Meet Our Team: Dan McGurl

How did you begin working at TRA? Who was your first client?

Like many other TRAers, I stumbled across the job posting on the internet. I remember immediately being intrigued by the position.  While my background is not in the field of transit, oversight, or transit oversight, the work really appealed to me because of my background in political science and emergency management. The everyday work that TRA does really aligned with my interests and skills. As soon as I joined the team, I hit the ground running on a number of projects. The project nearest to my heart is assisting PennDOT in its daily oversight operations. As someone who grew up riding SEPTA, it really feels like I’ve come full circle while I get to see the ins and outs of my hometown transit agency. I also assist in the creation of a number of emergency operations plans for transit agencies.

My first trip was to Salt Lake City, Utah to assist UDOT in oversight of the Utah Transit Authority. I have really enjoyed my trips there because they allow me to see a city and transit system very different from what I am used to.

What do you like most about your job?

First and foremost, transit is super cool; being able to observe the hidden details and interact with the people essential to running systems that move millions of people is truly a unique experience. On top of that, the TRA team has been committed to educating me about all the details of transit. From regulations, new words and acronyms, and systems, there is just so much to learn. I’ve had a ton of sidebar conversations, quick demos or meals while traveling where someone has taken a ton of time to explain the intimate details of a small facet of our work to me.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

Like a number of other TRA staff members, I am a massive aviation geek. Any time I see a plane overhead I pull out my tracking app to see where it is going. Before going to college, I thought I wanted to be a commercial airline pilot and actually received my private pilot’s license at the age of 17.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?

I am definitely someone who likes to stay busy. One of my favorite hobbies is going to concerts with friends. I’m also a huge fan of lazy time and spend many nights cooking a new recipe while watching a movie. I’ve also just taken up wheel throwing, so if anyone wants a very lopsided pot or bowl let me know and I’ll make you one.  

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

The list of places that I’m trying to go to is getting longer rather than shorter. Two places that I would like to get to soon are Japan and Alaska, for very different reasons. As a lover of all food, but particularly sushi, Japan appeals to my stomach. I would also love to see some art that is very different from what we see here, and also ride some great public transportation.

Heading to Alaska would really appeal to my love of isolation and wilderness. I’m hoping to spend some time in my hiking boots and enjoy something very different from what the city has to offer. 


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