The Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (Metro) has hired a new chief of safety.
Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld announced Tuesday that Patrick Lavin has been hired as Metro’s new Chief Safety Officer.
Lavin comes to Metro from New York City Transit (NYCT), where he is second in command of the agency’s Office of System Safety. His first day at Metro will be Monday, May 9.
“I look forward to Pat joining our team and to his leadership on Metro’s safety culture improvements,” Wiedefeld said in a statement. “Pat has a unique combination of operational and safety experience, and a proven record as a proactive and hands-on safety professional who understands how to partner with operations and maintenance teams to achieve safer practices.”
Metro has had a run of safety incidents in the last several months, including a March 14 fire on the tracks that led the GM to shut down the entires system for more than 24 hours in order to inspect and fix issues (26 were found).
About 10 days later, Metro’s acting chief safety officer submitted his resignation. That staffer, Lou Brown, was himself in the post on an interim basis after the transit agency’s former safety chief, who was abruptly ousted in 2015 after several accidents, including a fatal fire near L’Enfant Plaza in January and a derailment in August.
Brown’s last day is April 22.
Lavin has been with NYCT for more than 20 years. In his current role in NYCT’s safety department, Mr. Lavin performs in-depth investigations into rail and bus accidents, including mainline rail incidents such as derailments and collisions. He has also led multi-disciplinary task forces to improve safety at NYCT.
“I am pleased to have the opportunity to bring to Metro more than 30 years’ experience in rail operations and maintenance, as well as safety investigations, Lavin said in a release. “Combining two sides of the house so that safety works hand in hand with operations will help us make positive changes that serve Metro’s employees and customers well. I look forward to making a difference in Washington.”
Mr. Lavin has a Master’s degree in Transportation Planning and Management from NYU Polytechnic Institute and a Bachelor’s degree in Labor Studies from Empire State College. He earned these degrees while working his way up through the NYCT Division of Signals, where he began in 1983 as a Signal Maintainer’s Helper.
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