TCAT Hires New General Manager

Categories Ithaca

By Josh Brokaw

The board of Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT) announced the hire of Scot Vanderpool as the bus service’s new general manager on Thursday, August 3.

Vanderpool joined TCAT in February, when he replaced the retiring Nancy Oltz as operations manager.

Vanderpool came to TCAT from Syracuse University, where he was manager of parking and transit services. Before that, from 1994 to 2003, Vanderpool worked in operations for Central New York Regional Transportation Authority (CENTRO), Syracuse’s transit system.

Alice Ecclestone, TCAT’s assistant general manager and human resources manager, has been serving as the acting general manager since the death of Joe Turcotte in May 2016.

According to one TCAT driver who messaged his opinion to this reporter via Facebook the night before the hire was announced, Vanderpool “seems to have an open mind and an ear for improvement at TCAT.”

In the press release sent out by TCAT communications director Patty Poist, TCAT Board Chairman David Howe and search committee chairman Frank Proto had this to say about Vanderpool:

“Transit agencies all across the country constantly have to grapple with a number of issues, including obtaining adequate, predictable funding, hiring employees in a tight labor market and providing the level of service that riders want and need,” Howe said. “We believe Scot is up to the challenge. He has demonstrated a real passion for improving customer service and collaboration with the Tompkins County community, as well as building solid relationships with the United Auto Workers Local Union 2300, which represents our bus operators and maintenance crew.”

TCAT Board Member Frank Proto, chairman of the general manager search committee, noted that Vanderpool was interviewed separately by three teams each made up of board members, TCAT employees and community members, all of which gave him a positive endorsement. “A stand-out moment for Scot was his handling of our operations during the crippling Winter Storm Stella in March when he brought his sleeping bag and slept in his office for three nights to coordinate operations and make the tough decisions to make sure employees and riders got home safe and sound,” Proto said.

TruthSayers will be setting up an interview with Vanderpool. If you have questions for the new general manager at TCAT, email josh.brokaw@truthsayers.org and we’ll get them answered.

Featured photograph by Josh Brokaw at TCAT garage on Willow Avenue.

 


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Here’s the full press release:

 

Scot Vanderpool Named TCAT General Manager

 After a 15-month and extensive nationwide search, the TCAT Board of Directors in a special board meeting today announced that it has selected Scot Vanderpool as TCAT’s general manager, effective Fri. Aug. 11.

Vanderpool, who was hired in January as TCAT’s operations manager, came to TCAT with 34 years of transportation experience at both the Central New York Regional Transportation Authority (CENTRO) in Syracuse and Syracuse University. In his new position, Vanderpool replaces the late Joe Turcotte, who served as TCAT’s general manager since 2005. Turcotte passed away in May of 2016 after a long and brave battle with cancer. “I’ve heard so many great things about Joe Turcotte; I’m honored, I know Joe will be a tough act to follow,” Vanderpool said.

TCAT Board Chairman David Howe, said Vanderpool’s years of transportation experience in Syracuse as well as a proven track record as TCAT’s operations manager, gives the board every confidence he will be able to shepherd TCAT to successfully meet the many demands inherent to mass transit.

“Transit agencies all across the country constantly have to grapple with a number of issues, including obtaining adequate, predictable funding, hiring employees in a tight labor market and providing the level of service that riders want and need,” Howe said. “We believe Scot is up to the challenge. He has demonstrated a real passion for improving customer service and collaboration with the Tompkins County community, as well as building solid relationships with the United Auto Workers Local Union 2300, which represents our bus operators and maintenance crew.”

TCAT Board Member Frank Proto, chairman of the general manager search committee, noted that Vanderpool was interviewed separately by three teams each made up of board members, TCAT employees and community members, all of which gave him a positive endorsement. “A stand-out moment for Scot was his handling of our operations during the crippling Winter Storm Stella in March when he brought his sleeping bag and slept in his office for three nights to coordinate operations and make the tough decisions to make sure employees and riders got home safe and sound,” Proto said.

Alice Eccleston, who served as TCAT’s assistant general manager and human resource manager, took over the helm as acting general manager in 2015. “We are truly grateful to Alice for her staunch leadership during Joe’s illness and after his tragic death,” Proto said. “Alice capably stepped up to the plate to manage all aspects of TCAT during a very challenging and sad time in TCAT’s history.”

Vanderpool, who earned a bachelor’s of science degree at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, started his career as a radio broadcaster. He became interested in public transit in 1983 when he started working as a part-time bus operator for CENTRO.

He moved through the ranks to become its manager of operations and planning. He joined Syracuse University in 2003, where he served as the university’s manager of parking and transit services and where he introduced bike share, ride share and car share to the university’s community. “It’s exciting to see that the Tompkins County community is fully supportive in finding sustainable ways to improve our transportation system,” Vanderpool said. “I view TCAT’s transit system as a foundation for connecting with other modes of transportation, including bike and pedestrian infrastructure.  Our community has some tremendous opportunities for connectivity.”

“Throughout my career, I’ve always been customer focused,” Vanderpool said. “Our mission, vision should always be centered on improving customer service and listening closely to our community members.”

Vanderpool said he is particularly enthusiastic about TCAT’s intelligent transportation system project that will roll out in late August that will enable passengers to access real-time information at their fingertips via mobile apps, desktops and laptops. “We’ve never had the capability to immediately communicate information to our customers; this is an exciting chapter in TCAT’s history,” Vanderpool said.

Josh Brokaw is an independent reporter based in Ithaca, N.Y.
Email josh.brokaw@truthsayers.org with tips, story suggestions, and gentle criticism.
Twitter: @jdbrokaw