Mayor Indya Kincannon has appointed Isaac Thorne to be the Knoxville’s new Director of Transit. Thorne is currently the Chief Executive Officer for Connect Transit in Normal, Illinois.
“Isaac has a winning track record in the transit industry,” Mayor Kincannon said. “He is an innovative leader who never loses sight that public transit is a customer-focused service.
“I am also confident that he is the right person to continue to move KAT toward an all-electric fleet as part of our City’s sustainability strategy.”
Over the past several years, KAT has expanded its alternative fuel options, and now nearly a third of the fleet consists of hybrid electric vehicles.
Thorne will be moving here after nearly 13 years with Connect Transit, where, prior to serving as CEO, he served as Chief Operating Officer, Interim Transportation Director, Procurement Director and Operations Manager.
“I am excited to be working with the employees of the City of Knoxville, Knoxville Area Transit and most importantly, our customers,” Thorne said.
“It is an honor to be trusted to lead an exceptional transit system that has been nationally recognized in the beautiful City of Knoxville.”
Thorne was instrumental in helping to transform his current employer into the 2015 American Public Transportation Association Outstanding Public Transit System of the Year. That same year, he was also named to the prestigious list of Mass Transit Top 40 Under 40.
Thorne succeeds Transit Director Dawn Distler, who left in 2018 to direct a larger regional transit system in Akron, Ohio, and Interim Director Melissa Roberson, who will return to her position as KAT’s Chief Administrative Officer.
“Melissa has done a tremendous job advancing KAT’s place as an industry leader,” Mayor Kincannon said. “I thank her and appreciate all her hard work, especially during the recent challenges of COVID-19.”
Thorne’s first day will be August 31.