How did you begin working at TRA? Who was your first client?
Good luck and good timing helped near the end of graduate school as I searched employment websites with the keyword “transit.” I knew I was onto something when my future colleague, Dan Hauber, said “We’ll be in Chicago soon, we can just interview you in person.” One of my first assignments was a review of Miami-Dade’s Roadway Worker Protection Manual for the Florida DOT. It was a great introduction to transit agency procedures and provided a sense for how safety rules are communicated to workers.
What do you like most about your job?
Can I have two things I like most? It’s a tie between having dedicated colleagues who keep me laughing and teach me new things all the time, and the opportunity to contribute to the mission of public transportation. Sounds corny, but I’m a true believer in transit; when done right, it is accessible, convenient, strengthens communities, and supports more sustainable use of land and resources.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I am an extremely amateur bird watcher. Using an app called iNaturalist, I upload geotagged photos of animals – mostly birds – spotted when out and about. People identify or confirm the species, creating an open-source record to benefit research about migrations and population density. When endangered piping plovers made a nesting ground at the Chicago lakefront near where I live, I got really into it.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?
I enjoy running, biking, playing tennis, and softball. Ice hockey is my favorite, though; it has been an important part of my life through various stages. Less competitive about it now – just happy to be out there, not get injured, and enjoy time with teammates after the game.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
At this point, I’m yearning to travel anywhere and would not be choosy! Toronto is high on the list of cities I’ve never visited. My partner and I also hope to observe the next total solar eclipse in 2024 from some remote part of Canada, maybe in New Brunswick or Newfoundland.