Five Finalists Named for Sound Transit Executive Director Position

Publish Date

The Search Committee of the Sound Transit Board of Directors has selected five finalists for the Executive Director position. After an extensive process, the Search Committee has invited the following candidates for final interviews:

Grace Crunican

Ms. Crunican was most recently the Director of the Oregon Department of Transportation, a position she held for the last five years. She reported to a five-member Commission that was appointed by the Governor. The Oregon Department of Transportation has 4800 employees and a biennial budget of $2.4 Billion.

Previously Ms. Crunican was the Deputy Administrator (1993-1996) of the Federal Transit Administration. From 1992 to 1993, she was the Executive Director of the Surface Transportation Policy Project. Prior positions include Deputy Director and Program Manager with the City of Portland Transportation Office. While there she worked closely with Tri-Met on the funding aspects of the light rail system (MAX).

Ms. Crunican achieved her BA from Gonzaga University in 1977, and she earned her MBA from Willamette University in 1979.

Joni Earl

Ms. Earl is the acting Executive Director for Sound Transit, having held this position since January 2001. She joined Sound Transit in October 2000, as Chief Operating Officer. She has overall responsibility and authority to direct and manage the agency.

Her prior positions include more than eight years as Deputy County Executive for Snohomish County, WA, reporting to the County Executive. She also served as City Manager of Mill Creek, WA, from 1987 to 1992 where she was responsible for all city operations. Prior positions include Director of Internal Management and Chief Fiscal Officer for Kitsap County, WA.

Ms. Earl attended Olympic Community College where she received an AA in 1973. She received a BA in Business from Washington State University in 1975. She completed her MBA from University of Puget Sound in 1982. She has completed executive programs at the University of Colorado and Harvard University.

Paul Karas

Mr. Karas is President of Grove Management Company in Western Springs, IL, which he founded in 1993. The company provides consultant services including organizational development, strategic and financial planning and program management. For the past two years, he has worked as a consultant to the City of Gary, Indiana, on the planning for a third Chicago area airport. Previously he was a Senior Vice President for Morse-Diesel/AMEC in New York, NY, from 1991 to 1993 with responsibilities for marketing and managing aviation projects. From 1988 to 1993, he was the Director of the Airport Redevelopment Program for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Mr. Karas served as the Commissioner of Public Works for the City of Chicago, reporting to the Mayor. He held this position from 1985 to 1988. He also achieved a full funding agreement with the Federal Transit Administration for the construction of the Midway Airport transit system. Prior positions were with Santa Fe Capital, Inc. and Santa Fe Southern Pacific Corporation where he was involved in project development work.

Mr. Karas attended the University of Notre Dame where he received a BS in Civil Engineering in 1973. In 1980, he was awarded a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Michigan.

Charles Stark

Mr. Stark is the Executive Officer for Construction at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority. He has held this position since 1997 and is responsible for the agency's entire rail program, currently at $2.9 billion.

Prior to joining LACMTA he worked for STV Engineers in New York, NY, from 1984 to 1991; New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority from 1978 to 1984; and General Electric from 1970 to 1978. All of these positions involved transportation related responsibilities.

Mr. Stark attended the City College of New York. He received a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 1970. He received an MS in Civil Engineering from Manhattan College in 1978. He has professional engineer registration in five states.

Thomas Woodall

Mr. Woodall is the Senior Project Manager and Construction Management Leader for Sverdrup Civil, Inc. in Boston, MA. He is currently responsible for the 17-mile water supply tunnel for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. He has extensive public works management experience with other agencies including Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority where he was Chief Engineer from 1994 to 1995. He has also worked in Puerto Rico on the Tren Urbano light rail project, and was a construction management consultant for the Boston Central Artery Program.

Mr. Woodall attended the University of Pennsylvania where he received a BS in Chemical Engineering in 1960. He received a BS in Civil Engineering at the University of Missouri in 1965. He also completed his MS in Civil Engineering at the University of Missouri in 1966.

The candidates are the result of an extensive national recruitment process managed by the Bellevue, Washington search firm of Jensen & Cooper, Inc. The process began with interviews of Sound Transit Board members, staff, and community stakeholders to identify agency issues and personal attributes desired in the next Executive Director. A position description and qualification criteria were then developed along with a nationally based recruitment.

The finalists are expected in Seattle on Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9 for an orientation and final interviews. The Board search committee is scheduled to meet in executive session on June 9 to conduct the final interviews. Following the executive session, the committee is expected to reconvene in open session in the Sound Transit Board Room, located at Union Station, 401 South Jackson Street, to discuss and then formulate its recommendation.

The full Board plans to meet on Tuesday, June 12 at 10 a.m. in the Sound Transit Board Room to consider the search committee's recommendation and appoint a permanent director.

The search committee includes Sound Transit Boardmembers John Ladenburg, Dave Earling, Richard McIver and Jim White. Ray Gould of the Sound Transit Citizen Oversight Panel is also on the committee.

# # #

Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.