The candidates are Stephen G. Bland, CEO of the Allegheny County Port Authority in Pittsburgh, Penn. and Keith T. Parker, president/CEO for VIA Metropolitan Transit in San Antonio, Texas.
Bland has held his present post since June 2006. He oversees all aspects of the Pittsburgh region’s primary transit system, which provides bus, light rail and paratransit service daily to nearly 230,000 riders. His career in public transportation spans more than 20 years and he previously worked as executive director of the Capital District Transportation Authority in Albany, N.Y.
Bland has been on numerous local, state and national transit boards. He is a past chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Transportation Association and a past president of the New York Public Transit Association. Bland has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in public affairs.
Parker has served as VIA’s president/CEO since July 2009. He oversees all aspects of the San Antonio region’s primary transit system which provides bus, streetcar and paratransit service daily for nearly 150,000 riders. Prior to San Antonio, Parker served as CEO for the Charlotte Area Transit System. Parker joined CATS in 2000 as chief operating officer where he was responsible for bus and paratransit operations and helped develop light-rail plans for the transit system.
Parker also served as the assistant city manager for the city of Charlotte from 2004 through 2007 where his portfolio included the police and fire departments, as well as Charlotte/Douglas Airport. Prior to his experience in North Carolina, Parker was the CEO for the Clark County Transit Authority in Vancouver, Wash. and deputy director of the transit agency in Richmond, Va. Parker has a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s in urban and regional planning and a master’s of business administration. He is a certified urban planner with the American Institute of Certified Planners.
Both candidates emerged as finalists after a nationwide search conducted by the executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles. They were among the top candidates interviewed who possessed the requisite background, expertise and leadership skills to run MARTA, the nation’s 9th largest transit system. Dr. Beverly A. Scott, who has been MARTA’s general manager/CEO since 2007, informed the board last year that she would not seek to renew her contract.
“This has been very difficult and exhaustive because there were so many truly excellent candidates for us to choose from,” said Barbara Babbit-Kaufman who chaired the board’s ad hoc selection committee. “We’re extremely confident that the process has been sound and that we’ve identified the very best candidates for the job. We would be very fortunate to have either one of them as MARTA’s general manager.”
A board meeting will be scheduled to select the best qualified candidate in sufficient time to comply with the Georgia Open Records Act which requires at least a 14-day public notice period.
In the interest of transparency, records pertinent to the selection of the finalists are available at www.itsmarta.com.