Frank T. Martin
Senior Vice President, Transit and Rail
Member, APTA Business Member Board of Governors
Member, Sustainability, High-Speed & Intercity Passenger Rail, Business Member Programs, and Business Member Small Business
How many people are employed at your business?
Atkins is one of the world’s leading global engineering and architectural corporations, with approximately 3,000 employees in North America and 17,500 globally. The firm has about 300 offices worldwide. It’s been ranked one of the top three engineering firms in the U.S. and one of the top 10 firms in the Middle East, among many other honors. And it’s been around for awhile. We’re celebrating our 75th anniversary this year.
How long have you worked in the public transportation industry?
I have worked in public transportation for 39 years. My career has encompassed many aspects of public transportation: planning, administration, operations, and maintenance; analyzing program systems and processes; and developing business plans and strategies.
I began my career in public transportation in 1974 as a mass transit planner with the North Central Florida Regional Planning Council. Since then, I’ve served as a general manager or chief operating officer for several top public transit systems and have served in an oversight capacity for the implementation of programs from South Florida (South Florida Regional Transportation Authority) to Northern California (Altamont Commuter Express, Caltrain, and Capitol Corridor) while working as the chief operating officer for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.
How long have you been an APTA member?
I have been involved with APTA since 1978. In fact, the first APTA meeting I attended was my first year as a member. It was the Annual Meeting in Montreal.
What drew you to a career in public transportation?
I actually became involved by accident. My master’s thesis was a study of the impact of the I-40 interstate highway on the local bus routes in north Nashville, TN. Little did I know that, some three years later, my first professional promotion from a local assistance planner to a mass transit planner would be the springboard to a career in public transportation. As a resident of north Nashville, I was concerned about how the interstate highway system impacted the neighborhood I grew up in.
What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource—which one helps you do your job?
Over the years, APTA has been the go-to organization for any information on public transportation. The wealth of information and resources has been invaluable. As a manager on a public transit property, you always have a colleague somewhere who is willing to share information or a best practice. The relationships are second to none within this organization.
Please explain why or how this has helped.
It helps because you only have to make one call to find a potential solution or answer to a question—not spend days trying to connect to the right person.
What do you like most about your job?
In my current job, I get the opportunity to assist clients in solving their problems. Having served as a general manager and chief operating officer for several agencies on the operating side of the business, I understand what it takes to get service on the streets on a daily basis.
What is unique about your business?
This is a relationship business. But more importantly, we all are doing what we do to serve our customers—the riding public—by making sure they have a clean, comfortable, convenient, and safe ride to their destination. At the end of the day, that’s what is most important. We must always keep that as our focus.
What would readers be surprised to learn?
I love photography, I enjoy serving the communities in which I live, and I’m heavily involved in higher education. For many years, I served on the board of governors for the 350,000-student State University System of Florida, and I currently serve as a member of the board for Florida Polytechnic University, the newest university in the state, focusing on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics degrees. I became involved in higher education because I am concerned about the lack of training programs to fill the gap of baby boomers set to retire in the next five to seven years. We must have adequate educational systems and programs to train our future industry leaders.