Paul J. Wiedefeld
General Manager and CEO, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
After 35 years in the transportation industry, Paul accepted the challenging assignment of leading Metro in 2015 as General Manager/CEO. Under his leadership, Metro has turned the corner on safety, service reliability and financial management. Through his Back2Good program, Metrorail is delivering nine out of every ten customers to their destinations on time. Customer satisfaction has reached the highest levels in recent years. For three consecutive years, Metro has received a clean, on-time financial audit, and delivered historic capital investments in the system, including popular new trains and buses. He put in place a multi-year financial plan to Keep Metro Safe, Reliable and Affordable. Through this plan and for the first time in the organization’s existence, with Paul at the helm, WMATA has received regional dedicated capital funding from local, state and federal governments.
In addition to recruiting a new executive team, this progress was made possible through a series of hard choices to put safety first, including the launch of SafeTrack which achieved three years of critical track work in just over a year. Following SafeTrack, Metro transitioned to its first ever preventive maintenance program with longer work windows to complete repairs necessary for safe and reliable service for customers.
Paul has focused on the customer experience, introducing new customer amenities, such as the Rush Hour Promise—the first guarantee of its kind in the transit industry—which automatically credits rail customers for trips that are delayed by 15 minutes or more. Metro has also launched a modern website geared for mobile users, and an online chat feature to help customers with trip planning. A program to activate cellular service in all underground tunnels is underway, and free Wi-Fi for customers has been installed in Metrorail stations and mezzanines.
Prior to joining Metro, Paul was the CEO of BWI Airport. During his tenure, BWI grew to become the leading passenger airport in the Washington metropolitan region. To support this growth, he managed the largest capital expansion in the Airport's history, including the construction of a 26-gate terminal for Southwest airlines, an 8,400-space parking garage and a modern consolidated rental car facility.
Paul also served as the CEO of the Maryland Transit Administration, managing day-to-day operations of the nation's 13th largest transit system, including MARC commuter rail, subway, light rail, buses and paratransit.
In the private sector, Paul served for a decade as a consultant with the international engineering firm, Parsons Brinckerhoff. He has a Master's degree in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University.