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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Los Angeles Metro appoints two top officers

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Los Angeles Metro CEO Art Leahy said the agency appointed Chief Operations Officer Colonus "Lonnie" Mitchell to the position he has held on an interim basis since December 2009 and hired architect and urban planner Martha Welborne to the Authority's top planning job..

As COO, Mitchell oversees bus and rail operations with an annual operating budget of $1.48 billion and nearly 7,500 employees.

"My goal is to execute the CEO's vision to improve transit services and make this agency the best transit organization in the country," said Mitchell. "It's an opportunity to continue to make this transit service one that the public likes to ride."

Mitchell joined Metro as Procurement Chief in June 2000 after completing a 30-year career in the U.S. Navy Supply Corps. Appointed Chief Administrative Services Officer in December 2005, Mitchell's responsibilities expanded to include Procurement and Material Management, Administration, and Information Technology Services.

Mitchell is a 1969 graduate of Washington State University, where he earned a BA in economics. He earned a Masters in acquisition management at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School.

Welborne, a moving force in many forward projects in the Los Angeles region and the nation, will join Metro June 1 as Executive Director of Planning. In that capacity, she will play a key role in accelerating delivery of voter-approved projects funded by Measure R.

Welborne's work has ranged from individual building design to such large-scale planning projects as Los Angeles' surface transit project, an effort that led to the creation of the Metro Rapid bus system now running throughout Los Angeles County. She served as director on the Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority Board from May 2005 to February 2006.

Welborne is the current managing director of the Grand Avenue Committee, a public/private partnership focused on revitalizing the civic and cultural districts of downtown Los Angeles through a $3-billion project that includes six high-rise buildings and a 16-acre civic park. She will continue to spearhead this effort over the next six months as she transitions into her post at Metro.

As an architect and city planner, she has worked on large-scale urban design projects such as campus master plans and transit systems as a principal of ZGF Architects, LLP, in Los Angeles. Previously, she was an associate partner of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP and was also a principal of Sasaki Associates, Inc. in Boston.

Welborne currently serves as a member of MIT's Visiting Committee for the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, serves on the Board of the Community Foundation Land Trust and on the Board of Councilors for USC's School of Architecture and for KUSC. She was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design and is a member of the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects. She has also served as president of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Institute of Architects.