Top 40 Under 40 2013: Tim Geibel

In 2000, Tim Geibel graduated from Slippery Rock University with a degree in health services administration. He continued his education at Geneva College and earned a Master of Science in organizational leadership degree in June 2003. While attending graduate school, Geibel began work with the Butler Transit Authority in Butler, Penn. While working at BTA, he served as the public outreach/public relations director.

In January of 2003 he was hired as a transportation planner by the Centre Regional Planning Agency in State College, Penn. His primary role was to provide planning support to the Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA) which serves the public transportation needs of Penn State and the surrounding communities. Geibel was also responsible for supporting the Centre County MPO. For the first six months in state college, he travelled back and forth to Geneva College every Monday night to complete his master’s degree; he traveled more than 300 miles weekly to complete his studies.

At the age of 28, moving from one CATA to another, Geibel was named executive director of Crawford Area Transportation Authority in Meadville, Penn., and has held that position for 7 ½ years.

Geibel has transitioned CATA from an authority that contracts out service to a 100 percent internally operated transit authority. In 2006 CATA employed an administration staff of three along with seven bus drivers. Today, CATA maintains a staff of eight full-time administration/operations employees and 35 bus drivers. During this period of exponential growth, CATA has doubled its fleet of vehicles from 16 to 32, added more than 45,000 miles of revenue service, opened a new administration and operations facility and increased ridership by 21 percent, all while averaging an increase in operating expense of 1.8 percent per year. CATA currently maintains the lowest expense per passenger of any rural fixed-route provider in the state of Pennsylvania.

Geibel was the project manager and successfully oversaw the completion of the first ever capital project in CATA’s history dating back to 1979. Prior to this project, CATA had no visual presence in the community as all administration was performed from the second floor of a professional building in Meadville. Bus drivers were required to take breaks in the parking lot of the local mall and CATA had no facilities for passengers to use when waiting for the bus. In the spring of 2011, CATA opened the doors to a new downtown administration and operations facility. This facility has transformed CATA’s image in Meadville and allowed for the continuing expansion of services being provided to Crawford County. This facility has since received the designation of LEED Silver by the USGBC, becoming only the second rural public transportation facility in the state of Pennsylvania to achieve LEED certification.

Today, Geibel is positioning CATA to become a leader in the future of rural public transportation in Pennsylvania. CATA, along with colleagues in the Counties of Clarion, Forest, Venango and Warren have agreed to embark on a regionalization project to identify ways for better, more consolidated delivery of public transportation in the Northwest region of Pennsylvania.

Despite the ongoing challenges of managing a rural transit system, Geibel has always contributed to the public transportation industry. He has served on the Pennsylvania Public Transportation Association (PPTA) Board of Directors since 2008. He recently completed a three-year term on the National RTAP Advisory Board where he took part in the creation of many resource manuals and tools to support rural and tribal transit providers across the country. He is also a member of the management team that is overseeing the operations of BeST Transit serving the public transportation needs for the counties of Bradford, Sullivan and Tioga in north central Pennsylvania.

Beyond building a career in public transportation, Geibel has a commitment to service and civic involvement in Meadville. To this end, he is a board member for the Western Crawford County United Way where he oversees the planning division. He is currently the president of the Crawford Area Young Chamber of Commerce, an organization he has been affiliated with since arriving in Meadville in 2006. He recently received his designation of “Counselor Advocate” for Women’s Services Inc. (a shelter for victims of domestic and sexual violence). He serves as a Eucharistic Minister for his local parish where he visits the homebound each month in Meadville.

“I enjoy the wide arrange of activities that I’m a part of in directing a rural transit authority. From working with community organizations to overseeing construction projects to providing testimony before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, this position affords me countless opportunities for personal and professional growth.

“I’m a huge country music fan. If there’s a concert within 100 miles of Meadville, chances are I’ll be there. My favorite artists to see in concert are David Nail and Gary Allen. I’ve probably seen them more times then I care to mention."

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