Senior Vice President and Director, Finance Market Sector
HDR | Sharon Greene + Associates
Laguna Beach, CA
Co-Chair, Authorization Task Force
Past Chair and Current Member, BMBG
Past Member, APTA Board of Directors and Executive Committee
Member, Legislative, Policy and Planning, Public-Private Partnerships committees; Governance Task Force
How many people are employed at your organization?
Sharon Greene + Associates was acquired by HDR in July 2013, and so we are now known as HDR | Sharon Greene + Associates.
HDR is a global, employee-owned firm that provides consulting, engineering, architecture, construction, and related services in support of infrastructure development. It has more than 8,500 professionals in more than 190 locations. Our client-focused approach and valuing the contributions of each employee are two of HDR’s defining characteristics.
How long have you worked in the public transportation industry?
I have worked in public transportation since 1978. After I graduated from college, I was fortunate to have two initial work experiences—both of which were well-timed in terms of the then-developing environmental movement and the growing attention to public transportation as an alternative to highway utilization.
One of these experiences was as a junior-level planner on the Boston Transportation Planning Review (BTPR), a major study of transportation alternatives within the Route 128 Beltway around Boston. BTPR changed the face of transportation in that city and opened my eyes to a world I didn’t even know existed! This experience, the contacts I made, and the examples of leadership I saw led me to graduate school where I focused on public finance and city and regional planning at Harvard.
One bit of irony—when I was an undergraduate in college, I lived with the problem of taking a bus into Boston with direct service that stopped at 7 p.m. Little did I anticipate that decades later, I would be leading HDR’s work in developing the financial plan to extend the MBTA Red Line to provide rail service for future students and residents.
What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource?
For me, it’s a combination of things—especially access to and involvement in shaping transportation and transit policy (which APTA does so effectively) and networking support, which increases our effectiveness as an industry and as individuals.
Initially when I became active in APTA, I focused on improving my own understanding of planning issues—I participated as a listener. After joining the Business Member Board of Governors (BMBG), I became increasingly aware of the importance and power of networking. In my time with the BMBG, business members became increasingly involved in government affairs and policy issues. I was heavily involved in fostering those efforts.
Please describe your work on the Authorization Task Force.
I was very honored to have been selected as one of the co-chairs of the Authorization Task Force. My major responsibility focused on shaping recommendations regarding program structure, particularly in light of changes made by MAP-21. The programmatic issues really engaged the APTA membership, and APTA staff was very patient and supportive in setting up individual working groups, each of which had extensive conference calls and meetings. There was a lot of engagement—not only with regard to individual issues that member agencies and organizations were experiencing, but also in discussions to move beyond individual issues to identify and collaborate on developing recommendations that put the needs of the industry first. The work of the Authorization Task Force provides the best example of what a highly effective collaborative process can accomplish, and it says a lot about APTA members and staff. I was tremendously proud to be part of it.
What do you like most about your job?
I believe that transportation can play a major role in improving people’s lives. And I have been fortunate to have been able to work on great projects that contribute to making such improvements happen. Very early on in my career, I saw that good ideas aren’t enough. In order to make good things happen, funding, financing, and demonstrating societal benefits are essential. That is why I focused on these aspects of transportation policy and planning.
What is unique about your organization? What would readers be surprised to learn?
After 30 years of being the owner of a small firm, I decided to join a large one—HDR. Many people go the opposite way.
HDR has a global network of talent with broad and deep skill sets. Together, we offer clients a full-service approach to solving their challenges. This includes everything from evaluating funding and alternative delivery approaches early in the transportation infrastructure development process to providing design, construction, and program management services during implementation. It’s a wonderful new partnership—HDR has an excellent client focus and technical capabilities from which we can benefit and the staff of Sharon Greene + Associates enhances the range of services that HDR provides. Together, we can amplify the value we deliver to clients and the industry as a whole. I’m very proud of this new affiliation.