Although he would not be able to enjoy the new building, Josh Baker, outgoing general manager of the Greater Lynchburg Transit Company, promised colleagues he would return to sit in the office—at least for a minute or two.
“I’ll be back. I’ll come visit for sure,” Baker said.
The GLTC Board of Directors said its farewells to Baker during a meeting and a reception held in his honor Wednesday.
Baker has held the position of GLTC general manager since January 2015, and his last day in the position is Friday. Baker will begin serving as the general manager and CEO of the Alexandria Transit Company on Feb. 6.
Assistant General Manager John Rayman is set to serve as GLTC’s interim general manager until Baker’s successor is in place.
GLTC’s general manager and assistant general manager are employees of Cincinnati-based First Transit. First Transit vets new general managers, who then are presented to GLTC’s board of directors for review.
A closed session was held to discuss a personnel matter Wednesday, after which Board President Peggy Whitaker said GLTC anticipates having a new general manager within a month’s time.
In a change of scenery, the board of directors held its meeting in GLTC’s new operations and maintenance facility that currently is under construction on Bradley Drive.
During the open session, Whitaker commended Baker and said the meeting in the new facility was made possible because of Baker’s hard work.
“As I’ve said more than once in public, you are a rising star,” Whitaker said at the reception.
Board member and Lynchburg City Manager Bonnie Svrcek said Baker’s leadership has brought “incredible confidence” to Lynchburg City Council and city staff.
“I guess grabbing hold to his ankles and begging him to stay is out of the question,” board Vice President Glenn McGrath said.
GLTC’s current operations and maintenance facilities are located at 1301 and 1305 Kemper St. Company officials have said the current headquarters is too small and the maintenance area insufficient.
The two-parcel property is listed for sale for $1.1 million.
Construction began on the new 52,000-square-foot operations and maintenance facility on a roughly 12-acre lot on Bradley Drive in May 2015. Total construction costs are $18.8 million.
The building originally was set to reach substantial completion in December, but that milestone was delayed because of the presence of rock that was more extensive than previously anticipated and weather delays.
Substantial completion is expected to occur in February.
In a space assessment that was presented to Lynchburg City Council earlier this month, the two parcels used by GLTC for its current operations and maintenance facilities was suggested as a potential site for a new facility for the Lynchburg Police Department. The police department currently is experiencing space constraints as it operates from multiple buildings in the downtown area.
After the meeting, Svrcek said the city is evaluating the potential use of GLTC’s current administrative space on Kemper Street for components of the police department that currently operate out of the department’s aging West building, which was a former church.