A city employee who manages finance and transportation issues and is guiding the city toward use of alternative fuels has been honored by the state Department of Transportation.
William E. Nichols Jr., general manager of River Valley Transit and the city's finance director, was presented in April with the 2012 Public Transportation Manager of the Year award at the Pennsylvania Public Transportation Administration conference held in Lancaster.
"I'm honored to have received this award," Nichols said. The award recognized him for taking over the daily management of the Endless Mountains Transportation Authority, after the sudden departure of the previous manager.
"His stepping in was critical to ensuring continuity of service for EMTA's riders," said Rick Mason, community relations coordinator for PennDOT District 3 based in Montoursville.
Nichols also secured state and federal financing without the use of tax money to build the $13 million Church Street Transportation Center, 11 Church St., an intermodal facility providing hundreds of paid and reserve parking spaces and hosting the Susquehanna Trailways terminal.
"His leadership as the driving force behind the Williamsport Intermodal Center has leveraged economic development in conjunction with public transportation enhancements to change the face of downtown Williamsport," Mason said in an email response.
PennDOT's Bureau of Public Transportation acknowledges his work with the local private sector to solve parking and transit issues is a model for managers statewide.
As the city looks toward the future, Nichols was commended for his commitment to promoting the use of clean, locally-produced compressed natural gas in transit.
Nichols said he anticipates savings of $500,000 alone by River Valley Transit buses and fleet vehicles switching over from diesel and gasoline to compressed natural gas.
PennDOT expects that this dedication should reap benefits for the community for years to come, according to Mason.
Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said Nichols does a fine job in the capacity of general manager of River Valley Transit and as city director of finance. "I am pleased to have him working with me."