The Rapid announces new Chief Executive Officer

First female CEO will begin her tenure on March 8

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The Rapid finalized the official hiring of Deborah Prato as its new Chief Executive Officer this week. The Rapid’s Board of Directors formalized the contract with Ms. Prato on Wednesday as part of their regular January meeting.

Prato will bring over 30 years of public sector experience to the role, including 10 years of executive team experience in public transportation. Her expertise in local government and public transit in the northeast positions her to hit the ground running at The Rapid as the agency continues its work to support pandemic recovery and growth in the region.

Stephen Kepley, Mayor of Kentwood and Chair of The Rapid’s Board of Directors, expressed optimism as The Rapid completed its search and hiring process. “Deborah Prato brings the necessary leadership experience and skills to guide and implement The Rapid’s planned services for meeting the needs of West Michigan for years to come,” stated Mayor Kepley. “The ITP Board members look forward to working with Deborah and welcome her to the community.”

Prato will officially begin her role as CEO on Monday, March 8, 2021.

“I am honored and humbled to be appointed CEO of The Rapid,” said Prato. “Together and alongside all of the dedicated employees at The Rapid, we have the talent to continue to deliver exceptional service to our customers and create extraordinary value by connecting our communities.”

The Rapid started the CEO search process in July 2020, at which time Win Irwin was hired to serve as Interim CEO. Irwin will be working with The Rapid’s Board of Directors, staff, and Prato to assist with the transition.

Grants Training in Ann Arbor

Grants Training in Ann Arbor, MI - March 15-16, 2021

Early bird discount and online options available!

Michigan Hillel at the University of Michigan and Grant Writing USA will present a two-day grants workshop in Ann Arbor, March 15-16, 2021. This training is for grant seekers across all disciplines. Attend this class and you'll learn how to find grants and write winning grant proposals.

Tuition is normally $455 but early registration discounts are available now through February 11, 2021. Seating is limited to accommodate appropriate social distancing, online reservations are necessary.

Register early by yourself and you'll receive an instant $50 off tuition. Register early as part of a group of 5 or more and you'll each receive an additional $50 discount. That means everyone in your group of 5 or more gets $100 off their tuition! Payment is not required at the time of enrollment.

Complete event details including learning objectives, class location, graduate testimonials and online registration are available here.

Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) National Grants

Now Open: 2021 Request for Applications
Deadline to Apply - March 16, 2021 (11:59 p.m. ET)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is excited to announce the availability of approximately $46 million in Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant funds to support projects aimed at reducing emissions from the nation's existing fleet of older diesel engines. Under this competition, between 40 and 70 awards are anticipated.

Eligible Entities

Eligible applicants include regional, state, local or tribal agencies, or port authorities, with jurisdiction over transportation or air quality. Nonprofit organizations may apply if they provide pollution reduction or educational services to diesel fleet owners or have, as their principal purpose, the promotion of transportation or air quality.

Informational Webinars: Request for Applications

2021 DERA National Grants

Pre-registration is not required for the webinars.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021; 1:00-2:00 p.m. (ET)
Join the Webinar
Dial-In: (202) 991-0477
Participant Code: 863 530 573#

Wednesday, February 3, 2021; 3:00-4:00 p.m. (ET)
Join the Webinar
Dial-In: (202) 991-0477
Participant Code: 609 539 899#

Thursday, February 11, 2021; 2:00-3:00 p.m. (ET)
Join the Webinar
Dial-In: (202) 991-0477
Participant Code: 451 189 144#

Free MTA Service is Extended

Good news, MTA is extending FREE rides each Sunday!!! MTA wants to make sure everyone is getting what they need to stay healthy, groceries, pharmacy, or even church visits.

Here is an updated list of services from MTA. Mass Transit Authority is now hiring drivers with every safety precaution taken. Temperatures are taken each day for all workers and passengers, Plastic is installed between driver and only ONE passenger per car and masks are provided for all.

Seniors and Veterans make the best employees and can work whatever hours work the best for them. Flexible hours and good pay, full and part time available. Great benefits for full time or receive extra money each month in leu of insurance benefits.

FREE Sunday services have been extended until March of this year along with reduced rates. Your Ride that picks you up at your home and takes you where you need to go in a car or SUV is only $2 right now.

We have just started our own podcast and would like to invite you to be our guest if you are interested.

Feel free to call with any questions, concerns or comments 810-444-0234

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