The Capital Metro board selected Dottie Watkins on Jan. 30 as the next president and CEO to lead the Austin metro transit agency.

“It is a complete honor to accept this position—I grew up in this organization; I grew up in the city, and I feel like the city has grown up with me, and so to be able to take such a great leadership role for our community is very meaningful to me,” said Watkins, who has served as the interim CEO since June during the selection process.

Watkins, who is from Austin, served as a part-time bus operator in 1994 while she pursued her degree at The University of Texas, according to a Capital Metro press release said. She worked her way up serving in multiple roles such as deputy CEO, chief customer officer/chief operating officer and vice president of bus operations and maintenance.

“When she ran operations, and served as the interim, she reached out into the community [consistently] and went to meet the community in community rather than just inviting community members here,” Board Chair Jeffrey Travillion said.

Cap Metro went through a nationwide search and hired Krauthammer and Associates, an executive search firm, to look for a new CEO and president in spring 2022 when the then-CEO Randy Clark announced his departure for a position in Washington, D.C. The board narrowed down 11 applicants out of 50 from a nationwide search and then selected Dorothy Lancaster Watkins as their top choice.

“She was head and shoulders above anybody else that we interviewed for this position,” Board Member Eric Stratton said.