Melaniphy named new APTA President, CEO

The American Public Transportation Association’s board of directors has named Michael P. Melaniphy as its new President and Chief Executive Officer, effective Nov. 1. Tuesday’s vote by the board was unanimous.

Melaniphy’s entire career has been in public transportation, with 23 years of experience in the public and private sectors. Melaniphy, who is currently Vice President Public Sector for bus manufacturer Motor Coach Industries, Inc., of Schaumburg¸ IL., has led public transit systems in Charlotte, NC, Wichita, KS, Hamilton, OH, and was an assistant general manager in Laredo, TX. He began his public transit career in college as a bus driver for Indiana University.

“It’s truly a humbling honor to have the opportunity to be the next President and CEO of APTA, Melaniphy told BUSRide soon after being named president. “When you start like I did as a bus driver – and I did it because it was the highest paying job on campus and I was putting myself through undergrad school – to go from that to APTA President is something you can dream about but would never allow yourself to think this could actually happen.”

A 12-member task force took on the rigorous process of finding APTA’s new leader. The group reviewed the credentials of about 180 candidates for the position.

“The task force was a phenomenal group of people,” Melaniphy said. “Gary Thomas and all the members did a great job and were a tremendous cross section of our industry and represented all parts of the diverse organization that we are.”

William Millar, who has been APTA’s president for 15 years and is retiring Oct. 31, called Melaniphy an excellent choice, adding: “I am delighted that someone with such broad-based experience as Michael Melaniphy will be following me at APTA.”

“While we are certainly disappointed to be losing Michael as a member of our leadership team, at the same time we are proud that the industry recognized the leadership qualities that he has demonstrated within our own organization,” said Rick Heller, President and CEO of MCI. “We wish him all the best in his new role and we will continue to support APTA and their members in the public transit industry.”

Melaniphy will start a transition period with MCI as he moves out of senior management.

“I had one of the major divisions at MCI, so I’ll take some time to transition out of here, take a little time off with my family, and start with APTA,” Melaniphy said. “The details are still yet to be worked out, but obviously the most important thing is to honor Bill and to have him finish out his term at the top of the crest that he has so aptly earned. As he rides into the sunset I’ll ride into town – on a high-speed train, of course.”

— Glenn Swain