Metro General Manager Richard Sarles. (Photo by Tracy A Woodward/The Washington Post)

Metro’s General Manager Richard Sarles will be on the job until Jan. 16, but on Thursday, he took the time to address the board of directors during his last board meeting. Sarles will be replaced on an interim basis by Jack Requa.

Sarles thanked the board for the opportunity to serve as Metro’s chief executive.

“Here at Metro I feel confident that the state of operations – both customer operations and internal operations – has improved; and we are achieving a higher standard of performance than five years ago,” he said.

The remarks are likely to draw fire from his critics since they come on a day in which there were significant delays on five of the transit systems six rail lines.

Perhaps in response to those critics, Sarles offered in closing his remarks.

I’d like to close with an important reminder from someone I have long admired who made a difference while he was here in Washington, Theodore Roosevelt.  He captured what I think it takes to enact change and to achieve success.

His famous “Man in the Arena” quote reminds us that you can’t stand on the sidelines and expect something to happen.  You must take risks; and in taking those risks, you must be prepared for failure.

Roosevelt said: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming.”

He tells us that the person to admire is the one who dares greatly.  Only he who dares will know the triumph of achievement; and if he fails, Roosevelt said, at least he failed “while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Here is a full transcript of Sarles’ remarks.