Reedley resident takes front seat at FCTA

Terry Ogle becomes fourth executive director of Fresno County Transportation Authority in 37 years

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Darren Fraser
Published February 20, 2024  • 
10:00 am

FRESNO COUNTY – After what it described as an extensive recruiting effort, the Fresno County Transportation Authority (FCTA) has chosen a Reedley resident to be its new executive director.

In a Feb. 16 press release, FCTA announced that, effective Feb. 26, Terry Ogle, a six-year resident of Reedley, will become the agency’s fourth executive director in the last 37 years, taking over for Mike Leonardo, who has headed up the agency for the past seven years. Leonardo is retiring.

Fresno County Board of Supervisor Buddy Mendes is the chairman of the FCTA board. Mendes considers Ogle the perfect person for the job.

“Ogle is a dedicated transportation and public works leader who knows the Valley well,” Mendes said in the press release. “His 35 years of experience and knowledge of our local infrastructure is exactly what the FCTA needs to address the challenges facing our region.”

Ogle is a graduate of New Mexico State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. He is also a California Professional Engineer and is a certified Project Manager Professional.

Ogle has worked for the California High Speed Authority (Authority) since March 2014. He said this is his second tour of duty with the agency. He currently serves as the Authority’s Central Valley Project Manager.

“I was on Construction Package 4 recently,” he said. “It goes from the Tulare-Kern line down to Shafter. That 22-mile segment.”

He also worked for Caltrans for 26 years.

“At Caltrans, I had a number of positions,” he said, laughing. He became familiar with Measure C during his tenure with Caltrans.

“I was the resident construction engineer for three of the segments of 180 and 168,” he said.

This will be his first job as chief executive. He said while he is nervous, he is excited.

“I’ve been in various leadership roles before,” said Ogle. “But not where I had to answer to a board. I’m working with an elected board.

MEASURE C

The board is a nine-member board Ogle will report to. In addition to the day-to-day oversight of the Authority, Ogle’s main responsibility will be carrying out the board’s strategies for implementing programs and projects funded by the Measure C Expenditure Plan. Ogle will also spearhead Measure C renewal efforts. Ogle is familiar with Measure C. During his time with Caltrans, he was responsible for many Measure C freeway projects in Fresno County.

Fresno County votes approved Measure C in November 1986. Measure C led to the creation of FCTA. Measure C is up for renewal in 2026. Ogle said renewing the measure is one of the biggest challenges facing FCTA.

“Measure C is a great story,” he said. “Look at the history of the 35-36 years of the program. You look at the transformation of Fresno County in the metropolitan area. You’ve got 180, 168. They extend west to Kerman, east to Reedley, Sanger. So, there’s a great story.”

Voters approved the Measure C Extension in 2022. The challenge, said Ogle, is getting the word out to the voters that the measure closes the gap between what the state and federal governments provide to local communities and to Caltrans. Without Measure C, said Olge, a lot of local projects would not get funded.

“Getting out that information,” he said. “That’s what I see as one of the big challenges.”

Though he is loath to use the cliched expression, Ogle said he will spend his first 100 days in the job touching bases with the agencies FCTA works with.

“I’m going to get the lay of the land and understand where I’m and what I need to do to get settled in the position,” he said. He said he will visit all of the communities in the country and speak to them about their transportation needs.

“It’s about focusing on things that may be more important to people as they look outside the window and see that the pavement on the street is not quite what it should be,” he said.

Measure C is expected to generate nearly $119 in revenue for the fiscal year 2023-2024. Two years ago, voters approved the Measure C Extension; together, the two are expected to collect about $2 billion in sales taxes by 2027.

From 1987 to 2007, Measure C has funded over $2 billion in local infrastructure projects, Highways 41, 168 and 180. Measure C also funded the Huron Bridge construction and the Mountain Avenue widening and bridge replacement project.

Darren Fraser
Reporter