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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis November 29, 2013
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Meet Sherry Brown!

Sherry Brown
Administrative Assistant, Safety and Security
Member Services Department

What are the top job ­elements you focus on the most—your primary responsibilities?
I provide administrative ­support for APTA’s Safety and Security Division of the ­Member Services Department, which encourages safe and secure practices within public transpor­tation. I provide administrative support for several programs, including the System Safety Management Program and Peer Reviews.

Through the System Safety Management Program—available for bus, rail transit, and commuter rail—an APTA audit team assesses the safety and security needs of an agency and provides suggestions on how to enhance the safe practices already in place. My responsibiliities include setting the schedule for the audits, compiling the audit reports, and arranging the logistics to get auditors from one public transit agency to the next. Public transit agencies not currently participating in this ­program can contact me for further details.

The Peer Review Program sends public transit professionals to an agency to examine a specific security or safety problem or condition and offer recommendations on corrective action to be taken. Again, my duties involve preparing the final report and making travel arrangements for the peer review panel. I had an opportunity to sit in on a peer review and saw the ­benefit in getting unbiased suggestions from individuals who understand the needs of a transit agency.

Do you have direct ­contact with APTA ­members? If so, please talk about the most recent times you’ve helped out a member.
I am in touch with APTA members regularly with regard to audit scheduling and the peer review process. Recently I received a call from a member who wished to present a question to her peers. I pointed her to the APTA membership forum, and we posted her question, which in turn received an excellent response.

Sometimes participants in one of the audit programs call me with questions, and I refer them to the auditor who conducted the study.

However, most of the contact I have with members is about ­setting up the dates for an audit. We may set a date, then things happen, and we have to change it. It’s important to stay flexible to meet the needs of our members.

What initiatives, projects, or programs have you worked on at APTA that you have taken particular pride in completing?
Currently I am compiling information to mark the 100th anniversary of the APTA Transit Safety Awards. It has been a blast to pore through decades of transit safety history. The old pictures and documents provide a glimpse into the years of commitment on the part of the association to provide safe and secure conditions within public transportation.

How did you “land” at APTA? How long have you worked here?
Before joining APTA, I worked for a cosmetics company in the human resources and accounting department. I realized the importance of public transportation while at that job: it was in the outer suburbs of Northern Virginia, and public transit options were limited.

I have worked at APTA for more than 12 years. I began in the Human Resources Department, moved to Office Services, and finally landed with the Safety and Security team. In my opinion it was the right move—they are the best division at APTA!

Could you tell us something about yourself that might surprise us?
One of my hobbies I guess you could say is collecting elephants—not real ones! The ­collection began when my younger sister—who is very ­artistic—made me an elephant out of clay while she was in high school. Now, whenever my friends see an elephant, they have to bring it home for me. They are made of all sorts of ­materials, and I have probably 80 of them, all of them gifts.

More importantly, I am both an avid student and teacher of the Bible. It centers my life and gives me joy to share the hope it extends with others.

Make sure you see Sherry Brown's video, now that you've read this!

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