2021 Conference Speaker Bios

Nathaniel P. Ford Sr.

Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA)

Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. is Chief Executive Officer of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) and past Chair of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). His distinguished career spans nearly four decades, including tenures as CEO of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority.

Ford is a champion of multimodal transportation, walkable neighborhoods, public-private partnerships and transit-oriented development; and known for industry-leading insights and thought leadership on international transportation issues from trade and study missions around the world.

Ford was awarded the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Outstanding Public Transportation Manager for 2020, and has received numerous awards for his transformational programs and initiatives, including the White House Champion of Change. He was named “Ultimate CEO” by the Jacksonville Business Journal, inducted into the First Coast Business Hall of Fame and was honored with the 2019 “Thought Leader” Award by The Eno Center for Transportation. Under Ford’s leadership, the JTA was recognized as the winner of the 2016 APTA Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award.

In the eight years he has been in Jacksonville, Ford was chairman of the City of Jacksonville’s 2015 “Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes” campaign and the 2016 recipient of the Jacksonville Urban League’s Clanzel T. Brown Sr. Award. He was also recognized by the Jacksonville Council of the Blind at its 2016 annual White Cane Ball.

Ford serves on the boards of several nonprofits, including chair of the Board of Directors for Goodwill Industries. He is a past member of the United Way Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees for Daniel Kids.

Ford serves as vice chair for the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) Executive Committee and is the incoming Chair for 2022. His role at TRB includes serving as chair of the International Activities Subcommittee. Ford also represents the JTA on the JAX Chamber Board of Directors and is a member of the Jacksonville University Master in Public Policy Minority Fellowship Board of Advisors. He serves as member of the Executive Advisory Board of the SMART Mobility Laboratory Consortium. He is the past chair and a current member of TEAMFL’s Board of Directors.

Under Ford’s leadership, JTA employees have embraced community causes including the Clara White Mission to feed the homeless and Sulzbacher Village. Through the JTA Cares initiative, JTA employees have also established “Career Closets” for men and women that provide professional attire so they can seek new employment.  The Authority has also started an internship program to prepare college students for careers in transportation.

Ford holds an Executive MBA from the Davis School of Business at Jacksonville University and a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in organizational leadership from Mercer University. He is a graduate of the Executive Development Consortium Program at Emory University, and has completed executive training at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is a graduate of Leadership Florida (2015) and Leadership Jacksonville (2014).

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