By Michelle Watson, CNN
Jeffrey Parker, the CEO and general manager of Atlanta transportation service MARTA, has died, according to a statement from MARTA Board of Directors Chairwoman Rita Scott.
“The MARTA Board of Directors grieves the shocking death of our GM/CEO Jeff Parker who has died by suicide,” Scott said. “He was an outstanding leader and steward of MARTA whose passing leaves us all heartbroken.”
Scott added MARTA’s board members are “devastated at this loss as we valued Jeff’s leadership and looked forward to him bringing his vision for transit to fruition.”
“The entire metro Atlanta region owes him a debt of gratitude for his transformational efforts and we will not stop working to build on the foundation he created,” the statement said.
MARTA — or Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority — has served as Atlanta’s primary transportation service since the 1960s, according to its site.
According to MARTA’s website, Parker was named CEO and general manager of the service in March 2018 and before that, was vice president of “one of the country’s leading architecture and engineering consulting firms.”
Parker was “consistently recognized” as one of the city’s most influential leaders, the site says. He was named among Atlanta Magazine’s Most Powerful People of 2020 and a year earlier was recognized by the Atlanta Chapter of Women’s Transportation Seminar for his “strong record of hiring and promoting women in the transportation industry,” the website added.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said he and his family were “saddened to learn about the tragic passing of Jeffrey Parker.”
“In addition to a remarkable professional career in the public/private sectors, Jeffrey was known for his civic engagement and support for the advancement of his communities,” Kemp wrote on Twitter. “He had an incredible mind for transportation and logistics and a heart for people. He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and his many colleagues.”
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How to get help: In the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also can provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.