by Thomas P. Healy
Veteran transit executive Inez Evans has been tapped by the IndyGo board of directors to serve as the organization’s new president and CEO.
Evans, who currently serves as chief operating officer for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), will replace Michael Terry, who announced his plans to leave his position in January. Evans will begin work in mid-August.
Prior to her position with VTA, Evans held transit leadership positions in Austin, TX; San Jose, CA; Cincinnati, OH; Bremerton, WA; and Atlanta, GA, among other cities.
In a statement, IndyGo board chair Juan Gonzalez said, “Ms. Evans demonstrated herself as a talented transportation leader and fully understands the unique opportunity to guide one of the most exciting periods in IndyGo history.”
During a conference call, Mark Fisher, vice chair of the IndyGo board, said, “Certainly her experience with larger public systems and with paratransit in the private sector made her the top candidate. The board very much views transit as a critical component of a broader mobility system to build economic and workforce mobility, and it was refreshing to hear her views and experience in California and throughout the country on this.”
During the call, Evans acknowledged Mike Terry’s efforts: “Those are some big shoes to fill but we’re going to change the style of the shoes and move forward.
“I was interested that the strategic plan and vision for IndyGo didn’t focus on transit, but on the movement of people,” she said. “That’s key for the city and for mobility as a whole in this nation. We have to think of mobility as a service.”
Evans is impressed by support for the local income tax referendum that provides a dedicated funding source for system-wide improvements. “One of the things that drew me to Indy is what you’ve accomplished. The community has spoken very loudly and we’re fulfilling the commitment made. I plan to build upon that and see how to move forward being a mobility provider.
“Transit is definitely connecting people to jobs and housing,” she continued. “It is the conduit that helps break down barriers or creates a bridge to opportunity. It’s an investment in our future.”
With fare enhancements due this summer, the Red Line BRT coming on line in September along with widespread improvements in service hours and frequency, and plans for two more BRT routes in the works, Evans likes what’s on the horizon. “The fact that the IndyGo board is not resting on what’s before them but remains open to what else can come about—constantly evolving and changing—I’m impressed by their openness to innovative, creative ideas on how to do or be IndyGo.”
She acknowledges that there’s plenty of hard work ahead. “I’m used to building consensus with my community. I don’t shy away from challenge. I see it as an opportunity.”