ST. LOUIS — The President and Chief Executive Officer of Bi-State Development has announced his departure to the Board of Commissioners.
John Nations, the President & Chief Executive Officer of of the organization since 2010, has informed the Board of Commissioners of his intention to leave the organization, effective this fall. Nations said he is announcing his departure now to give the Board adequate time to find a successor and guarantee a smooth transition.
Nations, the former mayor of Chesterfield, was first approached to become President & Chief Executive Officer in 2009, and later agreed to lead the successful 2010 Proposition A campaign in St. Louis County to provide funding for public transportation. He accepted the top position at Bi-State Development in October 2010 and has become the longest serving President and CEO in Bi-State Development’s history. Prior to joining Bi-State Development, he was a business, economic development, and real estate lawyer for more than 20 years.
Nations said he is grateful for the support he has had from the Board of Commissioners and the region over the years and that his contract has never been an issue.
Bi-State Development Board Chair Constance Gully touted Nations’ ability to make Bi-State Development “transformative.” “John Nations has done a tremendous job as our leader and we are very saddened to see him leave. He has been transformative for Bi-State Development and the entire St. Louis region,” Gully said in a statement. “His leadership has not only turned Metro Transit into a leader in the country in terms of efficiency and reliability, but he has made industry leaders out of all of our operating divisions while consistently leading Bi-State Development to clean financial and management audits.”
When Nations took over as President and Chief Executive Officer, Bi-State Development operated multiple enterprises: St. Louis Downtown Airport, the Gateway Arch Revenue Collections Center and Gateway Arch trams as well as two excursion riverboats on the Mississippi River, and the Metro Transit public transportation system. In 2014, Nations added two new Bi-State Development enterprises: the Bi-State Development Research Institute and the St. Louis Regional Freightway.
Board Commissioner and former St. Louis Mayor Vincent C. Schoemehl said he recruited Nationso provide visionary leadership so that Bi-State Development could fill a critical role in providing regional solutions to regional economic development challenges.
“It is a testament to his leadership that after all of these years, the only thing people complain about relating to Bi-State operations is something Bi-State Development does not control, which is the policing of MetroLink in Missouri,” Schoemehl said in a statement.
Nations in 2015 rebranded and re-established the organization as Bi-State Development to reflect its role as a top economic development driver for the bi-state region.
After more than 20 years in public life, Nations is leaving Bi-State Development after 20 years in public life so he can have more quality time with his family as well as pursue his many interests in legal and civic affairs.
“I look forward to being able to spend more evenings and weekends with family and friends,” Nations said.
Though he’ll be leaving soon, Nations said there are several key projects he wants to move toward completion in his final months.
“The new MetroLink station at Cortex will be open this summer, and it is the first transit project that is built partially with private funding,” he said. “A federal grant combined with Cortex and its partners have provided the funding for this critical piece of the system and it can serve as a new model on funding transit in the future.”