordinator, Bus Stop and Service Planning Coordinator, Grants and Regional Planning Coordinator, and Financial Analyst/Planner.

Accountabilities and Essential Functions:

  1. Lead and manage all activities associated with planning and improvement of services, infrastructure, and related policies, programs and partnerships in order to effectively and efficiently service the needs of the community.
  • Planning of Services
    • Lead and manage all activities associated with short & longer term planning for policies, programs and projects in order to ensure agency initiatives are focused on advancing the agency’s vision. Areas of planning responsibility include:
      • Fixed-route services including local, express and special events; as well as overseeing detailed scheduling of vehicles.
      • Paratransit service design and policy framework.
      • Other mobility services such as vanpool, demand response services, and private ride sharing and mobility services.
      • Infrastructure including terminals, park n’ ride lots, bus stops, garages, etc.
      • Fleet requirements and long-term planning.
      • Coordinate agency input into the community’s larger land development initiatives, such as statutory plans, site plans, roadway designs, and transit/land-use relationships in general.
      • Service planning with the Regional Transit Authority, other transit agencies and nearby municipal governments.
      • Intelligent Transportation Systems, priority measures, Smart Cards, etc.
      • Partnerships and programs with nearby institutions.
      • Major investment studies.
      • Special projects as needed.
    • Lead and manage the development of annual and multi-year service plans and special-events plans. Develop and confirm projections of future costs and revenues for budgeting processes.
    • Lead the development and updating of a framework of policies, practices, procedures, standards and guidelines that ultimately define transit services. Ensure services are designed to comply with applicable national, state and local transportation regulations, human rights laws, labor laws, and local laws and regional policies and practices.
    • Assist the Deputy CEO, Finance and Administration in developing plans for fare structures and pricing.
    • Monitor the performance of the design of services, programs and policies in order to assess effectiveness and efficiency, track progress towards goals, and identify opportunities to improve the designs. This includes in-house and contracted services.
    • Ensure appropriate methodologies are used for all aspects of planning work including needs assessments, public involvement, surveys, field work, etc.
    • Coordinate responses for inquiries, complaints and requests regarding non-operational matters pertaining to service designs or infrastructure.
    • Lead and/or work with numerous department, inter-departmental, external, Board, and regional working groups.
    • Ensure that complex planning issues are communicated in a clear concise manner to various audiences including management, the Boards, co-workers, politicians, the public customers and stakeholders. Develop effective communication tools as needed including reports, executive summaries, presentations, etc.
    • Oversee consulting projects contract and project management as needed.
    • Monitor changing federal and state regulatory requirements – including National Transit Database (NTD) and Title VI – to ensure compliance. Submit reports and other documentation as required.
    • Prepare and implement purchase of service agreements, third-party fare payment agreements, and sub-recipient agreements. Coordinate with Finance on the record-keeping, reporting and invoicing.
    • Assist the Deputy CEO of Finance and Administration in identifying opportunities for funding that would advance the agency’s goals.

Bus Stops

  • Oversee the agency’s bus stop development program including coordination with the Facilities Services Department.
  1. Provide senior leadership and supervision for the Planning and Innovation division for the purpose of developing a high-performance team that can deliver services effectively and efficiently in a changing environment.
  • Model and promote appropriate behaviors to foster a positive workplace culture.
  • Inspire staff to enhance employee engagement. Help staff to understand the agency’s common purpose, values, ideals, and goals. Help staff to understand how their role contributes to the overall success of the team and impacts in the community. Translate the agency’s strategic direction into divisional strategies.
  • Encourage reflection and innovation in order to create an atmosphere of learning, growth and continuous improvement. Identify emerging trends, challenges and opportunities. Assist with change leadership.
  • Ensure effective communication and coordination within the division, and between the division and other parts of the organization. Assist in leading communication with Board members, staff and partners. Establish cross-functional teams as needed.
  • Foster delegation, empowerment and collaboration for staff in order to encourage staff growth, organizational productivity and superior results.
  • Ensure recognitions and celebrations to enhance employee engagement, pride, loyalty, and commitment to team and community (espirt de corps).
  • Help staff reach their potential in order to enhance individual and organizational capacity. Provide clear expectations, coaching and feedback to direct reports in order to build on strengths, and foster learning and continuous improvement. Hold staff accountable for decisions, behaviors and actions.
  • Establish employee development and succession plans.
  • Build strong working relationships with the CEO, Board, staff, stakeholders, and partners.
  1. Ensure effective and efficient approaches to resource management throughout the division for the purpose of delivering agreed upon results.
  • Work to ensure the division delivers agreed-upon results with the appropriate balance of quality, cost and timeliness. Oversee implementation of key projects or initiatives.
  • Establish and recommend appropriate allocation of people and resources to ensure successful and efficient service delivery to internal and external customers. Recruit, hire and train direct reports to ensure the division is positioned with the necessary talent and skills.
  • Establish and recommend appropriate policies, processes, procedures, and systems to help effectively and efficiently handle workload. Establish appropriate organizational structures, and vertical and lateral communication flows. Ensure all are documented clearly.
  • Demonstrate strong fiscal management including overseeing budgets, monitoring and managing financial resources, deadlines, and performance measures. Responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring effective internal controls.
  • Lead business planning ensuring clear goals, alignment and team understanding. Ensure smooth functioning between departments and divisions.
  • Ensure compliance with all relevant agency, regulatory, legislative and policy requirements, including those related to safety and privacy, confidentiality and record management. Ensure appropriate risk, asset, and liability management actions.
  • As delegated by the immediate supervisor, arrange/negotiate contracts, agreements, partnerships and other undertakings with outside organizations, ensuring the parameters of Authority policies are met.
  1. Participate in senior agency leadership to ensure the development and success of the overall organization.
  • As a member of the Executive Team help to clarify and implement the agency’s strategic direction, administrative policies and decisions as required. Work with the CEO and other Deputy CEO’s to foster collaboration throughout the agency.
  • Operate as an interface between Executive Team and staff or the Board in order to foster strong and effective vertical and lateral communications and information flow.
  • Ensure intra- and inter-divisional communication and collaboration to clarify expectations, maximize integration, resolve misunderstandings, minimize overlaps, leverage economies of scale, improve overall organizational capabilities, and realize efficiencies. Support cross-functional teams as needed.
  • Perform other leadership duties, as assigned. This may include acting for this position’s immediate supervisor.
  • Support strong working relationships between Administration and the Board of Directors by working with Board members directly.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited four -year college or university in Urban Planning, Transportation, Engineering, Public Administration or related field. Master’s Degree preferred.
  • Minimum of 8 years of progressively more responsible leadership roles related to government administration, preferably in a public transit agency, large operational agency, or similar environment.
  • Experience with Federal Transit Administration programs and requirements is strongly desired.
  • Ability to analyze, recommend, and implement solutions to complex problems and issues.
  • Considerable knowledge and skill in preparation, development and administration of short- and long-range, strategic operational plans, complex and comprehensive reports and documents.
  • Ability to communicate effectively verbally and in writing; ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with employees, Board members and the public.
  • Ability to contribute to senior executive leadership of agency, lead and work in teams, inspire staff, and work without close supervision.
  • Ability to inspire and supervise senior direct reports. Ability to help them succeed and hold them accountable.
122 East 42nd Street, Suite 3605, New York, NY 10168