The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (TheRide) seeks a dynamic community leader to serve as their next Manager, Public Affairs and Engagement.
The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority operates the public transportation system for the greater Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area. The service area is home to several large academic institutions, including the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Washtenaw Community College, and Concordia University, and areas proximate to Detroit, Michigan. Since its founding in 1969 as a not-for-profit local government entity, TheRide has expanded to serve over 228,000 people and now carries more than 6.9 million passengers annually.
TheRide is governed by an Executive Staff and Board of Directors. As a member of the Executive Staff, the Manager, Public Affairs and Engagement reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer. The Manager, Public Affairs and Engagement is tasked with leading public relations, inter-governmental affairs, external relations, media relations, as well as marketing and customer communications. Imperative is the ability of the Manager to ensure that TheRide is viewed favorably by the general public, customers, local leaders, stakeholders, and staff, and that customer satisfaction and ridership increase.
The ideal candidate will have demonstrated leadership and management skills to oversee highly effective teams and align departmental pursuits to achieve organizational strategic objectives. Necessary to the position, the optimal applicant will evidence advanced skill in effectively communicating and messaging to a wide range of internal and external stakeholders. Additionally, the candidate will have competence in intergovernmental relations and effectively coordinate with appropriate, federal, state, and local entities to pursue advocacy and legislative agendas.
Position Closing Date and Submission
All candidate submissions for the position must be received by June 19, 2023, 9:00pm EST.
Pivot Group, www.pivotgroupmunicipalservices.com, is facilitating the search process for the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority’s (TheRide) next Manager, Public Affairs and Engagement. All inquiries about the position should be directed to Pivot Group Lead Recruiter James Freed by email at James@ThinkAboutPivot.com.
Candidates desiring confidentiality of their interest, as allowed, and provided by Michigan law, must indicate such at the time of resume’ submission.
This search is conducted by an Equal Opportunity Employer and Service Provider.
Compensation and Benefits
Annual Salary: $103,945-$166,578 DOQ. The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority offers a generous fringe
The Manager, Public Affairs and Engagement leads public relations, inter-governmental affairs, external relations, media relations, as well as marketing and customer communications to ensure that TheRide is viewed favorably by the general public, customers, local leaders, stakeholders, and staff; and that customer satisfaction and ridership increase.
The Manager will provide the leadership, management, and oversight necessary to ensure the department has clear goals and appropriate strategies and plans. The position also ensures that the department has appropriate processes, procedures, and resources in place so that the agency can make informed decisions, achieve its overall aims and run efficiently. The Manager also participates in agency leadership and Board relations.
Accountabilities and Essential Functions1:
Lead and direct public relations, government affairs, customer communications, and activities associated with shaping the perception of the agency, in order to advance the agency’s overall direction, ensure compliance, and manage risk.
Develop and implement strategies to ensure positive perception of the agency by the general public, stakeholders, elected officials, and staff. Increase the recognition and celebration of agency accomplishments.
Lead and assist in developing key messaging on important or sensitive issues to key audiences such as the Board, staff, stakeholders and the public. Help to articulate the agency’s position on key matters.
Work with CEO to enhance internal communications with staff.
Lead the development and implementation of crisis communications plans and activities, for example natural disasters.
Act as agency’s primary spokesperson and media liaison as needed.
Assist CEO with developing workable strategies for ensuring constructive relations and desired outcomes with local municipalities, other agencies, key institutions, and the state and federal governments.
Develop and implement approach to local government affairs in concert with CEO. Develop, organize and implement activities to increase local support for the agency, while managing expectations. Organize communications and agency engagement, work with local leaders, foster positive relationships, etc.
Work with CEO to incorporate board members into some government affairs activities. Identify training opportunities as needed.
Help to develop and implement approach to state government affairs. Coordinate with federal advocacy efforts, which are under control of the Deputy CEO, Finance and Administration.
Work with CEO, Executive Team, and the Board to coordinate the development of the agency’s legislative agenda and lobbying goals.
Attend numerous outside meetings to represent the agency’s interests and goals.
Customer & Promotional Communications
Oversee staff who are leveraging communications tools to retain and increase ridership and improve customer satisfaction and the agency’s public reputation. Includes all published material on traditional or new platforms.
Oversee staff responsible for developing and implementing effective and high-quality activities associated with 1) communicating agency messages externally, and 2) public involvement activities for soliciting public feedback, and 3) promotional activities.
Ensure appropriate communications for wayfinding and major projects (i.e. service expansion, construction, etc).
Remain aware of, and ensure compliance with, relevant federal regulations (Title VI, ADA, etc) and Board policies related to communications, transparency, public involvement, public notices, advertising, etc.
Provide senior leadership and supervision for the Public Affairs & Engagement department for the purpose of developing a high-performance team that can deliver services effectively and efficiently in a changing environment.
