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News / Business / Clark County Business

C-Tran names new chief with deputy CEO taking the top role

By William Seekamp, Columbian staff writer
Published: January 30, 2024, 11:30am

Leann Caver will be C-Tran’s next chief executive officer, the agency’s board of directors decided in a unanimous vote Monday.

Currently the agency’s deputy chief executive officer, Caver started her transit career as a bus driver. She will officially take the wheel at the agency March 1.

Caver will replace Shawn Donaghy, who was recently appointed CEO of the North County Transit District in San Diego County, Calif.

“C-Tran is an incredible agency with an amazing team, and I’m excited for the opportunity to serve Southwest Washington in this new role,” Caver said in a news release. “We have accomplished a lot together already, and I know there’s an even brighter future ahead.”

Caver has been with C-Tran’s operations team since 2021, after spending 17 years at TriMet in Oregon.

Caver took a nontraditional path to the transit agency’s top job. She started at TriMet as a bus operator before becoming a bus dispatcher. She moved to management seven years ago and joined C-Tran in 2021.

“It’s very surreal,” Caver told The Columbian. “When I entered the transportation world, I didn’t realize what there was to offer. I was a single parent at the time, just looking for a job to take care of me and my two daughters. It has given me lots of opportunities in life.”

Caver will juggle big initiatives and projects already underway:

  • Two future Vine corridors on Highway 99 and East Fourth Plain/162nd Avenue.
  • A comprehensive update to C-Tran’s long-range plan.
  • The Interstate Bridge Replacement Program, of which C-Tran is one of eight partner agencies.

“C-Tran is already an award-winning agency, and I’m confident that Leann is the right person to continue that momentum and build on the success that we’ve achieved,” C-Tran board chair and Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle said. “We’re very fortunate to have someone of Leann’s caliber ready to step in.”

Under Donaghy, C-Tran won North American Transit System of the Year awards in 2022 and 2019; opened a new bus rapid transit line ahead of schedule and under budget; moved two additional bus rapid transit lines into the planning phase; launched The Current, an on-demand ride-share service; and brought battery electric buses into C-Tran’s fleet.

Perhaps Donaghy’s most lasting legacy in Clark County will be his advocacy for the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program. The replacement program recently received a $600 million federal grant, a massive step forward in replacing the Interstate 5 Bridge.

“Shawn has set a great path for us for C-Tran to move forward and given us great initiatives to build off of,” Caver said. “I do not see any need for change immediately.”

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

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Columbian staff writer