NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, June 3rd, 2022

Sound Transit announces that search team’s pick for new CEO is Julie Timm of Virginia

Greater Rich­mond Tran­sit Com­pa­ny leader Julie Timm is the can­di­date that the Sound Tran­sit Board of Direc­tors’ CEO Selec­tion Com­mit­tee would like to see hired as the agen­cy’s next Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer, the agency announced today.

Known pub­licly before today only as “Can­di­date A,” Timm was iden­ti­fied as a poten­tial suc­ces­sor to cur­rent CEO Peter Rogoff through a nation­al search process run by a group of board­mem­bers that includ­ed all three Puget Sound coun­ty exec­u­tives (Dow Con­stan­tine of King Coun­ty, Bruce Dammeier of Pierce Coun­ty, and Dave Somers of Sno­homish Coun­ty) as well as Auburn May­or Nan­cy Backus, Seat­tle City Coun­cilmem­ber Deb­o­ra Juarez, Ren­ton City Coun­cilmem­ber Ed Prince, and Uni­ver­si­ty Place Coun­cilmem­ber Kent Keel, who chairs ST’s board.

“Julie Timm’s deep expe­ri­ence, lead­er­ship skills and pas­sion for pub­lic trans­porta­tion will make her a great leader for Sound Tran­sit as we work to deliv­er the largest tran­sit expan­sion pro­gram in the nation and dra­mat­i­cal­ly expand our oper­a­tions in the years ahead,” said Sound Tran­sit Board Chair and Uni­ver­si­ty Place May­or Kent Keel in a state­ment sent to NPI.

“I am thrilled and hum­bled to be con­sid­ered for the oppor­tu­ni­ty to sup­port the Sound Tran­sit Board and staff in deliv­er­ing invest­ments that are tru­ly trans­for­ma­tive and his­toric in their scale and impact,” Timm said in response to her selec­tion by the search team. “Pub­lic trans­porta­tion is about serv­ing peo­ple and improv­ing lives, and I am eager to work along­side the region’s com­mu­ni­ties to con­tin­ue mak­ing the region’s vision for its future into reality.”

The full Sound Tran­sit Board will need to approve the hire and autho­rize a con­tract with Timm. The board is expect­ed to dis­cuss the search com­mit­tee’s rec­om­men­da­tion at its June 23rd pub­lic meeting.

Sound Tran­sit offered the fol­low­ing primer of Tim­m’s employ­ment his­to­ry and work expe­ri­ence to the pub­lic and the news media:

Timm is cur­rent­ly CEO of Greater Rich­mond Tran­sit Com­pa­ny, where her more than four hun­dred employ­ees oper­ate suc­cess­ful region­al bus routes serv­ing the Rich­mond, Vir­ginia area.

Timm is known as a high­ly col­lab­o­ra­tive leader who forges strong rela­tion­ships with com­mu­ni­ty groups and part­ners, and for build­ing an agency cul­ture focused on ded­i­ca­tion to pub­lic ser­vice and equity.

From 2016 through 2019 Timm served as Chief Devel­op­ment Offi­cer for WeGo Pub­lic Tran­sit in Nashville, Tennessee.

Her efforts includ­ed direct­ing devel­op­ment activ­i­ties and agency staff across func­tions includ­ing engi­neer­ing, out­reach, cus­tomer care, plan­ning, grants, mar­ket­ing, com­mu­ni­ca­tions, ser­vice qual­i­ty and Inno­va­tion. She over­saw the imple­men­ta­tion of major region­al cap­i­tal projects asso­ci­at­ed with the more than $6 bil­lion nMo­tion Strat­e­gy that the Nashville region adopt­ed in 2016.

From 2012 through 2016, Timm served as Tran­sit Devel­op­ment Offi­cer and Title VI and Envi­ron­men­tal Jus­tice Com­pli­ance Offi­cer for Hamp­ton Roads Tran­sit in Nor­folk, Virginia.

She worked with state and local part­ners and the Fed­er­al Tran­sit Admin­is­tra­tion to man­age cap­i­tal project and strate­gic plan­ning process­es sup­port­ing light rail and oth­er tran­sit projects through approval, fund­ing and implementation.

From 2000 through 2012 Timm worked in North Car­oli­na in senior posi­tions devel­op­ing tran­sit, high­way and oth­er projects for Mof­fatt and Nichol, Carter and Burgess, and URS Corporation.

From 1996 through 2000 she worked as a con­tract employ­ee man­ag­ing projects and pro­grams for the Unit­ed States Air Force Air Com­bat Com­mand Head­quar­ters in Virginia.

Timm earned a mas­ter of busi­ness admin­is­tra­tion degree from Van­der­bilt Uni­ver­si­ty as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biol­o­gy from Old Domin­ion University.

Our team at NPI looks for­ward to meet­ing Julie and learn­ing more about her vision for imple­ment­ing Sound Tran­sit 3 and tack­ling some of the thorny prob­lems fac­ing the agency, like Line 1’s fre­quent­ly bro­ken ele­va­tors and esca­la­tors, a prob­lem that the Sound Tran­sit Board seems not to be tak­ing seri­ous­ly enough.

We’re encour­aged that the selec­tion com­mit­tee appears to have found a can­di­date who — at least from the agen­cy’s descrip­tion — shares many of the attrib­ut­es that made leg­endary for­mer CEO Joni Earl, one of NPI’s Lynn Allen Award hon­orees, so suc­cess­ful dur­ing her long tenure at Sound Transit.

Earl was known for being col­lab­o­ra­tive and for get­ting results. She had an excel­lent work eth­ic and built strong rela­tion­ships with the peo­ple who worked for her. Her truth­ful lead­er­ship and account­able stew­ard­ship secured Sound Tran­sit’s future in the ear­ly 2000s. Today, the agency is over­see­ing a mas­sive expan­sion of bus and rail tran­sit through­out Cen­tral Puget Sound.

A big ben­e­fit of secur­ing a new leader through a nation­al search is that it affords an oppor­tu­ni­ty for an orga­ni­za­tion to find new tal­ent from out­side the region it serves. Timm is com­ing to Sound Tran­sit from Vir­ginia, and could bring a valu­able fresh per­spec­tive to the agen­cy’s C‑Suite at a crit­i­cal time in the agen­cy’s history.

We will be track­ing the meet­ing on the 23rd here on the Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate and look for­ward to the board­’s dis­cus­sion and decision.

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