He breathed new life into a dying bus system and is destined to receive a top honor in the nation for mass-transit operations, but Dwight Brashear released word Monday he's resigning in November.
Brashear has been in Baton Rouge fewer than three years, but as one local business leader says, "he's just too good to not be stolen away."
It's Brashear's skill with tapping every available dime of federal grant money that has helped give the local bus system a new cosmetic look.
In his resignation letter, Brashear writes that CATS is in -- what he terms -- "good financial condition."
Brashear came here from the San Diego mass transit system where he started as a bus driver.
Why is he leaving? Both Brashear and his wife are natives of California and when he found himself looking at three job offers from southern and central California, he tells WAFB 9 News he could not resist the call to go home.
About that change of the bus line name from CTS to CATS: Brashear says he came up with that while sitting in a local restaurant. When he noticed sports memorabilia from Southern and LSU, he realized his bus line could cash in on the city's love affair with Jaguars and Tigers.
Reporter: George Sells email@example.com
Attached is a copy of his resignation letter:
October 2, 2006
Mr. John Jackson, President
Board of Directors
Capital Area Transit System
2250 Florida Blvd
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Dear Mr. Jackson and Members of the Board of Directors:
This letter is to officially tender my resignation from the Capital Area Transit System (CATS) effective November 3, 2006. I am humbled and privileged to have served you and this community for nearly three years. It is only after much deliberation with my family that I decided to leave Baton Rouge to pursue other career opportunities. I leave knowing that as a team, we have much to be proud of. Each day is truly "a new day."
I am pleased to leave CATS in good financial and operational condition. The eminent FTA funding flex will likely allow CATS to command a stable financial budget for several years. The rolling stock and fixed facilities are relatively new. Strategic and long range projects now track CATS vision and goals. Best management practices are implemented daily throughout the system. The image of CATS is now positive. It is a system that is safe, reliable and part of the transportation infra-structure. Our customer support base is impressive and growing. CATS has also facilitated the development of major economic projects in downtown Baton Rouge.
You and our transit team have created a legacy; and Baton Rouge has won big in a very short time. We started by creating a new name, new equipment, new colors and logo. We continued with state legislation to protect our liability exposure and the formulation of a regional transit authority. We developed plans for permanent funding sources and projects to take transit to the next level with BRT. Along the way we also opened our hearts and extended a hand to our sister agency from New Orleans during and post hurricane Katrina. This journey has required the replacement of fear with endless possibility and boundless opportunity. I challenge you to continue the journey with enthusiasm and zeal, with resolve, resourcefulness, and the commitment to make transit a part of the community solution. As I depart CATS I am pleased to say CATS will soon be honored with one of the highest awards in the transit industry. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) will recognize us for "extraordinary leadership." This award represents a true success story.
I and my family have made many friends, many wonderful memories. We will forever feel a kindred spirit toward the kind people of Baton Rouge.
All the best!