Member Briefing: September 3, 2021

Here is a brief weekly update from the RTA business coalition – the voice of the regional business community on transportation.


Natalie Ridout will be concluding her time as RTA’s first Policy and Member Engagement Director later this month. 
As we approach Labor Day weekend, our nation’s annual celebration of the achievements of American workers, I have the timely honor of writing this note to celebrate more than a decade of professional success of a tremendous colleague and friend.

Natalie came to RTA as a newly-minted communications and public relations graduate from NC State in 2011. She leveraged those capabilities from day one in improving our RTA marketing and outreach efforts – and then revealed new skills around research, member experience, and policy acumen over the past several years.

At State, she minored in Spanish and international studies, and that ability to learn a new language proved both fortuitous and essential when confronted with the world of transportation jargon, the processes and timetables of mobility, and the many interlocking organizations that play various roles in helping all of us get from here to there. In addition, as a former cheerleader, she possesses the inherent adaptability and dexterity needed for success in business advocacy and leadership on transportation – a landscape which can both move excruciatingly slowly and yet change quickly and dramatically.

Natalie has been a champion for the organization and a tremendous supporter of her members. From our 10th annual meeting when she arrived and immediately elevated our event experience, to our 18th annual meeting where she delivered outstanding state of mobility remarks to our largest-ever crowd, to our coronavirus-era 19th annual meeting last fall (our first online one, and also our shortest event ever at only 19 minutes), she has consistently put her members front-and-center, no matter the situation.

Natalie has become an outstanding leader for our organization and the community over the past ten years. Projects like the new Wake Transit plan which goes under construction next year with our region’s first bus rapid transit corridor, the 540 southern Wake turnpike which is well under construction, the various conversations and research surrounding zero fare free transit for our region, the ongoing RTA infrastructure task force for RDU, and a host of others, simply would not have happened as well, as quickly – or at all – without her.  Our region is unarguably better and stronger thanks to her outstanding achievements and contributions at RTA.

It is often said that no one can truly replace someone when they leave a position, and anyone who has set foot at an RTA meeting or event knows how true that will be about Natalie.

RTA and our community have been changed for the better thanks to Natalie’s leadership, guidance, and passion. Her last day with us will be September 16; she will begin a new professional chapter at a global management consultancy in a few weeks after that.

Please join me in congratulating Natalie on all of her past, ongoing, and future successes.

Have a great holiday weekend – and let’s get moving,


Joe Milazzo II, PE
RTA Executive Director

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