In January 2020, current PennDOT Secretary and former Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) board member Leslie S. Richards will replace the retiring Jeffrey D. Knueppel as General Manager of the sixth-largest public transportation agency in the U.S.
Richards, a Montgomery County, Pa., resident, will oversee an agency with 9,500 employees and one million weekday riders. She “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,” SEPTA said. “Her private- and public-sector backgrounds give her a unique perspective on understanding stakeholder issues. She is known for her ability to build consensus to find solutions to problems.
“As PennDOT Secretary, 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 planning and delivering capital and maintenance projects. This new policy enhances PennDOT’s collaboration with local governments, and ensures that the department’s investments consider the mobility needs of communities in project design.”
“SEPTA is critical to the vitality of the Philadelphia region, and to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a whole,” Richards said. “I am honored to be selected as the next General Manager, and look forward to working with SEPTA employees, riders, residents and other stakeholders to ensure we meet the region’s transportation needs now and for years to come.”
Richards is a graduate of Brown University, where she concentrated in economics and urban studies. She received a master’s in Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.