People News: PST, MARS, SEPTA, Met Council/Metro TransitWritten by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
PS Technology (PST) appoints Rushi Patel President and CEO. Also, the Midwest Association of Rail Shippers (MARS) welcomes new officers and executive director; the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) appoints Ronald Keele new Chief Safety Officer; and Minnesota’s Metropolitan Council (Met Council) selects Ernest Morales III as Chief of the Metro Transit Police Department.
PST on Jan. 24 announced that Rushi Patel has been named President and CEO, effective immediately.
Patel has a strong business background in consulting, strategy, supply chain, finance and technology, which will “complement and strengthen the PST leadership team as they navigate continuing growth, customer service and support,” the company said. Previously, Patel spent several years at Union Pacific (UP), where he and his team were instrumental in creating, governing, communicating, and enabling the Digital Transformation that is driving many of the current initiatives in UP Tech. “He is looking forward to helping advocate for PST’s customers, who are also experiencing similar demands and transformations,” the company said.
Patel received a bachelor’s degree in finance and risk management from Georgia State University in Atlanta and a Master of Business Management and Systems from New York University.
“I am honored and grateful to be appointed as President and CEO of PST,” said Patel. “PST has a great business model and a fantastic leadership team. I continue to be impressed by the dedication and commitment of the entire PST team to customer centricity. This appointment comes at an exciting time, as we are in a period of unprecedented growth and transformation. It is my privilege to lead PST as we revolutionize the digitization of the rail and logistics industry through our products and services.”
“I am excited to announce Rushi as the President and CEO of PST,” said Rahul Jalali, CIO, UP and Chair of the Board of Directors at PST. “His diverse business and technology background will help PST strengthen its core business and provide a vision as we take on the largest growth in our history.”
MARS recently introduced at its recent Winter Meeting a slate of new officers, along with a new executive director.
The 2023 MARS offices are: President Kathy Bathurst, CSX Transportation, Riverdale, Il.; First Vice President Matt O’Kray, Transtar, Chicago, Ill.; and Second Vice President Steve Blinn, Norfolk Southern (NS), Orland Park, Ill. The Immediate Past President is Carrie Evans, Iowa Interstate Railroad (IAISRR), Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
New members of the MARS Executive Committee include Peggy Emeis, Watco Companies, Kalamazoo, Mich.; Doug Grewe, Packaging Corporation of America, Lake Forest, Ill.; Brian Jonaitis, The Indiana Railroad Company, Indianapolis, Ind.; and Grant Keyser, TrinityRail, Dallas, Tex.
The MARS leadership team will be supported by incoming Executive Director Tracy Stein. She replaces William Schauer who has retired after serving the association for 15 years.
“While the MARS membership will greatly miss Bill Schauer and his tireless efforts to support the organization, we are very excited to welcome Tracy Stein as our new executive director,” said President Kathy Bathurst. “We look forward to Tracy’s perspective and expertise, as we move forward with our 2023 events.”
According to Bathurst, the recent Winter Meeting, which set a record for MARS with more than 950 attendees, included some new featured, including the Women in Transportation Reception and an expanded Vendor Exhibition, which were “well received and provided excellent networking opportunities.”
The Summer Meeting will be held July 10-11 in conjunction with the MARS Scholarship Golf Outing at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, Wisc. More information will be available here.
SEPTA on Jan. 25 announced that Ronald Keele has been appointed Chief Safety Officer. He will report to SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards.
In his new role, Keele will lead the development, monitoring and necessary adjustment of SEPTA’s plan to “ensure a safe and healthy environment for all employees, riders, and community members,” SEPTA said in a release. He will develop methods to measure the Authority’s safety performance and establish programs to routinely involve executive leadership in safety planning.
Keele comes to SEPTA from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), where he served as Chief Safety Officer. At WMATA, Keele oversaw the Authority’s Department of System Safety and Risk Management, which includes passenger, vehicle and fire life safety; environmental safety and health; safety training; and the workers’ compensation and quality assurance offices.
Keele brings more than 35 years of experience in the safety field, with 29 years in mass transit safety. Before being appointed as WMATA’s Chief Safety Officer, he was the Executive Director of Safety, Quality Assurance, and Risk Management for the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), where he managed the investigation of all accidents involving fatalities or serious injuries, reported unsafe acts, unacceptable hazardous conditions, derailments, and collisions. He also managed the system safety design review of all of MTA’s new facilities and equipment, system safety certification, fire protection engineering, and fire life safety code requirements.
Keele also worked as the System Safety Manager of Space Shuttle Operations for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); served as the Director of Safety and Security for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA); and served as the Director of Passenger, Vehicle, Fire Life Safety and Emergency Management for WMATA.
Keele earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Virginia Tech, a master’s degree in business administration from the George Washington University, and a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Maryland. He is also a registered professional engineer (PE) and a certified safety professional (CSP).
“Ron’s experience makes him the ideal candidate to take on this role,” said Richards. “Under his leadership, we will enhance our system and occupational safety standards, ensuring the best environment for our employees and riders.”
Following a national search, Minnesota’s Met Council announced that it has selected Ernes Morales III as the new Chief of the Metro Transit Police Department, effective Feb. 27, 2023.
Morales joins the Metro Transit Police Department from New York, where he spent most of his career in the New York City Police Department (NYPD), managing all levels of projects, including crisis management, investigations and administration. “He’s a proven leader known for his ability to build effective relationships that collaboratively address security issues through empathy, communication, trust and understanding,” Met Council said.
According to Met Council, Morales comes to Metro Transit with “a strong and successful history in public safety.” In his role in the Mount Vernon Police Department, Morales was responsible for establishing department policies and procedures. He led the coordination of multiple divisions, including patrol services, criminal investigations, and code of conduct enforcement. He also oversaw the performance of the department’s sworn officers and civilian staff.
“Providing a safe, welcoming transit experience for our transit customers and employees is always a top priority for the Met Council and Metro Transit,” said Met Council Chair Charlie Zelle. “Public safety needs trust and collaboration between all public safety agencies and the people it serves. I am confident Mr. Morales, a respected leader, will work hard not only to support existing relationships but create an environment where our officers can be successful and feel supported in their jobs.”
Prior to Mount Vernon, Morales worked his way up through the public safety ranks, holding positions such as a Deputy Inspector in New York and Commanding Officer in the Transit Bureau.
Morales has a Master of Science in protection management and a Bachelor of Science in police administration. He retired with 22 years of U.S. Navy Reserve experience with joint and international exposure involving high-level national security matters.
“As one of the most important leadership positions for the Met Council, the Chief of the Metro Transit Police Department needs to be a change agent that understands not only law enforcement, but the communities we serve,” said Metro Transit General Manager Wes Kooistra. “Mr. Morales is a proven leader in this area, assembling high-functioning teams that create and implement strategies that foster innovation and change in the policing environment.”