Inez Evans, IndyGo CEO and president, has submitted her resignation to the organization’s board and plans to depart her role Dec. 31 after more than four years with the agency, IndyGo announced Friday.
IndyGo did not say why Evans was stepping down, but said it planned to “accept her resignation and celebrate her tenure during the upcoming board meeting” on Dec. 14.
Evans, 59, was chief operating officer at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in California before accepting the IndyGo position in 2019. She was first Black woman to become president and CEO of IndyGo and was one of only nine Black women in the country to serve as the CEO of a transit agency.
Jennifer Pyrz, chief development officer for IndyGo, will become interim CEO after Evans’ departure. Pyrz has been with the agency for nearly four years and is credited in an IndyGo media release as being “the woman behind the Purple Line.” Prior to her time with IndyGo, she spent four years with Indianapolis-based engineering firm HNTB Corp.
Pyrz also played major roles in projects like the Bloomington Transit Center, Interstate 69 Section 6, and U.S. Highway 31 through Hamilton County, according to IndyGo.
Evans led the transit agency through several attacks from Republican state lawmakers, a bus rapid transit plan that saw a dramatic price increase and delay,and faced frequent criticism about the efficiency and cost of the bus service.
She was honored in 2022 with the International Woman of the Year Award from the Women’s Transportation Seminar International.
“Ms. Evans’ unwavering leadership and unparalleled expertise made her a true trailblazer,” said Mary Ann Fagan, a member of IndyGo’s board of directors. “She will leave an indelible mark on Indianapolis. The IndyGo Board and the agency’s leadership are committed to uplifting her during this time of transition.
“We are grateful to Jennifer Pyrz for stepping in as interim CEO. She understands this agency and the vital service the IndyGo team provides to the city of Indianapolis, and we have no doubt she will continue the positive trajectory of the journey we’ve been on.”
IndyGo touted Evans’ record, which included overseeing the construction and completion of IndyGo’s new 110,000-square-foot East Campus headquarters facility while leading the agency’s nearly 800 employees, directing a fleet of more than 300 vehicles and managing a total budget of more than $256 million.
She also collaborated closely with Mayor Joe Hogsett’s administration and the City-County Council to increase the city’s commitment to transit-oriented development.
“During her time as President and CEO, Inez has led IndyGo through a pivotal time for the expansion of bus rapid transit,” Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said in a written statement. “The agency launched the Red Line, weathered the challenges of the pandemic, and is now well on its way to constructing the Purple Line, with the Blue Line to follow. Improved access to transit means better access to jobs, education and opportunities that boost quality of life. Our city is grateful for her service.”
Evans succeeded former IndyGo President and CEO Michael Terry, who held the role for 15 years. Although plans for the Red Line had already been set, the 2019 IndyGo press release announcing her hiring noted that her more than 25 years of experience included “installation of bus rapid transit service and master planning for 100% fleet electrification.”