Julie Timm

Julie Timm

Concluding a yearlong search for a new leader, GRTC announced Wednesday that it is hiring a former Hampton Roads Transit official who has been working in Tennessee for the past three years.

GRTC Transit System said its board of directors had unanimously selected Julie Timm, chief development officer for Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority and WeGo Public Transit, to succeed former CEO David Green. She will start Sept. 23.

Green stepped down last August, shortly after the launch of the $65 million Pulse bus rapid transit line, a transformational project that he oversaw.

“Julie brings broad transit experience and a progressive approach to addressing mobility needs,” GRTC Chairman Gary Armstrong said in a news release. “She is a great fit for the expanded leadership we see GRTC providing in the region’s growth in public transportation and integrated mobility options.”

The decision to hire Timm as CEO was made after two rounds of candidate interviews, according to the news release. During the nationwide search that followed Green’s resignation, GRTC has had two interim CEOs. Armstrong had said in January that GRTC aimed to have a new CEO by March.

Timm worked in Nashville as transit boosters there were advocating for a $5.4 billion regional transit plan that included designs for a new light rail system and new rapid bus routes. Voters rejected the idea by a 2-1 margin in May 2018, according to the Tennessean newspaper.

While GRTC officials and public transit advocates have lauded the new 7.6-mile Pulse bus line and the reorientation of the bus network as a success, the transit company has been vexed by monthly revenue shortfalls and criticism that the new routes have made it more difficult for people in low-income areas to catch the bus.

Despite those challenges, GRTC officials say there’s now far more interest in public transit. They are seeing plans for route expansions in Henrico and Chesterfield counties come together, and systemwide ridership is up 15% over the past year.

GRTC board member Ben Campbell said Timm will be committed to ensuring that everyone throughout the Richmond region will have access to public transit.

“We believe she is the right person for this dynamic city in this dynamic time,” he said.

Timm is a Hampton Roads native who graduated from Old Dominion University and holds an MBA from Vanderbilt University. She is GRTC’s sixth CEO and the first woman to hold the position.

“I am so excited to be coming home to Virginia and honored for the opportunity to serve the Greater Richmond community,” she said.

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