AUSTIN (KXAN) — Capital Metro is one step closer to finding a new leader — and a new vision for commuters in Austin. The group introduced its four finalists for the President and CEO position to the public Monday night at the AISD Performing Arts Center. The position became open after longtime CEO Linda Watson retired last year. Tuesday, the Cap Metro board will hold a special meeting where it could narrow down the candidate field, possibly selecting the sole finalist. A final decision is not expected until Jan. 29.
The finalists for the job are Randy Clarke, Erika Mazza, Darrell Mobley and Raymond Suarez, whose biographies are below:
- Randy Clarke – Vice President, Operations and Member Services, American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Clarke has worked for APTA since April 2016 and previously spent seven years in various positions with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in Boston, including deputy chief operating officer and assistant general manager of Engineering, Maintenance and Preparedness, as well as senior director of security.
- Erika Mazza – Deputy General Manager, Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority. Mazza has spent the past five years with the NAIPTA in Flagstaff and has been its deputy general manager since 2016. Mazza is responsible for the Planning, Capital, Facilities, Public Affairs and Mobility divisions. She also served the cities of Flagstaff and Boulder, Colo., with responsibility for overseeing Human Services and Housing.
- Darrell Mobley – Director, Department of Public Works & Transportation, Prince George’s County. Mobley has been responsible for the county’s portion of the Maryland Transit Administration’s Purple Line construction project and bus, paratransit and roadway operations since 2013. His previous experience includes positions as deputy transportation secretary and acting transportation secretary for the state of Maryland.
- Raymond Suarez – Chief Operating Officer, Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA). Suarez became COO of the DCTA in 2014. Prior to that, he was the chief administrative officer of the Trinity Railway Express, a commuter rail service operated as a joint venture of Dallas Area Rapid Transit and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority. He also has held executive positions with technology firms in Silicon Valley and in Michigan.
A resounding theme from each person Monday night was how Capital Metro needs to expand to the regions outside of the city center.
“I think it’s important to work with neighboring jurisdictions like Georgetown, Round Rock, Pflugerville. I think some of those areas where there is a possibility to expand service,” Mobley says.
“So many communities are seeing extensive growth, the challenges are going to be to ensure transit meets the needs of a growing and thriving region,” Suarez says.
During their time in Austin, all the candidates rode the transit system to garner a better understanding of Austin’s traffic backups.
“Transit is changing dramatically and Austin is on the cusp of doing something I think is really innovative and amazing because of the forecast growth, and it needs to — otherwise it will be just complete gridlock,” Clarke says.
But making new connections will require additional funding.
“I feel my affordable housing experience and innovative financing techniques will help bridge the gap where we are dealing with financial shortfalls and being able to put forward major capital investments,” Mazza says.
The new CEO will take over the position at the end of February or beginning of March.