Planner & Grant Specialist
University of Oklahoma - Cleveland Area Rapid Transit
Cody Ponder has been with Cleveland Area Rapid Transit at the University of Oklahoma for five years. Ponder started in the transportation industry as a school bus driver in Norman, Okla., while attending OU and was hired as a routing coordinator soon after graduating in 2002. After working his way up to director of transportation for the district with approximately 80 buses and more than 100 employees, Ponder left for the public transportation industry a few months after turning 30.
While at CART, Ponder has worked to improve many aspects of CART’s planning relationships with other providers in the region and the local council of governments in Oklahoma City (ACOG), where he serves on various boards and committees. However, his most enjoyable work and relationships developed within the Oklahoma Transit Association, where he serves on the Continuing Education Committee, and the South West Transit Association where he represented the OTA as a board member for four years. His position on the SWTA board ended with this quote from SWTA executive director Kristen Joyner in a SWTA member update email; “Cody has served the Oklahoma Transit Association and the SWTA membership as a board member for the last four years. During that time, Cody has provided insight, encouragement and wisdom on various issues that have come up for review with the board. He also attends nearly every SWTA training event. I wish we could create a Cody Ponder seat on the SWTA Board!!”
His work in developing relationships in transit probably led to his most significant achievement as team leader for the 2010 Triennial Review where CART ended up with one minor finding. This was a major accomplishment considering it was just the third time CART had participated in the Triennial Review process.
While working closely with various transit agencies around the state and region, Ponder has also been a diligent advocate for public transit in his community, recently graduating with the 2011 class of Leadership Norman. He serves on the board of directors for United Way of Norman (Chair of the Senior and Independent Living Council), the board of directors for Full Circle Senior Adult Day Center (Transportation Committee Chair), and was the 2011 co-chair of the Red Cross Heart of Oklahoma Chapter’s annual event fundraiser, La Gran Fiesta.
“I believe it is important for all transit professionals to be involved in their local community. Working with groups such as the United Way or the Red Cross is the best way for you to get the word out about the services you provide and ensure these groups public transit is working with them to provide the best opportunities for the people of your community. I have served on the board of directors for Full Circle Senior Adult Day Center in Norman for three years. While they were already familiar with our services it was important that they moved forward with providing transportation options beyond what we provide. The board is currently working on a 5310 application to ensure senior adults beyond our Paratransit boundaries have the opportunity to take full advantage of Full Circle’s services. While they could have accomplished this without my assistance, having a board member who is familiar with the process makes agencies more willing to move forward with this type of project.”