Deputy Chief Executive Officer
“Working with a team of people with diverse perspectives and talents is what makes this job fun. We have a unique opportunity to do things differently, think outside the box, and be as creative as we want to be.”
— Thomas Jasien
Thomas Jasien moved to Houston in 2000 after an extensive career in Washington, D.C. He was part of the White House advance team during President George H. W. Bush’s second vice-presidential term. After that, he was involved in Bush’s successful presidential campaign. He later served as a presidential appointee at the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration. From there, he went on to coordinate congressional advocacy activities for the state of New Jersey, where he served as the director of the New Jersey Governor’s Office in Washington, D.C. He also held key staff positions with a government relations consulting firm, a major trade association, and the United States Senate.
His combination of experiences made Jasien exactly the right person in 2000 to manage METRO’s government affairs and community outreach. This role required the tact of a diplomat, the people skills of a politician, and the enthusiasm of a promoter. Also needed was a sophisticated understanding of the intricate legislative and regulatory processes of all three levels of government - federal, state, and city.
Jasien’s tenure at METRO includes many highlights, but the standout moment was “getting public approval of the 2003 referendum…all the experts said it couldn’t be done.” Voters in that referendum approved a large-scale expansion of METRORail and bus services, sending a clear message that they cared about public transportation, and they wanted more of it.
That expansion has been comprehensive and complex. Throughout, Jasien has made sure that METRO is well-represented at all three levels of government. He has carefully monitored proposed legislation on behalf of METRO riders and kept community-based organizations updated and engaged in METRO’s plans. “Our program is set up so that we are strategically embedded directly in the community. We value community relationships and work hard to understand rider needs and wants,” says Jasien.
In 2014, Jasien assumed the office of deputy CEO. He also oversees the departments of Public Engagement, Government Affairs, and Ridership Services, all key to promoting METRO services and priorities. “Public involvement is part of the development of an updated regional transit plan,” says Jasien, referring to METRONext, the new plan in progress. “That plan will have a major impact on the way area residents live and work.”
Increasingly more people view bus and rail as their preferred mode of transportation—largely due to the outreach efforts of Jasien and his team. Jasien’s enthusiastic advice to a nervous public transit novice is, “Ask someone! Most of our drivers and customers like to help.” He also likes to remind people, “There are more than 9,000 destinations to visit in Houston using public transit.”
Jasien is married, has three children, and a dog. His favorite view of Houston is the skyline from the Burnett Station on the Red Line.
Professional Associations and Activities
- Board Member, Texas Transit Association
- Member, Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
- B.A., Economics, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland