The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) is a tax-supported, independent political subdivision of the State of Ohio and is a government entity. SORTA operates Metro fixed-route bus service and Access paratransit service for people whose disabilities prevent their riding Metro buses.
SORTA is governed by a 16-member volunteer citizens’ board of trustees. Eleven trustees are appointed by Hamilton County and five are appointed by the City of Cincinnati. Three of the Hamilton County appointees are non-voting trustees representing Butler, Clermont, and Warren counties.
To contact the SORTA board or to receive updates on upcoming SORTA board meetings, contact Natalie Krusling via email.
Kreg Keesee - Chair
Mr. Keesee serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Michelman, Inc., an innovative supplier of sustainable specialty chemicals used in a variety of industrial applications based in Blue Ash. Kessee joined Michelman in 2016 as Chief Supply Chain Officer and assumed his current role in 2019. Prior to this role, he spent 18 years at Sun Chemical where he held leadership positions in the supply chain, information technology and graphic services. He started his career as a commercial lender with Michigan National Bank and spent eight years working in Procter & Gamble’s food and beverage division. He received his degree in economics and later a Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan. Mr. Keesee, his wife, Shannon, and two children live in Hyde Park. He joined the SORTA Board in 2014.
Alyson Beridon - Vice Chair
Ms. Beridon is an attorney with BSJ PLLC who works with unions, advocacy and charitable organizations and individuals on civil litigation; establishment of nonprofit organizations; and the development and advocacy of legislation. Prior to attending law school, she spent several years with the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council, working with and advocating for unions in legislative and political arenas. Ms. Beridon also worked as a legislative aide for two members of the Cincinnati City Council and as a campaign manager. She earned her J.D. in 2010 from Northern Kentucky University Salmon P. Chase College of Law, and her B.A. in 1998 from the University of Evansville.
Mr. Jay Bedi serves as a Co-Partner at the Delta by Marriott hotels in Sharonville, OH. A resident of Mason, OH, Jay has been active in the Warren County community - leveraging his passion for people and stronger communities through voluntary roles previously serving as Indian American Chamber of Commerce's Advisory Council, Mason Parks and Recreation Board of Directors, Cincinnati Art Association Board of Trustees and currently as Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) - Board of Trustees. Jay has decades of experience working in the hospitality industry, where he's led several events companies and ethnic restaurants. He has a passion for giving back - now Co- Owner of Elevated Minds Academy Day Care center in North College Hill, Cincinnati and LDI Hospitality. Jay resides in Mason with his two children and wife Surmeet.
The board's labor representative, Mr. Brice was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and graduated from Withrow High School. He soon after joined Laborers' Local 265 as a union member in 2001. While working in the field for over 18 years with various union construction companies as a laborer, he also held the leadership position as Union Steward. Hired as an organizer to the union in 2019, he currently serves as Recording Secretary & Field Representative of Laborers' International Union of North America. From 2020-21, he also served as an auditor for the local chapter. Mr. Brice also currently serves as an executive board member of Laborers' Local 265, delegate to the Greater Cincinnati Building Trades Council, delegate to the Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council and delegate to the Laborers' District Council of Ohio, member of Greater Cincinnati NAACP and previously a member of the Greater Cincinnati A Philip Randolph Institute. He is the SORTA Board's labor representative. Mr. Brice currently resides in Colerain Township with his two daughters.
Ms. Clark is a member of the Forest Park City Council and vice chair of the Forest Park Economic Development Commission. She launched the city's first Minority Business Initiative to help small and minority businesses access the capital they need to get off the ground. She also serves as council liaison for public safety (police and fire).
Clark was accepted into the MORTAR business incubator in 2017 and, after winning the Judge’s Choice Award, she opened her own small business called The Stem Lab. The program is geared to children ages two through 14 and develops their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. She built The STEM Lab into a force for providing communities of color and young women the skills necessary for and pathway to high-paying and innovative industries. In 2020, she received Hamilton County’s Black History Month Award in recognition of her commitment to STEM education and political advocacy.
