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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis March 23, 2012
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Meet Saahir Brewington!

Saahir Brewington
Program Manager-Bus Standards
Member Services/Technical Services Department

What are the top job elements you focus on the most (your primary responsibilities)?
My primary responsibility is program manager for the standards programs. That means I am responsible for working in the areas of suspension systems, bus safety and operations, fire safety, and security and emergency management. I assist with document development and production, facilitate meetings and, in general, work with business members and public transportation agency professionals to create APTA standards.

My job is 30-40 percent travel—so I travel about twice a month to facilitate working groups. We hold meetings at various agencies, both to showcase them and to take into account costs. It’s much less for me to go to them than for them to come here!

I am also the program manager for both the bus and rail rodeos—APTA’s exhibition of front line employees. A successful rodeo is a lot of hard work on the part of the host agency as well as the rodeo committee. [Editor’s note: While the bus event is a “roadeo” and rail is a “rodeo,” we are using just one spelling—rodeo—in this profile.]

Do you have direct contact with APTA members? If so, please talk about the two most recent times you’ve helped out a member.
I communicate with members all the time—that is the best part of my job! Most of my interaction is within the APTA Standards Development Program Working Group. The goal of each working group is to create standards or recommended practices to improve the state of public transportation and ensure that the rules, regulations, and changes are practical and that the public transit industry can comply. What I do with those groups is help them come to a happy medium—getting people who have distinctly different approaches but understand that, to move the public transit industry forward, they must come to an agreement. And that’s always an exciting adventure!

One of the things I really like about my job is that I get to interact with APTA members on a broad scale—from business members to CEOs and vice presidents to public transit agency general managers—as well as APTA chairs. I have learned so much from my interactions with business members. I thoroughly enjoy attending their product showcases and watching how they contribute to the industry. On the other side, given that I see the front line employees year in and year out, it’s particularly gratifying to see someone who started as an operator return as a supervisor or become active in the rodeo committee.

What initiatives, projects, or programs have you worked on at APTA that you have taken particular pride in completing?
My favorites are always the bus and rail rodeos. Both events are designed to elevate and acknowledge front line employees—and the awards banquets are highlights of my year because we are honoring these employees. This is their chance to shine, and I really like that APTA, as an industry leader, takes the time to recognize these employees. And I’m very happy that I’m the person who gets to organize all this!

How long have you worked here? 9 years.

How did you “land” at APTA?
I came to APTA through a temporary agency. I had recently graduated college (so this is my first long-term job). Because I have always liked public transit, I applied for the job. I started as an administrative assistant and was promoted to program manager. I am now responsible for five standards development working groups, three APTA committees, and the bus and rail rodeos. I thoroughly enjoy my job.

Could you tell us something about yourself that might surprise us?
I volunteer at CulinAerie—an adult recreational cooking school. I also volunteer with National CARES Mentoring Movement. Their mission is to fill mentoring voids. This organization finds mentors for specific programs, such as College Bound. And another completely different thing … My mother was an artist, so for many years my brother and I were part of her performing arts group—her backup singers and dancers! Last, and different again … I am president of my condo association.

Make sure you see Saahir Brewington's video, now that you've read this!

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