Ohio Public Transit Association | Leadership


The Ohio Public Transit Association (OPTA) is the primary advocate for public transportation in Ohio. The Association provides a range of services to Ohio’s 63 transit agencies and associate businesses across the state including:


OPTA strives to be a powerful and unified voice of our members, the men and women who work in the public transit industry, and our customers.

Together, we strive to increase funding opportunities, drive economic growth and improve Ohio’s quality of life.

Claudia Amrhein

Ms. Amrhein serves as General Manager of PARTA, the regional transit authority serving the citizens of Portage County, Ohio. As General Manager she is the CEO and secretary-treasurer of the regional transit authority, leading PARTA’s efforts to advance public transit mobility solutions essential to creating healthy, connected communities and vital local economies.


Dawn Distler

Dawn Distler serves as the Executive Director of Akron Metro Regional Transit Authority, leading the transport of more than six million passengers annually to work, school, medical appointments and to some of the best places in town. METRO RTA works to enhance the quality of life for their community by providing innovative transportation that is safe, dependable, cost-effective and customer focused. 

Secretary - Treasurer

Shannon Webster

As Greene County’s Mobility Manager, Shannon Webster has been a transportation advocate and travel trainer for the past six years. Located at Greene CATS Public Transit, she works to strengthen partnerships between a diverse range of community organizations to insure that transportation resources are coordinated effectively.

Vice President Mobility Managers

Carrie Woody

Ms. Woody is the director of the Lancaster Public Transit System which provides safe, affordable, reliable transportation throughout Fairfield County in central Ohio.

Immediate Past President

Ben Capelle

Ben Capelle has been the CEO of Laketran since August 2017.  He joined Laketran in 2012 as Operations Manager, serving in that capacity until April 2016 when he was promoted  Deputy General Manager.

Vice President

Martin McAvoy

Mr. McAvoy, Transit Program Specialist and Administrator, provides oversight of daily operations management, supervising a staff of 40+ drivers,  dispatchers and maintenance staff.  Serving Knox County Transit for over 13 years, McAvoy also administers federal grants and applications, customer and community relations, all while promoting the system and the impact of public transit.

Vice President Small Urban and Rural

Blair Taseff

Mr. Taseff is the Cleveland/Akron Regional Sales Manager for the Transportation Equipment Sales Corp. (TESCO).

Vice President Associate Members

Matt Carle Esq.

With more than twenty years of experience in government affairs and political management, Mr. Carle has established himself as one of the top political operatives in Ohio. Beginning in 2016, Matt joined OPTA, representing the association and the public transit systems in Ohio at the city, state and federal levels.


Executive Committee Emeritus Members

India Birdsong
General Manager & Chief Executive Officer
Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
Kirt Conrad
Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director
Stark Area Regional Transit Authority
Mark Donaghy
Chief Executive Officer
Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority
Kim Dunham
General Manager
Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority
Patrick Harris
Assistant Vice President, Government Affairs and Corporate Communication
Central Ohio Transit Authority
Laura Koprowski
Chief Communications and Customer Experience Officer
Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority

Ohio Public Transit Association

605 N. High St., #175

Columbus, OH 43215

Phyllis VanArsdale




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