Assistant Director

Reports to:             HRCTD/CAT Board of Directors

Status:                     Full time Employee (Exempt)


Hood River County Transportation District, dba Columbia Area Transit (CAT) provides transit services in Hood River County and throughout Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge.  CAT has an established reputation as a successful, community oriented and well-run rural transit agency. The Agency has approximately 17 FTE, 15 vehicles, and an annual budget that is just under $2.5M.  Under the direction of a progressive Board, the Agency has upgraded their internal processes, hired professional staff and expanded their system to include the Columbia Gorge Express, the Gorge to Mountain Express and a variety of other local fixed, deviated fixed and circulator routes.   CAT has also taken the lead on several local and regional initiatives designed to enhance the Gorge regional transit network and is aggressively pursuing an innovative regional funding strategy known as the GOrge Pass.


HRCTD/CAT is seeking to hire an Assistant Director.  The Assistant Director position is a short-term temporary position created as part of the CAT Board Transition Plan for the current Executive Director who will retire in June 2022.  During the temporary period, the Assistant Director will work in concert with the Executive Director to enhance CAT’s governmental relations, marketing and outreach capacities (e.g. serving as the Agency’s representative and extensive contact with external agencies, groups and organizations as the agency begins the Transit Master Plan process and the GOrge Pass promotion) and learn the basic operational and management flow of the agency.

Once hired, the Assistant Director and the Executive Director would overlap full-time for the Assistant Director’s initial six-month probationary period at which point the Executive Director would reduce her hours to part-time (20 hrs. per week), with the bulk of her work load focused on the development of a Transit Master Plan Update and providing on-going support for the Assistant Director.  This would continue until June 2022, when the Transit Master Plan is slated to be complete and the current Executive Director retires.

After the six-month probationary period has ended and the Executive Director’s transition to part-time has occurred, the Assistant Director’s role in the Agency would shift.  The Assistant Director would take a more hands on day to day management and leadership role for the agency, while continuing to focus on agency partnerships and outreach. The position would continue to function in the Assistant Director role until July 1, 2022 when the position would be promoted, without any additional hiring process, into the Executive Director position.

The temporary Assistant Director position will be hired by the Board and the Executive Director and will report directly to the Executive Director during the full 1+ year transition, but will play a critical role as the staff/board liaison during the transition phase.   Once promoted to the Executive Director position in July 2022, the position would report directly to the CAT Board.


CAT is looking for an individual who is willing to work in a collaborative fashion with the existing Executive Director and staff to learn the position and shape the agency future. The ideal candidate must be flexible, creative, and able to take direction as well as lead.  The extended transition period is designed to allow the outgoing and incoming Executive Director positions to share information and work together with the Board to set the blueprint for the future.  It will also allow the Assistant Director (e.g. incoming Executive Director) to understand and value the existing workplace culture as well as gain the trust and respect of staff.

The candidate must be capable of being a positive ambassador for the organization, maintaining and building upon relationships with community partners, government agencies, and the general public.  Strong ties to or a solid understanding of the Gorge community and the urban/rural overlap would be helpful but is not required. CAT is looking for a person that has strong analytical skills; clear, articulate written and verbal communication skills; and a high degree of multi-tasking skills.

Solid financial skills (including the ability to create and develop a viable Agency budget each year) are also important as 1) CAT is a public agency and must act in the interests of the public; and, 2) CAT is dependent upon grant funding and must show grantors that they are capable of spending and managing funds in a responsible and effective way.   The ability to work with the Board in setting priorities, seeking grants, forming partnerships, and leveraging other resources will be critical.  Work is primarily performed in an office environment (some accommodation may be permitted during the COVID pandemic) with occasional meetings or conferences out-of-area, some requiring overnight stays.

The Board and staff will be seeking someone with a strong leadership ability who is approachable, a good listener, professional but informal, open to new technology, fair and friendly.  They will be looking for someone who can promote a positive team-oriented environment and is willing to respect and learn from the rest of the staff. Candidates should have human resource experience and possess an understanding of how to create and maintain an excellent and desirable working environment.  Drivers at the agency are part of the Amalgamated Transit Union bargaining unit and familiarity with and experience in labor negotiations is desirable.


