Dee Leggett, a fixture with the Denton County Transportation Authority the past seven years, is moving on.
The one-time vice president of communications and planning and current chief operating officer is joining LTK Engineering Services, a consulting firm, to become a stronger, better and smarter public transportation official, she said.
“It will be different,” Leggett said of leaving the familiar people and work of the DCTA. “There will be days when I will be working in an office of two people on projects. I am a social person, so that will be somewhat unique.”
Leggett will be working out of the south central region for LTK, which includes Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, as a project manager as well as working on other operations and maintenance projects across the U.S.
“There will also be days I am traveling and working in various cities on some really, really cool projects that will give me exposure to a profession I have grown to love,” she said.
Leggett said public transportation is the business she wants to stay in until she retires and working for LTK will expose her to a lot of different segments of the business.
DCTA president Jim Cline said Leggett has been a key part of the agency from the inception of the A-train, among other projects.
“She’s left her mark on a lot of things we have had, and very positively so,” Cline said. “She’s very dedicated and has always taken an innovative approach to solving the toughest problems.”
Cline said one of Leggett’s biggest contributions has been building the public support for DCTA.
For years, Leggett was front and center at meetings with the public — be it neighborhood groups, public officials and everything in between — bearing the brunt of both positive and negative interactions with the public concerning DCTA plans, projects and incidents.
“She’s definitely going to be missed,” Cline said. “That’s something we are definitely working through.”
Leggett joined DCTA in 2007 as marketing and communications manager. She and the agency have both grown a lot in the last seven years, Leggett said, noting that when she came aboard, the A-train was called Rail DCTA and was just an idea staff and officials had.
“We had just launched bus service in Lewisville,” she said. “There were people in portions of Denton, Lewisville and Highland Village that didn’t even realize they had transit services. Everything was just an idea.”
With buses on the streets and a vision for greater expanded public transportation, Leggett said much of that vision years ago has come to pass.
“The exciting thing about DCTA and its board and staff is they are never satisfied,” she said. “They don’t see the transit system as complete and I share that vision.”
“There is still a lot to be done, opportunities to expand services and more frequency on the A-train,” she said. “We’re still struggling with how to make DCTA truly a countywide transportation authority. That is the challenge moving forward and one I wish we made more progress on, not for lack of trying. We just haven’t cracked the code on how to fund those expansions outside of the A-train corridor.”
In the future, Leggett said she hopes additional cities in Denton County see the value of public transportation from a mobility and economic development perspective. ... “And that DCTA and the cities that partner develop the areas around our stations and we could continue to be seen as an asset to the community.”
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.