On Tuesday, October 1, Richard Simonetta was inducted into the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Hall of Fame. Simonetta was selected to receive this outstanding honor based on his commitment to and support of APTA’s core values: leadership & integrity; excellence & accountability; diversity, inclusiveness, fairness & equity, and; professionalism. This special honor is reserved for individuals who have long and distinguished careers in the industry, who have made extraordinary contributions to public transportation, and who have actively participated in APTA activities.
In his more than 42 years of service in the public transportation industry, Simonetta has been the CEO of five public transit agencies totaling 28 years, and has served in leadership positions within APTA including chair and secretary-treasurer on the Executive Committee, member of the APTA board of directors, chair of the American Public Transportation Foundation, chair of the APTA Diversity Council, and chair of the APTA Membership Committee. He also served as a member of the Awards Committee, Legislative Committee, Site Selection Committee, Policy & Planning Committee, Small Operations Committee, Conference Planning & Program Committee, Rail CEO Committee, Rail Standards Committee and the High Speed & Intercity Passenger Rail Committee.
He was also recently elected to serve on APTA’s Business Member Board of Governors. A true professional and leader, Simonetta holds himself, and the organizations he has managed, accountable to unusually high standards. He believes that the very nature of public transit requires no less. Simonetta's 1997 APTA Transit Manager of the Year Award, as well as the organizational awards for Best Overall Performance and Best Hiring and Promotion of Women and Minorities exemplify his commitment to excellence. Throughout his distinguished career he has consistently demonstrated a commitment to diversity, inclusiveness, fairness and equity, acting as a constant supporter of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) and its initiatives and programs that promote the identification, recruitment, hiring and development of transportation professionals.
“It is truly an honor and a privilege to be included in such a prestigious group of transit professionals who collectively have made a huge difference in our great industry. I am in awe that I have been selected to join these highly respected pioneers and leaders of our industry,” said Simonetta.
Matthew Burns, president & CEO of Burns, reiterated “Rick has had a long and distinguished transit career, and I have had the pleasure of knowing him both in his roles as a transit CEO with Phoenix Valley Metro Rail, and in his business development leadership role within The Burns Group. Rick mentors our staff to develop tomorrow’s leaders, providing the transit industry with professionals that share the benefit of Rick’s long career and experience. Rick has been an invaluable member of our team.”