VRE Chief Exec Officer to Retire in June
VRE says goodbye to its first CEO.
The first CEO in the history of the Virginia Railway Express is set to resign from his post in June, VRE officials announced Wednesday. Dale Zehner's last day on the job he's held for more than eight years is June 30, according to a press release from the agency. Zehner, a former U.S. Navy captain, joined VRE in May 1995 as the manager of Budget and Finance. He quickly rose through the ranks and assumed duties as director of Planning, Customer Service, Marketing and Public Affairs before becoming Chief of Staff in 2001.
In August 2003, he was appointed acting Chief Operating Officer by the VRE's board before becoming the agency's first CEO less than a year later. VRE officials said Zehner used the message, “One Vision, One Voice," to introduce a customer-centric philosophy that has become the hallmark of the VRE. During his tenure, Zehner supervised a series of VRE-advancing projects such as the acquisition of new railcars and locomotives, transitioning a new rail service operator and growing the core business in the face of fiscally challenging times, according to a press release issued Wednesday. “In these rough economic times, the VRE Operations Board and management team have brought stability and credibility to VRE by making every dollar count, delivering on a promise to complete capital projects on time and under budget and refusing to settle for anything less than world-class service for our riders,” Zehner said in the release. He also expressed his thanks for the VRE Operations Board, staff and partners, calling them, “a talented and dedicated group of people.”
VRE Operations Board Chairman Wally Covington accepted Zehner’s resignation, but said he was sadden by his departure. “Mr. Zehner was deeply committed to achieving excellence in our daily operation while also maintaining the concept that we should not sacrifice first-rate service for our customers,” Covington said. “I am proud to have served on the Board while Mr. Zehner was our CEO because he brought integrity and distinction to our entire operation ... I would like to thank Mr. Zehner for his years of service to VRE, to us here in the local jurisdictions as well as with the Commonwealth. His energy, passion, and dedication were a testament to his character and professionalism. We were extremely fortunate to have him for as long as we did.”