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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Sound Transit names finalists for top post


Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority’s search committee June 6 named five executive director finalists: Grace Crunican, Joni Earl, Paul Karas, Charles Stark and Thomas Woodall.

Crunican most recently spent five years as director of Oregon Department of Transportation, which has 4,800 employees and a $2.4 billion biennial budget. Other positions held include deputy administrator of Federal Transit Administration, executive director of Surface Transportation Policy Project, and deputy director and program manager with the City of Portland Transportation Office, where she closely worked with Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon on funding aspects of the light-rail system.

Earl has served as acting Sound Transit executive director since Bob White resigned the post in early January. She joined the agency in October 2000 as chief operating officer. Earl’s prior experiences include more than eight years as deputy county executive for Snohomish County, Wash., city manager for Mill Creek, Wash., and director of internal management and chief fiscal officer for Kitsap County, Wash.

As president and founder of Grove Management Co. in Western Springs, Ill., Karas provides consultant services including organizational development, strategic and financial planning, and program management. He’s been working the past two years as a planning consultant to Gary, Ind., for a proposed third Chicago airport. Prior positions include senior vice president for Morse-Diesel/AMEC in New York, director of the Airport Redevelopment Program for Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Chicago’s commissioner of public works.

Since 1997, Stark has served Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority as executive officer for construction, responsible for the agency’s entire $2.9 billion rail program. Prior to joining MTA, Stark worked for STV Engineers in New York, New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and General Electric; each of which involved transportation-related responsibilities.

Woodall is Sverdrup Civil Inc.’s senior project manager and construction management leader in Boston, responsible for the 17-mile water supply tunnel for Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. Other public works management experiences include chief engineer at Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, construction management consultant for the Boston Central Artery Program and involvement with Tren Urbano light-rail project in Puerto Rico.

The candidates are expected to be in Seattle June 8 and 9 for orientation and final interviews. The search committee is scheduled to meet June 9 in executive session to conduct the interviews, then reconvene in open session to discuss and formulate its recommendation.

Sound Transit’s full board plans to meet June 12 to consider the committee’s recommendation and appoint a permanent director.