The South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA), which operates the Tri-Rail commuter rail service that links Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, has hired David Dech as its new Executive Director, replacing Steven Abrams.
Dech, who currently serves as the vice president of rail operations of public transit company Capital Metro in Austin, Tex., will replace Abrams in August. Once he comes on board, Dech said his three priorities are to “complete the downtown Miami link [of Tri-Rail], continue to provide consistent service to riders and ‘peel back’ the finances,” Miami Today reported on June 28.
The appointment comes six months after Abrams, who has been dealing with issues at Tri-Rail, a 73.5-mile-long system, owned by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), disclosed construction defects at Brightline’s MiamiCentral Station, which have “delayed Tri-Rail’s trains getting into the station,” according to Miami Today. Tri-Rail has 18 stations along the Southeast Florida coast, connecting passengers to Amtrak at several stations. Transfers to Miami-Dade County’s Metrorail are also available at the Tri-Rail and Metrorail Transfer Station, as well as the Miami Airport Station.
Abrams, Dech and a recruiter for SFRTA/Tri-Rail have all confirmed the appointment. SFRTA listed the duties and responsibilities of the Executive Director in its job post as the following, “Reporting to SFRTA’s Board of Directors, the Executive Director is responsible for operations, governmental relations, capital programs, strategic planning, customer service, Positive Train Control (PTC) implementation, and the management, planning, organization and marketing of all rail services. His or her duties also include responsibility for all operations and planning activities; recruiting, hiring, retaining and motivating a diverse professional staff; monitoring and negotiating of contractor activities; implementing schedules and schedule changes; complying with County, State, and Federal statutes and rules and regulations; and negotiating operating and maintenance agreements with public agencies and private railroads. Additionally, this position requires an ability to generate good public relations between the Authority and the media.”
Prior to Capital Metro, Dech worked at CSX for more than 20 years in a myriad of roles, including Assistant Vice President of Passenger Operations. He attended the Harvard Business School Executive Leadership Program while at CSX.