BART Board makes history, picks first female to lead agency


BART Board makes history, picks first female to lead agency

Board promotes Dorothy Dugger to General Manager

After a nationwide search, the BART Board of Directors made history today by appointing the agency's first female to the top spot, giving her a clear directive to both enhance customer service and improve the work environment for employees.

By a 6 to 3 vote at today's special meeting, the Board appointed Dorothy W. Dugger to be BART's eighth general manager pending a successful resolution of a compensation package. She previously served as BART's Deputy General Manager.

"Finally, after 50 years as a District, BART has its first female general manager," BART Board President Lynette Sweet said. "I'm pleased to have been presiding over this Board during this historic time."

"Make no mistake, Dorothy earned this opportunity because of her rock solid leadership credentials and her keen sense of caring for people, especially her customers," BART Vice President Gail Murray said. Fellow Director Zoyd Luce agreed saying, "The fact she's a woman is just icing on the cake."

"It is a great honor and privilege to be appointed the general manager of one of the most distinguished and prestigious rail transit agencies in the country and I want to thank the Board for its vote of confidence," Dugger said. "BART's great legacy started decades ago when the public boldly invested in a train system that now provides more than 100 million passengers each year with safe and reliable transportation. We now have a vital responsibility to preserve that legacy while we grow the system to meet the demands of the next several decades. High among those demands is to help the Bay Area reduce greenhouse gases. We must have a laser-like focus on providing a quality of customer service that encourages people to take BART instead of their cars."

In her new position, Dugger will oversee operating and capital budgets totaling $1 billion, 104 miles of tracks and nearly 3,300 employees. "Our employees are already some of the best in the industry. I look forward to implementing programs that further develop their talents," she said.

Dugger assumes the general manager's post with an impressive array of leadership experience, a background that focuses on customer service and roots rich in public service. She has dedicated nearly all 34 years of her career to helping people - the last 15 of which have been with BART.

During Dugger's tenure, she fought hard to define, fund and deliver several key projects that have dramatically improved customer service. One of them was BART's first generation reinvestment program. In the mid 1990's, BART began a $1.5 billion, ten year Renovation Program that refurbished all 669 rail cars and replaced all of BART's fare equipment, elevators and escalators. Consequently, riders now enjoy a 95% passenger on-time performance and rarely face mechanical problems with equipment.

"We are about to see an influx of new riders in the coming years. Our next major challenge is to find the funding to begin a second-generation renovation program that replaces all of our rail cars and upgrades our stations to accommodate our new customers," Dugger said.

Dugger also played a key role in securing approval of funding from local, state and federal agencies for the nearly nine mile, $1.5 billion, five-station extension to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Millbrae. The world-class "train-to-plane" connection opened in June 2003. Now, for only $5.15 passengers can get between downtown San Francisco and SFO in just 30 minutes.

The success of the SFO extension and the Renovation Program helped BART mark two major milestones in 2004. That year BART achieved an 86% customer satisfaction rating ? the agency's highest ever.

Also that year, the American Public Transportation Association named BART the #1 Transit System in America - the highest honor any transit agency can receive.

"There's no question Dorothy deserves a lot of credit for these top honors," BART Director Blalock said. Fellow Director James Fang added, "BART has one of the top performance records in the country. We run on-time and Dorothy is a big part of why that happens. I'm delighted to have a woman at the helm."

Dugger joined BART in 1992 as the Executive Manager of External Affairs, overseeing the Customer Services, Government & Community Relations, Marketing & Research, Media & Public Affairs and Planning departments. Her mission for those five departments was to understand the concerns of BART riders, taxpayers and elected officials and to implement effective strategies that focused on fulfilling their needs.

Then in 1994, her management skills coupled with her expertise quickly catapulted her into the deputy manager's chair ? making her second in command at BART, serving first under Dick White and subsequently Thomas Margro, who resigned as the District's longest-serving general manager on June 29, 2007.

Prior to BART, Dugger spent a decade at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Between 1982 and 1992, she held a wide range of prominent public affairs and public policy positions, culminating with the agency's Director of Government and Community Affairs.

She has also served as legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union and has held several key positions in congressional and state legislative campaigns.

Dugger earned her BA from Rutger's University in 1973. She also attended the program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.