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CATS teams up with consulting firm to tackle company culture after derailment fallout

The consulting company will look at ways to help CATS deal with low ridership, low morale and broken trust.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The fallout from a CATS light rail derailment last year is growing.

Charlotte's City Manager, Marcus Jones, who initially said he didn't find out about the derailment until recently, now admitting he got a text message from the previous CATS CEO, John Lewis, about the incident the day it happened, but just missed it. 

Amidst low ridership, low morale and now broken trust, details about the May 2022 light rail derailment continue to unfold.

Now, the agency is teaming up with a consultant group that helps companies with customer service. 

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Moving forward, CATS interim CEO, Brent Cagle, said that they've hired the DiJulius Group, to help with customer service.

The DiJulius Group is the same company that CMPD uses to help give their officers training to have better interactions with the community. 

“Disclosures of the last few weeks have been particular troublesome,” Ed Driggs, Charlotte City Council member, said. “Once trust is damaged, it takes a lot to repair it."

“We help organizations focus on the experience that they are delivering to their customers,” said Dave Murray, VP of Consulting for DiJulius Group.

The group has worked with national chains like Starbucks and Chick-fil-A. In 2021, CMPD brought them in to help officers have a better customer service approach with the community. The goal is to help officers enforce the law with empathy and compassion during a time when there's mistrust in police. 

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“I found it very impressive and some of these same issues that the DiJulius group, leadership, customer service, all these core competencies that the DiJulius group was helping CMPD, I believe, would be beneficial with CATS," Cagle said.  

Murray, who worked with CMPD and will oversee the project with CATS, said that they will help CATS put systems in place to create a stronger company and that change is possible. 

“That we are creating an experience that can be delivered consistently, regardless of the team member that’s doing the delivery, regardless for the circumstances taking place,” Murray said. “If we put some systems in place, if we have this as a strategic focus of ours, we'll stand out from our competition and we’ll be better at what we do."

The consulting firm will also be working with CATS on an internal level too, which means creating a positive culture for employees.

Lexi Wilson: Contact Lexi Wilson at lwilson@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.  


WCNC Charlotte is committed to reporting on the issues facing the communities we serve. We tell the stories of people working to solve persistent social problems. We examine how problems can be solved or addressed to improve the quality of life and make a positive difference. WCNC Charlotte is seeking solutions for you. Send your tips or questions to newstips@wcnc.com.   

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