Top 40 Under 40 2013: Conrad Venema

Conrad Venema

Strategic Planning Manager

The Rapid

Conrad Venema has been an instrumental team member at The Rapid since 1998. During his tenure he has helped to foster a spirit of collaboration to encouraged cooperation across multiple departments. His technical skills in planning, combined with his ability to deal directly with riders and the general public, make him an invaluable asset to the operations.

He has been with the agency through four successful ballot initiative campaigns, four subsequent system-wide service enhancement implementations and ridership growth from 4.5 million rides in 2000 to 11.9 million rides in 2012. He possesses institutional knowledge putting him on par with the best industry veterans, yet Venema constantly demonstrates a level of youthful innovation and creativity critical to The Rapid during its current period of exponential growth.

As the manager of strategic planning, Venema is responsible for the supervision of the planning department, development and implementation of short- and long-range goals, development and maintenance of performance metrics and management of projects including the SilverLine, the first bus rapid transit line in Michigan; the streetcar feasibility study; and the Transit Master Plan.

The SilverLine BRT project is currently in construction and Venema has worked across three unique municipal jurisdictions to coordinate the planning and construction.

His leadership helped the Grand Rapids, Mich., metro area leverage approximately $40 million of state and federal investment for this project. Venema is also managing the advanced conceptual engineering stage of what will likely be Michigan’s second BRT line, the laker line in Grand Rapids.

“I have the privilege of working with a great team of people who share the same passion and belief in transit as a tool for shaping cities and a catalyst for great urban design.”