End of the line for RTA leader: Donaghy announces retirement

Greater Dayton RTA Chief Executive Officer Mark Donaghy with Spin Electric Scooters at Courthouse Square on Wednesday. RTA held a launch party to introduce the scooters to the city of Dayton. Donaghy along with residents and other civic leaders rode the scooters around two city blocks.   TY GREENLEES / STAFF
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Greater Dayton RTA Chief Executive Officer Mark Donaghy with Spin Electric Scooters at Courthouse Square on Wednesday. RTA held a launch party to introduce the scooters to the city of Dayton. Donaghy along with residents and other civic leaders rode the scooters around two city blocks. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

After 15 years with the Greater Dayton RTA, CEO Mark Donaghy is taking the off-ramp into retirement.

Hired as CEO in 2006, Donaghy has been credited with helping modernize the transit agency and oversee the rebuild its electric-trolley system. He will retire officially on April 1.

During his time, the Greater Dayton RTA worked to acquire and roll out NexGen dual-mode trolley buses, which can travel without wires for 15 miles.

He helped develop and launch the popular free Flyer shuttle bus, which connects the University of Dayton campus to downtown. He was a strong advocate for closing mobility gaps, including with the Link: Dayton Bike Share program and other initiatives.

Mark Donaghy, Greater Dayton RTA CEO, stands next to the Flyer, a downtown shuttle bus free for riders. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
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Mark Donaghy, Greater Dayton RTA CEO, stands next to the Flyer, a downtown shuttle bus free for riders. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Agency officials say Donaghy fought for equal access to bus service in Beavercreek, which was the subject of an award-winning “Free to Ride” documentary.

“Mark has been an extraordinary leader in extraordinary times,” said David Williamson, president of the RTA board of trustees in a statement. “Mark championed expanded service for employees to get to work, for the underserved and for innovative ideas like The Flyer.”

Donaghy’s career got rolling in 1976 when he became a bus driver in the Omaha Public School system in Nebraska.

Donaghy was one of the first to drive a school bus for the new system as part of the desegregation process, agency officials say.

After that, Donahgy also worked for Columbia Transit, Manchester Transit Authority, Missoula Urban Transportation District and the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky;

RTA Executive Director Mark Donaghy looks over a new 40-foot hybrid diesel RTA bus unveiled Monday, April 5, at the Wright Stop Transit Center. Ten new hybrids rolled into service\uFEFF. Staff photo by Jim Witmer
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RTA Executive Director Mark Donaghy looks over a new 40-foot hybrid diesel RTA bus unveiled Monday, April 5, at the Wright Stop Transit Center. Ten new hybrids rolled into service\uFEFF. Staff photo by Jim Witmer

The board of trustees plans to recognize and honor Donaghy at their regularly-scheduled meeting March 2.

“It has been a privilege to serve with many great employees, board members and stakeholders in the Dayton region over the past 15 years,” Donaghy said. ”The Dayton region is a special place where the public and private sectors collaborate in a determined effort to improve the quality of life for every citizen and being part of that regional infrastructure has been the highlight of my career.”

Donaghy said the RTA is well positioned to serve the region for generations to come.

A replacement will be named at a future board meeting, according to a RTA spokeswoman.