DCT Director, Denny Schooley, receives OPTA Lifetime Achievement Award.
Delaware County Transit Director, Denny Schooley awarded Lifetime Achievement
Award by OPTA in September of 2021.
Denny has an accomplished career of more than 23 years in public transit as the
Executive Director of Delaware County Transit. He started the agency in 1998 as a
coordinated project with the Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The
agency later transitioned to a small rural transit system under the Delaware County
Commissioners, and finally in 2014 to a large urban transit system under The Federal
Transit Administration (FTA).
Over the course of his career, Denny has faced and overcome many challenges as
federal and state funding and requirements are constantly changing. Regardless of the
difficulties and challenges, Denny has always worked tirelessly and diligently to do what
is best for the agency, the employees, the passengers, and the community. His efforts
have certainly paid off and are evident by the beautiful facility, great workplace, and
valuable service and resource that Delaware County Transit is today. Through Denny’s
hard work, knowledge, and the trusted relationships he has built within the transit
community, the agency is in the best financial position it has been in since its inception.
Denny has facilitated and led the agency through many changes and transitions
throughout the years. Delaware County Transit was born within a closet space with
nothing more than a pencil and paper and the name DATA Bus. With Denny’s guidance
and just a few employees, the agency moved to a double-wide trailer in the little town of
Kilbourne, Ohio. As DATA Bus continued to flourish and expand, the trailer could no
longer contain it. Thanks to the acquisition of nearly $2.9 million from the State of Good
Repair Grant through ODOT, in 2010 DATA Bus moved to its new six-acre home on
Henderson Ct. in Delaware City. The grant also provided enough funds for Denny to
facilitate a complete renovation of the building and grounds in 2017 to better meet the
needs of the agency.
Throughout his years of service, Denny has worked with many partners and served on
several boards, including OPTA, ODOT, OTRP, MORPC, COTA, and other transit
agencies around the state. He has continually sought knowledge, growth, and
relationships to keep up with the increasing demands for public transit and the
requirements for the growth of his own community and transit agency. Transitioning the
agency from a small rural transit system to a large urban system in 2014 was no small
task. In addition to having to learn a whole new set of federal rules and regulations
under the Federal Transit Administration, Denny completed all necessary requirements
to separate the agency from the Delaware County Commissioners, including the
auditor’s office, which meant bringing all finance procedures in house.
In further efforts to move the transit agency forward, Denny facilitated a rebranding and
name change to better communicate what the agency does and who it serves. This was
in 2019, when DATA Bus, became Delaware County Transit and rolled out a new logo,
as well as a new modern and professional website. As part of this rebranding, Denny
began to emphasize the need for a diversified fleet of vehicles which led to the design
and purchase of a 30-foot Gillig, low floor vehicles, and minivans to add to the existing
With the numerous local, state, and federal regulations and guidelines that Delaware
County Transit is required to adhere to, Denny has continuously led the agency through
excellent local, state, and federal audits. In fact, in 2019, the agency received the Ohio
Auditor of State Award for excellence in financial reporting, as well as the SOAR Award
from OTRP for safety in operations. Since being classified as an urban system under
FTA, Denny has successfully completed two excellent Triennial Reviews as well.
Most recently, with the numerous unprecedented challenges brought on by the 2020
COVID-19 pandemic, Denny led the agency and its essential workers through with great
success. Although services were greatly reduced, all employees remained employed
and compensated even when there was no work for some of them to perform.
Provisions were made for office staff to work at home, and drivers were provided with all
necessary protection to continue serving the public safely. The agency also secured
additional grants and released a new on demand service called FLEX, which has
continued to thrive. Post pandemic, the agency is working hard to hire more drivers as it
strives to expand services soon.
As Denny’s retirement is quickly approaching, it’s a great time to reflect on his many
accomplishments and contributions to public transit, the employees and passengers of
Delaware County Transit, and the community of Delaware County. Denny is truly one of
a kind. He’s a leader that people want to follow and want to work with. He has a huge
heart for people, which has allowed him to create an incredibly valuable public service
agency where employees feel appreciated and respected and customers and
passengers are cared for as if they are family. Denny is a respected boss, coworker,
and friend. He deserves to retire with a sense of pride and accomplishment for the
many years of dedication, hard work, heart, and soul he has poured into the agency he
built and the countless lives he has touched. Thank you Denny for all you have done
and all you have been, and will continue to be, for so many!