After four decades in the transportation industry, Joe Waggoner, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA), has announced his intention to retire in February 2022. THEA's Board of Directors accepts this news with regret – and with gratitude for Waggoner's 14 years of remarkable service to the agency.
Waggoner has built a legacy of organizational leadership, fiscal acumen, and innovation throughout his distinguished career. " One of the most important responsibilities any board has is to put into place a process to find and hire a great leader. Our next CEO will have very big shoes to fill. Joe has been an incredible steward at THEA and a community leader. We will search far and wide for his successor and I am confident because of Joe’s success, we will attract many candidates that want to lead our team of exceptional professionals and continue the momentum he has created in Tampa.” said Vince Cassidy, Chairman of THEA’s Board of Directors.
In August 2007, after a nationwide search, Joe Waggoner was chosen to lead the agency. As Executive Director and CEO, he was faced with the challenging task of making the agency financially independent and able to take on projects that would benefit the Tampa Bay region. Under Waggoner's leadership, THEA gained financial independence, expanded its jurisdictional service area, restructured its debt and was able to produce its first-ever 10-year work program with just over a Billion dollars’ worth of projects in the program.
"Joe's sound fiscal leadership strategies have helped the agency to become a top-ranked credit performer. During his tenure, THEA has risen 3-steps on national bond rating scales, delivered a project that was over 25 years in the making, and converted the Selmon Expressway to All-Electronic Tolling, saving millions of dollars in operating costs," said Cassidy.
Known for progressive solutions to transportation issues, Waggoner’s leadership and vision helped land the Authority a $17 million USDOT grant to help fund the Connected Vehicle Pilot Program. This program has garnered THEA international recognition as a leader in the ACES – Automated, Connected, Electric and Shared – technology space. The THEA CV Pilot allows vehicles and infrastructure to communicate for delivery of a safer and more efficient travel experience for all modes of travel. This project was inducted into the ITS World Congress Hall of Fame in 2019.
Waggoner has been a community champion and critical leader in promoting partnerships for multimodal transportation, transit-oriented development, and walkable neighborhoods. The Selmon Greenway accommodates pedestrians and cyclists, mostly in the shade of the Expressway, and connects the City's Riverwalk to Ybor City. Pocket parks line the Greenway with public art commissioned by THEA, places to sit, and landscaping to enjoy. The first of these pocket parks along the Selmon Greenway was the Deputy Kotfila Memorial Dog Park. The Dog Park has plenty of room for dogs (and people) of all sizes to socialize, with separate play areas for small and large dogs.
“THEA is recognized locally, statewide, nationally, and internationally as a premier tolling agency with a forward-thinking approach to finding solutions to regional congestion. This team has completed dozens of transportation, finance, and community relations projects, won dozens of awards, and has been used as a model for utilizing technology to enhance mobility,” said Joe Waggoner. “That’s a result of excellent leadership by our Board of Directors and hard work by a lot of amazing and talented people. With the next Executive Director, I hope that the trend will continue.”
THEA is actively recruiting for the Executive Director position and intends to hire its next leader in October of 2021. Applications for the position close on July 16, 2021. https://www.tampa-xway.com/ed-recruitment/
The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) is a public agency of the state, created by the Florida Legislature to provide local, user-financed transportation services that reinvest customer-based revenues back into the Tampa Bay community. THEA owns and operates the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, Brandon Parkway, Meridian Avenue, and the Selmon Greenway; designed and operates the world’s first reversible all-electronic toll road; and provides over 200,000 daily trips with safe, reliable, and financially sustainable transportation service. For more information on how THEA is moving transportation forward, visit www.tampa-xway.com.