The Rapid announces new CEO

Feb. 5, 2021
Deborah Prato will serve as the first female CEO and will begin her tenure March 8.

Deborah Prato has been selected to be The Rapid’s new CEO. The Rapid Board of Directors formalized the contract with Prato on Jan. 27.

Prato will bring more than 30 years of public sector experience to the role, including 10 years of executive team experience in public transportation. Her expertise in local government and public transit in the northeast positions her to hit the ground running at The Rapid as the agency continues its work to support pandemic recovery and growth in the region.

Stephen Kepley, mayor of Kentwood and chair of The Rapid Board of Directors, expressed optimism as The Rapid completed its search and hiring process. 

“Deborah Prato brings the necessary leadership experience and skills to guide and implement The Rapid’s planned services for meeting the needs of West Michigan for years to come,” said Kepley. “The [Interurban Transit Partnership] Board members look forward to working with Deborah and welcome her to the community.”

Prato will officially begin her role as CEO March 8, 2021.

“I am honored and humbled to be appointed CEO of The Rapid,” said Prato. “Together and alongside all of the dedicated employees at The Rapid, we have the talent to continue to deliver exceptional service to our customers and create extraordinary value by connecting our communities.”

The Rapid started the CEO search process in July 2020, at which time Win Irwin was hired to serve as interim CEO. Irwin will be working with The Rapid Board of Directors, staff and Prato to assist with the transition.