News / Published on Oct 3, 2023

Community Transit names Roland Behee as Chief Operating Officer and Melissa Cauley as Chief Planning and Development Officer

Long-time employees will play key roles as agency prepares to expand service
Roland Beehee (pictured left) and Melissa Cauley (pictured right)

Community Transit veterans Roland Behee and Melissa Cauley will play key roles on the agency’s Executive Leadership Team following appointments announced today by CEO Ric Ilgenfritz. Behee will serve as Chief Operating Officer and Cauley as Chief Planning and Development Officer.


“Roland Behee and Melissa Cauley’s deep and proven knowledge and dedication to public transportation and the communities of Snohomish County make them unparalleled choices for these key roles in which they will advance system expansions that make our services even more transformative,” Ilgenfritz said.


Behee has served Community Transit for 25 years and Cauley for 16 years. Both have successfully executed their now permanently appointed roles on an acting basis for the last six months. Their accomplishments include preparations to open the new Swift Orange bus rapid transit (BRT) line in spring and to implement transformative network expansions when Sound Transit’s Link light rail extension to Lynnwood opens in September.


Behee — a lifelong Everett resident who previously led the agency’s Planning and Development Department — brings deep knowledge of the agency’s service territory and customers’ needs. Recent leadership accomplishments have included standing up new security and sustainability initiatives while providing executive leadership to the agency’s work to evaluate and procure contracted transit services.


“We have so many committed and amazing employees in Operations,” Behee said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to work with them and excited to help lead implementation of the transit system improvements we are bringing to Snohomish County.”


After joining Community Transit in 1998 as a geographic information systems coordinator, Behee rose through a series of key roles leading Community Transit’s strategic planning as the agency’s services and ridership greatly expanded. His critical contributions have spanned service planning; development of capital projects, including the agency’s Swift BRT system; asset management; research; and maintaining close coordination with local, regional and state government agencies.


Before joining Community Transit, Behee worked eight years as a planner for the City of Everett. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Geography from Western Washington University.


Cauley’s recent successes at Community Transit include leading the agency’s design and construction activities, planning efforts supporting the Community Transit Board’s adoption of Transit Changes in 2024 and Beyond service expansion that will get underway next year, and major improvements to long-range planning and data collection and reporting.


“I am honored to serve our agency leading the amazing Planning and Development Team and to work alongside a talented and dedicated Executive Leadership Team,” Cauley said. “Our work makes a difference in the quality of life for our community, and I am so happy to be a part of that work.”


Cauley grew up in Snohomish County and graduated from Monroe High School. She joined Community Transit in 2007 as the manager of the agency’s grants program, securing critical support for expanding operations, before earning promotions to manage regional programs and projects, including leading the expansion of Community Transit’s Swift BRT network. Her successes led to her appointment as Deputy Director of Planning and Development, and she excelled in leading the department after Behee switched his focus to leading the agency’s operations.


Prior to joining Community Transit, Cauley managed a Planned Parenthood clinic in Marysville, administered grants for the Eastern Washington town of Twisp, and served as executive director of a social service organization in Twisp. Cauley earned a bachelor’s degree in human services from Western Washington University and a master’s in public administration from the University of Washington.


“I am tremendously grateful to Roland and Melissa for their leadership and readiness to continue advancing their critical responsibilities,” Ilgenfritz said. “Their appointments complete our Executive Leadership Team, and I am excited about the depth and balance we now have at the executive level. As we get ready to enter a historic year under their capable leadership, we have the right team in place to achieve an exciting future that we will ensure remains grounded in our values and laser-focused on excellent service.”