This month's "Fast Five" series features Charlotte Area Transit System Chief Executive Officer (CEO) John Lewis. He leads the largest transit agency between Washington D.C. and Atlanta.
Which part of the organization do you lead?
Charlotte Area Transit System
Why did you decide to work for the City of Charlotte?
I have always looked at Charlotte as a leader in public transit on the east coast. When I was in Richmond leading the Greater Richmond Transit Company, I brought the board of directors to Charlotte to see the transit center because we had just received funding to build a downtown transit center in Richmond. Whenever Richmond had challenges, I always looked to Charlotte to see what CATS was doing on similar issues. So, when I got the opportunity to compete for the CEO position here, there wasn't even a second thought. I jumped on it.
What is the biggest organizational priority you're working on right now?
Our number one priority is to provide essential mobility solutions that connect communities to opportunity, places and each other. At this time, we are focusing on service recovery for our riders - getting service to the level of reliability that our customers have come to expect. That includes the priorities of recruitment and hiring. The bottom line is we need employees and operators to reach our goal.
What is your favorite part about working for the City of Charlotte?
My job is different every single day, but being in operations we get to quantify our success on a daily basis. We see if we were we able to deliver our customers on time and in a safe manor each and every day. And a great thing about it is if we fall short on day one, we have another chance tomorrow to improve. I love the fast-paced continuous aspects of operations and the people and staff that support our overall mission. I couldn't lead CATS to the future without them.
What is your favorite restaurant in Charlotte?
I have a lot, but if I had to pick, I would say Customshop Handcrafted Food in Elizabeth. There's a great food scene here in Charlotte, and I'd venture to say that CATS has contributed to the uptick in businesses thanks to the development of transit in those areas.