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APTA honors top public transportation leaders

Sharon Bulova
Photo – VRE


The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) yesterday honored individuals and organizations for their leadership, vision and life-time commitment to public transportation. The association also inducted four new members into the APTA Hall of Fame.

The APTA Honors recognize North American public transportation leaders who are outstanding role models of excellence, have demonstrated significant leadership, and whose accomplishments and innovations have greatly advanced public transportation, APTA officials said in a press release.

The following awards were granted to individuals:

  • Local Distinguished Service Award went to Sharon Bulova, retired chairman of the Fairfax County Board. She helped found the Virginia Railway Express commuter railroad.
  • Outstanding Public Transportation Business Member award went to Freddie Fuller II, who is vice president of Jacobs, national board chair of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials and APTA’s secretary and treasurer.
  • Outstanding Public Transportation Board Member award went to Sharon McBride, who serves on the board of the Greater Peoria Mass Transit District in Illinois.
  • Outstanding Public Transportation Manager award went to Nathaniel Ford Sr., chief executive officer of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority in Florida.

Meanwhile. the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) in Texas received APTA’s Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award. METRO’s board has made a commitment to take proactive agency-wide approaches to enhance, implement and track safety practices, APTA officials said.

APTA inducted into its Hall of Fame:

  • J. Barry Barker, former executive director of the Transit Authority of River City in Louisville, Kentucky. Barker retired in 2018 after more than 40 years in public transportation. Barker served APTA as chairman of the Legislative Committee; vice chairman for Legislative Affairs; chairman of the Sustainability Committee; and as vice president of the Marketing and Communications Committee.
  • Beverly Scott, who's held key leadership roles at public transportation systems in Texas, New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Rhode Island, California, Georgia and Massachusetts. Scott also served as APTA board chair, as well as chair of several committees.
  • Celia Kupersmith, whose 34-year career includes leadership roles in Texas, Nevada, California and Washington State. She has served in various roles as a planner; marketing director; bus, rail, and ferry manager; general manager; and executive recruiting consultant. Kupersmith was the third woman to be elected APTA chair.
  • the late Paul Jablonski, who was CEO of the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (SDMTS) for 16 years died in May. Under his leadership, SDMTS was awarded the 2009 Outstanding Transit Agency of the Year Award and he was honored as Outstanding Transportation Manager of the Year in 2014. Jablonski served as an at-large director on APTA's board,  co-chair of the Public Transportation CEO Coordinating Council Leadership and 14 additional committees.


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