The Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA) is proud to announce the addition of Ursula Barrera-Richards, J.D., as its new Chief Human Resources Officer.

Barrera-Richards has nearly two decades of experience in the public and non-profit sectors and comes to TARTA from the Zepf Center, where she served as Chief Human Resources and Compliance Officer. Prior to that, she oversaw human resources operations and contract negotiations as the Human Resources and Labor Relations Director for the Lucas County Auditor’s Office.

“We are so thrilled to welcome Ursula to TARTA, and her considerable expertise and leadership skills will serve us well as we continue to grow this team,” said TARTA CEO Laura Koprowski. “The improvements TARTA has made in recent years will mean nothing if we fail to build on them to create a more efficient and dependable service for the people who depend on it every day. Ursula’s tremendous skill set will help us do just that.

“I am so impressed by Ursula’s history of strengthening human resources relationships and cultures everywhere she has been. She is also very active in our community, which makes her a perfect fit. We are proud to serve northwest Ohio, and I cannot wait to see where we can take public transit in this region with team members like Ursula leading the way.”

Barrera-Richards began her career as congressional aide to U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur before working for the State of Ohio. As an aide to Sen. Teresa Fedor in the Ohio legislature, she helped craft the message and build the network in support of SB 235, which made human trafficking a stand-alone felony in the state.

“The tenets that drive public transit mirror my own, so it’s a privilege for me to join a team of individuals dedicated to connecting people to the places that matter in their lives,” said Barrera-Richards. “Economic development, social equity and environmental factors are all deeply rooted in mobility and the ability of not just the few, but everyone to reach important destinations.

“Having been in healthcare over the last decade, I am accustomed to workforce challenges and have worked tirelessly to balance a positive agency culture with a culture of accountability and transparency that is customer-focused. Our staff is reflective of the greater Toledo Area and we are deeply invested in recruiting and retaining mission-driven team members who care about our community. I appreciate this opportunity to grow the ranks of an already exceptional team at TARTA.”

Barrera-Richards is a graduate of Bowsher High School, the University of Toledo, and Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law. She studied at the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs and served clerkships with the United Autoworkers International Union in Detroit, the Ohio State Troopers Union in Columbus, and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

As TARTA’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Barrera-Richards will captain the team overseeing hiring and all other aspects of workforce management in the agency, in addition to fostering a positive workplace culture. The strategies she develops will help Team TARTA grow as it continues to put together the tools necessary to maintain and expand on the system growth and customer-focused improvements of the last three years.


TARTA provides a vital link in the Toledo metro area to jobs, education, health care and other destinations. It enables everyone in our community to have access to transportation regardless of their age, race, physical ability or economic background. TARTA is exploring and introducing new initiatives and service options that will enhance convenience and customer experience while moving our region into the future of public transit.