Joseph A. Calabrese, Senior Advisor for Special Projects and Strategic Innovation

Named as “one of public transportation’s most influential people of the decade,” Joe Calabrese brought more than 40 years’ experience working in both the public and private sectors of the transportation industry to the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. CEO and General Manager of RTA from 2000 until 2018, Calabrese  significantly increased RTA’s customer base while advancing RTA’s integral role in the economic development of the region.

In May 2017, Calabrese was listed in Crain’s Cleveland Business Who’s Who in Northeast Ohio for his role in making the region a better place to live and do business. In 2015, Calabrese received Governing Magazine’s “Public Official of the Year Award,” becoming the first transit leader in the nation to ever receive that distinction. That same year, Calabrese was the recipient of Smart Business Magazine’s “Smart 50” Award, and RTA was named “One of the 50 Smartest Organizations in Northeast Ohio.” 

Under Calabrese’s leadership, RTA strategically focused on providing outstanding customer service, maintaining a positive image and excelling in strong financial management. As a result, RTA has become one of the most respected transit agencies in the nation. In recent years, RTA was named Best Large Size Transit System in North America and Calabrese was named the Outstanding Transit Manager of the Year.

Through appointments by two US Secretaries of Transportation, Calabrese serves on the US Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Advisory Committee. Past president of both the New York State and Ohio Public Transit Associations, Calabrese is on the board of directors and on several committees of the American Public Transportation Association.

Calabrese holds a Degree in Economics from Syracuse University, an MBA from the University of Buffalo and completed Post Graduate Fellowships at Northeastern University, The University of Chicago and at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.  Before coming to Cleveland, Calabrese served as President of the Central New York RTA.

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