William E. Harrell
William E. Harrell is the president and CEO of Hampton Roads Transit.
Harrell comes to Hampton Roads Transit from Chesapeake, Virginia, where he was the city manager. As the top administrator of Virginia’s third largest city, Harrell oversaw its day-to-day operations, an operating budget of more than $900 million, and more than 4,000 full and part-time employees.
Prior to his role as city manager, Harrell was the chief administrative officer in Richmond, Virginia, where he managed city operations, more than 20 departments and agencies, and a budget in excess of $800 million. During his tenure, his administration attracted more than $450 million in private investments to the city. Harrell also served as the deputy city manager in Richmond.
Harrell also served as the assistant city manager in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he played a key role in business development and strategic planning. His responsibilities included coordination of the infrastructure departments — water resources, transportation, planning, environmental services and parks and recreation.
Before moving to Greensboro, Harrell was the director of public utilities and rose to become assistant city manager for Suffolk, Virginia. His accomplishments included the implementation of a $6.8 million desalination plant for water purification, a first in Virginia, and the revision of a comprehensive land use plan involving community input in the city’s future.
Harrell has been honored by the Virginia Chapter for the American Society for Public Administration with the G. Robert House Young Public Administrator Award.
A 1980 graduate of Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake, Harrell earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Virginia. Additionally, he earned a second master’s in Public Administration from the university.
Harrell and his wife, Johnna reside in Chesapeake and have one daughter, Charity, who has followed in her father’s footsteps by attending the University of Virginia.