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Sam Desue, Jr., the current interim General Manager and Chief Operating Officer, was selected following a national search.

COURTESY PHOTO: TRIMET - Sam Desue, Jr.TriMet's Board of Directors named Sam Desue, Jr. as the new general manager of Oregon's largest transit district on Wednesday, June 16.

Desue, who currently serves as the interim General Manager and Chief Operating Officer, was selected following a national search and extensive community engagement efforts conducted by the agency and the TriMet Board, TriMet said. He becomes TriMet's first GM of color in the agency's five-decade history.

"When Sam joined TriMet in 2019, he quickly established himself as a proven, measured and thoughtful leader who was committed to safety, service and the community," TriMet Board President Bruce Warner said. "His years of transit expertise, customer-driven vision, commitment to building consensus and his humanity are sure to benefit transit riders and the agency for years to come."

"I am honored to be selected by the board as the next General Manager of this impressive agency," said Desue. "While we are collectively facing significant challenges as we recover from the impacts of the pandemic, I have full confidence in the TriMet team, our regional partners and in the strength of the community we serve. With a critical lens on equity and social justice, I will diligently work to advance new customer, safety, maintenance and climate initiatives."

Desue joined TriMet in 2019 as Chief Operating Officer (COO) and managed and oversaw six of the nine TriMet divisions, including Transportation, Maintenance, Information Technology, Safety & Security, Operational Training, Business Planning & Assets, and Operations Planning & Development. According to TriMet, he has been the accountable executive for federal, state and local regulatory authorities and provided strategic direction, transportation planning, policy development and oversight.

In March of this year, Desue was named interim General Manager after his predecessor, Doug Kelsey, retired. In that position, TriMet said Desue has already made huge strides to build back trust and improve the agency relationship with union leaders. He has advanced climate initiatives and championed safety, maintenance and critical equity and social justice policies. Desue has also begun developing new strategies to manage TriMet's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated economic impacts.

The full TriMet announcement can be found here.

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