Chamber Luncheon - Guest Speaker Keith T. Parker, CEO of MARTA
Keith T. Parker, AICP, is the General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), the nation’s 9th largest transit system that includes heavy rail, bus and paratransit services. With an annual budget of $1 billion, MARTA provides more than 400,000 passenger boardings a day. Parker took the helm of MARTA on December 10, 2012.
Parker’s career has included public and private sector experiences in diverse communities around the country, including Virginia, California, Washington State, North Carolina and Texas. Most recently, Parker served as CEO for transit systems in San Antonio, Texas (the nation’s 7th largest city) and Charlotte, North Carolina. In both cities, the transit systems utilized public involvement and technological innovations to dramatically improve the overall public transit experience. Under Parker’s leadership, the San Antonio and Charlotte transit systems enjoyed some of the highest ridership increases in the country, while maintaining some of the lowest costs. The transit agencies also won numerous local, state, and national awards in key areas such as safety, maintenance, environmental innovations and overall excellence. Parker won Texas CEO of the Year Awards in 2011 and 2012.
Since his arrival in Atlanta, Parker and his team have balanced the budget, improved efficiencies, increased bus and rail service, enhanced the customer experience, and restored pride among MARTA employees and staff. MARTA is now recognized as one of the most innovative transit authorities in the nation.
Parker was recognized as the Outstanding Public Transportation Manager by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) in October 2015. METRO Magazine named Parker as one of its 20 Most Influential People of the Decade in recognition of his ability to transform agency efficiencies, implement cost-effective measures, and engender a culture of innovation in diverse environments.
Parker’s accolades reached new levels in 2016 with two prestigious recognitions. In February, Parker was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC). And, in November, he was named one of eight Public Officials of the Year by Governing magazine.
A native of Petersburg, Virginia, Parker was recently appointed to the Virginia Commonwealth University Board of Visitors by Governor Terry McAuliffe. Parker received VCU’s Alumni Star Award in 2015.
Active and engaged in civic and charitable organizations, Parker serves the community on various national and local Boards of Directors – including the Intelligent Transportation Society of America, the American Public Transportation Association, the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB) and Goodwill Industries. Parker holds an MBA from the University of Richmond, as well as a Master of Urban and Regional Planning and a BA in Political Science from Virginia Commonwealth University. He also holds professional certification with the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).
Parker is married with three children.