Monica Tellez-Fowler Tapped as Next Cota Deputy CEO; Emille Williams Departing Organization in May

Monica Tellez-Fowler, who joined COTA earlier this year as Chief Operations Officer, has been named Deputy CEO of the organization. In her new role, Tellez-Fowler will continue to oversee COTA’s transit and fiscal operations, as well as human resources, information technology and innovation. Tellez-Fowler will serve as Deputy CEO beginning May 19, replacing Emille Williams, who is departing COTA next month.

Prior to joining COTA in March, Tellez-Fowler was the Deputy CEO/Treasurer of Clark County Public Transit Benefit Area Authority (C-TRAN) in Vancouver, Washington. During her time at C-TRAN, Tellez-Fowler was responsible for more than $100 million in annual operations and capital budgets and represented the authority on a $3.5 billion Interstate 5 bridge replacement megaproject across the Columbia River on the Washington-Oregon border. Before joining C-TRAN, she was the Chief Financial Officer of Trinity Metro in Fort Worth, Texas, where she oversaw the New Starts Federal Transit Administration grant application process for TEXRail, a $1 billion, 27-mile commuter rail between downtown Fort Worth and the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

“We are fortunate to have been able to recruit such a talented executive to the Central Ohio community. Monica is nationally known for her empathetic leadership style and her consensus building approach to complex work. Her track record of overseeing major investments speaks for itself and is a welcome addition to our team, considering the opportunities which lie ahead as our region continues to grow and is in need of revitalized public infrastructure to support equitable economic growth,” said Joanna M. Pinkerton, COTA President and CEO. “In her short tenure at COTA, she has been focused on reaching out to our employees to build relationships and excitement for our future. We hope the entire community will welcome her as well.”

Emille Williams is departing COTA after seven years of leadership, including serving as Deputy CEO for the past five years. Williams oversaw the operational side of the organization, helping to implement operational efficiencies, Transit System Redesign in 2017, the launch of COTA//Plus in 2019, the two largest capital facilities renovations in COTA’s history, among many other achievements. Emille was also instrumental in supporting COTA’s Board of Trustees, leadership team, and all employees to develop COTA’s first ever organizational strategic plan, creating the people-focused and diversity-centered plan COTA is guided by today.

“We have been fortunate to have Emille in his role and I appreciate his support during my tenure as President and CEO,” said Pinkerton. “He has helped us make tremendous strides in operational improvements, supported our efforts to begin creating a winning and welcoming culture within the organization, and helped us manage through innumerable challenges including a worldwide pandemic.  Emille is the epitome of excellence as an executive and has positioned the organization well for the future. We all wish him well in his next chapter.”