Orange Country Transportation Authority (OCTA), Calif.
When he was with Caltrans, Will Kempton delivered a record-setting 1,087 out of 1,088 projects on time in five years. So much for the department's reputation for being slow.
Now, Kempton oversees a countywide bus and paratransit service; Metrolink rail service; the 91 Express Lane toll facility; freeway, street, and road improvements; and motorist aid service.
OCTA Deputy CEO Darrell Johnson says Kempton's guidance helped him become a well-rounded manager — strategic planning, measuring performance, delegating, capital program delivery, labor negotiations, and compassion toward employees during tough economic times.
Johnson met Kempton in 2008 as part of a regional effort to improve intercity and commuter passenger rail service in the San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles rail corridor. When Kempton was hired as CEO a year later, Johnson was the executive director of OCTA's Rail Division and one of Kempton's six direct reports. In March 2010, Kempton promoted Johnson to deputy CEO.
“Will continues to inspire me to do my best,” says Johnson. “He's given me great opportunities to show my skills, but at the same time pursue ‘stretch goals' for myself and my team. He's allowed me to continue to pursue items of interest while exposing me to areas that are completely new to me and allowing me to have significant input into the development of his strategic direction.”