As he explains, if there are a lot of people on board a bus but very low cost recovery, there is a service obligation to provide that service. Conversely, if there are only a handful of people on board the bus but it has a high cost recovery score because it’s a subsidized route, the taxpayer’s not putting money in.
“What we’re looking for is, where do we have very few people, or nobody, and where is the taxpayer paying and that’s where we get the microscope and the scalpel to find those kinds of trips. We’re looking to balance all the time,” he says.
“It’s not ‘I,’ it’s ‘We,’” Aesch says when I ask him what he’s most proud of at the agency. “We’ve worked very hard to make it ‘We.’
“So often, the CEO at the executive level becomes about demonstrating they’re in charge, rather than actually being in charge. If you’re focused on demonstrating you’re in charge, you’re not really leading the organization.” He adds, “If you’re going to really move the organization, you have to get the organization to recognize it’s not about you; it’s about the organization.”
About the success of RGRTA he says, “It takes a lot of work from a lot of people.” He stresses, “A CEO can not do what we did. It will not be successful.
“We brought in a whole group of people who are succeeders rather than survivors.” He says, “You just keep moving that ball and eventually people catch up with you.”
He suggests to other agencies: Build a road map, have a plan and have a measurement system which tells you whether or not you’re being successful in the implementation of your plan. And the last piece he says is to have the courage to make the right decisions.
Aesch will be leaving RGRTA at the end of the year. He really likes what he does and he says he’s really proud of how they do it, but the part that really excites him, that he’s really passionate about, is the public sector management piece.
He says, “It happens to be public transit today, but whether it’s a hospital, a school district or a sewer system, I like being able to take what people traditionally see as stodgy, tired government bureaucracy and turn that into a lean, mean efficient, less-taxpayer-dollars-needed business mindset organization.”