New Metra CEO named

On Friday afternoon, a 30-year veteran and former engineer was named as the new head of the Metra commuter agency.
January 31, 2014 3:34:34 PM PST
On Friday afternoon, a 30-year veteran and former engineer was named as the new head of the Metra commuter agency.

This news may not mean much to commuters today. But the system's new CEO says commuters' interests will be driving what happens next for Metra.

It was a unanimous vote for Don Orseno. On Friday, the acting CEO became the actual CEO for Metra.

"It means a great deal," Orseno said.

Friday's vote by Metra's board is an effort to close a tumultuous chapter for the commuter rail system.

Four years ago, Metra's executive director Phil Pagano killed himself -- stood in front of a train as investigations of missing funds pointed toward him. And allegations made by the former CEO Alex Clifford resulted in more investigations and the resignation of several board members last year. In August, Orseno, a third-generation railroad worker, was asked to take the position of acting CEO. He recently showed off the system's GPS room and was up front with the board and public about the challenges and areas to improve after delays and missteps during the polar vortex.

Orseno began as a train engineer, like his father and grandfather. He says it was always his goal to run the system. He smiled briefly at the appointment but quickly back to the business at hand -- keeping an aging rail system safe, up to date and up to commuters expectations.