Texas Tech University

Distinguished Engineer Citations

Distinguished Engineer Photo: Gary Thomas
Gary Thomas

Gary Thomas

Distinguished Engineer



Civil Engineering – 1980



At Time of Nomination in 2016

Gary C. Thomas is president/executive director of Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). He is responsible for a 13-city transit system covering 700-square mile service area with bus, light rail, commuter rail, and paratransit services.

Under his leadership DART has doubled its light rail system - twice - to become the nation's longest at 90 miles. The agency is internationally recognized for innovation in developing a progressive clean fuels program for its bus fleet, advancing new models for local bus and paratransit service and customer-facing communication technology and service. DART's commitment to creative problem solving extends to capital project delivery approaches that bolster its record for completing some of the nation's biggest construction projects on-time and on-budget. DART is making significant strides in customer service through its new 5 Star program designed to deliver a great experience with every ride. The agency also is building strategic alliances with local universities to foster rich staff development experiences which support the needs of a growing multi-modal network.

Thomas administers the goals and policies of the DART Board of Directors and directs the agency's top managers and approximately 3,600 employees, emphasizing a strong customer focus. He works closely with service area city governments and the public in developing short- and long-term transportation and mobility goals.

Thomas joined DART in November 1998. He was a consulting engineer for 19 years prior to that. He has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Bachelor of Architecture from Texas Tech University.

He is a past chair of the American Public Transportation Association and presently is chair of RailVolution and the South West Transit Association.

He is married to Kay Clark Thomas, TTU ‘80. They have two grown children.

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