Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) General Manager and CEO Jeffrey A. Parker died on Jan. 14.
Parker, 55, died by suicide; he was struck by a train at the East Lake Station in DeKalb County, Ga., the Associated Press reported on Jan. 15.
“As Chairwoman and on behalf of my fellow MARTA board members, we are devastated at this loss as we valued Jeff’s leadership and looked forward to him bringing his vision for transit to fruition,” Board Chair Rita Scott said in a statement. “The entire metro Atlanta region owes him a debt of gratitude for his transformational efforts and we will not stop working to build on the foundation he created.”
“We are deeply saddened and shocked to hear of the tragic death of MARTA General Manager/CEO Jeffrey Parker,” Britt Dunams, President of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 732, said in a statement for the union, which represents more than 2,500 workers at MARTA, MARTA Mobility Gwinnett Transit, Cobb County Transit, and Fulton Services. “Parker understood the importance of MARTA and public transit for our city, our members, and our citizens.”
Parker, who had more than 35 years of experience in the public and private sectors of the transportation industry, took on MARTA leadership in March 2018, and had been directing the agency’s “most ambitious transit expansion and modernization program” since its founding 40 years ago, according his biography on the MARTA website. It was his second tour of duty at MARTA; he first joined in 2005 to serve as Senior Director of Transportation Operations. Parker held that role until 2008, when he transitioned to the Connecticut Department of Transportation to become Commissioner, a role he held until 2011. He then served as Vice President of HNTB until 2018.
Parker began his transportation career in 1985 at Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), where he started as an intern and rose through the ranks to become Chief, Operations Control Center and Training. After a brief stint at Parsons, he became Director of Subway Operations and Rail Vehicle Engineering at MBTA, before moving on to MARTA in 2005.
In a unanimous vote on Jan. 15, 2022, the MARTA Board named Collie Greenwood interim General Manager and CEO. Greenwood joined MARTA in 2019 as the head of Bus Operations and was promoted to Deputy General Manager of Operations last January. He is the former Chief Service Officer at Toronto Transit Commission.
“Jeff Parker has built an incredible team of professionals to lead MARTA into its expansion phase with a renewed commitment to improving the customer experience,” the Board said. “As the head of operations, Mr. Greenwood has been central to that work and his appointment ensures continuity of our shared vision.”
(Help is available 24 hours: Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.)