Work experience: Director of public transportation, Murfreesboro, Tenn., since 2006; director of planning, Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority, Chattanooga, Tenn., 2003-2006; operations planning manager, Transit Authority of River City, Louisville, Ky., 1997-2003; proprietor, TLB Management and Consulting, Hamilton, Ohio, 1991-1997; transportation planner, for governments in Houston and Cincinnati, 1990-1993.
Area work experience: General manager, Mayflower Contract Services, Leawood, 1993-1995.
Education: Master’s degree in urban planning, University of Tennessee; bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning, Miami University.
Robert Nugent is coming to help boost public transportation efforts in Lawrence, having most recently managed the launch of a transit system in another university town.
Nugent starts May 18 as Lawrence’s public transit administrator, a post open since Cliff Galante left in August to take a job in Las Vegas. Casey Toomay has been serving as interim transit administrator, and will return to her duties as city budget manager.
Nugent comes to Lawrence with more than 20 years of experience as a transportation planner, consultant and manager, having worked both in transit operations and planning.
For the past three years he has been director of public transportation for Murfreesboro, Tenn., managing the startup of the “Rover” transit system in a community that is home to Middle Tennessee State University.
Lawrence officials noted Nugent’s contributions to achievements in Murfreesboro, especially recent coordination of transit services involving the city, university and a regional transportation agency that provides service from Nashville to the Middle Tennessee campus.
In Lawrence, Nugent will be counted on to bolster efforts to coordinate operations of the Lawrence Transit System — known as the T — with KU on Wheels, the system that serves Kansas University students, faculty and staff.
Such efforts already are picking up speed, with a new combined route to start service later this year. The T received a major financing boost when voters approved a sales-tax increase to finance transit operations and equipment, and plans are under way to replace aging buses.
Consultants are busy drawing up plans for additional coordination between the T and KU on Wheels, and Nugent will be counted on to help keep the process moving.
“He impressed us with his experience and energy and enthusiasm,” said David Corliss, Lawrence city manager. “He’s going to be a great addition to city staff. KU was involved in the recruitment (and) interview process as well, and they see him as valuable to the community.
“We’re excited to get him here so he can continue the momentum and the progress in growing our transit system.”