Bob Ruzinsky – Chief Executive Officer
Ruzinsky is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a dual focus on Accounting and Marketing and hold an active CPA License. Ruzinsky began his career with RTA in 1987 in the agency's Accounting group and quickly moved up through the department holding various positions including Senior Accountant, Accounting Supervisor, HR Manager, Controller, Capital Controller, Chief Capital Officer, Deputy CEO, and now CEO.
As RTA’s Chief Capital Officer, Ruzinsky lead the effort on the replacement/rebuilding of RTA's physical assets, including buses, real estate holdings and leased properties. RTA is on track to replace our entire bus fleet, renovate all our facilities, and rebuild our extensive electric bus power system infrastructure. This multi-year $200+ million dollar project is being funded in part by over $70 million in competitive grants the Mr. Ruzinsky has secured for RTA over the past several years.
In his new role as CEO, Ruzinsky will have responsibility of RTA’s day to day departmental functions. This includes all activities in each of the three primary work groups, Operations, Finance, and Customer & Business Development. He will also lead the effort on the development of an updated Strategic Plan to help guide the agency over the next 5-10 years.
Ruzinsky led the efforts behind RTA’s four consecutive Federal Transit Administration Triennial Reviews with zero deficiencies found in each. In the Spring of 2019 the Ohio Public Transit Association recognized his accomplishments through its Leonard Ronis Award as Transit Professional of the Year in Ohio.
Ruzinsky, a downtown resident and supporter for over 25 years, has served in several leadership roles with many local community groups including chair of the City of Dayton Landmark Commission, President of Preservation Dayton and one of the founders of Rebuilding Together Dayton. An avid champion of historic preservation, Ruzinsky has chaired the McPherson Town Neighborhood Development Corporation and has restored dozens of homes in Dayton’s Historic Districts.
Chris Cole – Chief Operating Officer
Chris Cole is Chief Operating Officer at Greater Dayton RTA. With almost 20 years of operations management experience, his public transit career started in 2003. Cole held various positions with the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) from an entry level transit supervisor to Director of Transportation. Cole has more than 24 years of public service experience.
In 2008, Cole was appointed Director of Transportation at COTA. He was responsible for the overall operations of COTA’s two bus garages and for approximately 640 union and administrative employees. He directed and led five managers in the areas of Bus Operations, Street Operations, Dispatch and Emergency Police Response, ADA Customer Complaint Investigations and Training.
In 2015, Cole accepted the position of Deputy Chief Maintenance Officer with Greater Dayton RTA. He became Chief Maintenance Officer May 2016. Cole was responsible for Fleet Maintenance, Electrical Infrastructure construction and maintenance, Fleet Inventory/stores and Buildings Grounds that includes twenty-three GDRTA properties. He also develops solutions and organizes effective business strategies to adhere to GDRTA’s mission, vision and values.
In 2017, Cole was appointed to Chief Operating Officer. He will be responsible for Bus Operations, Safety and Security, Training, Human Resources, Fleet Maintenance, Electrical Infrastructure, Fleet Inventory/stores and Buildings Grounds, which includes twenty-three GDRTA properties.
Cole has earned numerous awards including the Dayton Business Journal top 25 movers for 2016, Central Ohio Transit Authority’s President Award for outstanding leadership and accomplishment. Senior Operations Award for outstanding customer service and leadership, as well as Leaders of the participate and mentor.
Brandon Policicchio – Chief Customer and Business Development Officer
As Chief Customer and Business Development Officer, Brandon Policicchio leads the development, implementation and analysis of all marketing, communications, community relations, succession planning, customer service, ridership, fixed route and paratransit service planning and scheduling efforts of the RTA. Under his leadership, the Customer and Business Development team’s focus is on fostering positive and progressive relationships with RTA employees, customers, area agencies, governments and businesses organizations. His team also focuses on the delivery of RTA’s mobility coordination vision, ensuring the delivery of seamless, accessible, customer-focused services for the region.
