News

Center Welcomes Two New Members to the Board of Directors

Posted March 2020

The Center is pleased to announce that India Birdsong, Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, and Leslie Richards, General Manager of Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, have been elected to the Center’s Board of Directors.


India comes to Greater Cleveland from Nashville where she served as Chief Operating Officer of WeGo Public Transit, the Regional Transportation Authority. In that role, she was responsible for the leadership of more than 550 employees, including union and administrative staffers. She led all bus and rail operations and oversaw two garages and maintenance shops, a commuter rail line and a downtown transfer central hub. She was also instrumental in supporting the system’s 25-year strategic growth plan.

Before joining the Nashville system in 2015, Birdsong spent nine years with the Chicago Transit Authority where she held a variety of roles, including senior manager of bus supervision and instruction for the Central Region, leading operations for a CTA Operating Division, bus operator instruction, and special events planning. She began her career there as an operations planner.

Ms. Richards, a Montgomery County resident who previously served on the SEPTA Board, oversees SEPTA’s 9,500 employees and all aspects of the Authority’s operations. SEPTA is the sixth largest public transportation agency in the U.S., serving approximately one million riders each weekday.

Ms. Richards has extensive leadership experience in the strategic planning and management of transportation projects both in her private-sector work in the planning and engineering fields over the past two decades, as well as in her work in state and local government. Her private- and public-sector backgrounds give her a unique perspective on understanding stakeholder issues.

As PennDOT Secretary, Ms. Richards instituted new policies based on sustainable infrastructure investments and innovation. She launched the Transportation Investment Plan, a metric-driven strategic investment approach for the 12-Year Capital Program. She also started a new initiative called PennDOT Connects for the planning and delivery of capital and maintenance projects. This new policy enhances PennDOT’s collaboration with local governments, and ensures the department’s investments consider the mobility needs of communities in project design.

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