AVTA Appoints New Executive Director

The Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) board of directors voted unanimously on Friday to offer the permanent executive director position to Julie Austin, who has served as interim director for the agency since Dec. 6, 2010.

Before coming to the Antelope Valley, Austin served as director of policy and strategic planning with the North County Transit District in Oceanside, Calif., and spent several years as a transportation consultant to agencies such as LA Metro and Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus focusing on transit performance, fare structure analysis and funding issues. She served as deputy and subsequently executive director of Foothill Transit in the San Gabriel Valley from 1995 to 2003. At Foothill, Austin provided leadership and vision for the nationally recognized transit agency, which has twice been awarded the American Public Transportation Association’s Outstanding Transit System award. She has also held positions with Los Angeles Metro and the Southern California Association of Governments.

Austin has received Congressional recognition for her accomplishments not only with Foothill Transit but also for her contribution to the success of public transit in Los Angeles County.

“With Julie Austin at the helm of AVTA, the board has experienced a dramatic and positive change in a short time and under difficult circumstances,” says Norm Hickling, chairman of the board. “Each of the Board members and their respective jurisdictions look forward to the leadership and transportation knowledge she will bring to this position,” he added.

“Customer service and accountability should be our top two priorities,” she said. “We’re developing our fiscal year 2011/2012 business plan around those goals. I am humbled and honored that the board has placed their confidence in my ability to achieve their vision.”

AVTA will be celebrating its 20th year of operation this March. Austin is the third Executive Director to lead the agency since it was created in 1992.