Eastern Sierra Transit Authority
John Helm is the initial Executive Director of the Eastern Sierra Transit Authority. The Authority was formed and began operation in 2007 as a joint powers agreement between the City of Bishop, the Town of Mammoth Lakes, and the Counties of Inyo and Mono, and spans a service area stretching 400 miles from Lancaster in Los Angeles County to Reno, Nevada. The Authority's service area includes remote, extremely low population density communities, a mid-sized town offering both local fixed route and demand response service, and a world-class ski resort in which the local population increases by five-fold during peak seasons.
John Helm has been actively involved in the passenger transportation industry since 1983, at which time he assumed the direction of The Lift, a local fixed route shuttle bus service in Winter Park, Colorado. From this humble beginning, in which he gained hands on experience with every facet of transit operations, Mr. Helm has progressed through a series of project, area, regional, and executive management positions in the passenger transportation field. Previous to his current position, Mr. Helm served as the Deputy Executive Director for Access Services Inc., the agency responsible for ADA complementary paratransit service for all of Los Angeles County. Access Services provides nearly 2.5 million passenger trips per year, serving 70,000 registered riders within a service area of 1,700 square miles and a population in excess of 10 million.
Mr. Helm has worked in executive management positions with several private transportation contracting companies including, DAVE Transportation, Laidlaw Transit Services, Ryder Student Transportation, and Transportation Concepts. These positions included scopes of responsibility for regions encompassing 30 operating locations, over 700 vehicles and more than 1,200 employees throughout the western United States. In these positions, Helm was responsible for all facets of the operating companies including, contracted operations, management development, safety procedures, fleet maintenance policy, customer relations, contract compliance, human resources, budget & finance, and business development.
In addition to these management positions, Helm has also operated his own independent transit consulting firm. As a consultant, he had direct experience in developing and presenting training programs for various transit organizations including the Orange County Transportation Authority in Orange, California; Access Services, Inc. in Los Angeles, California; Van Tran in Tucson, Arizona; the Texas Transit Association; and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Center for Transportation Education. Helm has also developed and presented the "Managing the Operation Effectively" course for the Transit and Paratransit Management Program offered in conjunction with Pepperdine University and the University of the Pacific. His course is one of the core courses of the management certificate series, a semester-long certificate program providing comprehensive training for transit professionals in California. The program is jointly sponsored by the California Association for Coordinated Transportation (CalACT), Access Services, Inc. (ASI), the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).
Helm is an active member of a number of industry related organizations and has presented break-out training sessions at several of the recent bi-annual conferences sponsored by CalACT. In addition, he has delivered presentations at conferences presented by the California Association of Adult Day Services (CAADS) and the California School Boards Association (CSBA).