This week we welcome Alex Posorske as our new Executive Director. As our new Executive Director, Alex will be responsible for the overall strategic direction of our organization, our fundraising, and overseeing our campaigns for more quality transit for New Orleans.
We’re very excited to have Alex on board! You can check out his bio on our About page, but we also wanted to give you a sense of who he is. So we asked him a few questions about his background and have posted the answers below.
Where are you coming from?
I’ve worked the last five years as Managing Director at the Coalition for Smarter Growth in the Washington DC region. The Coalition for Smarter Growth does a lot of the same things that RIDE New Orleans does, but for the DC area. Advocacy and education around improved transit was a big part of our mission. During my time there, we focused on implementing a dedicated bus lane on one of the region’s busiest bus corridors, planning a suburban Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network, and bringing officials and residents together to improve the Metro system, which has fallen on some hard times recently, due to deferred maintenance, among other problems.
We also worked on equitable development – helping to make sure that DC’s phenomenal construction boom would leave the city with more homes that would be affordable for families in the long run.
I played a role in the strategy around all of those campaigns. My role also centered around staff management, fundraising, and working with our Champions Council (akin to a Board of Directors) to help grow the organization.
How did you get into this work?
Growing up in the DC region, I went to a public high school that was 45 minutes by transit and 60 minutes plus by school bus. So, of course, I took transit almost every day. Most days I’d take the same bus, about five miles to my home. Every once in a while, I’d splurge and take the Metro several stops, before transferring onto a bus for the final leg of the trip.
Taking transit was not only more convenient – it was my first taste of freedom and being completely responsible for my personal mobility outside of my neighborhood – instead of having to rely on an adult. That was a great feeling and has stuck with my ever since.
I started working on political campaigns soon after college. But after a while, there’s only so much change you can affect from the world of electoral politics so I began gravitating toward advocacy. Working first at the Coalition for Smarter Growth and now RIDE has helped me to merge that passion for change with that love for transit.
What do you love about transit?
Two main things come to mind.
First, as I noted above, quality transit means freedom – no matter who you are. Quality transit means you can get where you need to do, when you need to go there, without the cost and burden of a car. That’s a really amazing concept and worth fighting for.
Second, transit should be one of our great equalizers. Many people can’t afford other means of transportation but transit is there to make sure they can get to work, to the doctor’s office, to pick up their kids, and any other number of every day things you just have to do. Transit is what is there to make sure that you can take advantage of opportunities to create a better situation for you or your family and take care of basic needs in the meantime.
What are you most excited about with RIDE New Orleans?
Working with everyone connected with RIDE. The people at RIDE – staff, board, and volunteers – are among the friendliest and most dedicated people I’ve had a chance to work with in a long time. That makes me really excited about continuing our work to build support for more quality transit and to help make an amazing, unique city like New Orleans even more walkable and accessible.
What most scares you?
Filling the shoes of (outgoing ED) Rachel Heiligman is a daunting task! Rachel’s done amazing work here and deserves the highest praise for what she’s been able to accomplish.
Fortunately, Rachel will still be around. She’ll be consulting with us for the next several months to help with the transition. And she’s promised us that she’ll stay involved with RIDE and the push for more quality transit in NOLA!
What’s your favorite transit line in New Orleans so far?
Right now it’s the 91! My fiancée (who will be teaching HS English this fall) and I are renting a place in the 7th Ward. I can walk a few blocks to Esplanade and take the 91 right to the RIDE office in Central City. That accessibility is a great example of what transit should be able to be for everyone!