TriMet’s executive team consists of the general manager, the chief operating officer and the executive directors of the agency’s divisions.
The team works together to deliver safe and reliable transit service for residents of Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties. The executive directors are responsible for the performance of their employees, their budgets and ultimately their division’s role in the overall performance of the agency.
Sam Desue, Jr.
“Forward momentum and leadership will be critical during this time of transition, and I will bring a community-driven and consensus-building focus.”
On June 23, 2021, TriMet’s Board of Directors appointed Sam Desue, Jr. TriMet General Manager. Sam previously served as TriMet’s Chief Operating Officer since March 2019 and as Interim General Manager following the retirement of his predecessor in March 2021.
Sam brings more than 27 years of public and private transportation experience. He served at three different public transportation agencies in executive level positions. At the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, he served as the interim General Manager and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, providing strategic leadership.
Prior to Kansas City, Sam directed transportation services at both Pierce Transit and Community Transit in Washington. He also oversaw ground transportation at SeaTac International Airport as well as operations at Seattle Monorail.
Sam is a staunch advocate for equity and social justice and he takes a hands-on approach to community building. He has a proven track record of forging strong relationships with community members, elected officials, and union leaders and strives to building trust, teamwork, diversity, inclusion, and equity.
Sam is a proud US veteran and served 10 years in the United States Army. He is supported by his loving family and is driven by a desire to connect underserved individuals to economic opportunities.
Chief Information Officer
Ethan Benatan brings to TriMet more than 20 years of experience leading high-level IT functions and strategy. Ethan most recently worked for the State of Oregon as Modernization Director for the Oregon Employment Department for a year, and as Strategic Technology Officer for the state’s Enterprise Information Services for four years. While at the State of Oregon, Ethan led advancements in technology transformation projects and oversaw $500 million in statewide IT initiatives, governance and policy for agencies that serve more than a million Oregonians and employed more than 16,000 staff in the Health and Human Services sector.
Prior to working for the state, Ethan served in Chief Information Officer roles at Health Republic Insurance Company and at Marylhurst University. He also spent eight years as Director of Computer User Services at Reed College.
Ethan holds a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh, with a focus in artificial intelligence and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Microbology from the University of Cape Town. He is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum and a Fellow of the Leading Change Institute.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ethan grew up in South Africa and travelled widely before coming to Oregon in 2002. He is passionate about promoting equity and has volunteered at EDUCAUSE, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to using information technology to advance higher education initiatives.
“I love that TriMet is all about connecting people with mobility options that invigorate this region and help keep it livable and sustainable for everyone.”
Shelley Devine joined TriMet in March 2008 as Senior Deputy General Counsel and was promoted to General Counsel in March 2014. In addition to advising the General Manager and Board of Directors, Shelley oversees the Legal Services Division, which includes litigation, real estate, records governance and transit-oriented development.
Before joining TriMet, Shelley spent a decade as in-house counsel for two national corporations headquartered in Portland — KinderCare and Hollywood Video. Prior to her in-house work, she was a litigation partner in the San Francisco office of a national law firm.
Shelley received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was an editor of the California Law Review, and her B.A. in Journalism, with honors, from the University of Oregon. A native Oregonian, she lives on a small farm in Southeast Portland and is an enthusiastic regular TriMet rider.
Executive Director of Engineering, Construction and Planning
“I look forward to leading the Engineering, Construction and Planning teams as we grow TriMet services and revitalize existing infrastructure to continue delivering the high-quality transit services our community deserves.”
Mark Dorn is a seasoned transit practitioner who brings more than two decades of multi-modal transit planning, engineering and design experience to the agency. He has overseen the engineering and construction of light rail, bus rapid transit and streetcar systems throughout the US since 1992.
Mark comes to TriMet from David Evans and Associates, Inc., where he worked as Director of Transit Design and Engineering, and prior to that, AECOM, where he served as Vice President of National Transit Practice. During his time with those companies, he was the design manager for the consultant team working on the Southwest Corridor Light Rail Extension Project.
Previously, Mark served as Vice President of the Portland Transit Design Group Manager at URS Corporation where he provided project planning and design management support for a number of local transit projects, including the Portland Streetcar Eastside Extension (Central Loop), WES Commuter Rail and the Transit Mall renovation as part of the MAX Green Line project.
In addition to local transit projects, Dorn has been involved in the design and construction of multiple national projects, including the Valley Link Commuter Rail Project for San Joaquin Regional Rail Authority, Oklahoma City Streetcar Project, Philadelphia SEPTA Trolley Modernization Master Plan, Seattle Streetcar First Hill Streetcar Line, and Detroit Streetcar Project (QLine).
In this role, Mark provides critical leadership for large upcoming projects, overseeing the execution and administration of state and federal safety reviews, project requirements and financial reporting.
Dorn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Vermont and is a licensed professional engineer.
Chief Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility Officer
“TriMet and public transportation play a critical role in how our communities access opportunities and experience diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility on a daily basis. It’s an honor to be able to support the agency’s work as we look to grow our efforts and support the region that we all love!”
