Metro Magazine

SEP-OCT 2014

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62 < m ETRO m AGAZINE SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2014 Lynne Griffth to get to school, an elderly person who knows they shouldn't drive anymore, or an individual who depends on transit for their mobility like my mother, transit helps people remain a productive part of their community — and that's good for everyone." One of Pierce Transit's newest devel- opments, which Grifth is leading, is the implementation of a new work group, the Business Development Ofce. Its sole purpose is to engage in the community in the process of designing, testing and funding innovative ways to deliver service where traditional fxed route has not per- formed well. In her current position as CEO of Pierce Transit, Grifth oversees all functions of the agency, including fixed-route bus- es, paratransit, vanpool and an express bus service contract with Seattle's Sound Transit. Griffith launched Pierce Tran- sit's Public Safety function shortly after her arrival. Te division now has about 14 full-time public safety officers and con- tracts for additional commissioned law enforcement services with local county and city police departments. As well, she's managed the challenges of several service and staf reductions as a result of the eco- nomic recession. Grifth sites the latter as a key part of her job. "While it's difcult, helping an organi- zation navigate change is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a CEO," she says. "When you're the leader, you have to be willing to take the blows during the difficult times, while still maintaining a long-range view for the agency. You have to guide it forward to better times." When Griffith isn't working, she en- joys traveling with her childhood friend who lives in the area and visiting Boston and Atlanta, where she has family. She's says she's also drawn to her home state Montana to regularly enjoy the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Additionally, she's an avid gardener and singer. — Brittni Rubin As Lynne Griffith, CEO of Pierce Tran- sit in Lakewood, Wash., would say, trans- portation is in her blood. She comes from a family with three generations of rail- road workers, including her father, who worked for the Northern Pacific Trans- port. Grifth recalls thinking she wanted to be "just like daddy" when she grew up. Since the age of 18, Grifth has been re- fning an extensive resume for the trans- portation industry. She worked for two airlines, managed a travel agency reser- vation office, and served as the director of marketing and sales for another travel agency. She and her husband eventually co-owned a travel business. Grifth shifted her professional focus, however, after serving as planning com- missioner in her community. "Tis position introduced me to land- use planning, site planning and commu- nity development," she says. Te public service and community de- velopment aspects of Grifth's work be- came a significant motivator for her fu- ture career choices. "I like the idea of what impact transit has on community — it's about gaining access to your area," she says. "It's pretty compelling when you see the diference it makes in people's lives." Prior to joining Pierce Transit, she also worked with the Metropolitan Atlan- ta Rapid Transit Authority, the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, and served as CEO of C-TRAN, a public transit agency serving Clark County, Wash. Grifth's passion for transportation is unmistakable. But, according to Grifth, it wasn't until later in life that she devel- oped a newfound appreciation for pub- lic transit service when her mother be- came disabled and was dependent on her for care. "I didn't mind being my mother 's transportation resource, but over time I realized that her dependence on me for basic activities was slowly stripping away her dignity," Grifth says. "I understood for the first time the true importance of public transportation, particularly para- transit services." When Grifth's community put forth a ballot measure to its citizens to fund tran- sit service growth, she volunteered as co- chair of the campaign. "From that point forward, I was total- ly committed to public transportation both emotionally and politically," Grifth says. "Whether it's a young person trying WOMEN IN TRANSPORTATION As Pierce Transit CEO, Grifth oversees all functions of the agency, including fxed-route buses, paratransit, vanpool and an express bus service contract with Sound Transit. CEO TITLE Pierce Transit ORGANIZATION Lakewood, Wash. CITY

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