Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Founder steps down from Rideshare

Callister takes job with Ketchum Planning Department

Express Staff Writer

Wood River Rideshare Executive Director Beth Callister has resigned from the organization she founded 4.5 years ago.

"I have invested much of myself into transportation issues and building this organization and it is gratifying to see what has evolved over time," Callister said in a news release issued Tuesday, June 21. "I am ready to redirect my interests."

Michelle Shaffer, Wood River Rideshare's program and development director, will take over as executive director.

Callister, who has a master's degree in community and regional planning, accepted a position with the city of Ketchum's Planning Department as an associate planner.

Management of the Blaine County Peak Bus service will be taken over by Jim Finch, who has 18 years of experience as a transit manager in Boulder, Colo.

"There is a better understanding throughout the valley that planning for transit, bikes and pedestrians and reducing vehicle trips is fundamental to planning for growth, access and mobility, and the people recognize the value of the work Wood River Rideshare does," board member Eiron Schofield said in the release. "The board is pleased to see Beth continue working for the community in a new capacity and we look forward to continuing the work of Wood River Rideshare with Michelle."

Harold Moniz, Ketchum planning director, said Callister will be an asset to his department.

"She has familiarity with the whole area in terms of political figures and other leaders in the valley," he said. "She brings contacts ... and they respect her working abilities and how she created (Wood River Rideshare). She also has a lot of experience in transportation, which is an important niche to fill in our department."

Callister served as an intern with the Ketchum Planning Department in the late 1990s, Moniz added.

One vacancy remains in the department, but "Beth certainly is helping to improve things," he said.

Callister also serves as a newly appointed commissioner with the Bellevue Planning & Zoning Commission.

In addition to serving as the managing agency for the Peak Bus commuter line, Wood River Rideshare implements numerous programs to encourage alternative modes of transportation and reduce motor-vehicle traffic in the Wood River Valley.

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