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September 27th, 2019 by Ana DeUnamuno
HARRISBURG- Rides Mass Transit District CEO Bill Jung took over that role in 2002. Since then, he's helped form the largest rural public transit district in Illinois.
Jung, who retired in September, was recently presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois Public Transit Association.
"He has always been devoted to the mission of what we do," said RMTD Chief Fiscal Officer Karen Vinyard. "Bill is concerned about providing excellent service to the customer. When faced with decisions, Bill will not choose the easiest path, but will choose what is best for the customer and employees of the organization. He has led by example with consistency and integrity and has provided outstanding leadership."
During Jung's tenure, RMTD was able to capture numerous service awards, including being named the National System of the Year in 2000 from the Community Transportation Association of America along with the United We Ride National Coordination Leadership Award in 2005.
Jung's career in transportation has spanned more than 40 years. When he arrived at RMTD as assistant director in 1996, the organization employed just over 30 people. Today, the organization employs nearly 250 individuals.
"I consider Bill a mentor and a friend. His wealth of knowledge is beyond measure and what he's given to the District is immeasurable," said incoming RMTD CEO Adam Lach. "He's one-of-a-kind and cares about helping people. At his core, Bill believes in the service we provide. It's genuine."
Jung also oversaw the annexation of 13 counties into the District and takes pride in the work that has been done to develop coordination between public transit and human service providers.
"We've been able to create something that's going to be a lasting, valuable thing for the people of southern Illinois," said Jung. "You don't get many chances in life to make a difference, and we certainly have."
Jung wrote and secured capital grants for five new operational facilities as well as numerous other grants for additional projects, including the recently completed transfer center in Marion which bears his name.
Other career highlights include an increase in local transit access that allows for dollars to be invested back into the rural economies along with advances inside the urbanized area between Marion and Carbondale. In that, RMTD partnered with Southern Illinois University to operate the Saluki Express fixed-route service along with paratransit service for the school.
Jung, who has always been generous with his time in giving guidance to other transit agencies, is known and respected throughout Illinois. As a former president of IPTA, he was also successful in bringing additional funding to transit agencies in Illinois.
"The first thing that comes to my mind is that Bill has been a tireless advocate for the people we serve," said RMTD board chair Dorothy Kuykendall. "He will be missed greatly, but he has positioned the District to continue moving forward."