Chief Executive Officer & General Manager
Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
Named as “one of public transportation’s most influential people of the decade,” Joe Calabrese brings more than 30 years’ experience in both the public and private sectors of the transportation industry to the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. As CEO and General Manager of RTA since 2000, Calabrese is succeeding in significantly increasing RTA’s customer base and RTA’s integral role in the mobility and economic development of the region.
In 2015, Calabrese was one of nine to receive Governing Magazine’s “Public Official of the Year Award.” He is the only transit leader in the country to ever receive that distinction. That same year, Calabrese was the recipient of Smart Business Magazine’s “Smart 50” Award, and RTA was named “One of the 50 Smartest Organizations in Northeast Ohio.”
Under Calabrese’s leadership, RTA is strategically focused on outstanding customer service, maintaining a positive image and having strong financial management, and as a result, RTA has become one of the most respected transit agencies in the nation. In recent years, RTA was named Best Large Size Transit System in North America and Calabrese was recently named the Outstanding Transit Manager of the Year.
Through appointments by two US Secretaries of Transportation, Calabrese serves on the US Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Advisory Committee. Past president of both the New York State and Ohio Public Transit Associations, Calabrese is in leadership at the American Public Transportation Association.
Calabrese holds a Degree in Economics from Syracuse University, an MBA from the University of Buffalo and completed Post Graduate Fellowships at Northeastern University, The University of Chicago and at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Before coming to Cleveland, Calabrese served as President of the Central New York RTA.