Thomas C. Lambert
President & Chief Executive Officer
“Transit today is really about building an environment where people feel comfortable and safe. It’s about creating walkable, livable communities, and connecting people to opportunities.”
— Tom Lambert
Tom Lambert joined METRO in 1979, the first full year of operation. He started as a security investigator because the transit authority was so new, it didn’t even have a police department. Once the METRO Department of Public Safety was established, Lambert became METRO’s first chief of police and served in that position for many years before moving on to other leadership roles. These included chief administrative officer, executive vice president, and acting president and CEO. He became the permanent CEO in 2014.
It is an impressive career trajectory, and Lambert’s kindly, straightforward, listen-to-all-sides approach to management and problem solving has served him well throughout his entire career.
Today, Lambert leads a team of 4,000 people. Since becoming president and CEO, Lambert has made taking care of his customers and “delivering a quality product every day” his personal priority, as well as the priority of every single department and employee. With that in mind, Lambert often rides a METRO bus or rail car to chat with riders and find out how the Agency is doing.
Lambert has been a proactive executive, presiding over the region’s expansion of light rail, commuter and local bus service, high-occupancy vehicle lanes, Park & Ride service, and a variety of neighborhood pilot and shuttle programs. He oversaw the overhaul and redesign of the local fixed route bus system in 2015 and demonstrated the importance of METRO in the Houston TranStar partnership during Hurricane Harvey.
But the challenges for METRO and Lambert now extend far beyond daily service and emergency response. Area population and traffic density has Houston on track to surpass Chicago as the nation’s third largest city by 2025. By 2040, our population is expected to reach 10 million, a 50 percent increase - equivalent to adding the combined populations of San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Corpus Christi, and Arlington.
“It’s going to take everything we can do to manage mobility in the region,” says Lambert. “That means complete streets, better sidewalks, better access, cycling, walking, and more toll roads. Transit’s going to play an extremely important role in that.”
In 2017, Lambert established the METRO Office of Innovation to actively search out and pilot innovative transit solutions. Also in 2017, he convened 25 community meetings, during which METRO executives, employees, and board members solicited input for METRONext, the new transit plan that will take METRO, and its riders, safely and rapidly into the future.
- METRO, Executive Vice President
- METRO, Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer
- METRO, Senior Vice President and Chief of Police
- Austin Police Department
Professional Associations and Activities
- Board Member, American Public Transportation Association (APTA)
- Board Member, METRO Alternate, Transportation Policy Council of the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC)
- Member, Texas Technology Task Force
- Member, Texas A&M Transportation Institute Advisory Council
Previous Industry Leadership Roles
- Advisory Committee, U.S. Department of Transportation, Intelligent Transportation Systems
- Chairman, Board of Directors Executive Committee, Intelligent Transportation Society of America
- Chairman, Public Safety Committee, American Public Transportation Association (APTA)
- Chairman, Peer Advisory Group, Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
- Chairman, Leadership Team, Houston TranStar
- Executive Board Member, FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force
- President and Member, Houston Area Chiefs of Police Association
- President and Graduate, 57th National Urban Mass Transportation Management Seminar, Northeastern University
- Associate Staff Instructor for Mass Transit Security Training, U.S. Department of Transportation, Transportation Safety Institute
- Faculty Advisory Committee Member, Urban Mass Transportation Administration Security
- Instructor, Command Course/Sam Houston State University Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas
Honors—Individual and Agency
- American Public Transportation Association (APTA), Outstanding Public Transportation Manager, 2018
- Texas Transit Association (TTA), Outstanding Metropolitan Transit System of the Year Award, 2017
- Texas Diversity Council, Corporate Diversity First Leadership Award, 2017
- American Public Transportation Association (APTA), Outstanding Public Transportation System Award, 2015
- U.S. Department of Transportation Safety Institute, Superior Performance Award
- Who’s Who in Law Enforcement
- Austin Police Department Life Saving Award
Education and Certifications
- Executive Training, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Boston, Massachusetts
- M.A., Public Administration, University of Houston, Houston, Texas
- B.A., Political Science, Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas