Each spring Columbus Business First recognizes 40 individuals under 40 for their leadership in the public and private sectors throughout Central Ohio. MORPC is proud to have Thea Walsh, MORPC’s Director of Transportation Systems and Funding and Rory McGuiness, MORPC’s Vice Chair and Deputy Director for Administration for the City of Columbus’ Department of Development make the 2017 list.
Thea Walsh is one of the youngest regional transportation directors in the country at a major planning organization. Over the past year, Walsh led a transportation team and assisted in organizing an effort that secured a semi-finalist position for the Midwest Connect project in the Hyperloop One Global Competition. The Midwest Connect Hyperloop corridor is a proposed freight and passenger transportation corridor between Chicago and Pittsburgh via Columbus. Hyperloop technology is a new mode of transportation that moves freight and people quickly, safely, on-demand and direct from origin to destination.
Walsh manages a large technical team, staffs several community boards, and runs services touching MORPC’s 15-county region. With an annual program budget of $33 million, Walsh leads transportation projects and services that are changing the fabric of Central Ohio’s transportation system for the better.
Through his leadership at the city and at MORPC, Rory McGuiness was a driving force in Columbus winning the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge last year. Smart Columbus will deliver an unprecedented multimodal transportation system that will not only benefit the residents of Columbus, but all of Central Ohio.
McGuiness oversees and coordinates the Department of Development’s activities of the Fiscal, Human Resources, Public Information, Technology, and Legislative Affairs areas. These areas provide the administrative support needed to execute the core missions of the department. From 2012 to 2015, Rory served as a Special Assistant and then Deputy Chief of Staff to Mayor Michael B. Coleman and was the liaison to the Departments of Development, Building & Zoning Services, Public Service, and Recreation & Parks.
“We are extremely proud to have Thea and Rory as leaders on our MORPC team,” said William Murdock, MORPC’s Executive Director. “Their special contribution to the organization and our board consistently brings steady, informed expertise and new ideas to make MORPC a better place to work and to make us a stronger organization in our service to Central Ohio.”