DART Begins the Search for its First Chief Innovation Officer

The new CINO will study the "feasibility of innovative ideas, removing roadblocks, and challenging the status-quo" at Dallas Area Rapid Transit.


Dallas Area Rapid Transit is looking for a chief innovation officer, a new hire at the transit agency who would lead its efforts for product management and business strategy, and be an innovation ambassador.

DART provides bus, light rail, commuter rail, paratransit, and vanpool services in a 13-city service area. The agency has selected Pearson Partners International, a Dallas-based executive search firm, to lead the search, according to a release. Pearson Vice President Lisa Thompson is heading up that effort. 

So who’s the ideal candidate?

Pearson said the right person would have 14 years of progressive experience in product development or marketing focused on “capturing and determining the feasibility of innovative ideas, removing roadblocks, and challenging the status-quo in an agreeable manner.” The experience should include seven years managing professional staff, too.

The prospects should all be authentic and approachable individuals, with what Pearson calls “high integrity whose personal and professional values are consistent with the agency’s vision and culture.”

The hired CINO will examine ideas and emerging technologies to determine their feasibility, as well as partner with the chief information/technology officer, chief marketing officer, vice president of service planning, and other executives to implement any viable projects. They also will need to “stay ahead of emerging and disruptive technologies impacting public transit, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, internet of things, and augmented/virtual reality,” Pearson said.

Created in 1983, DART is funded primarily through local sales and use tax within its service area. 

The city of Dallas earlier this year announced the hiring of Laila Alquresh as its new chief innovation officer, charged with leading the newly-create Office of Innovation, which will pursue opportunities that drive operational and technological improvements for the city.


DART provides bus and light rail service in a 13-city service area. [Photo: Lance Murray]

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