Zelle to lead Twin Cities Met Council

Dec. 26, 2019
His past experience includes top positions at an intercity bus company and service in the Minnesota Department Transportation.

Charles Zelle, chairman of an intercity bus service, has been appointed as chair of the Metropolitan Council by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Lieutenant Gov. Peggy Flanagan. The appointment is effective Jan. 6, 2020. 

“It is my honor to appoint Charlie Zelle as chair of the Metropolitan Council,” said Gov. Walz. “As a key economic driver in the state, the Metropolitan Council is critical to our vision of One Minnesota. Charlie will bring this unifying lens to his work as chair.”

Met Council Vice Chair Molly Cummings has been serving in the position on an interim basis following the Nov. 15 resignation of Nora Slawik, who stepped down to focus on her health.

"I am very excited to join the Walz Flanagan Administration as the chair of the Metropolitan Council,” said Zelle. “The council serves the critical function of bringing Twin Cities leaders together to invest in infrastructure and build an equitable economy. I am committed to applying my private and public sector experiences to help achieve the vision of a prosperous region — for everyone." 

Zelle is chairman of Jefferson Lines, an intercity bus company with scheduled passenger routes in 14 heartland states from Minnesota to Louisiana. He held the position of president and CEO for more than 20 years until 2012, when he was appointed commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation. In that capacity, he oversaw a multimodal state transportation agency with an annual budget of more than $4 billion. Zelle has served as a board member of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials , served on its executive committee and was chair of its Public Transportation Council. In addition, he has served as a member of the executive committee of the Transportation Research Board and past president of the Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials .

Zelle, who was born and raised in St. Paul, has been recognized for his work in transportation policy as a recipient of the George Rucker Award by the Community Transportation Association in 2009 and the Ray L. Lappegaard Distinguished Service Award by Center of Transportation Studies in 2012.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.