In this new role, John Gardner will help focus our efforts to advance policies and ensure agency compliance for inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility (IDEA) initiatives.
John has championed these efforts at TriMet since December 2015, most recently as Director of Transit Equity, Inclusion and Community Affairs. During this tenure, he helped develop and launch TriMet’s highly successful reduced fare program for people with a low income, which has registered more than 42,000 participants to date. John strengthened our civil rights program, making it one of most sensitive in the nation. He has grown our relationships and partnerships with community-based organizations representing communities of color and low income, and he has worked to advance equity and inclusion internally.
John led our outreach and the coordination for our reimagining public safety initiatives. He has supported agency efforts to decriminalize fare enforcement and conduct analysis of our enforcement practices to ensure no systemic bias.
John also oversaw TriMet’s DBE program, working with Engineering, Construction and Planning leadership to achieve the largest-ever award of a construction project in the state of Oregon, the award of the Division Transit Project, to minority-owned Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Raimore Construction.
Executive Director of Labor Relations & Human Resources
Kimberly Sewell has over 20 years of experience in law and labor relations. Formerly TriMet’s Director of Legal Services, Kimberly has been with TriMet since 2002.
In her previous roles in the Legal Services Division, Kimberly has developed a keen insight and understanding of employment and labor laws. She worked closely with the Labor Relations team, representing TriMet before the Employment Relations Board, resolving grievances, interpreting contracts and participating in negotiations and mediations.
Kimberly has also provided critical guidance to TriMet’s Human Resources team. She helped establish TriMet’s workers’ compensation program, assisted on development of HR policies and procedures, and advised the agency on state and federal employee rights and equal employment opportunity laws.
She has a J.D. from the University of Oregon’s School of Law and received her bachelor’s degree from Long Beach State University.
Chief Operating Officer
“With great challenges come great opportunities. We’re going to rise to the challenges and opportunities in front of us.”
As a more than 30-year transportation veteran, Bonnie Todd brings to TriMet multi-modal transit experience and a proven record of safety, maintenance and customer-focused operational excellence. Prior to joining TriMet, she served as COO at the Jacksonville Transportation Authority. Bonnie’s history in transportation includes serving 12 years as the Executive Director of Operations at Sound Transit in Seattle, WA. Prior to that, she served as Chief of Safety and Security at Miami-Dade Transit where she developed and managed the comprehensive transit system safety and security programs. While there, she developed the nationally recognized Hurricane Manual for Miami-Dade Transit.
Bonnie also served as the Director of Rail Safety Audits Programs for the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and began her transit career at Washington Metro in Washington D.C.
A United States Marine Corps veteran, Bonnie served as an avionics technician with tours of duty in Okinawa, Japan and Norfolk, Virginia. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from the University of Maryland, and a Master of Business Administration from Florida International University in Miami.
Originally from the Norfolk, Virginia area, Bonnie’s career has spanned both coasts. She is excited to be back in the Pacific Northwest and working to support the critical environmental efforts TriMet is championing to make the region the best place to live.
Executive Director of Public Affairs
“I love the Portland region so much that this is my second time living here. The opportunities to live, work and play are boundless. Having TriMet connect all those wonderful things is why I work here. It’s an honor to be a part of this organization that works to serve the community and make this such a great place to live.”
JC Vannatta has over 30 years in various aspects of the public relations profession with 20 of those years being within the transit industry. He has served in a variety of positions within the agency over the course of 15 years.
His previous role for the agency, he served as TriMet’s Managing Director of Communications, Marketing and Customer Experience. In that role, he successfully developed the agency’s outreach and engagement framework, encouraged more diverse community engagement, and championed transparent, proactive, and positive strategic communication efforts.
Prior to serving in manager and director positions within TriMet’s Public Affairs Division, JC worked for the Regional Transportation Authority in Chicago, the financial and oversight body for the three transit agencies in northeastern Illinois. He also worked for the Chicago Transit Authority, in TriMet’s Capital Projects Division and in broadcast media.
JC earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Communications/Public Relations from Montana State University (Billings) and holds an Accreditation in Public Relations (APR), administered by the Public Relations Society of America and governed by the Universal Accreditation Board. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Explore Washington Park and is the former chair of the American Public Transportation Association’s Marketing and Communications Committee.
Executive Director of Transportation Operations
“Transportation Operations is at the heart of everything we do, and I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to work once again with the team at TriMet serving our community while supporting our operators and employees on the frontline of our operations.”
Inessa Vitko returned to TriMet to serve as Executive Director of Transportation Operations in October 2022. Inessa directs all operational activities for our bus, MAX light rail, WES commuter rail and LIFT paratransit services.
Inessa has extensive knowledge across many transit functions and previously served as Chief Operations Officer at C-TRAN in Clark County, Washington. She began her transit career at TriMet more than 16 years ago before moving to the bus agency in Vancouver. With the help of Inessa’s leadership, C-TRAN has been named the American Public Transportation Association’s North America Transit System of the Year twice — in 2019 and 2022.
