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.

Ben Capelle
Ben Capelle

Vice President

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

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. 

Martin McAvoy
Martin McAvoy

Vice President Small Urban/Rural Systems

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 14 years, McAvoy also administers federal grants and applications, customer and community relations, all while promoting the system and the impact of 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).

Jim Ryan
Jim Ryan

Vice President Associate Members

Jim Ryan is the Regional Sales Manager for GILLIG LLC.  He has more than 40 years of experience in the transportation industry. While at GILLIG, Jim started as a Field Service Representative and was then promoted into GILLIG’s parts sales division and then ultimately served in the bus sales division. Jim also previously worked for Shoemaker Ambulance, a local Cincinnati ambulance company as the Director of Maintenance.

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 eight 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.

Screen Shot 2020-06-04 at 2.10.30 PM.png
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
Greater Cleveland RTA Logo.png
Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
Kirt Conrad
Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director
SARTA Stark Area Logo.png
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