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New VRE Director chosen

The two governing bodies that oversee the Virginia Railway Express have named Rich Dalton as the commuter rail system’s CEO. Dalton, who was appointed VRE’s acting CEO in November will lead VRE, navigating the current pandemic and ensuring future growth. In hiring Dalton, the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission and Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission affirmed the recommendation of the VRE Operations Board.

“Rich’s decades of experience and railroad savvy make him the ideal candidate for the position,” said Spotsylvania Supervisor Gary Skinner, chairman of  the VRE Operations Board.  “His leadership and vision will not only allow our commuter rail system to weather the challenges presented by the current health crisis but to emerge a stronger organization, well positioned for future growth.”

“The search for the next VRE CEO drew interest from rail professionals from across the United States,” said Katie Cristol, the Arlington County Board member who chaired the CEO Search Committee. “In this national search, Rich stood out on the basis of his unparalleled expertise in the operations of VRE and its partner agencies and his vision for the future of the system.”

”I am excited to lead VRE as we execute our strategic objectives for safety, complete customer satisfaction, prudent fiscal management, system growth, and a healthy corporate culture,” said Dalton. “VRE is comprised of a world class staff and we will continue to work closely with our valued stakeholders and other partners to provide a world class service.”

Dalton has been with VRE for 11 years as deputy CEO and chief operating officer and, more recently, acting CEO. He previously served as acting CEO in 2012. Among his accomplishments, Dalton led VRE’s multi-year effort to implement positive train control (PTC), a federally mandated safety technology. In April 2019, VRE became the nation’s sixth rail system to operate under PTC.

Prior to joining VRE, Dalton spent 19 years in private industry with a global leader in passenger and freight rail. He is a military veteran, having served as a petty officer in the U.S. Navy. Dalton holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business administration from Sam Houston State University.


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