2022 40 Under 40: Matthew D. Moorman

Aug. 23, 2022
Matthew D. Moorman, Senior Manager of Service Planning & Scheduling, Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA)

One word to describe yourself: Dependable  

Alma Mater: The Ohio State University  

Fun fact about yourself: I am a semi-professional musician.  I serve as music director for my church where my wife and I lead weekend services. I play piano and pipe organ. Oh, and I am always armed with a good dad joke. 

Matt D. Moorman is a seasoned transit professional with more than 17 years of operations management and strategic planning experience. His passion for transit started when he began as a part-time operator in 2004 for The Ohio State University.  After graduating with a degree in logistics management and joining the SORTA team, he quickly rose through the ranks as street service supervisor, division manager, fixed-route transit scheduler, manager of planning and scheduling and now serves as the senior manager of service planning and scheduling. During his tenure, he has provided critical assistance with bus stop infrastructure enhancements and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) initiatives. In addition to his regular duties managing the scheduling team in monitoring and adjusting schedules for 46 routes and coordinating four major contractually required service picks for 500 bus operators each year, he was responsible for implementing the largest service expansion in SORTA’s history during the pandemic. 

Moorman is described by colleagues as an outstanding young leader who has worked extremely hard to help move the organization forward during his tenure. He’s diligent, communicative and always willing to assist colleagues at any time. He was instrumental in keeping SORTA's wheels turning as the agency faced unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic by adjusting schedules to maintain service for essential workers while reducing exposure and ensuring SORTA continued operating efficiently with reduced ridership. 

During COVID-19, voters passed the Issue 7 sales tax levy in May of 2020 and Moorman was responsible for implementing the largest service expansion in SORTA’s history with the first phase of the Reinventing Metro Plan. This led to significant service improvements for the region, including 24-hour service on seven routes, reducing nearly 10 fare types down to three, increasing Sunday frequency on six routes, adding new Sunday service on two routes and improving weekday frequency on two routes. Future phases of the plan will introduce mobility-on-demand, regional paratransit, enhanced ITS, as well as laying the foundation for bus rapid transit. 

For the August 2021 service changes, Moorman worked with Cincinnati Public School (CPS) staff to restructure service to area high schools. The result was service improvements that benefit both students and the riding public, while reducing the number of required buses and operators needed, including increasing frequency on 12 routes and launching two new crosstown routes connecting three SORTA transit centers and making transfers easy and seamless. These improvements improved CPS students’ ability to get to and from schools by decreasing average trip time by 10 minutes, decreasing average walk time and making it possible for no student to need more than one transfer. 

Moorman is a member of Cincinnati Chapter of COMTO (Conference of Minority Transportation Officials).  In addition to his bachelor’s degree, he holds an MBA degree from Kaplan University.  

Outside of the office, he’s an accomplished musician.  He is the music director for St. Aloysius Gonzaga Parish and leads an adept group of musicians for worship services each weekend. He enjoys playing piano and composing new music in his spare time.  He also volunteers as Cubmaster for Cub Scout Pack #3044.  Matt, his wife and two children love spending time outdoors. They can often be found camping, hiking, catching sun at the beach and visiting extended family.    

Is there a specific experience that led you to where you are today?    

When I was attending The Ohio State University as a freshman finance major, I used to ride the Campus Area Bus Service to class. One day, I looked up and noticed an advertisement looking for part-time student drivers.  After thinking, “How hard could it be?” I applied and started a few weeks later.  While in training for my CDL, I worked as part of the fleet service crew where I learned a little bit about the maintenance side of the business. I drove for a couple of years and then became a supervisor, learning even more about the operations side of the business. I quickly learned how important transit is for those who rely on it. I soon after changed my major to transportation. After returning home to Cincinnati after I graduated, I joined the SORTA team in operations and then a few years later I joined the strategic planning, development and innovation team where I am now. I have a great team that is doing great things for our region, and I continue to learn new things every single day. My entire career started from a single “now hiring” ad on a bus!    

What do you enjoy most about your job?    

We have the best team in the business!  In 2020, our county passed a sales tax levy. When Issue 7 passed, we made a promise to the region to build a better transit system that would connect people to where they need to go and drive economic development. Our team members all understand the impact that transit can have on a region, and they are always keeping the community needs at the front of their minds. Our county and our region have placed their trust in SORTA, and we are having a blast making good on these promises.  

What’s the most challenging part of your job?    

There are a lot of pieces to the transit puzzle. Resources are not infinite. Change takes time. The way people work, travel and do business is constantly changing, which means we as a transit agency must always be looking through multiple lenses. Balancing what we can do today, what we will do in the short term and what our region will look like years from now is an ongoing challenge – one that is always exciting and rewarding.    

Accomplishment you’re most proud of and why?    

In 2021 SORTA, along with most transit agencies across the country, was continuing to feel the pressure of the labor force. My team worked with our local school district to completely restructure the way we provide service to area high schools. The redesign improved service for both students and the riding public while at the same time reducing the number of required vehicles and drivers. Although it seemed impossible (and frankly I still cannot believe we pulled it off), I am most proud of the fact that our team made this happen in six weeks from start to implementation.    

Best advice/tip/best practice to share from your area of expertise?   

It is sometimes easy to get discouraged when you hit roadblocks or encounter resistance whether that be internal or external to your organization. No matter what, do not give up. Keep going, keep trying, and keep doing what is right for the community. There are folks out there that depend on us to get them to work, to their healthcare, to the grocery store, to visit their friends and family. Transit can change lives. We can improve the quality of life for many, and I think that’s worth fighting for.