Monday, May 07, 2018

Don Billen to lead Sound Transit’s project development department

Written by 
Don Billen to lead Sound Transit’s project development department Sound Transit

Sound Transit has promoted Don Billen to executive director of the Planning Environment and Project Development (PEPD) department.

Billen previously served as PEPD's deputy director and since September 2017 as its acting executive director. He will be responsible for leading the PEPD in long-range planning and advancing voter-approved capital projects from the earliest stages through environmental review and preliminary engineering. During the project development process, PEPD defines station and alignment locations, access improvements, station area plans and sustainability features. The department works closely with partner organizations, community members and internal design, engineering, construction and operation staff. Other responsibilities include, but are not limited to, leading the agency's environmental compliance, transit oriented development, innovation and sustainability efforts.

"While deeply rooted in the successes of our past, Don has played an instrumental role in shaping the agency's plans to retool our agency, culture and processes as we implement the largest transit capital expansion program in the nation," said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. "The System Expansion Implementation Plan that Don and his peers from other departments established sets a more collaborative and strategic paradigm for advancing ambitious and simultaneous system expansions to the north, south, east and west"

Sound Transit says Billen has "grown up" at the agency, which he joined in 1996 as a graduate intern before being hired to a permanent role following the voter adoption of Sound Move. Billen's other positions have included systems integration project coordinator; project manager for the Capitol Hill and Beacon Hill light-rail stations; program manager for the East Link light-rail extension and director of the Office of Capital Project Development.

"I am greatly honored to serve the people of our region in this role as we work to build sustainable communities by expanding high capacity transit" Billen said. "It is an exciting time for public transit and transit oriented development in our region."

Billen holds master's degrees in public administration and transportation systems from the University of Washington. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Earlham College in Richmond, Ind., and is a 2009 graduate of the American Public Transportation Association Leadership Program.