Former CEO of Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority Who Turned a Failing Business Around in Unprecedented Ways
Massachusettes, United States
Mark Aesch, the former CEO of the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA), has nearly two decades of strategic leadership experience. Under his leadership at the RGRTA, deficits were eradicated and replaced with surpluses, reliance on taxpayer subsidies was reduced, demand for service increased, and in an unprecedented move, the fare was actually lowered after remaining stable for over a decade. Aesch is currently a thought leader at the Boston Consulting Group, an international consulting company. In his presentations, Aesch addresses his management and business strategies and his turnaround story.
Leadership Lessons from a Successful Turnaround. When Aesch became the CEO of RGRTA, the company had a $27.7 million budget deficit (with a total budget of $70 million), and he was told that the company would not survive unless he did all of the following: raise fares 40 percent across the board, reduce service by 65 percent, double fares on the disabled, and axe a quarter of the workforce. Aesch, however, did none of those things. Mr. Aesch focused on transforming the business from the bottom up, creating buy-in among the employees and treating the riders like customers instead of mere passengers. By doing so, he eliminated the deficit and instead created a $34.5 million surplus, grew the organization (the budget is now $85 million), increased the number of passengers by 20 percent (a rate which is 50 percent higher than the national average), and lowered fares to $1.
Aesch’s efforts to affect industry change by operating government more like a business has been covered in the New York Times, Governing Magazine, and on National Public Radio and other traditional and electronic media.
Aesch is also the author of best-selling Driving Excellence, a book on successful high-performance public sector management. Today, Mark’s executive coaching program guides participants step by step through the Driving Excellence organizational transformation process.