Dear Lorain County Community,
As I pen down my final message as your Mobility Manager, I can't help but marvel at the incredible four-year journey we've shared. What started as a mission to enhance transportation in our community evolved into a tapestry of challenges, triumphs, and invaluable connections.
As one of the founders of MOVE (Mobility and Opportunity for a Vibrant Economy) Lorain County to navigating the uncharted waters of the Mobility Management Program, every step has been rewarding, albeit not always as swift as envisioned. The twists and turns led to unexpected roles, collaborations, and experiences that enriched my understanding of mobility needs in Lorain County.
I embarked on this endeavor, hoping to find someone else to carry the torch forward once the first Lorain County Coordinated Transportation Plan was completed in 2018. However, as the architect of the Coordinated Transportation Plan, I realized the need to build the program's foundation personally before handing it off to someone else to take to the next level. Initially, I thought it would be one or two years, but it turned into four years.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges, but it also unveiled opportunities for innovation. From partnering with health organizations for medical transportation to facilitating vaccine clinics in association with Lorain County Public Health, our community spirit shone bright, thanks to collaborations with Nord Family Foundation, Lorain County Transit, Kendal at Oberlin, The LCADA Way, Horizon Education Centers, Lifecare Ambulance and compassionate individuals.
Thanks to the unwavering support of Lorain County Urban League, Safe and Reliable Limo Services, Joe Spriestersbach (formerly of Lifecare Ambulance Services), El Centro de Servicios Sociales, MOVE Lorain County, Ohio Means Jobs of Lorain County, Lorain County Chamber of Commerce, SHARE Mobility, Avient, Thogus Products, and other partners, the dream of a workforce transportation program materialized. Though the pilot was brief, its impact was profound, setting the stage for future successful initiatives. (See Pulse Magazine article here: https://shorturl.at/eEFQ8)
MOVE Lorain County held an event about Workforce Transportation and you can find that article from the Chronicle located here: https://chroniclet.com/news/303438/move-lorain-county-highlights-successes-solutions/.
Navigating the unique landscape of Lorain County, the 9th most populous County in Ohio, presented its own challenges. Gratitude goes to United Way of Greater Lorain County, and especially Christine Matusik-Plas (my direct report) for providing crucial support to me as I rewrite the 2024-2028 Lorain County Coordinated Transportation Plan, a task made smoother with the assistance of the fantastic Sarah Mason, the former Lorain County Mobility Management Intern.
Special thanks to The Nord Family Foundation's consistent financial support of transportation and Commissioner Dave Moore for meeting with Ryan Aroney and me to encourage the improvement of transit in Lorain County to drive meaningful change. Also, I sincerely appreciate all who joined me on the Lorain County Transit ride-along journeys, turning bus rides into learning experiences.
To the fantastic Mobility Manager community, your camaraderie and commitment made every conference, meeting, and collaboration a joy. Your collective dedication throughout Ohio to improving lives through enhanced and improved transportation is truly inspiring.
As I bid farewell to the role of full-time Mobility Manager as of December 15, I'm excited to embrace a temporary part-time position as the Executive Director of the Oberlin Business Partnership. In addition, my advocacy for improved transportation will persist, and I'll be training my successor in January to ensure the program's continued success.
Thank you to everyone I've had the pleasure of meeting on this transformative journey. It's been a chapter of personal and professional growth that will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Here's to the next chapter and continued strides toward a more connected and accessible Lorain County!
Lorain County Mobility Manager 2020 - 2023