COMTO Mourns the Passing of H. Welton Flynn
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Dear COMTO Family,
The Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) joins a host of others to mourn the passing of Mr. H. Welton Flynn, a man of great honor and integrity. Welton Flynn became one of the first members of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials, and was the first African American appointed to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. He later became Chairman of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, serving under six mayors and elected to the office of Chairman or Board President more than twelve times.
In 1971 when it was determined that minorities were not getting contracts at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Chairman Flynn successfully obtained the funding needed to launch a pilot program for minority contracting – creating one of the first Minority and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise programs in the nation. Chairman Flynn oversaw its development, which eventually became a nation-wide standard for minority contracting.
Mr. Flynn was the driving force behind hiring the first African-American general manager of a transit system in the United States – Mr. Curtis E. Green, Sr. In the early 1980's, San Francisco's Cable Cars, the only moveable national landmark in the United States, were in need of a major rehabilitation. Welton Flynn’s active advocacy was the key to securing state and federal monies to restore this national treasure to its full glory. SFMTA’s Director of Transportation, Ed Reiskin, said, “He led the way for so many people who followed in his footsteps. The results of his leadership have influenced several generations and his achievements will continue to be felt for years to come.”
Numerous organizations recognized his tireless work toward insuring fair representation and improved economic opportunities for transit workers and historically underutilized businesses. In 2001, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) named him as "Board Member of the Year” and in 2006 COMTO of Northern California honored Mr. Flynn with a “Lifetime Achievement Award,” then later with a “Pioneer Award” in 2013, when he was 91 years old. He received awards from the NAACP, National Organization of Minority Architects, Black Chamber of Commerce, San Francisco Business and Professional Women, Transport Workers Union, Locals 250-A and 200, and the TWU Retirees Association – and many other organizations.
H. Welton Flynn will be greatly missed. COMTO expresses heartfelt condolences to the family. We will remember the many years devoted to improving the lives of so many in the public transportation industry.