Mr. Driehaus is president and CEO of Driehaus Insurance Group, having graduated from Miami University with degrees in public administration and urban planning and entering the insurance business in 1994. He founded DIC in 2014 and serves on various non-profit boards and civic organizations in the community, and served as Chair of the City of Cincinnati Planning Commission from 2014-2019. Mr. Driehaus is currently the Chair of Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Meals on Wheels, Chair of the Cincinnati Insurance Board and serves as a board member of the Cincinnati Children's Theatre and the Cincinnati Fire Museum. He also currently serves as an elected member of Wyoming (Ohio) City Council, where he resides with his wife and their two daughters.
Mr. Emeneker is self-employed as a consultant guiding tech start-ups through the process of taking concepts from idea to product delivery. He graduated from Furman University and joined the United States Marine Corps. While on active duty, he served as a navigator on the F/A-18 aircraft and deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and twice to the Western Pacific. After leaving active duty, he earned his MBA from Columbia Business School and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs. He is also a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, where he has served with infantry battalions and regiments. He resides in West Chester Township with his wife and two young sons and represents Butler County on the board as a non-voting member.
Mr. Ethridge is the technical editor at First Transit. Previously, he spent more than 10 years as an instructor at Johns Hopkins University. He serves on the board of the Midwest Chapter of the Congress for New Urbanism. Ethridge received his B.A. in chemistry and political science from Goucher College and his M.A. in political science from Johns Hopkins University. He resides in Cincinnati. Mr. Ethridge serves as Chair of the board's Planning & Operations Committee.
Mr. Freeman is president of 50+1 Public Policy Initiatives, a consulting business focusing on financial and public relations strategies. Previously, Freeman worked for the Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) and prior to that as District Representative to former U.S. Congressman Rob Portman. While at OKI, Freeman served on the Lunken Airport Advisory Committee, the OKI Environmental Justice Advisory Committee and was an alternate on the Greater Cincinnati Health Council. Freeman received his B.A. in political science from the University of Cincinnati. He currently serves on the Pierce Township Board of Trustees and represents Clermont County on the board as a non-voting member.
Mr. Harris is an inclusion consultant at Bridges for a Just Community. Previously, he worked as director for the Cincinnati region for Ohio Technology-Related Assistance Information Network (TRAIN) and as the education and training coordinator for the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission. He has served on several local boards and commissions, including a prior term on the SORTA Board of Trustees. Harris received his B.A. in community development and community relations, as well as in printmaking, from the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Cincinnati.
Roderick Hinton most recently served as the Chief Operating Officer at Best Point Education & Behavioral Health, a leading provider for more than 347 years in offering education and mental health treatment for vulnerable children facing significant social, behavioral, and learning challenges. The organization has an operating budget in excess of $50 million, an endowment and assets totaling nearly $175 million, and a staff of nearly 700 people. As Chief Operating Officer, Rod provided strategic and operational oversight for non-programmatic functions within the agency including fundraising, community relations, marketing & communications, business development, human resources, training and development, facilities, IT, volunteerism, special events, advertising and promotional activities. He also worked closely with the president and CEO, Board of Trustees and executive leadership team on several high-level initiatives including the creation and management of The Foundation for The Children’s Home, acquisition/merger prospects, and other strategic community engagement efforts. Prior to joining Best Point, Rod served for 17 years at St. Xavier High School in various positions of progressive leadership, most notably as Vice President for Enrollment & Strategic Initiatives whereby he directed the day-to-day strategy and management of all recruitment, enrollment and tuition assistance functions, in addition to leading the strategic planning, development and execution of short and long-range institutional priorities. Under Rod’s leadership, St. Xavier experienced 7% growth in their overall enrollment and a 17% increase in the matriculation of multicultural students. Rod earned his undergraduate degree in Organizational Communication and his Master of Science in Human Resource Development, both from Xavier University. An impassioned leader who remains steadfastly dedicated and connected to the community he lives; Rod serves on several boards for local charities and fellow non-profit organizations including the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA); Christ Hospital College of Nursing & Health Sciences; Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce Inclusion and Advisory Board; Xavier University’s Williams College of Business; and Xavier Jesuit Academy. His leadership and community impact were recognized when he was named to the Cincinnati Business Courier Class of 2016 Forty Under 40, Leadership Cincinnati Class 42, Venue Magazines C-Suite Honoree as well as Venue Magazine’s Class of 2017 Great Leaders Under 40, and a Cincinnati Business Courier 2021 C-Suite Award winner in the category of chief administrative officer. Asked what he does for fun, Rod is quick to point out his strong spades and euchre play, love of Xavier basketball, crying to a good book, listening to crooner music, and his strong proclivity to enjoy a glass of red wine or bourbon.
