DART searches for new CEO

Posted on February, 13 2023

The search begins.

Des Moines Area Regional Transit (DART) is searching for a new Chief Executive Officer. Anyone interested in obtaining more information or submitting a resume and cover letter may do so by contacting Gregg Moser, Principal at K&A, at gmoser@kapartners.com.

With recommendation from DART’s Executive Team and approval from the Board of Commissioners, DART is working with Maryland-based executive search firm, Krauthmer & Associates (K&A Partners), to hire its next Chief Executive Officer. Former DART CEO Elizabeth Presutti exited DART at the end of January to join her husband in the Charlotte, North Carolina area (you may read more about her 14-year career and departure from DART). Former CyRide Transportation Director, Sheri Kyras, has agreed to step in as Interim CEO while DART is searching for a new permanent CEO.

K&A Partners has released a candidate profile outlining what the DART Board of Commissioners is seeking in a new CEO (see full profile below or click here). K&A collected input from the DART Board of Commissioners, local elected officials, City Managers and DART’s leadership team to help inform the candidate profile.

DART and K&A Partners are searching for a new Chief Executive Officer during an exciting time in the history of the agency. The DART Board of Commissioners adopted a Transit Optimization Study in March 2022, outlining how the agency can work to achieve its vision to “facilitate affordable, seamless mobility options to support economic prosperity for all in Greater Des Moines”. Implementation is already underway with the introduction of DART’s first on-demand zone in 2022 and plans to add two more zones in June 2023DART is also continuing to modernize its fleet and facilities and explore options for ensuring a sustainable plan to drive our services into the future.

We are thrilled to enter the ensuing era of leadership that our next CEO will provide. The DART Board of Commissioners looks forward to meeting potential candidates to help lead our agency into the future of transit in Greater Des Moines.

DART CEO Job Description

Below is the job description that was developed by K&A Partners and being shared for potential candidates:

The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) is the largest public transit agency in State of Iowa and connects thousands of people every day to jobs, school, medical appointments, entertainment and more. DART has a mission of “Enriching Lives, Connecting Communities, Expanding Opportunities” and a vision of facilitating affordable, seamless mobility options that support economic prosperity for all.

The organization that is now DART was originally founded as the Des Moines Metropolitan Transit Authority in 1973. DART currently serves 11 cities within Polk and Dallas Counties and parts of unincorporated Polk County. The cities it serves include Altoona, Ankeny, Bondurant, Clive, Des Moines, Grimes, Johnston, Pleasant Hill, Urbandale, West Des Moines, and Windsor Heights. DART operates 145 fixed route, on-call, and paratransit vehicles that provide service to approximately two million people every year. DART’s rideshare service currently operates in 22 counties.

DART is represented by a 12-member Commission, with one Commissioner representing each member government it serves. As a tax-supported transit system, DART is accountable to its region's voters. The DART Commission primarily sets policy and oversees DART’s budget. DART’s staff manages and carries out system planning and day-to-day operations.

DART utilizes a hub and spoke system that connects many parts of the greater Des Moines area through DART Central Station, where most local and express routes terminate or pass through, and through Valley West Mall which connects multiple western routes. DART also has ‘On Call’ routes for specific zones. DART’s services ensure everyone in the region has access to opportunity. To better accomplish this, DART has been modernizing its bus fleet with free Wi-Fi connectivity offered on all buses since 2018. DART also started an electric bus program in 2020.

Des Moines is the capital of Iowa and the state’s most populous city. It is an important city in the U.S. presidential election as the location for the first presidential caucuses, and many presidential candidates choose to establish campaign headquarters in Des Moines. The Des Moines metropolitan area attracts major businesses across a variety of industries including insurance, financial services, publishing, and manufacturing.

The Des Moines region is a cultural center for Iowa and home to numerous attractions including museums, outdoor attractions, and entertainment venues such as the Des Moines Metro Opera, the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, the State Capitol and the Wells Fargo Arena. Des Moines is also host to a growing number of acclaimed cultural events, including the annual Des Moines Arts Festival, the Iowa State Fair, and the World Food & Music Festival. The Wells Fargo Arena is the area's primary venue for sporting events hosting the Iowa Wolves of the NBA G League and the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League.

