The Sound Transit Board unanimously approved the hiring of Julie Timm as the agency’s next CEO at a base salary of $375,000 a year.
“In hiring Julie Timm, the Sound Transit Board chose an outstanding CEO who brings the right combination of skills and knowledge to guide our transit system forward,” said Transit Board President Kent Keel of Sound and member of the Place University Council, in a June 23 press release. “It is no easy task to plan, build and operate the nation’s largest transit expansion. Julie brings the leadership and collaborative approach to ensure our successful work continues.”
The board’s June 23 action followed the recommendation of the board’s CEO selection committee, which considered 90 candidates from across the country. Timm will join Sound Transit on Sept. 26 after relocating from Virginia, where she is finishing her current role as CEO of the Greater Richmond Transit Company.
Timm replaces Peter Rogoff, who was hired in 2015 and stepped down on May 31. The Sound Transit Board voted 14-3 in September 2021 to replace Rogoff rather than extend his contract for another year. Rogoff had an annual salary of $379,600.
“Over the next few years, Sound Transit is poised for transformative growth, and Julie Timm is the right choice to lead the agency as we deliver the nation’s largest and most ambitious transit expansion,” said the vice president of Sound Transit Board and King County. Executive Dow Constantine. “I know Julie will collaborate with our partners and earn the trust of the people we serve, and I look forward to working with her as we usher in this new era of high-capacity, zero-emission transit in the Puget Sound region. ”
Timm said she is ready for her new job.
“I am deeply grateful to join the Sound Transit team’s work to transform lives in the Puget Sound region for generations to come,” said Timm. “Together, we will continue to show what is possible when we prioritize the health of our people and our planet. More than doubling the range of light rail in the coming years represents a historic level of investment. We will keep these and other projects going through strong partnerships and innovative solutions that benefit our parents, our children and our children’s children. It will not be easy or comfortable to complete this vision. I am truly honored to be a part of such a tremendous effort.”
Timm is known as a highly collaborative leader who forges strong relationships with community groups and partners, and for building an agency culture focused on dedication to public service and equity, according to the news release.
From 2016 to 2019, Timm served as the Director of Development for WeGo Public Transit in Nashville, Tennessee. His efforts included leading the agency’s development activities and staff across functions such as engineering, outreach, customer service, planning, grants, marketing, communications, service quality and innovation. He oversaw the implementation of major regional capital projects associated with the more than $6 billion nMotion strategy that the Nashville region adopted in 2016.
From 2012 to 2016, Timm served as the Transit Development Officer and Environmental Justice Compliance Officer for Title VI and Hampton Roads Transit in Norfolk, Virginia. Worked with state and local partners and the Federal Transit Administration to manage capital projects and strategic planning processes that support light rail and other transit projects through approval, funding and implementation.
From 2000 to 2012, Timm worked in North Carolina in senior positions developing transit, highway and other projects for Moffatt and Nichol, Carter and Burgess and URS Corporation. From 1996 to 2000 she worked as a contract employee managing projects and programs for the United States Air Force Air Combat Command Headquarters in Virginia.
Timm earned a master’s degree in business administration from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, as well as a bachelor’s and master’s degree in biology from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.
Interim Sound Transit CEO Brooke Belman will continue to lead the agency until Timm’s arrival in September.
Sound Transit builds and operates regional transit services for growing urban areas in Washington’s Pierce, King and Snohomish counties. The region is home to more than 50 cities and more than 40% of the state’s residents, which have authorized the nation’s most ambitious transit expansions.
Sound Transit receives most of its funding from voter-approved sales taxes, vehicle tab fees and property taxes. The agency also receives large federal grants.
Over the next three years, Sound Transit’s Link light rail system will grow from 26 to 62 miles, before reaching 116 miles after the completion of new voter-approved projects. The system is the first nationally to run entirely on carbon-free electricity.
Timm will help oversee the opening of light rail on the Eastside in 2023 and in Lynnwood, Federal Way and Redmond in 2024. The 7.8-mile light rail extension from SeaTac in Kent to Federal Way is slated to open in 2024.
Sound Transit is also preparing to add Stride bus rapid transit service to its service mix, along with the continuing to expand Sounder rail service and an extensive network of regional ST Express bus routes. Sound Transit trains and buses integrate seamlessly with the services of other local transit agencies.
Timm received a contract with a base salary of $375,000 annually that would run from Sept. 26, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2025 with a one-year renewal option in 2026 at the direction of the board, according to Sound Transit documents.
Timm will receive a minimum annual increase of 3.5% contingent on a successful performance rating. The board may choose to yield more than 3.5% in accordance with agency compensation guidelines applicable to all employees.
For the performance period beginning on January 1, 2023, the board may authorize a contribution performance award. The board will establish targets and a compensation range for award by March 31 of the annual performance period.
Sound Transit will provide the standard benefits (eg, medical, dental, vision and ORCA) available to all employees. Sound Transit will also provide a fully funded health care FSA up to the IRS limit beginning in 2022 (the 2022 IRS limit is $2,850). Ms. Timm will accrue 35 days of personal leave per year.
Timm will participate in the retirement and deferred compensation plans available to all employees. Sound Transit is required by law to contribute an amount equal to 12% of their annual base salary to their 401(a) retirement account. Sound Transit will also contribute the maximum amount allowed to its 457(b) deferred compensation retirement account each year, including the catch-up contribution allowed by the IRS, but by 2022 the contribution will be $10,400 to meet the limits of annual IRS contribution.
Timm will receive taxable expense compensation of $8,500 per year, prorated in 2022, to cover various routine business expenses incurred in accordance with Sound Transit policies.
Sound Transit will reimburse Timm for approved travel, food and lodging associated with professional conferences in accordance with Sound Transit policy, including APTA conferences and the Washington State Transportation Conference.
Timm will receive $64,000 for moving expenses. She will be required to repay this amount on a pro rata basis if she voluntarily resigns without just cause or is dismissed for cause within the first year of employment.