Intercity Transit

WA: Authority Announces Selection of New General Manager 20-Year Transit Veteran to Head Intercity Transit

The Intercity Transit Authority announced the selection of Ann Freeman-Manzanares as the agency’s new general manager.

“We’ve had an in-depth search to find the best candidate to lead the organization into the future,” states Martin Thies, chair of the Intercity Transit Authority. “During the past eight months as interim GM, Ann has proven herself a strong leader for the agency. She’s committed to serving this community, our staff, and the transit industry.”

Freeman-Manzanares has served in various senior level positions at the agency over the past 20 years. This has included acting as development director overseeing planning, procurement, grants, marketing and communications, procurement manager, and procurement coordinator. Previous to arriving at Intercity Transit in 1993, Freeman-Manzanares worked as a principal planner for a regional planning council, administered a federally funded housing program for the State of California Housing and Community Development Department, and interned for the city of Sacramento and a California state assemblyman. She is a graduate of a national transit leadership program, Leadership APTA, provided through the American Public Transportation Association, and Leadership Thurston County. Freeman-Manzanares has a bachelor’s degree in public administration/political science from California State University, Long Beach.

Recent accomplishments under Freeman-Manzanares’ leadership include completion of the largest park and ride facility in Thurston County and securing funding for two new commuter bus routes, expansion of the Olympia Transit Center, bus stop enhancements, and youth education.

The transit board, who voted to appoint Freeman-Manzanares as general manager at their June 5 meeting, indicated a unanimous vote of confidence that she will continue to embrace the agency’s mission and oversee the operation of quality public transportation services in the region. The challenge of running a complex agency, especially during tight fiscal times, was an important consideration in selecting Freeman-Manzanares.

“I appreciate the confidence the Authority has showed in me. I look forward to working with staff to accomplish the mission and the vision of Intercity Transit and to serving the members of our community,” Freeman-Manzanares said.

Thies indicates that during the recruitment process he was approached by officials from municipal and state governments, business leaders, labor representatives, and agency employees, all of whom came forward to vouch for Freeman-Manzanares’ leadership and the quality of their working relationships with her.

“As we’ve done in the past, Intercity Transit will continue as a leading, forward-thinking public transportation system,” states Thies. “Ann’s the one for the job.”

The search for a new leader began in March, following the selection of The Prothman Company, a Washington-based executive search firm specializing in public sector recruitment. After a broad recruitment process, 26 applicants were screened to 11, interviews followed, and the top candidates were whittled to four finalists. The finalists, who represented an impressive diversity of transit and public sector experience, visited the Olympia region late last month and completed an intensive two-day interview process. This included meeting with the transit Authority, senior management, other employees, and representatives of the agency’s Citizen Advisory Committee, labor unions, and community leaders.

The general manager is hired by and serves at the discretion of the Intercity Transit Authority. The transit board consists of five elected officials representing the cities of Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater, and Yelm, and Thurston County; three citizen-at-large appointees, plus a labor representative.

Mike Harbour, who held the GM position for 17 years, left Intercity Transit in late 2012 to take the deputy CEO position at Sound Transit.