First Transit GM Luis Gonzalez Named to List of Mass Transit's Top 40 Under 40

CINCINNATI, OH – First Transit announces that General Manager Luis Gonzalez has been named to Mass Transit magazine’s list of 40 Under 40. Mass Transit, the only magazine exclusively dedicated to public transportation, released its list earlier this week, honoring those professionals who have made significant contributions to the public transit industry.  Honorees were nominated by their peers and judged on criteria that included job commitment, industry involvement and contribution, achievement in his or her position and innovation in his or her field.

“Millions of people utilize public transportation every year, relying on it to get them to work, medical appointments, school, social and sporting activities,” says Publisher John Hollenhorst. “The individuals chosen for this year’s list have been standouts in their respective areas and show a strong passion and commitment that exemplifies the best of the best.”

Gonzalez began his early transit career as an operator for the University of Massachusetts. While at UMass, Gonzalez moved from operator to trainer. He then went on to become a driver supervisor and later a radio operator. Gonzalez joined First Transit after is UMass graduation in 2004.  He held interim positions on Cape Cod in Manchester, NH, as well as Northampton and Springfield MA through the First Transit Management Associate Program.

In November 2004, Gonzalez was promoted to Assistant General Manager of the Spartanburg Area Regional Transit Agency (SPARTA) in Spartanburg, SC. Gonzalez served in that position for six years before being named the General Manager in August 2010. During his tenure at SPARTA, Gonzalez has completed numerous projects.  Luis implemented a bus replacement program, which placed four new low-floor buses into service; negotiated a multi-year collective bargaining agreement; and, worked on bids for a number of purchases involved with the ARRA Grants program, including a modern security surveillance system for the facility.  Gonzalez has been instrumental in bringing hybrid bus technology to the SPARTA system with the inclusion of this technology in the new low floor transit buses. Ridership in Spartanburg and satisfaction with the service are both on the rise as a result of Gonzalez strong management and customer service skills. 

SPARTA is a system with eleven buses and eight fixed routes serving the City of Spartanburg.  Gonzalez takes a hands-on approach every day – managing the operations and maintenance of the system; fixing fare boxes and buses; and, handling all procurements and FTA and SCDOT compliance.  He is truly a well-rounded transit manager who can handle all aspects of a transit system in a professional and comprehensive manner. There are not many General Managers who have the depth of experience that enables them to: drive a bus, fuel a bus, repair a bus, buy a bus, write a grant, handle a Triennial Review, design routes and schedules and handle customer needs with confidence. Gonzalez, however, can do – and has done – all of these.

Gonzalez is active in the Transit Association of South Carolina (TASC) and actively participates in federal and state meetings and learning opportunities. His ongoing rise up the ranks – from his days at UMass to his ten years with First Transit – demonstrates his commitment to hard work and continuous improvement. He is fully dedicated to his role as General Manager and looks forward to a bright future full of possibilities within the mass transit industry.

Gonzalez and the other winners will be showcased in the September/October cover feature of Mass Transit magazine and online at www.MassTransitmag.com .