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Meet Chad Chitwood!

Chad Chitwood
Program Manager-Advocacy Communications
Communications & Marketing Department

What are the three job elements you focus on the most (your primary responsibilities)?

My three primary job responsibilities are external social media, advocacy outreach, and working on APTA media events and interviews.

I am responsible for the social media (Facebook and Twitter) ­presence that refers to public transportation as an industry as opposed to an association. My target audience is people who don’t know about APTA; they just know they like ­taking public transportation.

Advocacy outreach includes everything that relates to APTA’s new campaign: “Where public transportation goes, community grows.” Right now we’re talking to our members about the different branded materials we have available, such as for buses, trains, and Facebook.

The media events I’ve worked on include APTA reports on the increased property values around public transportation, the fact that public transportation connections between airports and city centers make specific regions and cities more likely to host conferences and, most recently, an examination of tech centers: regions that are growing too fast (California’s Silicon Valley, North Carolina’s Research ­Triangle) and will have to either implement new public transportation or build 20-lane highways to meet the traffic needs.

Do you have direct ­contact with APTA ­members? If so, please talk about recent times you’ve helped out a member.

Generally, the members with whom I interact are the social media contacts and communications staff members with APTA member agencies.

One of my duties is to set up interviews for general managers related to advocacy/ridership issues. The “call day” event during the APTA Legislative Conference provides GMs with an opportunity to talk to local media about their ridership numbers.

I also deal extensively with people outside APTA. For example, someone at FRA may call me and say he or she is doing something on social media and ask for my help promoting it. Or I may hear from someone planning a bus artwork campaign that APTA can promote through social media. We’ll promote specific media if the organi­zation is doing something unique.

What initiatives, projects, or programs have you worked on at APTA that you have taken particular pride in completing?

A recent (as in the past few weeks) complete rebranding of the publictransportation.org website. Working with external consultants, I helped create a new style guide. We also updated the transit facts on the site to reflect current economic research we just released.

How did you “land” at APTA? How long have you worked here?

I have a friend in the industry who suggested I apply to APTA. I’ve worked here almost three years. My first conference was the 2011 Annual Meeting & EXPO in New Orleans.

Have you held other jobs in the public ­transportation industry (besides working at APTA)?

AI worked with the Navajo ­Housing Authority (New ­Mexico, Arizona, part of Colorado) to inform the federal government of the progress the tribe was ­making in providing safe and affordable housing to members on tribal land. Through that, there were instances where I worked with the highway authority. I didn’t necessarily work in the public transportation industry, and funding issues on tribal land are very different from those affecting the general population.

Could you tell us something about yourself that might surprise us?

Here are a few things: I was a delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention in ­Boston. I live on a boat in a marina on the Southwest Waterfront of Washington. I’m a Kansas City native and I still root for the ­Royals and the Chiefs. I worked on the film Casino Jack, a fictional retelling of the story of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, directed by George ­Hickenlooper and starring Kevin Spacey. I have worked in several presidential campaigns in multiple states.

Make sure you see Chad Chitwood’s video, now that you've read this!

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