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.
Transit Director, South East Area Transit
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.
VICE PRESIDENT Mobility Manager Members Nominee
Mobility Manager, South East Area Transit
Nichole (Nicki) Silver has been the Mobility Manager for Muskingum and Guernsey Counties since 2020. Coming into this position during the height of COVID made it a challenge, but Nicki loves challenges! Prior to her time as Mobility Manager, Nicki was employed by Maysville Local School District in Zanesville Ohio for four years. She worked directly with the students to help them overcome obstacles in everyday living. Nicki started the Ohio Mobility Manager mentoring program through ODOT. She works hard in creating programs to improve the lives of the residents of Muskingum and Guernsey Counties.
VICE PRESIDENT Associate Members Nominee
Regional Sales Manager, TESCO – Transportation Equipment Sales Corp.
Blair Taseff is the Cleveland/Akron Regional Sales Manager for TESCO, the Transportation Equipment Sales Corp.
TESCO – 17 years
Regional Sales Manager – Cleveland/Akron, Ohio - Current
Affiliated Organizations - Current
Vice President Associate Members, Ohio Public Transit Association Luxury Coach & Transportation (LCT)
National Limousine Association (NLA)
Vice President Nominee
Executive Director, Delaware County Transit
Mr. Andy Volenik is the Executive Director for Delaware County Transit, the transportation and mobility option provider for Delaware County's residents and businesses. Mr. Volenik is responsible for leading his dynamic team and in growing the transportation solutions and mobility options within Delaware County. Mr. Volenik started his career in transportation over 15 years ago as a bus operator at the Central Ohio Transit Authority and has worked various roles within the public sector.
VICE PRESIDENT Small Urban/ Rural Systems
Seneca-Crawford Area Transportation
Mary Habig started her Transit Career in 1992 as the Director of a very small county-operated transit system in South Eastern Ohio. After 9 years, she ventured out of the small transit community and into the For-Profit Transit World for 10 years. Habig stated, "Though I have enjoyed many aspects of the For-Profit Transit companies, I felt the need to go back to the non-profit transit system. Even though there are more struggles with non-profits, non-profits seem to care more about the service they provide." In 2014, Habig returned to Ohio and assumed the position as the Director of Seneca County Agency Transportation. In 2017, Seneca County Agency Transportation, SCAT, expanded their service area to include Crawford County. The agency’s name is now: Seneca-Crawford Area Transportation, SCAT. Habig is in her 28th year of Transit Management and smiles when she looks back and remembers all the great people she’s met throughout the years. “Seven States, Hundreds of Employees, Thousands of Tears, and Millions of Smiles because of Transit I’d do it all over again!"
VICE PRESIDENT Associate Members Nominee
Mr. Kevin Hardesty is the GILLIG central regional sales manager. Mr. Hardesty has been in the transit industry since 1987. His career has been primarily in the training side of the business and ended as GILLIG’s manager of training. In January 2023 Mr. Hardesty joined the GILLIG sales team.
Ruzinsky is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a dual focus on accounting and marketing and holds an active CPA License. Ruzinsky began his career with RTA in 1987 in the agency's accounting group and quickly moved up through the department holding various positions including senior accountant, accounting supervisor, HR manager, controller, capital controller, chief capital officer, deputy CEO and currently CEO.
In his role as CEO, Ruzinsky has the responsibility of RTA’s day-to-day departmental functions. This includes all activities in each of the three primary work groups: operations, finance, and customer & business development.
As RTA’s chief capital officer, Ruzinsky led the ongoing effort on the replacement/rebuilding of RTA's physical assets, including buses, real estate holdings and leased properties. RTA boasts one of the newest bus fleets in the nation and has successfully completed or is in the process of renovating all its facilities and rebuilding its extensive electric bus power system infrastructure. Many of these multi-years, multi-million-dollar projects have been funded in part by competitive grants Ruzinsky has secured for RTA.
Ruzinsky led the efforts behind RTA’s four consecutive Federal Transit Administration Triennial Reviews with zero deficiencies found in each. In the Spring of 2019, the Ohio Public Transit Association recognized his accomplishments through its Leonard Ronis Award as Transit Professional of the Year in Ohio.
Ruzinsky, a Dayton supporter for more than 25 years, has served in several leadership roles with many local community groups including chair of the city of Dayton Landmark Commission, president of Preservation Dayton and one of the founders of Rebuilding Together Dayton. An avid champion of historic preservation, Ruzinsky has chaired the McPherson Town Neighborhood Development Corporation and has restored dozens of homes in Dayton’s historic districts.
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, Carle joined OPTA, representing the association and the public transit systems in Ohio at the city, state and federal levels.