Program Manager-Environment and Infrastructure
Q: What are the job elements you focus on the most (your primary responsibilities)?
A: I coordinate input into federal infrastructure and environmental regulations, especially for MAP-21 implementation rulemaking processes. I work with the APTA Policy and Planning Committee, which includes members from both public transit agencies and businesses.
I also manage APTA’s Sustainability Committee, whose members participate in the APTA Sustainability Commitment, and the APTA Sustainability and Public Transportation Workshop.
Since its launch in 2009, the Sustainability Commitment has recognized APTA members from the public and private sectors for measuring the improvement in sustainability impact through such efforts as recycling, reduction in water usage, and energy consumption. For example, our members have created green roofs on their facilities, installed solar panels, or placed alternative fuel vehicles into service. Some have LEED-certified buildings. Others have adopted environmental and sustainability management systems: implementing the measurement of energy use, water consumption, and recycling levels as an ongoing business process.
Usually, 150 to 200 people participate in the workshop. They include everyone from general managers to hands-on practitioners such as sustainability managers. This year’s workshop, July 28-30 in San Francisco, will focus on performance measurement of sustainability outcomes—what organizations have done and what difference those actions make.
I’m a facilitator for the APTA standards groups working on sustainability and state of good repair. I make sure all the logistics are covered so we can follow a plan of action.
Q: Do you have direct contact with APTA members? If so, please talk about recent times you’ve helped out a member.
A: I have been working with several members to prepare their recognition applications for the APTA Sustainability Commitment. This process involves measuring environmental, social, and economic metrics at the organizational level, and it also involves a peer review panel.
For those who are applying for recognition, if they request my assistance, I review their applications and let them know if I see issues they would need to address to make their application more complete. To help with this process, I developed a template for displaying sustainability indicators and project goals. This makes it easier for the peer review panel to evaluate the application. The panel is independent and has the final say in evaluating applications.
Q: What initiatives, projects, or programs have you worked on at APTA that you have taken particular pride in completing?
A: Since MAP-21 passed shortly after I joined APTA, it has been particularly rewarding for me to work on the rulemaking processes that tie in with its implementation. The same is true with my work on the New Starts and Small Starts process, which began shortly before passage of MAP-21.
Q: How did you “land” at APTA? How long have you worked here?
A: I applied for a position as I was finishing graduate school. I have a master of public administration degree from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a master’s degree in environmental studies from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Working at APTA happened to perfectly combine my areas of interest—transportation policy and sustainability—and I was hired just as I was finishing my six months as a graduate assistant at MTA New York City Transit. I have been with APTA just over a year—14 months.
Q: Have you held other jobs in the public transportation industry (besides working at APTA)?
A: My work as a graduate assistant in the operations planning department of MTA NYC Transit included building and calibrating a model that forecast ridership demand for planning purposes and working with large databases of MetroCard data to test the model.
Q: What professional affiliations do you have?
A: I’m a member of Young Professionals in Transportation.
Q: Could you tell us something about yourself that might surprise us?
A: I’m fluent in Spanish and have spent several months working in and researching public transit in Mexico. Most recently, in October 2012, I made a presentation of my research findings to a class of urban planning students at the National University in Mexico City.
Make sure you see Kyle Bell's video, now that you've read this!