As Vice President of Civic & Regional Partnerships for the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Metz is responsible for connecting the chamber and its members to the region's most pressing civic and regional initiatives. His work includes oversight over existing Chamber initiatives such as the Connected Region, work focused on Embracing Growth and housing, the Cincinnati Futures Commission and the Center for Research & Data. Critical transportation projects for which Mr. Metz has assisted in obtaining funding include: the Brent Spence Bridge, the Western Hills Viaduct, record state funding for public transit, investments in the CROWN trail network and more. Prior to joining the Chamber, he served as chief of staff to then-Cincinnati Vice Mayor David Mann. He also serves on the boards for the Corporation for Findlay Market, OKI Regional Council of Governments, and NEST. He resides in Clifton with his wife, Becca, and their two daughters.
Gwen L. Robinson
Ms. Robinson formerly served as President/CEO for the Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency, a position she held since 1995. She is a co-founder of Every Child Succeeds, President of the State Community Action Association, and member of many boards, including the Hoxworth Advisory Board, Downtown Cincinnati Inc. (DCI), the Public Library Foundation Board, the Cincinnatus Association, the Public Benefit Board for the State of Ohio, and the Fifth Third CRA Board. She was the first African-American President of the Cincinnatus Association. Ms. Robinson has received many awards, including the 2010 Profile in Courage, The Cincinnati Enquirer 2006 Women of the Year, Leading Women of the Year, YWCA Career Women of Achievement, Ladies of Distinction 2007 Honoree, NAACP 2006 Wright Overstreet Award, Radio One Women Empowerment Award, and the Dada Rafiki award. She lives in Springfield Township with her husband and has two adult sons. She was appointed by the City of Cincinnati in 2012.
Ms. Sheets is Director of Strategic Initiatives at Cincinnati Development Fund, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), where she is responsible for grant writing, communications, business development, and strategic growth. She has spent her 25-year career in community development in Cincinnati, working in local government and the nonprofit sector. Prior to CDF, she served as the first Executive Director of the Madisonville Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation (MCURC). During her tenure there, she oversaw affordable housing projects, historic building rehabilitation and new, mixed-use development. In addition to this real estate work, Ms. Sheets convened diverse partners to advance comprehensive community development in Madisonville in the areas of community engagement, health and wellness, education and youth, and more. Ms. Sheets serves as a board member of Cincinnati Neighborhood Business Districts United and the Madisonville Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation. She holds a B.A. in Sociology and Urban Studies from Ohio Wesleyan University and an M.A. in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Kazava "KZ" Smith
Pastor Smith has served as the senior pastor of the Corinthian Baptist Church of Cincinnati since September 1988, where in his decades of service he has established numerous ministries for children, married couples, supporting unhoused people, a family empowerment center, a free store and the 501(c)(3) Ekklesia Development Corporation. Pastor Smith has also served on the Cincinnati Recreation Commission (elected president of the commission in 2008) as well as a variety of roles with the Community Action Agency, the University of Cincinnati Safety and Reform Community Advisory Committee, the Office on Maternal & Infant Health & Infant Mortality Reduction Board, and numerous leadership roles in the community of Avondale. He is married to his wife, Connie, and together they parent five children and nine grandchildren.
Ms. Taylor has worked in the government and non-profit sector for many years, most recently serving as the Chief of Staff for former Hamilton County Commissioner Victoria Parks. Her work has also involved assisting families during their times of need, including women suffering from domestic violence, as well as low-income populations. Ms. Taylor previously led a youth mentoring program at the Talbert House for children of incarcerated parents and won several awards for her work there. Her successful efforts with the mentoring program also resulted in her being recruited by Big Brother Big Sisters of Greater Cincinnati. She has owned and managed two small businesses, a summer camp for youth, and a tax & notary business and understands many of the hurdles facing small businesses and economic development. Ms. Taylor has also taught Criminal Justice and ran the Fire Arms Training Simulator at Beckfield College, in addition to teaching Business Administration at Ohio Midwestern College. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Wilmington University (OH), and her master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati. She is the mother of two children and lives in Forest Park. Ms. Taylor serves as chair of the board's Finance Committee.