Nathaniel P. Ford Sr.
No one is more focused on making public transportation run more efficiently than Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., our newly named Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority. Ford has more than 29 years of transportation industry experience and has run two of the largest transportation agencies in the country, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), and the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). Ford has built his entire executive career being effective at organizational leadership, innovation and fiscal responsibility.
In San Francisco, he was responsible for providing multifaceted transportation services to more than 200 million customers annually including bus and light rail transit, trolley coaches, the famous San Francisco cable cars, parking and traffic, bicycle paths and pedestrian amenities, and taxi regulatory oversight.
Among the highlights of Ford’s accomplishments in San Francisco was the groundbreaking of a $1.6 billion Central Subway project, coordination of connectivity between the existing commuter rail and proposed high-speed rail, implementation of a new corporate vision, growth of operating revenues and grant awards, and an innovative parking management system that provided real-time information about parking availability. Ford brought financial stability to the agency by implementing a two-year budgeting process and by helping negotiate a landmark contract with transit operators that saved the agency an estimated $41 million.
Ford’s tenure at MARTA ranged from 1997 to 2005 where he served as General Manager and Chief Executive Officer for five of his eight years. His responsibilities covered rail and bus transit, as well as paratransit and law enforcement services. Another noted accomplishment was the construction of the Lindbergh City Center, a multi-million-dollar mixed use development linked to the Lindbergh Transit Station that includes office space, multi-family housing and retail tenants. The project, developed through a public-private partnership, was one of the first Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) in the country.
Always one to embrace innovative measures to improve the transit authority, Mr. Ford spearheaded MARTA’s conversion to the “BREEZE” Smartcard fare collection system. The program, which dramatically improved customer service and reduced fare evasion, made MARTA one of the first transit organizations in the country to implement this advanced technology. Under Mr. Ford’s leadership, the MARTA Police Department was recognized by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), an honor shared by only four other transit authorities.
Mr. Ford received numerous awards for his ambitious programs and initiatives, including the Martin Luther King Civic Committee Distinguished Public Service Award, the Bay Area Achiever in Public Service Award, and the Thomas G. Neusom Founder’s Award.
Ford has a history of involvement in professional organizations such as the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO).
Ford is a graduate of Mercer University, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership.