TriMet’s Board of Directors appoints interim General Manager


Interim GM to lead TriMet while Board conducts search for agency’s next leader

Interim TriMet GM Sam Desue, Jr.

TriMet’s Board of Directors has appointed Sam Desue, Jr. as interim General Manager of the transit agency. Desue is the current Chief Operating Officer and will assume the role of interim GM on March 6, 2021. The Board made the appointment during their regular business meeting on Feb. 24, 2021. 

Outgoing General Manager Doug Kelsey announced his retirement in December 2020 and will remain with the agency through March 5, 2021. The search for the next GM began in mid-February when the TriMet Board of Directors directed TriMet to launch an extensive engagement effort to help inform their hiring process. Desue will lead the agency while the Board conducts their search.   

“I am honored to serve as TriMet’s interim General Manager and I look forward to aiding the agency and the region as we continue to move through this pandemic,” said Sam Desue, Jr. “Forward momentum and leadership will be critical during this time of transition, and I will bring a community-driven and consensus-building focus.”

Desue joined TriMet in March 2019 after more than 27 years of public and private transportation experience. He served at three different public transportation agencies in executive level positions.  At the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, he served as the interim General Manager and Deputy Chief Executive officer, providing strategic leadership. As COO at TriMet, Desue oversees the operational function at the agency, providing executive leadership, strategic direction and operational oversight for four operating divisions and three departments.  

Sam Desue, Jr. is a proud U.S. veteran and served ten years in the United States Army. He is supported by his loving family and is driven by a desire to connect underserved individuals to economic opportunities.

General Manager hiring process

The TriMet Board of Directors has the responsibility of weighing the qualities and characteristics of candidates as it selects the next leader for the region’s largest transit provider. The Board plans to be open, transparent and thoughtful throughout the search process. Under direction of the Board of Directors, TriMet will conduct extensive community engagement to gather feedback and help inform the Board as it chooses a new general manager, which is expected later this year. 

Get involved

Get information on TriMet’s hiring process and take our online survey at The survey gathers feedback for the Board on the experience, values and priorities important for TriMet’s next general manager. We will share the survey with riders, employees and the community to reach a wide and diverse audience. On this site, you can also find information about our four virtual listening sessions, one held in Spanish, to share your thoughts directly with TriMet and Board members. Or you can provide comments online at or by calling 503-238-7433 (RIDE).