Among the most pressing challenges for Randy Kyrias a few years ago was navigating the congested freeways of southern California and managing a medical transport company.
Eight years and about 900 miles later his greatest challenge is to help public agencies, rural cities and growing urban areas cope with the prospects of congestion similar to what he left behind.
The new administrator of ITD’s Division of Public Transportation left the Irvine, Calif., area in 1999 for Idaho’s less hectic pace. He spent the first few years in the Treasure Valley as a consultant before joining Valley Regional Transit (which operates Valley Ride) in 2003.
As deputy director at VRT, Kyrias became familiar with the role Public Transportation plays in administering grants and shaping the development of Idaho’s rapidly developing rural transportation providers. Now he’s ready to lead the effort.
The most important task he faces is “defining our role in the future of public transit. It is changing dramatically... what is our role in that change?” he asks. “As the state becomes less rural and more urbanized, what part will we play? The demands are changing, especially with the rising cost of fuel, the need for security...
people are coming into the state and they bring new expectations. The
more dense areas become (in terms of population), the more we will need
public transportation options.”
“I see us as being the old friend that can offer some sage wisdom,” he said of the process. “Sometimes we need to serve as a facilitator, bringing people and programs together.“
At the same time, ITD is attempting to better understand how its highway function can come together with public transportation and how the two can help address crowding on Idaho’s highways and ensure that people in rural areas who don’t drive maintain access to critical services, such as health care, education and shopping.
His personal priority in the months ahead is to build relationships statewide – to meet service providers and clients and learn about their needs at all levels. Kyrias also wants to build a statewide vision and strategy that will help the division, service providers and Metropolitan Planning Organizations move forward, based on public outreach and interaction.
The Transportation Department has a wealth of history, knowledge and expertise that will aid in his transition. “I’m surprised at the longevity and depth of institutional knowledge of the people here,” he said. “I get a real sense of ITD culture; it’s hard to explain, but it’s part of what ITD is, and I look forward to being part of it.”
Kyrias, 46, earned a bachelor’s degree in management from Pepperdine University (Malibu, Calif.) in 1992 and followed with a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Southern California four years later. He succeeded Larry Falkner as Public Transportation Division administrator earlier this month.