The General Manager/Chief Executive Officer (“GM/CEO”) is responsible for overseeing Company’s daily operations and for shaping and leading Company’s strategic long-term vision as well as any planned expansions. Company and its Board of Directors are committed to ensuring that the organization is planning to meet future needs of the community by providing increased transportation options while maintaining the quality of service currently being delivered on a daily basis. The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of successfully managing a large, complex, and diverse organization that operates to provide the highest quality of service to its employees and customers. The GM/CEO must possess outstanding leadership and business skills as well as strong financial management, strategic planning, public relations, community relations and governmental relations skills.
Company’s GM/CEO will be an integral leader in enhancing transportation options in the Grand Rapids region. Elected officials, businesses, residents and other stakeholders expect the next GM/CEO to lead a team of transit professionals who are capable of identifying and launching innovative transportation solutions to improve mobility and in turn lead to greater access across the region for all residents, smart growth, environmental sustainability, increased business opportunities, jobs and economic development. It will also provide greater access to existing jobs that are not currently transit accessible.
• The GM/CEO will have management responsibility for overseeing Company’s core business service by: managing a customer-centric, publicly-financed quasi-public organization that provides yearround transit service to its customers on a daily basis with an emphasis on safety, security, customer service, reliability, cost, and on-time performance.
• Creating additional sustainable revenue streams including public-private partnerships for business operations, sustained maintenance, and planned growth and expansion.
• Oversee and direct transit-oriented capital projects and executing system-wide expansion programs that are on-time and on-budget.
• Provide sound oversight and management of daily transit operations, maintenance and short- and long-term capital projects.
The ideal candidate will have demonstrated a background and ability as grouped in the following areas:
• Strong financial management skills overseeing large and complex budgets and an ability to offer creative solutions to run the organization more efficiently and effectively.
• Prepare an annual operating budget and any budget amendments for Board review and approval
• Administer all services and activities within the budget adopted by the Board.
• Develop and implement a service plan that is consistent with Board and stakeholder priorities and report periodically to the Board on the status of service relative to the service plan and the adopted budget.
• Develop relationships with businesses and other organizations to create public-private partnership opportunities which lessen the reliance on taxpayer dollars, grants, farebox revenues and other sources of public funding.
• Oversee and implement effective cost-control measures and ensure that they are in place at all levels of the agency. 3
• Oversee an effective marketing plan to advance a positive culture and strong public image that promotes the agency, its services, and increases ridership.
• Challenge the executive management team and their departments to think “outside the box” and offer customer-centric solutions that are innovative and incorporate technology solutions that advance customer service.
• Develop and promote a “yes we can” culture across the organization that allows employees to feel safe to think creatively and try to deliver mobility solutions that may not follow the traditional way in which transit agencies or Company has always operated.
• Challenge members of the senior management and their teams to be industry trendsetters by taking calculated risks and increasing the use of technology and outside partnerships when appropriate.
• Motivate staff members to set priorities for their departments, accelerate decision making, and communicate and collaborate with other agency departments to ensure greater communication, identify solutions to challenges, and make sure that these solutions are being implemented as quickly and efficiently as possible without putting the organization at risk.
• Ability to evaluate, develop, mentor, and hire a senior executive management team that will ensure the agency is providing exceptional service that is timely, safe, and affordable and also meeting the expectations of the community.
• Provide strategic vision and guidance to ensure that the agency has successful succession and employee development plans in place and provide leadership to encourage employees to take initiative and develop within the organization.
• Delegate responsibilities and empower senior management and employees to lead their departments, take action and functions effectively and efficiently.
• Establish and maintain a healthy working relationship with the collective bargaining units and all employees across the organization.
• Treat all employees (represented and non-represented) fairly and provide an open, collaborative, positive, professional, and safe work environment for all employees and contractors of Company.
• Serve as a thought leader for increased mobility across the region.
• Regularly attend, participate, and engage with local leaders and the public by providing creative ideas, solutions and approaches to address the mobility challenges facing the Grand Rapidsregion.