Brandon has taken the lead on many projects to expand and improve service quality, including on-time performance improvements in both fixed route and paratransit services. His efforts have resulted in more reliable and accessible services for customers while increasing productivity and reducing operating costs.
In 2015, Brandon volunteered to manage RTA’s overhaul of its Intelligent Transportation Systems infrastructure; a two-year, $13 million investment to upgrade vehicle and dispatching technologies, communications and safety systems as well as implementation of new customer amenities. These amenities included real-time bus operating information, and automated customer calling for paratransit services.
Brandon joined RTA in October 2012 as Deputy Chief Operations Officer after serving as a Transportation Supervisor with the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) in Columbus, Ohio. He began working in transportation in 2006 as a student bus operator at The Ohio State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. He later was promoted to Transportation Training and Operations Supervisor for The Ohio State University Campus Area Bus Service before joining COTA in 2009.
Brandon represents the RTA on the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) mobility management committee, as well as on several Ohio Public Transportation Association (OPTA) committees: membership, planning and paratransit. He is a 2018 Leadership APTA graduate, a member of RTA’s 2020 Leadership Group, Graduate Member of the COTA William J. Lhota Leaders of the Future program and in 2016, Mass Transit magazine selected him as one of the Top 40 Under 40 transportation industry leaders.
Mary Stanforth – Chief Financial Officer
Mary Stanforth has 23 years of experience in public transportation. As Chief Financial Officer of the Greater Dayton RTA, Mary manages and administers the Accounting, Finance, Management Information Systems and Procurement departments. Mary also serves as Secretary/Treasurer to the RTA Board of Trustees, performing all statutory duties as required.
Stanforth holds a Bachelor of Science in Business from the Wright State University with a focus on Accountancy and maintains an active CPA License. Stanforth began her career at Ernst & Young as a tax professional and subsequently changed career paths after accepting a position at RTA. Over the past 23 years Mary has worked up through the ranks at RTA, holding the positions of Accounting Supervisor, Controller, Assistant Director of Administrative Services and Chief Financial Officer.
Stanforth has served as Treasurer for the Greater Dayton YWCA and Sycamore Creek Country Club Ladies Golf Association. Mary currently serves as a Booster Club Representative for the Centerville Schools Girls Volleyball Program.
Daron Brown – Director of Maintenance
Daron Brown is the Director of Maintenance for the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority (RTA). Brown has more than 30 years of Fleet and Facilities transit maintenance experience. In May of 2016, Brown joined the RTA as the Deputy Chief Maintenance Officer. In July of 2017, he was promoted to Director of Maintenance and is responsible for the day-to-day Operations of Maintenance which encompasses Fleet Maintenance, Buildings and Grounds (Facilities), Electrical Infrastructure, Inventory/Storeroom, Warranty, Quality Control, Capital Planning, and Operating Budgets for 13 Cost Centers within the RTA. Brown has played a key leadership role in increasing RTA’s Miles between Mechanical Road Calls by more than 50% over 2015’s numbers, with improved Preventive Maintenance (PM) plans, focusing on top 5 road call failures, targeted campaigns, engine replacements and fleet modernization.
Brown started his transit career in 1986 with the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) where he held various positions throughout the organization. Those roles included, Diesel Mechanic, Fleet Supervisor, Facilities Supervisor, Facilities Manager, Fleet Manager and QA Manager/Maintenance Superintendent. In 2010, he was appointed Assistant Director of Fleet and Facilities where he was responsible for the Fleet and Facilities Maintenance PM Program, Major Repair shops, Quality Assurance, Warranty, Training, Capital Planning, Operating Budgets as well as other key personnel support functions. Brown played an important role in increasing SORTA’s Mean Distance between Mechanical Failures from about 3,600 miles in 2013 to over 6,300 miles in early 2016.
Brown attended Northern Kentucky University where he majored in Mathematics with a minor is Business Administration and was selected to Who’s Who Among America’s Colleges and Universities.