  • Plan, organize, develop, expand and enhance the scope, type, efficiency, quality and variety of transit services provided by the Agency in response to community needs and customer requirements, in consideration of adopted Transit Plans and consistent with Board policies and directives.
  • Work collaboratively with the Board of Directors to formulate, develop and implement long and short- range goals and objectives for the Agency; develop proposals and make recommendations concerning Agency directions, services, funding, management and related issues.
  • Oversee hiring/firing; supervise, evaluate, and manage the performance of Agency staff and contractors; provide leadership and executive direction; review and evaluate the progress of management programs, projects and activities; delegate responsibility as appropriate and ensure staff development and training opportunities are provided.
  • Direct and manage collective bargaining negotiations for the Agency and work with the Board to set appropriate Human Resource policies for staff.
  • Provide Board support, attend and participate in a variety of meetings within the Agency and in the community; confer with Agency managers and personnel, local/regional public and regulatory agencies, transit officials, legislators, vendors, customers and others to exchange information and resolve complex management issues related to Agency services and operations. Coordinate with other transportation providers to optimize the use of resources.
  • Develop and project a positive image for the Agency; interact with media representatives and participate in interviews as required; prepare or approve news releases, public service announcements and advertising related to Agency services and special programs.
  • Respond to inquiries from external sources regarding Agency services, programs and projects; provide information concerning existing transit services and future plans; make presentations as needed for the promotion and education of transit services.
  • Ensure system and operation safety and risk management.
  • Prepare and review comprehensive narrative and statistical reports for the Board and regulatory agencies as required; provide historical information and current perspectives to facilitate informed decision-making; work in concert with the Board Chair to develop and distribute monthly agendas and materials for meetings of the Board or other Board Committees or groups as required.
  • Work with Board and staff to develop the Agency’s annual budget; review and analyze funding opportunities based on Board policies and priorities; secure supportive funding and grants; manage grants, comply with all state and federal regulatory requirements; ensure the application of sound fiscal management principles and practices, and the integrity of the Agency’s financial position.
  • Manage and advise staff in the preparation of specifications, bid documents, advertisements and other materials required for the purchase of operations, vehicles, equipment and services; ensure compliance with Board policies and applicable laws, ordinances and regulations; communicate with regulatory agencies, vendors and suppliers to ensure efficient procurement of goods and services. Oversee and ensure proper maintenance of Agency facilities and equipment.
  • Work with the Board and staff to development, monitoring and evaluation of Agency services; ensure the collection of customer and community feedback, including preparation, distribution and analysis of surveys, questionnaires and other customer input concerning the quality, availability and adequacy of transit services.
  • Ensure the preparation, maintenance, retention, storage and accessibility of Agency records and report.


While typically the position will work a traditional 8-5pm Monday – Friday work week, there may be times when weekend work or evening work is required.  Both the Executive Director and the Assistant Director are front line emergency management staff and may be called to address issues in the field or support frontline staff at any time of the day or night.


Any combination of experience and education which provides the applicant with the level of required knowledge and abilities will be considered.  A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, preferably in public administration, business, urban studies or a closely related field relative to public transportation is required.  A minimum of eight (8) years management experience is required and at least three (3) years of progressively responsible experience in public transportation, alternative transportation, or related field is preferred. Spanish speaking is preferred but not required.


  • $79,000 – $91,520/year DOQ
  • Vacation—negotiable
  • Holidays–9 paid
  • Sick Leave—12 days per year
  • Medical / Dental Allowance—paid (employee only)
  • Life Insurance–paid
  • Retirement Plan with Employer Matching Contributions— available with 3% match after 1 year


Applications will be accepted until Sunday January 6, 2021, but we encourage applicants to apply early. Applications will be screened internally as received, those meeting specified requirements for the position will be asked to interview for the position as early as mid-December.  The applicants selected for interviews could go through a total of three interviews (1st with the formal Interview & Hiring Panel; 2nd with a staff and community review panel; and, the final interview will again be with the formal Interview & Hiring Panel). After the second interview references will be checked.

CAT will not conduct a final interview with a candidate until all references can be formally verified and confirmed. CAT hopes to make a formal offer by early February.


TO APPLY Submit a cover letter, resume, and references.