Brightline announces appointment of new executive leadership team

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MIAMI – Brightline has announced the appointment of four executives to the leadership team. The new additions are Jeff Swiatek as chief financial officer; Ravneet Bhandari as chief commercial officer; Michael Cegelis as executive vice president of infrastructure development; and Jeff Schappert as senior vice president of technology. These experienced individuals will join a dynamic team currently leading the nation's only privately owned, operated and maintained intercity passenger rail system in the U.S. and its future expansion efforts.

“Brightline is putting together an accomplished team of senior leaders that will help us continue to solve transportation issues in Florida and beyond,” said Patrick Goddard, Brightline's president and chief operating officer. “Each of these executives offer tremendous experience, unique perspective and have bold ideas that will move us forward.”

Jeff Swiatek, Brightline's chief financial officer, oversees the financial aspects of the development and operations of the company. He has more than 25 years of experience in international corporate finance, strategy and business development. Most recently, Jeff spent 15 years at AIG in various senior roles spanning mergers and acquisitions, planning and budgeting, business analytics, portfolio management and business development activities. Prior to AIG, he worked in the investment banking department of Goldman Sachs where he helped companies execute capital raising transactions and review acquisition opportunities.

Ravneet Bhandari, Brightline's chief commercial officer, is responsible for all of Brightline's revenue generation and consumer-facing endeavors, including the marketing, revenue management, sales, business development and strategic partnership departments. Ravneet is a leading expert and pioneer in strategic revenue growth and optimization with more than two decades of experience in hospitality, gaming and travel technology, including delivering more than $1 billion in holistic revenue gains over the course of his career. Prior to joining Brightline, he was the CEO and co-founder of LodgIQ, a technology startup that developed revenue management software implemented by more than 500 hotels, and the Chief Commercial Officer at Nor1, which provides machine-learning based merchandizing software implemented at nearly 8,000 hotels. Ravneet was also the first-ever head of revenue management for Hyatt International, and subsequently for Caesars Entertainment. While at Trump Entertainment Resorts, he created and led the integrated discipline of Revenue Strategy, Marketing and Technology.

Michael Cegelis, Brightline's executive vice president of infrastructure development, oversees the design, engineering and soon, construction of Brightline's Phase 2 extension to Orlando. He manages the team responsible for schedule, budget, quality, implementation of safety measures and environmental oversight. He was formerly senior vice president at American Bridge Company, one of the nation's leading civil engineering firms. Michael is a 40-year veteran of the construction industry, having overseen major projects such as the $3.5 billion Tappan Zee Bridge replacement in New York and the $1.3 billion Queensferry Crossing in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Jeff Schappert, Brightline's senior vice president of technology, is responsible for the strategic planning and operational delivery of all technology related endeavors. He brings more than 30 years of experience delivering technology products and services for major passenger rail, hospitality, gas and electric utility companies. Prior to joining Brightline, Jeff was the marketing and sales business solutions officer at Amtrak where he managed a year-over-year capital budget in excess of $100 million. He has also worked as a management and technology consultant, advising companies such as The Walt Disney Company, Royal Caribbean, Cisco and Florida Power & Light.

The appointment of these senior-level executives is instrumental as the company begins full operations between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach and expects to begin construction north of West Palm Beach in the coming months. Brightline is also analyzing the viability of replicating the model in city pairs that are “too long to drive and too short to fly” in other regions throughout the country.

– From a Brightline press release.

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