• Engage and work effectively and persuasively with elected officials, local, state and federal agencies, the business community, faith-based community, disability community, organized labor, public constituencies, NGOs, educational and health leaders, the press, and other stakeholders.
• Interact and communicate regularly with employees, customers, the public, elected officials, the press, and all other stakeholders to provide transparency and insight into the agency’s implementation of policies and agendas.
• Maintain on-going and effective communication with governmental agencies and elected officials (state, local, and federal) to assure maximum cooperation and to achieve the best possible transportation system for the region.
• Provide a non-partisan outreach program that addresses the needs of all community members and identifies common objectives and goals which Company can work towards delivering.
• Work creatively with constituent groups to address their concerns and generate new programs and instruments that accommodate their needs.
• Meet, speak with, and listen to stakeholders in the community to generate new ideas and approaches to enhance not just Company, but also mobility around the region.
• Listen, respond, and address all community needs regardless of the origin in a fair, open, transparent, honest, sincere and committed manner.
• Develop a strong working relationship with the 15-member Board and Board Chair, including having effective two-way communication.
• Keep the Board informed and assist the Board in its policymaking duties and decisions including furnishing information and support.
• Implement Board policy via actionable management plans and provide strategic direction to senior management that will enable the effective execution of these policies.
• Assist and advise the Board in generating and achieving the Board’s short- and long-term transit objectives.
• Advise, inform and keep the Board aware of Company’s engagement and efforts at a local, state and national level to address its state of operations, capital needs, financial state and funding needs.
• Engage and partner with Board members to advocate on Company’s behalf with elected officials at a local, state and national level to ensure that Company continues to demonstrate its commitment to quality service, increased mobility, regional growth and sustainable development.
PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES: The candidate should possess the following attributes:
• Professional and executive presence, mature, honest, even-tempered, intelligent, trusting, confident, charismatic, and personable.
• Politically savvy, persuasive, open-minded, and fair but firm manager.
• Adaptable to change quickly and often.
• Inspiring visionary who is passionate about transit and can be a champion of Company.
• High energy level, sense of humor, gravitas, integrity and ethics above reproach.
• Innovative, compassionate, transparent, inclusive in his/her decision-making process and willing to delegate responsibility.
• Excellent interpersonal, communication, presentation and writing skills.
• Ability to speak to large and small groups alike.
• Commitment to respond to communication in a timely and accurate manner.
• Results-oriented individual with a dedication to accuracy, sense of urgency, efficiency and on-time delivery.
• Willing to accept, embrace and adjust to criticism and make suggestions for change.
• Ability to communicate with and treat all stakeholders equal and with respect.
• Ability to facilitate, negotiate and provide realistic and strategic solutions to problems and comfortable mediating difficult situations and building consensus.
• Strategic leader, open-minded communicator and critical thinker who is unwilling to let challenges prevent success, but rather looks at challenges as opportunities for success.
• Ability to unify teams, communities and people during complicated times.
• Strong mentor and teacher who is approachable, open-minded and treats all employees with respect and dignity.
• Executive leader who embraces diversity and inclusion and has the ability to attract talent.
• Effective manager who listens and encourages employees, teams and stakeholders to debate and challenge ideas.
• Strong manager and leader with team building skills and excellent problem-solving and conflict resolution skills.
• Creative approach to problem-solving with a proven track record of implementing innovative initiatives in complex organizations.
• Experience developing and implementing metrics used to evaluate individual and company performance, budgets, cost effectiveness and returns on investments to increase the bottom-line and operational performance.
• A leader who has a strong financial orientation and who can identify inefficiencies and areas of potential cost reduction.
• Demonstrated track record of success during varying economic and business cycles.
The successful candidate will have a minimum of 10 years’ executive management experience with a large complex operating organization, transit agency or another public or private entity of comparable nature, complexity and size to Company. While transit experience may be beneficial, candidates with experience from other industries will be given serious consideration. A Bachelor’s degree in business administration/management or equivalent or a degree in transportation/transportation management is required. An equivalent combination of education and experience consistent with the required qualifications will also be considered.
Complex Problem Solving