TriMet’s Board of Directors to extend comment period for next General Manager

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January 31 special meeting postponed, new date to be announced

TriMet’s Board of Directors is extending its comment period to hear from community members about their priorities for TriMet’s next General Manager (GM). Following the Board’s January 24, 2018 meeting, the Board would like more time to weigh public feedback before it determines the next steps in the GM search. The public can continue to submit their comments on the GM search by:

A special meeting scheduled for January 31 has been postponed and a new date will be announced shortly.

“While the Board has heard a tremendous amount of support for our GM finalist, Mr. Doug Kelsey, we also have heard from the community that they want more time to review our choice and make comments,” said TriMet Board of Directors Chair Bruce Warner.

GM top finalist

The top finalist for the GM position is current TriMet Chief Operating Officer Doug Kelsey, who has been with the agency since November 2015. During the January 24 meeting, Warner outlined the Board’s selection of Kelsey as finalist.

“The Board selected Kelsey as the top candidate based on his achievements at TriMet thus far, his impressive background and proven skills, and his vision for the future of the agency as the transit system faces aggressive growth to serve existing riders and gain new ones,” said Warner.

Warner pointed to Kelsey’s efforts that have substantially improved MAX Light Rail on-time performance from 75 percent in November 2015 to more than 88 percent by November 2017. Warner also said the board was impressed with Kelsey’s commitment to safety, laser-focus on customer service and improving the customer experience and the comprehensive business plan Kelsey launched that provides a clear and focused strategy for TriMet’s future.

The Board also found Kelsey’s dedication to improving diversity within the operations division – increasing utilization for both women and minorities – vital for the agency.

Kelsey came to TriMet from Vancouver, B.C. and has extensive expertise in transit, business and executive leadership.

View Kelsey’s resume.

General Manager search process

Prior to the launch of the search for GM, the Board of Directors and TriMet staff conducted outreach and met with a broad variety of community stakeholders and groups to get input on the skills and qualities needed for the next agency leader. That helped shape and direct the GM recruitment done by KL2 Connects LLC, an executive search firm that focuses on public transportation.

Outreach prior to General Manager search

Celia Kupersmith, of KL2 Connects, appeared at the January 24 meeting and outlined the search efforts.

KL2 Connects posted ads in several public transportation-related venues and conducted direct outreach to leaders in the transportation industry. KL2 Connects evaluated the applicants on the following criteria:

  • Industry expertise
  • Financial/Planning/Visioning expertise
  • External Relations
  • Labor/Employee Relations
  • Leadership qualities

Of 36 candidates, KL2 Connects brought forward to the TriMet Board of Directors seven semi-finalists. Four of the candidates were Caucasian males, two were African-American females and one was an African-American male. All semi-finalist candidates requested confidentiality.

The TriMet Board of Directors identified three finalists for in-person interviews. Two of those finalists were Caucasian males and one was an African-American.


Learn more about the KL2 Connects search process.

Current TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane announced on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017 that he would retire early this year. McFarlane has been with TriMet since February 1991, serving as general manager since July 1, 2010.