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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
Claudia Amrhein


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

Howard Stewart

Vice President

Mr. Howard Stewart has more than eight years of experience as the Transit Director and Board Secretary/Treasurer of South East Area Transit (SEAT). SEAT is a three-county public transportation system serving  Muskingum, Guernsey, and Noble County in Ohio.  He is responsible for ensuring safe, efficient, affordable public transportation to meet the citizens' needs who desire to use the SEAT services.  Before joining South East Area Transit, Mr. Stewart worked as the Executive Director of a small non-profit that provided daily programs, and community needs to adults and youth in Zanesville, Ohio. Mr. Stewart holds a degree from Findlay College, has 30 years of experience collaborating with local government, businesses, and human service agencies to better the community.

Dawn Distler
Dawn Distler

Secretary - Treasurer

Ms. Distler serves as the Chief Executive Officer 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. 

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Chasilyn Carter

Vice President Small Urban/Rural Systems

Chasilyn has been in transit for approximately 5 years.  She has served as an Operations Supervisor, a General Manager, an Assistant Director, and currently as a Director for Lancaster-Fairfield Public Transit. 

Blair Taseff
Blair Taseff

Vice President Associate Members

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

Shannon Webster
Shannon Webster

Vice President Mobility Manager Members

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

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Matt Carle Esq.

Executive Director

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, Carle 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
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Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
Kirt Conrad
Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director
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Stark Area Regional Transit Authority
Darryl Haley
Chief Executive Officer & General Manager
Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority
Patrick Harris
Assistant Vice President, Government Affairs and Corporate Communication
Central Ohio Transit Authority
Laura Koprowski
Chief Executive Officer
Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority
Bob Ruzinsky
Chief Executive Officer
Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority
Greater Dayton RTA
Howard Stewart
Transit Director
South East Area Transit
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