CUTA recognizes leadership and contributions of its members in the transit community

Nov. 16, 2023
The CUTA’s Awards Committee selected 19 winners who demonstrated the greatest impact within the communities they serve.

The Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) celebrated the achievements of its members at the annual CUTA Awards Ceremony on Nov. 15, in Edmonton, Alberta. The ceremony recognized organizations and individuals for their contributions to public transit in Canada.

The CUTA’s Awards Committee selected 19 winners who demonstrated the greatest impact within the communities they serve.

List of 2023 CUTA Award winners

Individual awards

Excellence Award – recognizes major contributions that improved public transit.

  • Cathy Benjamin-Ostrander, AECOM, was recognized for her extensive involvement in industry associations, leadership roles in various organizations and promoting inclusivity and education throughout the transportation sector.

Young Leaders Award – recognizes young and talented emerging leaders entering the sector (35 or younger).

  • Kevan Marshall of Grand River Transit was recognized for his role in exceptional project management, leading to the success of Grand River Transit’s U-Pass, critical transit-supporting infrastructure and Grand River Transit’s TravelWise campaign
  • Stephen Bacchus of the city of Mississauga was recognized as a key figure in the transit industry, overseeing asset management and for playing a crucial role in Mississauga’s transition to electric vehicles.
  • Étienne Le Pironnec of the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) was recognized for his role in building partnerships with Polytechnique de Montréal to develop data-driven initiatives and optimize team performance

Heroism Award- recognizes individuals who have performed a heroic act.

  • Peter Dabrowski of the city of Mississauga was recognized for exceptional bravery, compassion and dedication to the community during an incident that saved a life.

Edward J. Dowling Distinguished Service Award – recognizes individuals in the industry who have demonstrated superior and outstanding service during a period of 10 years.

  • Eddie Robar of the city of Edmonton was recognized for more than 20 years of leading transformative improvements for multiple public transit agencies across Canada. His work includes developing strategic plans, redesigning transit networks, transitioning to eco-friendly fleets and enhancing the rider experience

William G. Ross Lifetime Achievement Award – recognizes exceptional service for at least 25 years. The winner is inducted into the CUTA Hall of Fame.

  • Dennis Fletcher of Dennis Fletcher & Associates was recognized for dedicating his career to the public transit industry since 1986. His work spanned nearly 100 municipalities across Canada and 20 U.S. states, encompassing a wide range of communities and project scopes. Dennis is renowned for service planning, and championing transit accessibility
  • Alex Milojevic of the city of Brampton was recognized for more than 30 years of service in public transit. He played a key role in expanding and modernizing Brampton Transit, including leading bus rapid transit and fleet electrification projects. He oversaw a significant growth of transit ridership and contributed to Canada’s transit industry through his leadership on CUTA and OPTA boards.

Corporate awards

Equity Diversity & Inclusion Award – recognize initiatives, programs and outreach undertaken by businesses, transit systems and/or their municipal owners, committed to inclusive, accessible, diverse workplaces and communities.

  • STM was recognized for offering a mobile app that provides real-time updates for elevator and escalator status, as well as a route calculator. The release coincided with National Accessibility Week and Quebec Disability Awareness Week.
  • Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) was recognized for its partnership with Special Olympics Ontario and actively engaging with athletes and their families
  • TransLink was recognized for its Travel Training for Newcomers Program, offering workshops and hands-on experience with buses and SkyTrain stations, multilingual travel training videos and translated guides
  • Alstom was recognized for the Alstom Rainbow Train Initiative, raising awareness for LGBTQ+ issues through a virtual Pride Parade for North America.

Environmental Sustainability Award – for systems whose projects helped the environment.

  • STM  was recognized for deploying the largest network of bus preferential measures (BPM) to encourage the choice of sustainable modes of transportation over single occupancy vehicles.
  • Alstom was recognized for Coradia iLint™, the first hydrogen-powered train journey in North America with zero direct carbon emissions, powered by clean hydrogen.

Innovation Award – to recognize excellence in using technology to make services more efficient.

  • Saskatoon Transit was recognized for using artificial Intelligence for predictive vehicle maintenance

Marketing and Communications – for excellence in advertising, corporate communications, or public relations.

  • TTC was recognized for its Be Essential Campaign, which was used to recruit more than 1,000 open positions
  • TransLink was recognized for its podcast, “What’s the T with Jawn Jang,” to foster trust and showcase transit’s value within the community
  • BC Transit was recognized for its “Get on Board” campaign, which allows children 12 and under to ride for free. The agency also introduced BusReady, a youth-focused brand, offering online tools and in-school programs, making learning about BC’s buses fun.
  • STM was recognized for engaging with new audiences through TikTok and becoming the most followed transportation company in North America on the platform, gathering more than 60,000 followers in just seven months