Director of Business Development
Leadership APTA Class of 2011
How many people do you employ/how many people at your business?
Proterra has approximately 110 employees.
How long have you worked in the industry? 14 years
How long have you been an APTA member? 12 years
What drew you to a career in public transportation?
I’m an environmentalist and I strongly believe in the social good of public works. Beyond that, to be honest, I love really cool high-tech propulsion technology—which I’ve found is often invented first in buses.
My enthusiasm for all things “public transportation” began while I was an undergraduate at the University of Maryland. I was studying mechanical engineering with a focus in hybrid car technology and had the opportunity to work with graduate students on a Georgetown University methanol-fueled FTA-funded fuel cell bus. That was my kick-start event and I was instantly hooked. After graduation, I had the wonderful fortune to join a startup in San Diego, inventing hybrid propulsion systems for buses and trucks.
What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource that helps you do your job?
What I find the most valuable is the unbelievable network of professionals within the industry that provides an excellent resource to members. Over the years, I’ve been able to call on these individuals for mentorship and industry knowledge and seen a direct impact on the ability to collectively get the job done of moving people via public transportation.
Please explain why or how this has helped.
When I was a young engineer, the public transportation industry was extremely receptive to me on a national scale. I was invited to conferences, asked to take part on committees, and even to present at national APTA meetings. Of course, that’s a somewhat personal perspective. Professionally, I found that APTA’s success in bringing together public and private partnerships—from the OEM through the vendors to the transit agencies with local, state, and federal regulators assisting—to be incredibly valuable. APTA maintains the role of facilitator and continuously strives to improve this collaboration, ensuring the riding public is well served.
Personally and professionally, being a part of the Leadership APTA Class of 2011 was both a special and a rewarding experience. It provided me with an opportunity to go beyond my current network of industry professionals and learn from knowledgeable mentors and transit industry veterans in highly educational sessions. Beyond education, we shared stories and lessons among this broad network of people—all for the common goal of bettering public transit. The ability to network—with other APTA leaders in my class and previous classes—was tremendous.
What do you like most about your job?
I appreciate the openness of public transit professionals—from general managers of the largest systems to the service workers of the smallest—to talk about their passion for this industry. All of us know we can make a difference in the daily lives of ordinary citizens getting to work, to school, to grocery stores, to doctors, or just to the movies.
I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of facilitating public-private partnerships. I’ve also had the chance to demonstrate locally, nationally, and internationally the revolutionary products I work with. I’ve been able to work on truly “industry-changing” projects, not only seeing change but being a part of it.
What is unique about your business?
We are continuing to move past demonstration into the production phase of 100 percent battery-electric buses capable of operating for up to 24 hours a day with less cost per mile than any other competing technology. This February, we completed testing at the Altoona [PA] Bus Research and Testing Center—a federal requirement of every new model transit bus. The testing assesses structural durability, performance, and reliability. Compared to zero emission, heavy-duty buses, Proterra’s EcoRideTM BE35 performed with the highest fuel economy and lowest exterior noise to date. At Proterra, we are truly making history, one bus at a time.
Make sure you see Joshua Goldman’s video, now that you've read this!