Community Transit picks a CEO with regional experience

Ric Ilgenfritz starts Jan. 11. He has worked on Lynnwood Link and other Sound Transit projects.

Ric Ilgenfritz, the new CEO of Community Transit. (Community Transit)

Ric Ilgenfritz, the new CEO of Community Transit. (Community Transit)

EVERETT — Ric Ilgenfritz, who has helped lead major transit projects in the Puget Sound region, will take the helm of Community Transit next month.

On Thursday, the agency’s board of directors named Ilgenfritz as the next CEO. He will succeed Emmett Heath, who announced last summer that he would retire this year after working there for more than a decade.

Ilgenfritz spent 16 years on Sound Transit’s executive leadership team, spearheading successful ballot measures in 2008 and 2016, and winning federal funding for the original Link light rail segment from downtown Seattle to Sea-Tac Airport, according to a news release from Community Transit. He played a vital role in planning extensions of the light rail system to the east, south and north of Seattle — including the Lynnwood Link, now under construction and set to begin service in 2024.

“Ric is an experienced transit leader in our region, with a clear commitment and desire to serve our community,” Community Transit Board Chairman Jon Nehring, who’s also mayor of Marysville, said in a written statement. “Ric’s background in successfully leading a variety of large transportation initiatives and teams combined with his personal passion for public service makes him an ideal candidate to lead Community Transit into the next chapter of the agency’s history.”

Since 2017, Ilgenfritz has been regional vice president for David Evans and Associates, a Portland, Oregon-based engineering consulting firm, the news release said. There he continued work on the light rail extension into Snohomish County and contributed to other projects to expand a Sound Transit commuter rail line south of Seattle and to improve bus service along Highway 522.

“Community Transit is an incredible agency with an outstanding team working hard every day to make a positive difference in people’s lives,” Ilgenfritz said in a written statement. “I am honored to join the agency, and I am a true believer in the power of public transportation to strengthen communities and connections between people. I look forward to getting started, and keeping our focus on improving mobility for people and communities throughout Snohomish County.”

His first day at Community Transit will be Jan. 11. His annual salary will be $235,422, the same same salary paid to his predecessor, said agency spokesman Martin Munguia.

As CEO, he will be responsible for the Community Transit’s roughly $170 million budget and some 800 employees.

The agency, voted into existence in the 1970s, provides bus service to more than 2,000 stops across Snohomish County.

Rachel Riley: 425-339-3465; rriley@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @rachel_m_riley.

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