Will Kempton, who has driven the Orange County Transportation Authority for the past three years, has announced his retirement as CEO.
Kempton, 65, a resident of Rancho Santa Margarita, made the announcement Friday. He has been the chief executive officer of the OCTA since August, 2009. His retirement becomes effective on Feb. 28.
He already has plans in place once he gets some free time: He will become the executive director of Transportation California, a nonprofit transportation advocacy group.
"I'm incredibly proud of our accomplishments over the past three years and grateful to have had the opportunity to serve the people of Orange County," Kempton said. "During my tenure, OCTA has responded to many challenges, while always keeping in mind the best interests of our residents, businesses and all those who depend upon OCTA's services."
Kempton is a former statewide director of Caltrans who was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Kempton was praised by OCTA Chairman Paul Glaab and director Bill Campbell.
"Will's extraordinary leadership and vision have had an enormous impact not only on Orange County but statewide and throughout the nation," said Glaab, who is also the mayor of Laguna Niguel.
Campbell, an Orange County supervisor and chairman of OCTA's finance and administration committee, also had heavy praise for Kempton's contribution to the county.
"Will's unrivaled experience, innovative spirit and consensus-building leadership style helped us manage through a critical financial time," Campbell said. "He leaves this agency as a stronger, more efficient organization that is well prepared to fulfill our mission of enhancing quality of life and keeping Orange County moving."
During the past three years, nearly $2 billion in transportation projects have been completed or started. Kempton also oversaw service reductions during the worst economic period in the agency's history.
In addition to playing a vital role in Measure M, Kempton spearheaded OCTA’s first five-year strategic plan, which is credited with redefining OCTA’s vision, mission and goals and creating greater accounability and transparency to the public.