MTD’s Managing Director, Bill Volk, retired June 30, 2014 after serving the District for 40 years. Photo Credit: Mass Transit Magazine
Today, June 30 is MTD Managing Director, Bill Volk’s last day. He is retiring from the District after serving in the role of Managing Director for 40 years. Well, 40 and a half years to be exact, his first day was January 28, 1974.
Please join us for an open house celebration today from 4-6 pm at CityView at Illinois Terminal, located on the fourth floor.
The accomplishments and significant milestones achieved over the decades under Volk’s leadership are numerous. Volk is quick to credit the District’s success to the long-tenure of other MTD employees. Six senior staff in particular provide over 200 years of combined service to the District – averaging over 30 years of service each.
“The stability created by the longevity of other employees have enabled me to concentrate on forward looking efforts while they managed outstanding day-to-day service with a 98% customer satisfaction rate,” said Bill Volk in a farewell letter to employees.
Annual Ridership in the Millions
The week of December 1, 1975, MTD celebrated it’s millionth passenger. At the center of this memory board is the t-shirt they distributed to several lucky riders.
When Bill Volk arrived in Champaign-Urbana in 1974, after working at public transportation agency in Fort Wayne, Indiana, annual ridership at MTD was 708,272.
1975 – MTD built and moved into a new facility in Urbana, located at 801 E University Ave.
1977 – A transportation contract began with the Champaign Unit 4 School District that continues to this day!
1981 – MTD purchased a second neighboring facility located at 803 E University Ave in Urbana.
1983 – MTD became the first public transit agency to have a fully accessible fleet with the specifications of low floor buses.
1986 – The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) awarded MTD Outstanding Public Transportation system.
1986 – A transportation contract began with the Urbana Unit 116 School District that also continues to this day.
1989 – University of Illinois students approveed a semester student fee for unlimited bus access through a transportation contract. The contract is renegotiated and renewed every three years. The next renewal is in 2015.
1991 – APTA awarded Bill Volk Public Transportation Manager of the Year.
1992 – MTD’s facility at 803 E University is expanded to accommodate additional bus and parts storage as well as more servicing bays.
1994 – APTA awarded MTD Outstanding Public Transportation System, again!
1999 – Illinois Terminal, MTD’s intermodal facility, opens its doors to bus riders, AMTRAK passengers, the R.E.A.D.Y. School, tenants, and other local and regional transportation providers like Danville Mass Transit District and Greyhound.
2002 – A computer aided dispatch/automatic vehicle locator (CAD/AVL) technology is installed system-wide. STOPwatch real-time departure information is launched and made available to the public through MTD’s website.
2003 – MTD moves into a third facility at 1101 E University Ave that houses Administration and Operations.
2005 – The Small Transit Intensive Cities (STIC) Funding formula passes. Bill Volk helped develop the formula and pass the legislation. The program provides additional funds for systems that provide a “level of transit service far greater than their size and density characteristics would typically suggest” (Source).
2013 – MTD is certified under the international standard ISO 14001:2004 Environmental and Sustainability Management System Standard.
Bill Volk and Karl Gnadt at the July 2013 MTD Board Meeting when Gnadt was awarded the position of Managing Director.
As the District bids farewell to Bill Volk along with many other dedicated staff, employees will look to our new Managing Director, Karl Gnadt. Starting as an intern at MTD, serving as the Managing Director of Danville Mass Transit, then returning to MTD to work as the Director of Market Development in 1995, Gnadt’s knowledge and passion for transit are evident. A welcome article from Gnadt is featured in the June-July issue of our email newsletter, STOPtalk.
In a letter to employees, Gnadt reflected on the impact Volk has had on his career and personal development. “Let me just say thank you to Bill Volk. Bill, you have been a mentor and a friend to me for close to 25 years now. You have played such a huge part in shaping who and what I am. How I view the world. What I do and how I do it. You have so much to be proud of – and I hope that I will be one of those things. You’re a hard act to follow, so I’m not going to try. I’m just going to do the best job that I can.”
The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District is a vastly different agency today than it was 40 years ago. With advances in service, accessibility, university transportation, technology, sustainability, and more, the community should look forward to 40 more years of quality service and innovation. Where should we turn next, Chambana?