After more than 40 years of public service, including 15 years at Community Transit, CEO Emmett Heath announced Thursday that he will retire later this year in order to spend more time with his family, including his three young grandchildren.
Heath has served as CEO for Community Transit for six years and, before being selected CEO, held the position of director of administration for nine years. Heath has had a long career in public service in the Puget Sound region, holding executive leadership positions at both King County Metro and the Snohomish County PUD before coming to Community Transit in 2005.
“It has been an incredible honor to work with Emmett for many years,” said Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring, who serves as Community Transit’s Board Chair. “He has led the agency with expertise, energy, passion and a true service-oriented commitment to the community and employees. He will not be easy to replace but we thank him for his service and wish him the best for this new chapter in his life.”
Heath, who had been considering retirement since late last year, put his plans on hold to help lead the agency through the initial emergency phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. The board has asked that he continue to serve as CEO until a successor is selected, likely late this year.
“In the years since the Great Recession, Emmett’s leadership has been instrumental in ensuring the agency was positioned to deliver on future expansion and be as prepared as possible for another recession,” continued Nehring. “In response to the current pandemic, Emmett and the executive leadership team have put in place a set of long-term organizational, operational, and financial strategies that will help ensure the agency can continue to provide the essential travel the community needs now and in the future.”
“I’m very proud of this agency and the many amazing co-workers I have met during my 15-year career here,” said Heath in a message to employees Thursday. “We have been resilient in the face of adversity, and we always rebound to provide better and better services for our customers. We have accomplished a great deal together and have had a lot of fun times along the way. Thank you for everything you do to serve the community and to make Community Transit the special place that it is.”
In the coming days, the board of directors will work with Community Transit to initiate a recruitment process.