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VRE board picks an interim chief
VRE names interim head while search for replacement for retiring CEO Dale Zehner continues

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Date published: 6/20/2012


With CEO Dale Zehner on his way out and no replacement chosen, the Virginia Railway Express has picked an acting head from within.

The VRE Operations Board announced Tuesday that Richard Dalton, director of rail equipment and services, will serve as the acting CEO beginning July 1 as the board continues its search for a new chief.

"Given Mr. Dalton's background and his performance since his arrival at VRE, the board felt very comfortable that he was the right fit to continue moving VRE forward while the board continues the selection process for the chief executive position," VRE Operations Board Chairman Wally Covington said in a release.

Dalton, a U.S. Navy veteran, joined the Northern Virginia commuter rail service in 2009.

VRE spokesman Mark Roeber said Dalton "is a seasoned veteran of rail operations, and particularly the technical and mechanical aspects of the industry with 20 years of experience in the private sector before joining VRE."

Dalton is appreciative of the board's decision.

"I am very thankful to the Operations Board for having the confidence in me to lead VRE in the coming weeks," he said.

Zehner, also a Navy veteran, started his tenure as head of VRE as an interim before being selected to fill the position in 2004. He joined VRE in 1995 as a finance manager.

Zehner took over VRE when it was at a critical juncture.

VRE trains had reached capacity and growth was expected. The commuter train service, which started in 1992, has grown significantly in recent years.

Last year VRE set all-time ridership records. So far this year ridership, which regularly tops 20,000 each weekday, is up.

Zehner's last day will be June 30.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436
Email: sshenk@freelancestar.com