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OPTA Celebrates Women's History Month

Empowered Women Power Ohio Public Transit

March is Women's History Month

For Women’s History Month, OPTA is paying tribute to a some of the outstanding women who are shaping the future of public transit in Ohio and making history along the way.


Claudia Amrhein
Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority

Currently serving her second consecutive term as president of the Ohio Public Transit Association Board of Trustees, Claudia Amrhein is also General Manager/CEO of the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority (PARTA) located in Kent, Ohio.  

As OPTA president, Amrhein has played an integral role in advocating for increased state funding for public transit in Ohio. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, she led the initiative to develop  COVID-19 guidance for Ohio public transit and human service transportation agencies in partnership with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). Read more...


Laura Koprowski
Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority

As TARTA’s Chief Executive Officer, Laura Koprowski brings 25 years of diverse transit transportation experience to the role at the state and local levels. Since returning to her hometown of Toledo in April of 2020, she has helped build a leadership team that has transformed TARTA in just under 2 years.


Koprowski previously served as the Executive Director of the Ohio Public Transit Association (OPTA), Vice President of Government Affairs and Communications at the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), and the Director of Public & Government Affairs at the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. Read more...


Cheryl Boley
Perry County Transit

Cheryl Boley is the Director of Perry County Transit and Perry County Job and Family Services (PCJFS). She was appointed Director of PCJFS in 2010. At the request of the Perry County Board of Commissioners, Boley brought the Perry County transit system under the direction of PCJFS where she put it on a path of advancement and growth.  The resulting alignment of agencies ensures that Perry County’s most vulnerable citizens have access to medical appointments and employment opportunities while positively impacting area businesses. Read more...


India Birdsong
Greater Cleveland RTA

India Birdsong serves as Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. She is leading the organization toward innovative solutions to increase RTA’s customer base, improve service frequency and coverage, and expand RTA’s role in contributing to the economic development of the region.


She comes to Greater Cleveland from Nashville where she served as Chief Operating Officer of WeGo Public Transit, the Regional Transportation Authority. In that role, she was responsible for the leadership of more than 550 employees, including union and administrative staffers. Read more...


Mary Habig
Seneca County Agency Transportation

Habig started her transit career in 1992 as director of a very small county operated transit system in southeastern Ohio.  After nine years, she ventured out of the transit community and into the for-profit transit world for ten years. Though she enjoyed many aspects of for-profit transportation organizations, she felt the need to go back to non-profit transit systems.  “Even though there’s 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 (SCAT).  In 2017, SCAT expanded their service area to include Crawford County.  The agency’s name is now:  Seneca-Crawford Area Transportation (SCAT). Read more...


Dawn Distler

Dawn Distler is a 30-year veteran of the public transportation industry. She started her career as a bus operator at METRO and climbed the rankings to SCAT Operations Manager and then Assistant Director of Customer Service.


After serving 17 years at METRO, Distler headed south to join the leadership team at Davidson Transit Organization in Nashville, Tenn. She later became the Director of Transit at Knoxville Area Transit in Knoxville, Tennessee. Distler has a Bachelor’s in Business Management from the University of Phoenix. She is a member of the American Public Transportation Association Board and has held seats on various boards in Tennessee and Summit County, Ohio. Read more...


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