Monica Tellez-Fowler named president and CEO of COTA

March 14, 2024
Tellez-Fowler currently serves as deputy CEO of the transit agency and will assume her new role on May 6.

Monica Tellez-Fowler has been appointed to be the next president and CEO of the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) following a unanimous vote by the COTA Board of Trustees. She joined the authority in March 2023 as COO before being promoted to deputy CEO in May 2023. The authority notes Tellez-Fowler is recognized as a compassionate leader and cites her impact successfully leading negotiations with Transport Workers Union Local 208, reaching a three-year contract agreement , and avoiding a work stoppage.

“The COTA Board of Trustees believes that the organization is in excellent hands with Monica,” said COTA Board of Trustees President Marlon Moore. “Monica has demonstrated she has the qualities to be a successful and compassionate leader of this organization. She has years of experience leading major transit projects that have had enormous impacts on improving mobility and she is the right person to lead COTA as we bring LinkUS to the community.”

Tellez-Fowler previously served as deputy CEO/treasurer of Clark County Public Transit Benefit Area Authority (C-TRAN) in Vancouver, Wash. At C-TRAN, Tellez-Fowler was responsible for more than $100 million in annual operations and capital budgets and represented the authority on a $3.5 billion Interstate 5 bridge replacement megaproject across the Columbia River on the Washington-Oregon border. She has also previously served as chief financial officer at Trinity Metro in Fort Worth, Texas. She oversaw the New Starts Federal Transit Administration grant application process for TEXRail, a $1 billion, 27-mile commuter rail between downtown Fort Worth and the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Tellez-Fowler will assume her new role on May 6, succeeding Joanna M. Pinkerton, who is departing COTA after six years leading the authority

“I am truly honored and grateful to the COTA Board of Trustees for the opportunity to lead COTA and continue working with more than 1,100 frontline workers and support staff,” said Tellez-Fowler. “This year will be a crucial time, as voters will make an important decision about the future of public transit in our region. Together, with the support of our incredible team and community partners, we will continue to innovate and enhance mobility solutions for central Ohio.”

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.