Top 40 Under 40 2014: Patrick Leclerc

Sept. 22, 2014
Patrick Leclerc, Vice President, Strategic Development, Communications and Public Affairs, Canadian Urban Transit Association

In April 2010 Patrick Leclerc was recruited to the position of director, Public Affairs at the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA). In that role, he was responsible for leading a focused public affairs department responsible for the development, co-ordination and implementation of government advocacy activities, media relations and marketing, as well as managing CUTA’s Ottawa office.

As a seasoned government relations professional coming from outside the transit industry, Leclerc seized the opportunity to learn about transit by networking with CUTA members, visiting their operations and attending numerous public transit events. Within months he captured the essence of the challenges and issues, and worked hard to consolidate transit’s credibility and respect in federal circles.

Leclerc established a high performance department capable of effectively advocating, initiating media relations and public affairs activities, and developing policy on behalf of CUTA and its members. He developed contacts and built positive professional relationships with ministers, members of Parliament and key staff at appropriate federal departments. He worked on a grass-roots advocacy network to educate and influence elected officials and their representatives as well as managing multi-partner national and regional public awareness campaigns and events.

Leclerc has a proven track record in planning, developing and implementing successful programs while increasing transit’s profile with key decision makers and governments. Committed to high quality standards and persistently seeking creative but practical solutions to address complex issues, he drives and implements positive organizational and cultural change. Throughout his time at CUTA, he has demonstrated sound judgment as well as strong analytical and strategic competencies. His solid communications skills have allowed him to effectively mobilize colleagues, business partners and stakeholders to achieve results and drive high performance.

Leclerc played an instrumental role in the development of CUTA’s current strategic plan, which resulted in a new mandate that goes beyond the traditional transit focus on buses and trains to embrace the vision of inspiring and influencing the evolution of integrated urban mobility. As a result of his performance and potential, in December 2012 he was promoted to vice president, Strategic Development, a new position designed to consolidate existing public affairs, publications and event management functions, as well as to provide a strategic focus in support of CUTA’s new vision, mission and values.

Leclerc always thinks ahead of the game and outside of the conventional paradigm. He has been instrumental in inspiring CUTA to adopt more strategic and modern approaches to raising the performance of the association. His acute sense of judgement and commitment to hard work have combined with new strategic responsibilities to help the association navigate change and evolution. His success in championing the cause of public transit, innovation and leadership have been the hallmarks of his influence at CUTA.

Leclerc brings to transit fresh thinking and a modern outlook that is serving the association exceptionally well.

“What I really like about the public transit industry is that it’s all about people. Our members do not move buses, subways or streetcars. They move people and improve their quality of life in their communities and they do that with great passion and professionalism. I’m also very fortunate to work with amazing colleagues who consistently go over and beyond to provide a great customer experience to our members and, ultimately, to transit riders and advocates across the country.”

“Public transit is a fascinating and much more complex industry than I would have thought before joining CUTA. This is an industry that touches on every aspect of our lives: it brings great economic value, improves the environment, shapes travel behaviors, and enhances the quality of life of people in their communities.  I really enjoy working with our members and other industry stakeholders to find innovative ways to strategically position public transit with decision makers. While more needs to be done, politicians increasingly realize that public transit plays a vital role in keeping our communities vibrant and competitive.”

“The shift in travel behaviors of younger generations is really encouraging and it brings great opportunities to the industry. New trends are emerging and, as an industry, we have to adapt to the reality of intermodality and connectivity. It is in that spirit that CUTA has recently adopted a new vision and strategic direction focused on inspiring and influencing the evolution of integrated urban mobility. But as the industry adapts its offerings and business model to better serve its customers, governments must step up to the plate and dedicate predictable, sustainable and adequate funding to public transit and urban mobility.” 

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Nov. 26, 2018