Metra’s Executive Director/CEO Don Orseno today announced he plans to retire from the agency in December 2017 after 43 years of service.
Orseno, 62, was appointed as Metra’s acting Executive Director/CEO in August 2013. Since January 2014, when the appointment was made permanent, he has provided overall leadership and direction to all areas of Metra operations and administration to ensure that the agency achieves its vision, mission and goals, including oversight of Metra’s $1 billion annual budget.
During his tenure, Orseno’s key accomplishments have included the expansion of the agency’s railcar and locomotive rehabilitation program, implementation of new or enhanced safety programs, an overhaul of Metra’s Police Department, the development of Metra’s new enterprise resource planning system to replace the agency’s outdated back-office systems and a focus on customer service that has resulted in the launch of the Ventra App and the installation of Wi-Fi at downtown stations and on some railcars.
“Don’s retirement is a major loss to Metra. He has a nationwide reputation as an outstanding commuter railroad executive who is very well-respected within the railroad industry and by state legislators and members of Congress. As a railroader with 43 years of experience, he will be sorely missed,” said Metra Board Chairman Norman Carlson. “We are grateful for his tremendous service and pleased that he will stay on through the end of the year to help with the transition to new leadership.”
Orseno began his career in 1974 as a ticket collector on Chicago Rock Island & Pacific Railroad commuter trains. In 1984, he began working for Metra and has held progressively responsible senior leadership positions, previously serving as Metra’s Deputy Executive Director/COO.
Orseno is a member of the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA’s) Board of Directors, and has served as Chairman of APTA’s Commuter Rail Committee and its Commuter Rail CEO Subcommittee. He is a member of the Safety Operations and Management Committee of the Association of American Railroads, a member of the Transportation Technology Center, Inc. Board of Directors and a past member of the Eno Center of Transportation Board of Advisors Executive Leader Subcommittee. He is also the past President of the Association of American Railroad Superintendents and the Chicago Railroad Superintendents Association, where he currently serves on the Board of Directors.
“Metra has been a great place to work for over three decades and I’m extremely grateful for each and every one of the opportunities I’ve had along the way,” Orseno said. “By working closely with the Board of Directors and staff, we’ve been able to get through some tough times and accomplish great things. I’m pleased that the agency is back on track.”
Metra’s Board of Directors has formed a committee comprised of Vice Chairman Romayne Brown and Directors Don De Graff and Jack Partelow to launch a nationwide search to identify the agency’s next Executive Director/CEO. Metra’s Board Committee will immediately begin its search for Orseno’s replacement, with the goal of having a new Executive Director/CEO hired this fall to allow for a seamless transition of leadership by the end of 2017.