Sound Transit announced that David H. Wright II will join the agency as chief safety officer. With more than 20 years of experience in transit and rail safety, he will play a critical role as Sound Transit expands its service, including more than doubling the reach of Link light rail by 2024 and continuing to develop new Stride bus rapid transit services and Sounder expansions.
Wright will be Sound Transit’s first chief safety officer, leading an intensified safety focus following the separation of the agency’s safety and quality assurance departments.
In addition to focusing on current transit operations and the largest transit construction program in the nation, including safety certification of six separate regional light rail extensions in the next four years. Wright will also oversee plans for the future resumption of Amtrak Cascades service on Point Defiance Bypass tracks that Sound Transit owns.
“My vision for Sound Transit in my role as Chief Safety Officer is to safeguard our customers, employees and assets,” said Wright. “We will accomplish this by actively managing risks, advancing a safe working and operating environment, and implementing an industry leading safety management system.”
Wright comes to Sound Transit after successes in leadership positions within the transit and transportation industries. As the corporate safety director at GOGO he was in charge of a global safety management system that complied with aviation safety requirements in more than 15 countries. While serving as the safety director at Holland LP, a prominent rail construction and services provider, Wright reconstructed their safety programs and significantly reduced their rates of injuries and incidents.
His career also included promotions to successively more pivotal safety roles during a 16 year tenure at the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), where he was responsible for investigating accidents and inspecting stations, garages and rails. In 2014, he was instrumental in bringing CTA departments together to implement new passenger safety protocols responding to a serious subway fire incident.
Wright received his Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Safety Management from Indiana State University. He is also a former captain of the Indiana State University football team.
“Sound Transit and our region’s commuters will be fortunate to benefit from David’s deep experience and commitment to ensuring that transit riders, workers and members of the public return home safely to their families each night,” said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. “There can be no compromise when it comes to safety, and David is the right leader to take our programs to the next level.”
Rogoff credited Sound Transit’s Moises Gutierrez for his steady and accomplished interim leadership of Sound Transit’s safety functions as the agency implemented a new organizational structure and strengthened its safety certification processes.