TriMet has hired John Gardner to lead the agency’s Diversity and Transit Equity Department. Gardner brings more than 15 years of experience in the areas of equity, community engagement, education, employment and diversity.
At TriMet, he will lead the agency’s diversity and equity work related to service, fares, community outreach, contracting, apprenticeship/workforce training, civil rights, and Title VI analysis and compliance work. He will work with the agency’s Transit Equity Advisory Committee, as well as expand the agency-wide diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. He will oversee TriMet’s award-winning inclusive contracting practices with Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms, as well as Minority, Women and Emerging Small Businesses (MWESB). TriMet’s DBE programs are a national model for encouraging and supporting businesses owned by people of color and women, as well as a workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve.
“John brings tremendous experience to TriMet that will benefit our community,” said General Manager Neil McFarlane. “We look forward to his perspective, expertise, and leadership in continuing to keep us a model in the areas of equity and inclusivity.”
Most recently, Gardner served as the Director of Business Services at Worksystems, Inc., the Regional Workforce Development Board for Washington and Multnomah counties and the City of Portland. In this role he managed and directed a team charged with developing, implementing and evaluating regional business services strategy to connect economic development, employment and training.
Throughout his professional career, he has held roles of responsibility at a variety of organizations, including Youth Opportunity Program, Schools Uniting Neighborhoods Initiative and the Urban League of Portland. He also serves as a member of the State of Oregon Apprenticeship Council with oversight responsibilities of the State’s registered apprenticeship system, dedicated to improving the representation of people of color and women in the construction trades.
Gardner earned his BA from Concordia University, and holds certificates in diversity training and project management. He enjoys Portland’s local music scene, participates in regional sports activities, collects graphic art and follows national politics.