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Curtis Stitt to Retire, Capping Transformative Tenure as President and CEO

04/26/2017

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COLUMBUS, OH-Having served 18 years at the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA),
including the past five as president and CEO, W. Curtis Stitt announced at this morning’s Board
of Trustees meeting that he will retire Sept. 30. Appointed to lead COTA on Feb. 1, 2012, Stitt
oversaw the transformation of public transit in Central Ohio, including a downtown circulator, an
airport shuttle and a comprehensive redesign of the entire bus network.
“As I look back on my tenure, I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to work with so many great
people, and I am extremely proud of what we achieved together,” Stitt said. “We’ve leveraged
new technology, innovative thinking and old-fashioned common sense to make public transit
more convenient and efficient, and to meet the needs of more people.”
COTA’s accomplishments during Stitt’s tenure as president and CEO include:
 SmartRide and GREAT, targeted partnerships which have connected people to New
Albany and Groveport-Rickenbacker job centers;
 CBUS, the downtown circulator, which has enhanced economic development along High
Street while introducing new riders to COTA;
 AirConnect, the shuttle that makes the trip from downtown to John Glenn Columbus
International Airport and back every 30 minutes;
 The Smart City Challenge, the bid, supported by COTA, which netted $50 million for
advanced transportation in Columbus from the U.S. Department of Transportation and
Vulcan Inc.;
 Syncing COTA’s bus schedule with Transit App so passengers can check their smart
phones to find out where a bus is at any given moment and when it will arrive;
 The renewal – with support from more than 72 percent of Franklin County voters – of
COTA’s 10-year operating levy in November of 2016, which highlighted a period of
unprecedented financial stability;
 The Transit System Redesign, which beginning Monday will revamp COTA’s entire bus
network to deliver more direct and faster service throughout Central Ohio;
 CMAX, the bus rapid transit service launching in January, which will move passengers
along the Northeast Corridor on Cleveland Avenue to downtown and back 20 percent
faster than COTA’s traditional bus service; and
 NextGen, the inclusive community planning process to develop the public transportation
system to meet the needs of our community as it grows by 1 million residents by 2050.
“Curtis’ strong leadership has brought COTA into a new era of public transit. Under Curtis’
direction, COTA is transforming itself with the current system redesign, implementation of the
multimodal bus rapid transit line, and technology advances like Transit App,” said Jean Carter
Ryan, COTA Board of Trustees Chair. “On behalf of the board, I want to thank Curtis for his
service and dedication, not only to COTA, but to the Central Ohio community. We wish him all
the best.”
The Board of Trustees will launch a nationwide search for the next COTA president and CEO.
“Curtis leaves COTA with big shoes to fill – and we are determined to fill them, ensuring a
smooth leadership transition,” said Trudy Bartley, Board of Trustees Vice Chair. “We will
convene a Search Committee comprised of trustees and community leaders to secure an
experienced executive recruiter to assemble a strong, diverse pool of qualified candidates.”
Prior to his appointment as president and CEO, Stitt served one year as COTA’s senior vice
president and chief operating officer. Before that, he served 12 years as COTA’s legal counsel,
including six years as general counsel and vice president of legal and government affairs. Prior
to joining COTA, Stitt held several legal and administrative leadership positions, including
superintendent of Ohio’s Division of Financial Institutions, superintendent of the Ohio Division of
Credit Unions and legal counsel both to the Ohio Division of Banks and the Ohio Division of
Credit Unions. He also served three years as corporations counsel for the Ohio Secretary of
State, and three years as appellate counsel for the Franklin County Public Defender.
Stitt has served numerous community organizations and continues to serve on the boards of
Experience Columbus, Capital University, Action for Children, the Ohio Public Transit
Association and the American Public Transportation Association. A longtime coach,
administrator, and organizer of track and field programs, Stitt founded New World Track Club,
Inc. in 1987. He was a finalist for the 2003 Jefferson Award and received the 2009 Jewel Award
for his volunteer and community service.
Stitt earned a B.A. from Kent State University and a J.D. from Northern Kentucky University’s
Chase College of Law. He is a member of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, is married to his wife,
Lana, and has a daughter and two granddaughters.

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