For Immediate Release
January 31, 2022
Media Contact: Andy Cole
Communication and Marketing Manager
In preparation of expanding its services to all of Lucas County, the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) has strengthened the leadership team that will help make that happen.
TARTA has promoted Patricia Talbott to the position of Chief Customer Experience and Mobility Officer, and welcomed Sam Melden as its Director of External Affairs and Communications.
“TARTA has seen a wave of positive change over the past two years, and we are confident that we can continue that momentum thanks in part to the leadership and contributions we will receive from Patty and Sam,” TARTA CEO Laura Koprowski said.
“These new positions represent TARTA’s commitment to be at the forefront of engaging with our community, designing a better customer experience and introducing new mobility options.”
Patty has served as TARTA’s Director of Paratransit since December of 2020. She has over 16 years of experience delivering cost-effective, reliable paratransit services to people with physical or cognitive challenges, as well as other innovative mobility options.
Under Patty’s leadership, TARPS ridership has risen to pre-pandemic levels, and she has implemented numerous process improvements that have led to increased customer and employee satisfaction.
“It’s been a great experience getting to know the people who depend on paratransit in northwest Ohio and learning how we can serve them better and build on those services,” Talbott said. “I’m very fortunate to work with a talented, dedicated, team of professionals at TARTA, and I’m thrilled to continue working with them in this new role as we see how improved customer service can play a role in TARTA’s future.”
In her new role, Patty will oversee TARTA’s Rider Information Center and team of Information Operators, the TARPS team, mobility management, and special projects.
“Patty’s impressive professional experience in both public transit and customer experience make her an ideal leader to play a key role in the new era at TARTA,” Koprowski said. “We have taken giant leaps during Patty’s time here toward improving our relationships with customers and the community, and through the hard work of Patty and her team. we will drive a first-class customer experience focus within every facet of our agency.
“Patty’s leadership at TARPS and on special projects like the Vaccine Mobile and implementation of our human trafficking grant show the skill and dedication that exemplify the new TARTA.”
In his new position, Sam will oversee TARTA’s communications, marketing, government relations and community relations efforts. He will play a key role leading the outreach and communications for the development and implementation of TARTA’s comprehensive redesign project, TARTA Next. This project is taking a broad and detailed look at TARTA’s network, with recommendations to improve the existing service and areas of expansion.
Sam comes to TARTA after serving as the Director of Strategic Engagement at the Ability Center of Greater Toledo. In 2019, he was part of Lucas County’s Community Task Force on Public Transportation.
“I could not be more excited to be joining Team TARTA at such a crucial moment for public transit in our community,” Melden said. “TARTA’s mission of ‘empowering people to make connections’ is close to my heart, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Sam has also held leadership posts at Food For Thought, the Servant Leadership Center, and Leadership Toledo. He was named one of Toledo’s 20 Under 40 in 2018 and was elected to Toledo City Council in 2019.
“Sam’s passion for improving mobility options and the day-to-day lives of people in northwest Ohio is something that will make him a great fit to help us at Team TARTA advance our mission and strategic initiatives,” Koprowski said. “Sam will bring effective leadership to our internal and external stakeholder relationships and help us drive the TARTA transformation.”
About TARTA TARTA provides a vital link in the Toledo metro area to jobs, education, health care and other destinations. It enables everyone in our community to have access to transportation regardless of their age, race, physical ability or economic background. TARTA is underway with exploring and introducing new initiatives and service options that will enhance convenience and customer experience while moving our region into the future of public transit.
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