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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis August 10, 2012
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Meet LaTara Jackson!

LaTara Jackson
Classified Advertising and Circulation Coordinator
Communications & Marketing

What are your primary job responsibilities?
I receive and input subscription information for Passenger Transport and respond to inquiries about classified advertising. I’m the point of contact for Passenger Transport advertisers and subscribers. I also send out subscription billing notices. Recently, I’ve begun sending the electronic editions of Passenger Transport and Passenger Transport Express to our online subscribers. In this electronic age, it’s really nice to gain this new critical skill.

It often happens that changes of address can get kind of confusing as far as maintaining subscription records. And when that happens, sometimes delivery is delayed. My approach is to resolve this matter quickly so the member continues to receive Passenger Transport in a timely fashion.

In proofing classified ads, we sometimes find areas that need either clarification or correction, such as when someone has written a “respond by” date – that has already passed! So when I contact an advertiser to verify the text of a classified ad, I let the advertiser know that the editors have read through the ad and want to double-check to make sure that the phrasing of the ad is exactly what they want to say, the wording they want to use. After the correction is made in house, I contact them one last time before we go to press.

Do you have direct contact with APTA members? If so, please talk about times you’ve helped out a member.
One advertiser was trying to locate a classified ad—a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise notice—that his agency had placed in Passenger Transport some years ago, he but had no idea which specific issue included it. He had a general sense of which year it appeared, but the employee who had submitted the notice was no longer working there and the agency needed proof for FTA that it had appeared. I was able to look through my records and find the requested ad. The person was very grateful when I was able to locate it.

In another case, I sent a copy of the annual APTA calendar to a member who requested it for his grandson, who has a love of transportation, specifically trains. The calendar was actually a Christmas gift. Afterward, the subscriber sent me a really nice Christmas card.

What initiatives, projects, or programs have you worked on at APTA that you have taken particular pride in completing?
Currently, I am finalizing a guide for APTA employees explaining my job duties and how other people can navigate the association’s NetForum database to track what I do. It’s a step-by-step guide: how to find information, the protocols for entering data and making changes; and how to gather information regarding subscriptions and accounting-related tasks I perform.

The purpose of this guide—for internal staff use only—is to have a single resource where APTA staff can find answers about inputting subscription information.
How did you “land” at APTA? How long have you worked here?
I was working in health care, but I wanted to get back to doing something that had to do with what I studied in college, which was communications and marketing. So, when I saw the job opening at APTA, I applied for it. I’ve worked for APTA three years in September.

I’d never worked with classified advertising before coming to APTA. The largest challenge I face is the number of people I deal with, since so many public transit systems and businesses want to place classified ads and subscribe to Passenger Transport.

Could you tell us something about yourself that might surprise us?
I am a history buff. Every pet I’ve ever had is named after a historical figure. The History Channel shows a special that covers all the U.S. presidents, from George Washington to George W. Bush, and I remember being most impressed with the presidencies of Harry S Truman and Bill Clinton—so I named my cats Truman and Clinton. And, my favorite period of history is the Middle Ages. So I could have gone with Charlemagne or William the Conqueror (!), but then I said to myself: “No, I’ll stick with Truman and Clinton!!”

Make sure you see LaTara Jackson’s video, now that you've read this!

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