Roland Caldwell – Director of Transportation
Roland Caldwell joined the Greater Dayton RTA in 2018 as Director of Transportation, bringing 30 years of leadership and a successful track record in overseeing transportation operations for a large scale transit organization. As the Director, Roland is responsible for all aspects of service delivery including Fixed Route Operations, Connect Operations, Dispatch, Street Operations, Performance Management and the Customer experience.
Serving many years in the financial services industry for Discover Financial Services, Roland established a reputation for building strong partnerships across diverse business divisions to deliver the strategic vision and the corporate objectives. Since entering the transportation industry in 2009, Roland has continued to lead, serving in various leadership and management roles with the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) where he was instrumental in the Authority’s multi-year Transit Redesign project. Throughout his career Roland has developed and led high performing teams, always focused on achieving excellence and maintaining the highest standards of quality.
A member of the Dayton community, Roland is active in local arts and culture and serves on the Board of Directors for the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. He is a member of the American Public Transportation Association, a graduate of COTA’s Leaders of the Future Program, has been selected to represent RTA as part of the Black Leadership Development Program Class 2020 and is a proud veteran of the United States Air Force.
Tim Harrington – Chief Information Officer
Tim Harrington is the CIO for the Greater Dayton RTA. Prior to joining the Greater Dayton RTA in 2016, Tim worked at the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority in Cincinnati, Ohio, for 13 years as the Director of Information Technology.
During his tenure at both Cincinnati and Dayton, Tim was responsible for sponsoring and managing multi-million dollar projects to upgrade the authorities’ CAD/AVL systems, including radio. A significant focus of those upgrades was implementing technology which significantly improved the customer experience by provided accurate, reliable and timely real-time information in easily accessible formats. The projects at both agencies were completed on-time and within budget. More importantly the information provided was enthusiastically accepted by the customers. The customers were the biggest advocates and spread the word enthusiastically.
As CIO, Tim is responsible for all information and computer technology direction and needs for the authority. This responsibility includes the traditional back office systems like general accounting, human resources, payroll, timekeeping and others. It also includes many transportation specific systems like route schedule, dispatching, performance monitoring, fare collection and many others. There are over a half dozen computer managed systems on the transit vehicles.
Deborah Howard – Director of Procurement
As the Director of Procurement, Deborah Howard has more than 30 years of experience in Procurement at the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority, Dayton, Ohio. She is also the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Liaison Officer.
Deborah was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Educated in the Bridgeport Public School System, she received a BS in Business Administration from Wright State University. She has been a Certified Public Procurement Officer since 2002.
She is a Dayton Leadership graduate and has received Customer Service Awards.
She is responsible for managing the procurement of capital and operating items utilizing different methods of procurement and the disadvantaged business enterprise program.
Over the years she has participated in educational and training seminars including the City of Dayton Outreach Workshops; National Purchasing Association Seminar; Federal Transit Administration; Triennial Review Workshop; American Public Transportation Annual Meetings and Continuing Education Seminars.
Professional Affiliations have included President of Smart Choice Investment Club; Member, Advisory Board, South Central Ohio Regional Minority Business Council and Vice President, Local Chapter, Conference of Minority Transportation Officials.
Bob Stevens – Director of Labor Relations
Bob Stevens is a 28 year employee with RTA and brings over 27 years of experience and knowledge in the area of labor contracts and extensive interaction with employees to address labor issues. A U.S. Army Combat Engineer veteran, Stevens started his career at RTA as a bus driver and was a vehicle maintenance mechanic holding an ASE Master Technician certification, prior to joining the human resources team. Stevens holds several certifications from the National Public Employer Labor Relations Association (NPELRA), the Ohio State Employment Relations Board (SERB), and brings experience from labor unions having served on the Executive Board of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1385 for 20 years.
