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Metra appoints top administrative officer

(January 30, 2015) - 

Metra today announced the appointment of John A. Milano as the agency’s Deputy Executive Director for Administration effective Feb. 1.

Milano, 50, who is currently Metra’s Deputy General Counsel, will serve as the top administrative officer for the Chicago area commuter rail agency under Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno. He was selected from a field of 10 candidates after a nationwide search.

“John brings the perfect combination of extensive experience and solid expertise to this role,” Orseno said. “I am confident that he can help make Metra’s administration work better for its customers, employees and vendors. In addition, at a time when Metra faces a tidal wave of retirements, he represents the next generation of transportation leaders.”

In his new role, Milano will be responsible for planning, developing, organizing and directing the administrative activities at Metra.

Milano joined Metra in 1998 and since then he has served in various capacities under different Metra administrations, including serving recently as Deputy General Counsel and as a Senior Corporate Director overseeing the Real Estate, Marketing, and Revenue Development for Metra. He has worked with all major administrative departments and is currently overseeing the internal audit department function. And he’s worked extensively with the Board of Directors and was involved in various major procurements. 

“Coming primarily from the Law Department where I’ve seen just about every major issue, I’ve been exposed to the ins and outs of the various administrative and operating departments,” said Milano. “I always have a critical eye on our processes, but I understand the complexities of our unique regulatory environment. We are a railroad that competes for talent with other private industries, but we are also publicly owned and answerable to our taxpayers and riders.”

“A critical topic for Metra and other organizations is the need to prepare for the next wave of retirements. In speaking with Don and Deputy Executive Director for Operations Pete Zwolfer, one way we will address that is to grow our own talent and emphasize more cross-training opportunities for our managers to prepare them to take on more challenges,” said Milano.

Before he joined Metra, he worked for the Illinois Department of Transportation as an assistant chief counsel from 1989-1998, where he handled a variety of assignments involving public transportation, rails and highways. Milano brings an extensive level of commuter and passenger rail experience and crisis management to the position. He is a published author on articles on government grants and procurements and has worked on crafting transportation legislation.

“I was immediately impressed with John when I came onto the board,” said Metra Chairman Martin Oberman. “He is a tremendous resource and the type of critical, independent thinker Metra needs,”

A first-generation American born in Chicago, Milano graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and received his law degree with honors from Notre Dame University. He lives with his wife and children in Arlington Heights.

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