On Wednesday, a long-held dream of Jorge Cruz-Aedo
- a dream he
never thought realistic - became a reality.
was going to retire a CEO.
For much of his
had served as the 'No.
2' in organizations' hierarchies, but a unanimous vote by the Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority's
board of directors stripped the interim from his
title and gave him the reins of an organization with an annual budget around $50 million.
"To leave as a CEO is a goal that I really didn't think I would have the opportunity to do," Cruz-Aedo
"Being that I've been given this opportunity, it is one that I relish and will do my best to ensure that my board, my agency, the stakeholders and riders are happy about and proud, and can see the benefit of my role here."
Earlier this year, Cruz-Aedo
, who is 65 and has a young son, was planning to retire either this fall or next year, but changed his mind shortly after the board of directors asked him to serve as the interim-CEO following Scott Neeley's unexpected resignation in May.
never second-guessed applying for the permanent CEO job once he
was named interim.
was confident he
could fix the broken parts and fine-tune other areas.
After five months on the job, he's
sure the agency is now heading in the right direction with a renewed focus on the basics.
The entire staff is or will be undergoing diversity and sensitivity training to ensure all customers, regardless of their socioeconomic status, are treated respectfully - something Cruz-Aedo
said is sorely needed - and individual departments are having employees go over their job-specific policies and procedures.
The executive staff also is going through training to successfully balance their professional and personal lives.
Even though Cruz-Aedo was not the permanent CEO until Wednesday - the same day the board of directors got its first look at next year's budget - the agency's 2016 expenditures will reflect his priorities as he built undesignated funds into certain departments' budgets.
But it remains unclear what exactly those departments will look like, or where their focus will be directed.
said that one of his
top priorities would be looking at possible organizational restructuring to increase efficiency now that he
has the CEO search committee's recommendation.
In terms of capital projects, he
first priorities will be finishing the South Staples Street Station, upgrading the fleet to almost entirely natural gas-operated buses and making improvements to infrastructure across the system to ensure compliance with Americans with Disability Act standards.
Once those projects are complete - and Cruz-Aedo
expects the ADA compliance work to take several years - attention may shift to a Westside transfer station, though that is "two-to-three-to-four" years out, Cruz-Aedo
At 65 with a three-year contract expected to be signed, Cruz-Aedo said he's in a unique position because he can focus on doing his best for the agency and its riders without worrying about how it will affect his next promotion.
expects to retire to Thailand with his
wife and young son after leaving this position.
"If you do your job, I'd think you'd want to do it to the best of your ability for the most people you can," he
"It's not just about you."