MTD’s Managing Director Bill Volk was honored earlier this month at the Illinois Public Transportation Association’s (IPTA) annual conference, which was held in Peoria.
The William L. Volk Lifetime Transit Achievement Award was created this year as an acknowledgement of recipients who have not only dedicated their career to transit, but have made significant contributions to public transit, their community, and the State of Illinois. The first recipient of the award was our very own Bill Volk on September 6, 2013.
Future recipients will be honored near their retirement, who have also made significant contributions to public transportation in Illinois throughout their career.
Volk is serving his last year as Managing Director of MTD. He began working for the District three years after it began in 1974. He is believed to be the longest-serving transit director in the country.
The system Volk started with 39 years ago had 23 buses, about 50 employees, and an annual ridership of about 700,000. In 2013, MTD’s fleet is made up of 102 buses (55 of which are diesel-electric hybrid), 328 employees, and hit its fifth consecutive year of ridership growth with 12,028,172 rides.
“The Illinois Public Transportation Association’s board members enthusiastically and unanimously voted to honor Volk with the first ever award,” said Karl Gnadt who is the current Managing Director Designate, former MTD Director of Market Development, and IPTA board member.
“Volk was the founding member and first President of IPTA; led a successful and critical tax levy referendum; made the MTD bus fleet 100% accessible six years before the American’s with Disabilities Act was passed; initiated unlimited access for U of I students; created the Illinois Terminal concept; launched a state-of-the-art real-time vehicle tracking system; moved the Small Transit Intensive Cities Federal funding initiative through Congress; and was awarded the Governor Quinn’s Environmental Hero Award in 2009.”
C. William Grogan, Managing Director of St. Clair County Transit District in O’Fallon, Illinois, is the current IPTA Board President.
“I’ve been involved with IPTA since the late 1980s. Most of that time as a member of the Board of Directors. Bill Volk has always been a thoughtful, intelligent and reasonable contributor. Bill’s life experience and intellect have made major contributions to the cause of public transportation in Illinois throughout the years. His presence has been a major force in helping develop IPTA into an effective, respected organization in the Illinois capital. That is the reason we decided to create the Bill Volk Lifetime Transit Achievement Award and it is the reason we awarded the first one to Bill Volk,” said Grogan.
There are not enough thanks or plaques available, Mr. Volk, to pay tribute to all you’ve done to advance public transportation.