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COTA President and CEO Announces Retirement

Brent Warren Brent Warren COTA President and CEO Announces RetirementCOTA President/CEO Curtis Stitt — Photo by Chris Walker Photography.
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Curtis Stitt, President and CEO of the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) for the past five years, announced this morning that he will retire on September 30th.

Stitt made the announcement at COTA’s Board of Trustees meeting, and also sent out an email explaining his decision and looking back on his 18 years as a COTA employee.

“As I look back on my tenure, I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to work with so many great people in our community, and I am extremely proud of what we’ve achieved together,” Stitt said in the email. “Together, we have transformed public transit in Central Ohio. No longer your grandfather’s public transportation, no longer just an agency operating buses to move people from place to place, today COTA is a business that is instrumental in advancing the goals of our community.”

COTA’s accomplishments under Stitt’s tenure include the CBUS circulator, the AirConnect route to the airport, a partnership with Transit App, new service to New Albany and Rickenbacker, the Smart City Challenge grant win, and a resounding win at the ballot box last November, when voters approved a renewal of COTA’s ten-year operating levy.

On Monday, the first major redesign of COTA’s bus network will go into effect, the culmination of many years of planning.

And in January of 2018, the CMAX bus rapid transit route will begin running up Cleveland Avenue.

Stitt has also overseen the NextGen process, in which COTA looks to the future to plan for light rail or other high-capacity transit. That initiative will now take center stage for the agency, as it looks to build on what it hopes will be a successful rollout of the Transit System Redesign (TSR) and CMAX.

Advocacy group Transit Columbus provided the following statement on Stitt’s retirement, echoing the positive assessment of his tenure.

“Curtis has lead a transformation at COTA that has set Columbus up for a more transit oriented future. The advancements COTA has made under his helm have brought COTA into the 21st Century and have set a course for continued growth and investment for the entire Columbus region. It’s our hope that the next leader of COTA continues the great work and vision Curtis has helped create by implementing the mass transit future envisioned by the TSR and NextGen.”

The Board of Trustees will lead the effort to replace Stitt.

“Curtis leaves COTA with big shoes to fill – and we are determined to fill them, ensuring a smooth leadership transition,” said Trudy Bartley, Board of Trustees Vice Chair, in a statement. “We will convene a Search Committee comprised of trustees and community leaders to secure an experienced executive recruiter to assemble a strong, diverse pool of qualified candidates.”

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