Lesley Kandaras has served as Metro Transit’s general manager since July 2023. As general manager, she is leading efforts to improve the customer experience, rebuild ridership, and make Metro Transit an employer of choice.
She has committed to riding every route Metro Transit operates during her first year in the general manager role, and to holding quarterly employee listening sessions at all Metro Transit work sites. Kandaras is also leading efforts to co-create a new strategic framework for the agency.
Kandaras joined the Metropolitan Council in 2012 as a senior project coordinator, supporting the chair and council members. She came to Metro Transit, a division of the Met Council, in 2019 to serve as senior manager-policy development.
She has also served as Metro Transit’s chief of staff and interim general manager. She is the first woman to permanently fill the position of Metro Transit general manager.
Before joining the Met Council, Kandaras worked for a South Dakota congressperson and for Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar as an outreach director.
Kandaras grew up in Rapid City, S.D., and came to the Twin Cities to attend Hamline University, where she earned a double-major in sociology and political science. She has a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Chicago.
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General Managers through history
- 1970-80: Harry Springer
- 1980-85: Lou Olsen
- 1985-90: John Capell
- 1990-93: Mike Christenson
- 1993-96: Tom Sather
- 1996-97: Julie Johanson (acting)
- 1997-01: Art Leahy
- 2001: John Haley
- 2002-04: Mike Setzer
- 2004-2019: Brian Lamb
- 2019-2022: Wes Kooistra