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Keith Parker MARTA

Keith Parker leaving MARTA better than he found it

As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Sept. 8, 2017

The impending departure of MARTA General Manager and CEO Keith Parker the transit agency announced Sept. 5 comes at a pivotal time in the system’s history.

After 25 years in the transit industry — including five years at MARTA — Parker will be leaving this fall to become president and CEO of Goodwill of North Georgia.

MARTA hack-a-thon

For MARTA’s future, culture is everything

MARTA recently hosted its latest hack-a-thon, a high-tech competition inviting participants to create their own “hacks” or improvements to make the transit agency more effective, efficient and customer friendly. 

Hack-a-thons aren’t new; large companies have been holding them for years. But for MARTA, they’re a really big deal. As the agency starts searching for its next CEO, that person should understand how such events foster a culture of openness and innovation that’s critical to MARTA’s forward trajectory.

Relay ribbon-cutting

MARTA, City of Atlanta and Relay Bikes seek to close ‘last mile’ gap

MARTA and the City of Atlanta are teaming up to provide the elusive “last mile” for people seeking alternative ways to get around.

MARTA and the city’s Relay bike sharing program launched their partnership on July 14 with an actual bike relay from the Colony Square bike station to MARTA’s Arts Center Station. MARTA and city employees “competed” in an effort to “win” the relay.

MARTA Job Fair

MARTA recruiting bus drivers with “excellent customer service skills”

MARTA is beginning the New Year with a job fair to hire full-time bus operators.

The jobs provide benefits and pay from $13.68 to $19.54 an hour. The jobs fair, for an unspecified number of drivers, is slated from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday at MARTA’s headquarters, located adjacent to the Lindbergh Station.

The hiring program is part of MARTA’s focus on restoring levels of customer service that were trimmed to meet the financial rigors of the Great Recession. MARTA GM Keith Parker has made it clear that MARTA must appeal to riders who have the choice of using the system or driving their own vehicle.
For this jobs fair, the attention to customer service is evident in the first sentence of a flyer:

“MARTA is currently recruiting for professional, customer focused full-time bus operators.”

MARTOC chair praises MARTA’s GM for trajectory of transit agency

Keith Parker is ending his first year as MARTA’s general manager with glowing remarks from the chair of the state legislature’s committee that oversees MARTA.

“I really appreciate everything that is going on right now at MARTA and look forward to an excellent second year, as we have had an excellent first year under Mr. Parker,” said state Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Brookhaven), who chairs the joint House-Senate committee known as MARTOC.

Jacobs delivered his remarks Friday, during MARTOC’s final meeting of the year. The meeting ended a full day for transit leaders, who hosted a “State of MARTA” breakfast at the agency’s headquarters.

MARTA news

MARTA GM Keith Parker talks up privatization, strategic vision in speech to DeKalb chamber

MARTA GM Keith Parker said Wednesday he intends to pursue a consultant’s recommendations that MARTA privatize some services in order to fix the battered budget.

“If we make these adjustments, we will, by 2018 again be contributing to our fiscal reserves rather than bleeding them,” Parker told the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce during his talk at the “Executive Speaker Series,” formerly known as the “First Monday Lunch Series.”

Privatization will fly in the face of Parker’s plans to boost morale among MARTA’s 4,500 workers. Privatization also will present opportunities for local businesses to take over the service, he said – almost in passing.

New MARTA GM Keith Parker visits GRTA board for hellos, handshakes

MARTA GM Keith Parker got a warm reception from the GRTA board when he visited on Wednesday.

Parker made a few remarks in which in he introduced himself as a complete person – a manager who favors “low cost, high impact improvements,” a leader who’s a good listener, and a family man with three children – including one just a month old.

The visit was just the latest of Parker’s stops on his outreach tour. Parker didn’t make any grand announcements, but he did make the important effort to meet his professional colleagues in the public transit arena.