Cap Metro board approves new interim CEO as Clarke bids farewell

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Wednesday May 25th, 2022 by Samuel Stark

At its Monday meeting, the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board of directors unanimously approved Dottie Watkins, deputy chief executive of Capital Metro, to take on the role of interim chief executive of the transportation organization in commmon.

Watkins will lead Capital Metro until the board decides on a permanent nominee to replace current CEO and chairman Randy Clarke, who announced his resignation earlier this month. The organization’s board plans to conduct a nationwide search for his replacement.

Watkins has slowly risen through the ranks of Capital Metro since its beginnings as a part-time bus operator in 1994 and then as a contract coordinator nearly 20 years ago in 2003. She is Deputy General Manager of the organization since November 2021.

“Dottie is trusted by the community and the Cap Metro Board. I strongly believe in her leadership skills and know that the Cap Metro community and staff will remain in good hands with her as interim CEO,” Jeffrey Travillion, Chairman of the Board of Capital Metro, said in a press release.

Clarke’s next stop is the nation’s capital, where he will become the new chief executive of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority later this summer. In his latest president’s report to the board on Monday, he said the separation was bittersweet.

“(It’s) somewhat moving to have my last president’s report here at Capital Metro. There’s so much going on here, and I’m so proud of this team,” Clarke said. “I will always be grateful for the opportunity given to me here. It’s an amazing agency, with amazing people doing amazing work.

The rest of the board echoed Clarke’s sentiment, expressing gratitude for his four years of leadership, particularly his work on passing Project Connect, the multibillion-dollar transit expansion plan. that Austin voters approved in 2020.

“’The best way to predict the future is to create it.’ That’s why we hired you and that’s exactly what you did,” said Ann Kitchen, member of the city council and vice-president of the council. “(The quote) says a lot, especially when it comes to Project Connect. Your leadership really got us there.

Clarke was hired as CEO and President of Capital Metro in March 2020. During his tenure, he oversaw the passage of Project Connect and the Austin Transit Partnership, an interlocal agreement between Capital Metro and the City of Austin to help guide Project Connect.

“There hasn’t been a moment too big for you, and we’re proud of you,” Travillion said.

“No human being could have worked harder,” said fellow board member Wade Cooper.

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