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People News: CapMetro, DCTA, Hitachi Rail

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Pictured (left to right): Dottie Watkins, CapMetro; Andrew Barr, Hitachi Europe Ltd.; and Giuseppe Marino, Hitachi Rail.

Pictured (left to right): Dottie Watkins, CapMetro; Andrew Barr, Hitachi Europe Ltd.; and Giuseppe Marino, Hitachi Rail.

Capital Metro (CapMetro) of Austin, Tex., names Dottie Watkins President and CEO. Also, Denton County (Tex.) Transportation Authority (DCTA) appoints four new executives, Maurice Bell, Sherrelle Evans-Jones, Bracey Goodwin IV and David Magaña; and Hitachi, Ltd. elevates Andrew Barr to Vice President and Executive Officer in charge of Regional Strategies (EMEA), and President of Hitachi Europe Ltd., and Giuseppe Marino to Group CEO of Hitachi Rail, a global supplier of rolling stock, signaling, service and maintenance, digital technology and turnkey systems.

Dottie Watkins has been appointed to lead CapMetro, following a Board of Directors vote on Jan. 30. She had served as the agency’s interim CEO since June 2022, when former President and CEO Randy Clarke departed for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. She will oversee CapMetro’s commuter rail, bus, on-demand and shuttle services.

Watkins joined CapMetro in 1994 as a part-time shuttle bus operator while attending the University of Texas at Austin. Over the course of 30 years, she rose through the ranks holding multiple leadership positions, including Vice President, Bus Operations and Maintenance; Chief Customer Officer/Chief Operating Officer; and Deputy CEO.

“As a Board, it was crucial that we selected the right leader for this position and for our community,” CapMetro Board Chair and Travis County Commissioner Jeff Travillion said. “We interviewed multiple qualified candidates for this position, and we wanted to make sure the person we selected had a stellar professional reputation, a proven track record of getting things done and most importantly, was someone the community could trust and their staff could respect and also have confidence in. Dottie meets all those qualifications and I’m confident we made the right decision selecting her as the next President and CEO.”

At DCTA, four new leaders will help run the 21-mile A-Train commuter railroad as well as the Denton and Lewisville Connect Bus, University of North Texas (UNT) Campus Shuttles, and North Texas Xpress commuter bus:

  1. Maurice Bell has joined as Chief Operating Officer. With 30 years of experience managing and guiding transit operations, he most recently provided consulting services for transit agencies in Louisville, Ky.; Columbia, S.C.; and Indianapolis, Ind. Bell has also served as Chief Operations Officer for the Port Authority of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, Pa., as well as a two-year term as Vice President of Mobility Solutions with Keolis North America. He also served for five years as Assistant Vice President of Bus Operations at Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART).
  2. Sherrelle Evans-Jones is serving as Chief Financial Officer, directing all financial activities for the agency, such as accounting, financial reporting, debt and treasury management, risk, and budgeting. Previously, she spent six years as the Finance Director for the city of Farmers Branch, Tex., and held CFO roles for 20 years managing not-for-profit, education, public sector and corporate accounting.
  3. Bracey Goodwin IV has joined as Director of Safety and Compliance, a newly created position. He is responsible for ensuring federal requirements and DCTA’s standards for safety and compliance are met and exceeded, according to DCTA. He brings nearly a decade of safety and risk management expertise to the agency, including roles with Boardwalk Paving & Construction, Dallas Independent School District and Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) in Columbus.
  4. David Magaña is serving as Director of Marketing and Communications, leading external and internal communications, digital and social media, marketing and advertising, content creation, and brand development. He served for 15 years at Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport as the external communications lead, in addition to founding and directing DFW’s social media program. Magaña also spent 15 years in broadcast journalism as a television newscast producer and in newsroom management.

“It’s exciting that we have retained talented, bright and experienced leaders for our team, each of whom bring a wide variety of expertise that will keep DCTA moving forward,” said DCTA CEO Paul Cristina, who took over the top job in March 2022 following Raymond Suarez’s resignation. “With these key leaders now in place, we can better focus our organization on the future and on improving mobility solutions for Denton County residents.”

In related developments, DART and DCTA are launching a joint rail operations facility.

Hitachi Rail in 2022 selected a 41-acre site in Washington County, Md., to house a 307,000-square-foot factory, storage facilities and an 800-yard test track. (Rendering Courtesy of Hitachi Rail)

At Hitachi, Ltd., Andrew Barr, currently Group CEO of Hitachi Rail, will become the Vice President and Executive Officer in charge of Regional Strategies (EMEA), and President of Hitachi Europe Ltd., effective April 1. The new Group CEO of Hitachi Rail will be Giuseppe Marino.

In his newly created role, Barr will lead the EMEA region corporate headquarters and report to Keiji Kojima, Hitachi, Ltd.’s Representative Executive Officer, President and CEO. He will be responsible for driving growth for Hitachi’s businesses across Europe’s mobility, energy and digital sectors.

“I’m excited by this new opportunity to deliver Hitachi’s ambitions to serve customers and society across the many sectors in which Hitachi is present in Europe,” Barr said. “Over the past four years as Group CEO for Hitachi Rail, I am proud to have led our teams through the global pandemic, delivered the global integration of our signaling capabilities, driven the significant expansion of our presence in the USA and Canada, and launched our new Smart Mobility business.

“With his strong background in international management and transportation engineering, I am confident of Giuseppe’s ability to lead our teams to deliver Hitachi Rail’s commitments under the mid-term management plan.”

Marino is currently CEO and General Manager of Ansaldo Energia Group. He previously held senior leadership roles at Hitachi Rail, including Group Chief Operating Officer of Rolling Stock. He drove the integration of Ansaldo Breda and Ansaldo STS; delivered the ETR1000, “Italy’s flagship very high speed train” now operating in Spain and France; and ensured “operational excellence” at Hitachi Rail’s Newton Aycliffe factory in the North East of England, according to Hitachi, Ltd. He will report to Alistair Dormer, Executive Vice President Green Energy and Mobility Sector.

“I am proud to be returning to Hitachi Rail at this very exciting time,” said Marino, who will be based in London, Hitachi Rail’s Group headquarters. “Andrew’s leadership of Hitachi Rail has seen it grow considerably in recent years, and the roadmap established in the mid-term management plan is just as exciting. I am committed to ensuring that we will remain focused on serving our customers and society, leading our teams to pioneer greener and more digital solutions, and successfully closing the planned acquisition of Thales’ Ground Transportation Systems (GTS) business.”

Completion of Hitachi Rail’s acquisition of Thales’ GTS business is expected in second-half 2023.

In related news, Hitachi earlier this month published a study on attitudes toward public transport across eight global cities; in November 2022 landed the C$9 billion contract for the Ontario Line Rolling Stock, Systems, Operations and Maintenance (RSSOM) package as part of the Connect 6ix consortium; and in October 2022 released the final designs for its $70 million railcar manufacturing plant and test track in Washington County, Md.

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