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Ronald Keele, a bald man wearing a suit and tie standing in a train car. He is facing the viewer and is smiling.
Photo courtesy of SEPTA

SEPTA appoints new Chief Safety Officer

Ronald Keele comes to Philadelphia with over three decades of experience, having worked with both Washington and NASA’s transit systems.

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On Jan. 25, SEPTA announced that it has appointed Ronald Keele as their Chief Safety Officer, reporting under SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards.

As Chief Safety Officer, Keele will lead the development, monitoring, and adjust SEPTA's plan as needed to provide a safe and healthy environment for their employees, riders, and community members.

Additionally, he will develop ways to measure SEPTA's safety performance, creating programs to keep their Executive Leadership in touch and involved with safety planning.

Prior to joining SEPTA, Keele worked with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), serving as their Chief Safety Officer as he oversaw the development of their Department of System Safety and Risk Management. 

This system covered passenger, vehicle, and fire life safety, safety training, environmental safety and health, and workers' compensation and quality assurance offices. During this time, he was the Director of Passenger, Vehicle, Fire Life Safety and Emergency Management for the WMATA, as well.

With over 35 years of experience in the safety field and 29 in mass transit safety, Keele has worked in multiple other locations including operating as Executive Director of Safety, Quality Assurance, and Risk Management for the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), where he managed the investigation of all accidents involving serious injuries or fatalities. 

He also managed the system safety design review of all new MTA facilities and equipment, system safety certification, fire protection engineering, and fire life safety code requirements.

Keele has worked as the System Safety Manager of Space Shuttle Operations for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and served as Director of Safety and Security for the Federal Transit Association (FTA).

“Ron’s experience makes him the ideal candidate to take on this role,” said SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards in a press release. “Under his leadership, we will enhance our system and occupational safety standards, ensuring the best environment for our employees and riders.”

Keele earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Virginia Tech, his master's degree in business administration from George Washington University, and a second master's degree in civil engineering from the University of Maryland, with registration as a professional engineer and certification as a safety professional.

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