NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Philip Shucet is preparing to leave his job as President and CEO of Hampton Roads Transit . His last day will be January 31, 2012.
Monday, Shucet told 10 On Your Side any success he has had is based on three words; keep it simple.
"I'm pretty good at making things as simple as they possible can be," Shucet said.
And simple has served Shucet well. Years ago he worked in Pittsburgh fixing the broken Michael Baker Company.
"My job was to finish the projects as profitably as possible,and to sell off the company," Shucet added.
His work caught the eye of then Virginia Governor Mark Warner who hired Shucet to head the Virginia Department of Transportation .
Shucet added, "when you break something down to it's simplest components it's pretty easy to see what's right and what's wrong, and once you do that you can figure out what needs to be done."
Before Shucet, VDOT was $3 billion over budget. Shucet cut that number hard and started hitting "on time and on budget" with the VDOT Dashboard .
The dashboard tells voters how a project is progressing. When Shucet took over VDOT the "on time and on budget" meter was at just 20 percent, today it's 93 percent.
But the job has come with its own unique challenges.
"That was a real low point to come down here and see 65 million gallons of water in the Midtown Tunnel," Shucet said as he remembered what Hurricane Isabel did to the tunnel in 2003.
Shucet added, "we discovered it was something so simple that caused it...four bolts had been welded down over a plate that needed to be removed quickly."
Another big project the HRT President and CEO took on was The Tide .
The light rail was $106 million over budget and way off schedule. Once again, Shucet brought out his time tested rule.
"Look, keep it real simple. Keep it simple and focused, and put the number out there and tell it to everybody and be transparent," Shucet continued. "I...have a great deal of personal pride in going into Norfolk, and watching that train with people in it. I feel really good about that,
Shucet's advice to the person who succeeds him has nothing to do with The Tide.
"I would encourage the new CEO to focus on buses as a method of mobility," Sucet said. "We need to shorten wait times."
At popular routes, passengers can face an hour wait between buses.
Shucet added that because Norfolk has The Tide, the HRT CEO position will attract the best and brightest stars in transportation.
Shucet makes about $336,000 a year. In the Virginian Pilot's Career Connections section, HRT is advertising Shucet's job for $235,000 or higher.
Shucet was asked to stay, but with his contract expiring he said he thinks he has accomplished what he was hired to do.
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