Inessa led C-TRAN’s largest department since May 2018. As COO, she oversaw the work of over 300 union and non-union C-TRAN employees in the agency’s fixed-route and demand-response operations, dispatch, field supervision and customer service areas. She also headed up the agency’s operations scheduling, marketing/communications, ADA compliance, and information technology efforts, as well as C-TRAN’s contracted security team.
Inessa served as C-TRAN’s lead on labor negotiations and has a strong relationship with Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757 leadership, the same union that represents TriMet’s operators and other union employees.
Before moving to C-TRAN, Inessa served as the head of TriMet’s customer experience team and helped elevate customer-forward thinking inside the agency. She played a key role in many major projects at TriMet, including the opening of the MAX Orange Line, the launch of Hop Fastpass® electronic fare system, coordination for major MAX improvement projects and service planning for the Transit Mall renovation, which was part of the construction of the MAX Green Line.
Inessa holds a Master’s of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Statistics, both from Portland State University. She is an avid Portland Trail Blazers fan, hopes to see the WNBA come back to Portland and enjoys traveling and sailing with her husband.
Executive Director of Safety and Security
Andrew brings more than 20 years of risk management experience and an impressive TriMet history of leadership performance, fiscal responsibility and dedication to the safety and well-being of TriMet riders, employees and the public.
Andrew oversees four departments including Safety, Security, Transit Police and Environmental Services. He leads all safety and security practices and activities, advances workplace safety efforts and will direct the safe delivery of transit services and agency projects.
Prior to being appointed Executive Director of Safety and Security, Andrew served as TriMet’s Director of Risk Management where he supervised the liability claims team and served as the agency’s leading resource for risk analysis and insurance. In this role, he created TriMet’s first Enterprise Risk Register, developing a comprehensive online portal capturing hundreds of high impact risks and their associated mitigation strategies.
Andrew led a multidivisional group that completed TriMet’s first Carbon Audit, in support of the agency’s climate objectives, and headed up TriMet’s COVID-19 response during part of 2020. He also served as the interim Director of Safety and Environmental Services in 2021.
Andrew completed the ENO Transit Executive Program in 2018. He received his Bachelors in History, Political Science and Peace Studies from George Fox University and his Masters in History from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.
Executive Director of Finance and Administrative Services
“I am honored to serve TriMet in the capacity of Executive Director/CFO of Finance and Administrative Services and am excited for the opportunity to further our mission in moving people in our community.”
Nancy Young-Oliver, who has been TriMet’s interim Executive Director/CFO of Finance and Administrative Services since the end of May 2022, has been promoted to officially take over the position.
Nancy has been with TriMet for more than seven years, serving as the Director of Budgets and Grants. She has overseen TriMet’s annual financial planning and budget development, including developing TriMet’s $1.9 billion fiscal year 2023 budget, which went into effect July 1, 2022. Under her leadership, TriMet’s budget team redesigned the TriMet budget format to add communication about agency priorities, planning and achievements. With that, TriMet received our first Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association for the fiscal year 2020 budget, and we’ve continued to receive the award annually.
Nancy has also been responsible for TriMet’s debt management, performance reporting and analysis, fare revenue analysis and grants administration. She oversaw the issuing of TriMet’s first sustainability bonds, in October 2021, to fund projects that bring environmental and/or social benefits. The sustainability bonds proved so popular with investors that there was more demand than supply. The bond sales generated $200 million in new money to fund capital projects, including A Better Red: MAX Red Line Extension and Improvement Project and renovations at our Powell Operating Facility to prepare for the return of articulated 60-foot buses and our growing electric bus fleet.
Nancy spearheaded the creation of TriMet’s Clean Fuel Credits program in 2020 as part of Oregon’s DEQ Clean Fuels Program. The program is designed to reduce the carbon emissions produced by the state’s transportation fuels by 10% by 2025. Nancy has led negotiations for the sale of TriMet’s Clean Fuel credits to outside parties, which has resulted in an annual increase of $1.5 million in miscellaneous revenue.
Nancy is a licensed Certified Public Accountant, licensed Municipal Auditor, Certified Information System Auditor and Certified Fraud Examiner. She has in-depth knowledge of Oregon Budget Law, Oregon Municipal Standards, and Governmental Accounting Standards Board standards. She serves as an adjunct professor at Portland State University in Governmental Accounting and Forensic & Investigative Accounting/Justice for Fraud Victims.
Prior to TriMet, Nancy worked at Moss Adams, LLP and the Oregon Secretary of State Audits Division, leading audits and fraud investigations. She currently serves as the chair of the Oregon Board of Accountancy.
Nancy met her husband Tony in a bicycle shop and married him one year later in that very bicycle shop. They both commute by bike and spend their free time cycling, especially on vacations.
To reach a member of TriMet’s executive team, contact:
TriMet Executive/Board Administrator
1800 SW 1st Avenue, Suite 300
Portland, OR 97201