In his role as Director of Labor Relations, Stevens is responsible for the management of all labor-related activities within the various bargaining units. He plans, directs, coordinates, and implements labor relations investigations and settlements. He also serves as the liaison with any external agencies concerned with labor relations, including SERB, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Dr. Brenda Thomas – Director of Human Resources
Dr. Brenda L. Thomas serves as the Director of Human Resources for the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority (RTA). She leads a team of Human Resource professionals who work in partnership with management officials and their teams, with individual employees, and with other groups to help provide programs and services that create a work environment of employee empowerment and engagement within the Authority. And as such, RTA’s core values of Respect, Our People, Integrity, Safety, Quality Service and Stewardship are woven into every aspect of the human resource management strategy. Dr. Thomas and her team hold fast to the motto of “People First Mission Always”.
Dr. Thomas is a native Daytonian, and has nearly 40 years of experience in public sector human resources management. While working for the Department of the Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, she served in a number of capacities within the Human Resources community, at both the Command and Installation levels. Prior to returning to the RTA again in the top HR position, she served as the Labor and Employee Relations Manager to the Montgomery County Board of County Commissioners and served as Associate Dean of Students at the Central State University.
She holds a B.A. in Psychology/Sociology from the Bowling Green State University (Ohio), and a M.S. Ed. in Educational Counseling from the University of Dayton. She also attended Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, Ohio and earned her Doctor of Ministry Degree from the United Theological Seminary (Ohio).
Dr. Thomas is very actively involved in the local community and the HR professional community as well, having served in a variety of roles and on numerous boards; Dayton Ronald McDonald House Personnel and Nominating Committee, Dayton Mediation Center Board of Directors, City of Dayton Police Department’s Citizen Appeals Board, Rebuild America Board (formerly Christmas in April), to name a few. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management and is a Certified Professional (IPMA-CP) through the International Public Management Association –Human Resources (IPMA-HR). She also served the Dayton Chapter IPMA as a Board Member, President-Elect, and as President. Dr. Thomas is a graduate of the Black Leadership Development Program (1989) and Leadership Dayton, Class of 2000.
Julie Beard – Controller
Julie Beard has been with the Greater Dayton RTA for almost 5 years and in public transportation for over 10 years. As Controller of Ohio’s 4th largest public transit system she is responsible for the daily operations of the Accounting Department including Disbursement, Payroll, and Revenue accounting. Julie is responsible for the preparation of the monthly financial and statistical reports including budget and audit reporting. She also compiles and maintains data related to the American Bus Benchmarking Group for which RTA is a founding member.
Prior to coming to RTA Julie was a staff accountant for the City of Springfield for over 8 years, overseeing the City's transit contract and subsequently managing FTA and ODOT grants. Julie was also a consultant for Clark, Schaefer, Hackett & Company in the Springfield office.
Julie is a graduate of Wright State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business, Accountancy. She is an active member of the Northwestern Local Schools community and has served as treasurer for the Northwestern Warrior Youth Soccer Association and is currently treasurer of the Warrior Youth Basketball Club.
Andrea Zavakos – Director of Training, Safety and Risk
Andrea Zavakos will lead the agency’s activities and initiatives to help ensure our customers’ rights to safe, on-time, and courteous service by directing the Training, Safety and Risk departments, including leadership development, maintenance and bus operator training, and directing RTA’s auto liability and worker compensation programs.
“As a consultant, Andy has worked with the RTA on various leadership development and other projects off and on since 2007. Our organization needs a leader to take training and risk management to a new level, and we are confident she is the right person to guide the team,” stated Chris Cole, Chief Operating Officer.
She earned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Chaminade University in Honolulu while serving full-time in the U.S. Navy as an electronics technician/trainer. Following her honorable discharge, she earned a master of arts degree in total quality management from Dowling College in New York, commuting from her full-time human resources (HR) job at Swingline Staplers. She returned to the Dayton region in 1992 and served in leadership positions for both small and large corporations before joining the University of Dayton in 2013 as the Assistant VP of Human Resources. For the past 5 years, she has had the role as a full-time professor in strategy, organizational behavior, cross-cultural management, and global business at the University of Dayton School of Business Administration. Zavakos holds a Ph.D. in leadership and change from Antioch University and is certified by the Human Resource Certification Institute as both a Global and Senior Professional in HR.