In 2022, US News and World Report ranked Des Moines in the top 10% of the best largest cities to live in the United States. Des Moines region is a beautiful, friendly, and affordable place to live. The cost of living in the region is reasonable, traffic and congestion is minimal, public education is robust and the region offers a wide variety of indoor and outdoor recreational, arts and cultural activities and festivals. Additionally, Des Moines is home to many colleges and universities including Drake University, Grand View University, and a satellite campus for the University of Iowa, and is located a short distance from Iowa State University.


Under the direction of the Commission, the Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) assumes full responsibility for the administration, management and operations of DART. The CEO makes recommendations to the Commission regarding DART’s service operations, daily activities and business affairs, and assumes the leadership role in executing the policy decisions of the Commission. With overall responsibility for the delivery of DART’s service, the CEO manages the operations, maintenance, financial, human resources, capital and information technology departments, among others. This position represents DART’s interests at a local, state and national level including advocating for financial resources and on legislative matters that pertain to public transit’s vital role in the community. DART’s CEO is responsible for maintaining positive and productive relationships with employees, unions, government agencies, local businesses, the media, the public, advocacy groups, non-profits and other stakeholders throughout the region. It is essential that DART’s CEO is committed to ongoing communication and advocacy on behalf of DART and its services to provide equitable, accessible and affordable transportation options for the region’s residents and visitors.

The incoming CEO will be responsible for the following, in addition to other duties and responsibilities that may arise during the term of the CEO’s employment.

  • Develop and maintain close working relationships with the DART Commission in order to identify, promote, and implement policies, goals, and programs to meet established and forecasted community and agency needs, in regard to both funding and service.
  • Provide overall leadership and management of the agency including establishing management objectives that further DART’s mission to provide transit services that are cost-effective, reliable, accessible, safe, clean and courteous.
  • Work with DART’s Commissioners to develop both short- and long-range plans and annual budgets.
  • Provide the Commission and public with a vision for how transit can improve quality of life and be a driver for economic development, and provide concrete solutions for achieving these goals.
  • Lead the development of plans for obtaining funding for a new bus garage that will allow DART to provide next generation transportation solutions for the community.
  • Maintain a leadership role in the development and implementation of DART’s budget and direct budget expenditures in response to the established objectives with limited financial resources.
  • Direct and coordinate the formulation of financial programs to provide funding for new and continuing operations to maximize returns and increase productivity.
  • Make recommendations to the Commission regarding matters affecting DART’s management, services, and operations.
  • Prepare or oversee the preparation of reports and correspondence for the Commission that address issues of concern to the public or the successful functioning of DART.
  • Provide Commissioners with information on industry and market trends and assist the Commission with the development of objectives that would best meet the needs of the public while maintaining a strong organization.
  • Develop and implement strategies to ensure sustainability and quality of service for riders.
  • Protect, advocate and ensure the best interests of DART.
  • Represent and market DART to community groups, service organizations, civic communities, DART member governments, and technical industry organizations.
  • Review the efficiency of DART’s organizational structure and evaluate the performance and effectiveness of executive staff.
  • Provides strategic leadership and direction to operations, maintenance, finance, transportation planning, human resources, information technology, capital projects and other general administrative functions.
  • Strengthen the organization by improving morale and implementing programs to develop and train employees. 
  • Provide leadership, vision and direction to executives and their departments; seek to understand current and/or potential problems and concerns at all levels of the organization and work with management staff to develop solutions.
  • Listen and communicate effectively and empathetically with staff at all levels of the organization.
  • Empower and mentor employees to work toward and achieve DART’s mission, goals and objectives and maintain a culture of respect and inclusion throughout the agency.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of negotiation and collective bargaining agreements and the ability to maintain a positive, collaborative and productive working relationship with union leadership and both represented and non-represented employees.
  • In collaboration with human resources, oversee employee benefit programs including retirement programs, insurance plans and other programs.
  • Ensure management and staff have the resources necessary to ensure compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal laws.
  • Manage assets and infrastructure including vehicles, facilities and related equipment in a way that is safe, efficient and cost-effective.
  • Maintain a collaborative relationship with external stakeholders and understand the interests of local businesses, community groups, member communities and the public.
  • Act as the official and informal liaison with a wide variety of local, state and federal professionals and officials in order to identify and obtain new and innovative funding sources.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of current industry trends and practices in transportation and mobility and the ability to implement best practices and innovative initiatives and technologies in order to achieve DART’s performance goals.
  • Consult with other government agencies, the business community, and other organizations to resolve problems.
  • Ensure the safety and reliability of DART by establishing and enforcing safety and performance policies and procedures.
  • May act as DART’s representative with radio, television and social media venues.
  • May make presentations at legislative, transportation and governmental events.
  • Promote and enforce Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action programs.
  • Promote compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and work with staff to encourage disability awareness.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the Commission.


