Sound Transit’s choice for CEO comes from Richmond, Virginia

Julie Timm is currently chief executive of the Greater Richmond Transit System. Her hiring is expected June 23.

Julie Timm

Julie Timm

SEATTLE — The leader of a regional transit system in Richmond, Virginia, has been tapped to be the next chief executive officer of Sound Transit.

Julie Timm, who now serves as CEO of the Greater Richmond Transit Company, or GRTC, received the recommendation of the board’s selection committee Thursday, but her name was not revealed until Friday.

“She is a fantastic transit leader with experiences that will serve Sound Transit and our residents well,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, a member of the selection panel. “She has focused on key priorities that fit well with our region, including excellent customer service, broad community engagement, equity in service delivery, and management efficiencies. I believe she will make a very strong CEO for Sound Transit.”

Timm currently oversees a public agency with more than 400 employees that provides bus service throughout the Richmond area. Jointly owned by the City of Richmond and Chesterfield County, the agency provides local and express bus services, including bus rapid transit.

Before that she worked from 2016 through 2019 as chief development officer for WeGo Public Transit in Nashville, Tennessee, according to a Sound Transit news release.

“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 a statement.

“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,” she said.

The full Sound Transit Board of Directors is expected to approve Timm’s hiring on June 23.

“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,” Sound Transit Board Chair and University Place Mayor Kent Keel said in a statement.

Keel, Somers and King County Executive Dow Constantine are negotiating terms of a contract with Timm.

Timm will succeed Peter Rogoff, whose six-year tenure as chief executive officer ended Tuesday.

She will guide an agency that operates light rail, express bus, commuter rail and streetcar service in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. As of Dec. 31 2020, Sound Transit employed 1,104 full-time-equivalent employees.

In 2022, it is projected to collect roughly $3.4 billion in taxes and other funding sources and expend $3.0 billion. The operating budget for transit alone is an estimated $444.3 million.

Under Rogoff’s leadership, light rail has spread north, south and east through the Seattle metropolitan area. And voters, through passage of the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure, approved higher taxes to fund expansion of bus rapid transit and extension of light rail service to Everett and Tacoma.

Ninety people applied for the job, of whom 48 met the minimum qualifications and 14 were deemed highly qualified, Keel said at the selection committee meeting Thursday.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @dospueblos.

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