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Atlanta transit manager CEO Jeffrey Parker dies of suicide at the train station

Jeffrey Parker, who headed the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority during a time of expansion and then during the pandemic in which the number of public transport passengers plunged, has died, the agency said.

A spokesman for the agency, Stephany Fisher, said Parker died of suicide when he was hit by a train at East Lake Station in DeKalb County around 10:30 p.m. Friday.

"He was a unique leader and steward of MARTA, whose passing leaves us all heartbroken," said MARTA President Rita Scott in a statement posted on the agency's website. "We are devastated by this loss as we valued Jeff's leadership and looked forward to bringing his vision of transit to life. The entire Atlanta Metro Region owes him a debt of gratitude for his transformation efforts and we will not stop working. to build on the foundation he created. "

Others expressed their sympathy, including Governor Brian Kemp, who tweeted that Parker "had an incredible mind for transportation and logistics and a heart for people."

Parker was a nationally recognized transportation manager. On her website, MARTA said Parker had more than 35 years of experience in the transportation industry. During his career, he served as a commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Transportation and held leadership positions during his 20-year tenure at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

According to the website, Parker was consistently recognized as one of Atlanta's most influential leaders, most recently named among Atlanta Magazine's Most Powerful People of 2020 and Atlanta Business Chronicle's Power 100: Most Influential Atlantans of 2020. Parker was also recognized in 2019 by the Atlanta Chapter of Women's Transportation Seminar as "Man of the Year" for his strong record of hiring and promoting women in the transportation industry.

In his nearly four years as leader of MARTA, the 55-year-old Parker oversaw expansion plans in Atlanta and Clayton County, according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution. The newspaper also pointed to his "solid performance" during the 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta, where hundreds of thousands drove trains en route to and from the game and other Super Bowl-related events.

While helping negotiate a new employment contract that resulted in 3% annual wage increases for workers, he also helped guide MARTA during the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most challenging times for MARTA and transportation agencies around the country. , as the number of passengers plummeted and diseases among employees increased.

On Saturday, MARTA's board voted unanimously to appoint Collie Greenwood as the agency's interim general manager and chief executive officer. Greenwood joined MARTA in 2019 as head of bus operations and was promoted to deputy director of operations in January last year, according to a press release from the agency.

If you or someone you know may be at risk of suicide, there is help. Call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text to a crisis counselor at 741741 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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