The incoming CEO should possess or be capable of quickly learning the following knowledge and skills.

Knowledge of:

  • Business, organizational and management practices as applied to a transit organization.
  • Principles and practices of public administration, business management, budgeting, procurement, accounting, and public transit operations.
  • Transportation trends, needs, innovations, best practices and technologies in transportation and mobility within a diverse (multi-cultural) community.
  • Financial management in a complex operating environment including operating and capital budgets, public funding, revenue management, procurement, grants, asset management, employee benefit programs, long-term fiscal planning needs, and compliance with federal, state and local regulations.
  • Transit facility service, management, and maintenance.
  • Funding at a local, state and federal level for transit needs including facilities, vehicles and other mobility solutions.
  • Federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations pertaining to public transit operations and funding.
  • Principles of labor relations including negotiation, union bargaining strategies, policy development, collective bargaining agreements, and working with union leadership.
  • All aspects of program and project management from planning to delivery and implementation.
  • Regulations and procedures applicable to obtaining financial grants for public transportation.

Ability to:

  • Demonstrate unquestioned ethics and integrity.
  • Manage transit operations in a complex operating environment.
  • Provide leadership, motivation and work direction to DART employees.
  • Exercise sound judgement and analysis and exceptional ingenuity regarding specialized and complex management problems.
  • Work closely and effectively and maintain a collaborative, productive and transparent relationship with the Commission collectively and Commissioners individually.
  • Exercise strong fiscal oversight and develop and implement budgetary and operational programs to further DART’s short- and long-range objectives within budgetary constraints and shifting public priorities.
  • Identify new funding options to supplement existing revenues.
  • Quickly and accurately assess large and complex amounts of technical, financial, and administrative data and information to foresee potential obstacles and adopt appropriate courses of action.
  • Develop an understanding of the local political environment, listen to stakeholders, and implement a vision that represents the needs of the member communities.
  • Evaluate performance based on established guidelines and ensure accountability from others within the organization.
  • Communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
  • Effectively communicate in public, at meetings and with media sources.
  • Successfully advocate for transit as a critical service that is essential for accessing to jobs, housing, healthcare and other fundamental needs and as a critical element to expanding economic opportunities for the region.
  • Communicate and maintain positive relationships with elected and appointed government officials, funding partners, union leadership, employees, transit industry organizations, service organizations and community groups.
  • Provide and implement a strategic vision for the agency along with short- and long-term objectives in coordination with the Commission; establish, maintain and implement a strategic plan as adopted by DART’s Commissioners.
  • Resolve conflict and balance different ideas and viewpoints in order to make decisions that are best for the agency and its member communities.
  • Establish and plan programs to accomplish management objectives.
  • Select, supervise, motivate, mentor and evaluate personnel and maintain a positive and collaborative working environment for employees at all levels.
  • Interpret and analyze fiscal, operational and planning data, user reactions and governmental regulations.
  • Collect and utilize data and metrics in order to make informed decisions and improve agency performance.
  • Develop technical expertise in working with and controlling activities of a variety of consultants and third-party businesses that support DART.


A Bachelor’s degree with a major in business, transportation, or public administration, engineering or related field and five (5) years of job related managerial or administrative experience of comparable nature, complexity and size to DART, preferably within public transit, is desired. A Master’s degree in a related field is also preferred.

Experience which demonstrates substantial knowledge and abilities pertinent to specific job functions may be substituted for the education requirement.

Experience in obtaining and administering state and federal funding is desirable.


To obtain more information or to submit a resume and cover letter, please contact Gregg Moser, Principal at K&A, at gmoser@kapartners.com.

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