NCTD Appoints Donaghy as CEO

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
Shawn M. Donaghy will serve as NCTD's new CEO, beginning March 1, 2024.

Shawn M. Donaghy will serve as NCTD's new CEO, beginning March 1, 2024.

The North County Transit District (NCTD) Board of Directors on Dec. 21 unanimously approved Shawn M. Donaghy as the agency’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective March 1, 2024.

Donaghy will take over for Interim Executive Director Paul Ballard, who was brought on after the retirement of long-time Executive Director Matthew O. Tucker to assist NCTD through its leadership transition.

Donaghy’s appointment follows a four-month, nationwide search by the Board of Directors. Most recently, Donaghy was the CEO of C-TRAN in Vancouver, Wash.. He has more than 25 years of experience in public and private intermodal transportation, intergovernmental relations, and executive leadership. Under Donaghy’s leadership, C-TRAN was twice named the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) “North American Public Transit System of the Year” (2019 and 2022).

“Mr. Donaghy has the experience and leadership qualities necessary to manage a unique transit agency such as NCTD that includes bus, hybrid rail, and heavy rail,” said NCTD Board Chair Jewel Edson. “We find ourselves at a critical juncture at NCTD as we continue to convert our fleets to zero emissions, pursue redevelopment projects, and ensure a state-of-good-repair for our assets and infrastructure. The Board is confident in Shawn’s ability to successfully lead NCTD.”

For the past two decades, Donaghy has held many top-level positions in the transportation sector, in addition to being C-TRAN’s CEO, including Chief Operating Officer and Vice President for Trinity Metro in Texas and Chief Operations Officer for Southwest Ohio Regional Transportation Authority in Ohio. He was integral to the success of a new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line with dedicated bus lanes being constructed in just two years. In addition to establishing new BRT, Donaghy’s other career highlights include:

  • An overhaul of C-TRAN’s operations and maintenance campus including the agency’s first electrified fleet, infrastructure for future hydrogen facilities and new buildings.
  • A multi-billion / multi-jurisdictional replacement project of the Interstate 5 bridge connecting the states of Oregon and Washington slated for construction in 2026.
  • Work on critical projects such as the Cincinnati Streetcar, TEXRail, Mill Plain BRT and an extension of light rail into Southwest Washington.

“I am honored to have the support of the NCTD Board and for this unique opportunity,” said Donaghy. “With the help of NCTD’s amazing team, I am excited to accomplish the goals set before us that will support the communities of North County. Transportation options built on equitable outcomes, partnerships that improve quality of life and continued focus on economic development will be the key to those shared successes.”

Donaghy is a member of the APTA Board of Directors, the Chair of APTA Bus Operations Committee, and current President of The Bus Coalition, among other affiliations.

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