Model and promote appropriate personal behaviors to foster a positive workplace culture.
Encourage reflection and innovation in order to create an atmosphere of learning, growth and continuous improvement. Identify emerging trends, challenges and opportunities. Assist with change leadership.
Create a culture of teamwork, continuous improvement, collaboration and proactive problem solving. Provide leadership for major change initiatives and improvements in order to enhance service delivery.
Inspire staff to enhance employee engagement. Help staff to understand the agency’s common purpose, values, ideals, and goals. Help staff to understand how their role contributes to the overall success of the team and community. Ensure recognitions and celebrations to enhance employee engagement, pride, loyalty, and commitment to team and community (esprit de corps).
Help staff reach their potential in order to enhance individual and organizational capacity. Provide clear expectations, coaching, and feedback to direct reports in order to build on strengths, and foster learning and continuous improvement. Hold staff accountable for decisions, behaviors and actions. Establish employee development and succession plans. Conduct annual employee reviews.
Foster delegation, empowerment and collaboration for staff in order to encourage staff growth, organizational productivity and superior results.
Ensure effective communication and coordination within the department, and between the department and other parts of the organization. Establish/Lead cross-functional teams as needed.
Foster excellent communications, working relationships and personal connections with agency employees.
Ensure effective and efficient approaches to resource management throughout the department for the purposes of delivering agreed upon results.
Translate the agency’s strategic direction into department strategies. Lead business planning, ensuring clear goals, alignment and team understanding.
Work to ensure the department delivers agreed-upon results with the appropriate balance of quality, cost and timeliness. Oversee implementation of key projects or initiatives.
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Establish and recommend appropriate allocation of people and resources to ensure successful and efficient service delivery to internal and external customers. Recruit, hire and train direct reports to ensure the division is positioned with the necessary talent and skills.
Establish and recommend appropriate policies, processes, procedures, and systems to help effectively and efficiently handle workload. Establish appropriate organizational structures, and vertical and lateral communication flows. Ensure all are documented clearly.
Demonstrate strong fiscal management including overseeing budgets, monitoring and managing financial resources, deadlines, and performance measures. Responsible for developing, implementing and monitoring effective internal controls.
Ensure compliance with all relevant agency, regulatory, legislative and policy requirements. Ensure appropriate risk, asset, and liability management actions.
As delegated by the immediate supervisor (CEO), arrange/negotiate contracts, agreements, partnerships and other undertakings with outside organizations, ensuring the parameters of Authority policies are met.
Assist with reporting for agency-wide compliance (i.e. FTA Triennial Review, NTD reporting), and lead coordination as required.
Limit the agency’s exposure to risk, proactively identifying risks and establishing internal controls and mitigations.
Participate in senior agency leadership to ensure the development and success of the overall organization.
Work with the CEO and Deputy CEOs to foster collaboration throughout the agency.
Attend Executive Team meetings as part of the CEO’s office to help to develop, clarify and implement the agency’s strategic direction and decisions as required.
Assist with intra and inter-divisional/department communication and collaboration to clarify expectations, maximize integration, resolve misunderstandings, minimize overlaps, leverage economies of scale, improve overall organizational capabilities, and realize efficiencies. Support cross-functional teams as needed.
Support strong working relationships between staff and the Board of Directors by working with Board members directly.
Assertively adhere to Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority's equal employment opportunity policy and ensure that all interviews, offers of employment and/or wage commitments are consistent with the policy; hold regular discussions with other managers, supervisors, employees, and affinity groups to ensure agency policies and procedures are being followed.
Participate actively in periodic reviews and audits of all aspects of employment to identify and remove barriers obstructing the achievement of specified goals and objectives; assist in identifying problem areas and provide needed information for establishing and meeting equal employment opportunity goals and objectives.
Encourage employee participation to support the advancement of the EEO programs (i.e. professional development and career growth opportunities, posting promotional opportunities, shadowing, mentoring).
Cooperate with the Human Resources Manager/EEO Officer in review of information and investigation of complaints.
In conjunction with the Human Resources Manager/EEO Officer, maintain and update the personnel database for generating reports required for the nondiscrimination program.
Perform other leadership duties, as assigned.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited four-year college or university in communications,
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government relations, public relations, public administration, or related field.
Minimum of 8 years of progressively more responsible leadership roles related to communications or government relations, preferably in a government setting.
Experience in local government and transit preferred.
Ability to analyze, recommend, and implement solutions to complex problems and issues.
Experience in developing tactical solutions to organizational challenges/opportunities.
Strong ability to communicate effectively verbally and in writing; ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with employees, Board members and the public.
Ability to contribute to senior executive leadership of agency, lead and work in teams, inspire staff, and work without close supervision.
Self-motivated and positive attitude.
Ability to inspire and supervise senior direct reports. Ability to help them succeed and hold them accountable.
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