The Ross Leadership Institute was named in 2012 in honor of Richard M. "Dick" and Elizabeth M. "Libby" Ross, two leaders who have had a major impact on our community.

Founders

Bill Lhota

Former President COTA and AEP Executive
(contributing author, ethics courses/programs, speaking)

William J. Lhota is currently a lecturer and teacher of business and engineering ethics, a labor arbitrator for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) and the American Arbitration Association (AAA), a Founder and lecturer for the Ross Leadership Institute, and Chair of the Board for QICParc, Inc. and OSU Management GP, Inc.

Lhota was elected President and Chief Executive Officer of the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) in September 2004 and retired at the end of February 2012. COTA is the public transportation provider in central Ohio.

While at COTA Lhota lead a major turnaround. In 2004 COTA was consistently running budget deficits, the President/CEO resigned following an ethical scandal, the average age of the bus fleet was over 9.5 years, cash was dwindling and the physical plant was in deplorable condition. Upon retirement in 2012 COTA completed six (6) years of balanced budgets with capital reserves, a restored reputation with voters approving additional revenue, a bus fleet that averaged 5.5 years, a significant cash balance and all physical plant was new, renovated or under renovation.

Following retirement from American Electric Power (AEP) in December 2001, as a senior executive, he focused on arbitration, mediation, energy consulting, as well as consulting, teaching and lecturing on business and engineering ethics prior to joining COTA in 2004.

At retirement from AEP, Lhota was President - Energy Delivery, American Electric Power and Executive Vice President, American Electric Power Service Corporation.

While at AEP Lhota was responsible for the power transmission and distribution systems located in 11 states. He spent 37 years at AEP serving in numerous management positions at Ohio Power Company and Columbus Southern Power, both subsidiaries of AEP in addition to the AEP Service Corporation.

Throughout his career Lhota has had extensive experience in public policy and labor relations.  Early in his career, for four years, he had day-to-day responsibility for public policy in Washington D.C. and in Ohio.  In all subsequent positions, in addition to other duties, he directed both national and state public policy. Lhota has worked with organized labor throughout his career and he was instrumental in establishing cooperative relations between AEP and its labor unions.

He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering in 1964 from The Ohio State University. He also earned a Master's Degree in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1978 and was awarded a Doctorate of Community Leadership degree from Franklin University in 2011. He is a registered professional engineer and surveyor in Ohio and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), and the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE).

Lhota created and managed AEP’s original corporate compliance program, has extensive experience in ethics, corporate governance and:

➢ Is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Institute for Engineering Ethics (NIEE) at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas

➢ Served as a past, chair and member of the NSPE Board of Ethical Review

➢ Is a panel member for six ethics webinars presented annually by the National Society of Professional Engineers

➢ Led the development of a Code of Ethics for the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and The Ohio State University Alumni Association 

Lhota also has extensive experience in corporate governance:

➢ Chair of the Board, QICParc, Inc. and OSU Management GP Inc. Concessionaire for parking at The Ohio State University

➢ Advisory Board Member for Paul Werth Associates a public policy firm

➢ Past chair and current Board member of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority. The Authority administers an airport system comprised of Port Columbus International Airport, Rickenbacker Airport, and a reliever airport, Bolton Field

o While Chairman of the Board lead the merger of the three airports into the Columbus  Regional Airport Authority

➢ Labor arbitrator for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) and the American Arbitration Association (AAA)

➢ Past, director and chair of the Audit Committee for Green Mountain Energy, a private company and the largest and fastest growing provider of less-polluting electricity to residential and business customers in the United States

➢ Past, director and chair of the Risk Committee for Huntington Bancshares Inc., a large regional bank holding company located in Columbus, Ohio

➢ Past, director and chair of the compensation committee for State Auto Financial Corporation, a large national property and casualty insurance company located in Columbus, Ohio.

➢ Past, member and chair for The Ohio State University Alumni Association Board of Directors

➢ Past, member and chair for the Ohio Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

➢ Past, member and chair for the Columbus Chamber of Commerce

➢ Past, advisory director of Twenty First Century Communications a national phone service provider

Articles and publications:

➢ The Need For Professional Ethics

➢ The Evolution and Application of Codes of Ethics for the Engineering Professional

➢ Leadership and Teamwork

➢ False Claims Act Affect Compliance and Ethics Programs

Awards:

➢ Outstanding Alumni, College of Engineering, The Ohio State University (1988)

➢ Distinguished Service Award, National Society of Professional Engineers, Professional Engineers in Industry (1995)

➢ Inducted into the Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame, Junior Achievement (2010)

➢ Distinguished Service Award, The Ohio State University (Second highest award granted by the University) (2011)

➢ Regional Leadership Award, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (2011)

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