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Meet Huelon Harrison!
Legacy Resource Group, Dallas
Member, APTA Executive and Legislative committees, Authorization Task Force; chair, American Public Transportation Foundation; second vice chair, Business Member Board of Governors
Please describe the scope of your business.
Legacy Resource Group is a consulting practice that specializes in business development and strategic partnering between prime and subcontractors. More specifically, I help businesses find the qualified firms who can move their projects forward, starting at the RFQ and continuing right through to completion. Firms also often engage me to stay with a project team to help mitigate issues, address client concerns and identify other opportunities.
I started the firm full time in 2006 when I was leaving the board of directors at Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART). As a result of my board service, I had a chance to see firsthand the need for making good matches--to pair up the right organizations with the right partners on the right projects.
Before this, I was in commercial banking, and I specialized in small business lending with a focus on serving historically underserved clients and on being a liaison to business owners, not-for-profit organizations and community groups.
How long have you worked in public transportation?
I was named to the DART board in 1998 and was the DART chair from 2003 to 2005. I was first drawn to public transportation as a graduate student in Atlanta, when I used public transit for the first time. After being a frequent rider, I developed an interest in the public transportation industry.
How long have you been an APTA member? Please describe your involvement with APTA and note what's rewarding about it.
I first got involved with APTA in 1999--a year after I was named to the DART board--when I attended my first conference. I wanted to learn about public transportation from the ground up. Since then, I've attended most APTA conferences--bus, rail, the Legislative Conference, the Annual Meeting, the Business Member Board of Governors (BMBG) and the Transit Board Members Committee meetings.
I first got active in the Transit Board Members Committee, where I worked my way up through the ranks through various roles and then became chair. In addition to my current roles, I've also been on the Diversity Council and served on various other APTA and BMBG committees and subcommittees.
When people join organizations like APTA, they can either be observers or participants. I decided early on to be a participant. I understand the need for long-term committee service, but I also believe in mentoring others so they can participate in leadership roles too.
What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource? Which one helps you do your job?
APTA committees and resources are invaluable. As a conference attendee, I go to sessions, ask questions and try to serve as a resource myself.
I appreciate the exposure to this education and the ability to connect with other consultants across the country and share best practices. I can pick up the phone--and do, sometimes on a weekly basis--to my BMBG colleagues and ask questions and get answers, hear how someone has solved a problem or addressed an issue. It's also a great venue for networking--for my own business and to help introduce others too. Being part of an organization is helping others grow.
What do you like most about your career as a consultant?
I enjoy helping people--being part of their success stories, helping them get to the next opportunity and linking their particular skillset with the needs of an organization.
What is unique about your business? What would readers be surprised to learn?
I don't try to close a deal in the first conversation. I want people to know they can trust me, that I can get the job done. I try to do a little bit extra with every project, to spend time on a job, to give the right answer--even if it's not always the answer my client might have wanted to hear. I'm a hands-on consultant.
I also love to take photographs. I started taking photos in 1973. It's an opportunity to capture a moment, and it's a good way to meet people and make sure they remember me. I've taken photos at many APTA meetings and conferences. It's a good conversation starter and a way to connect with speakers and other participants. It's a real highlight for me that one of my photographs--the opening of DART's Orange Line light rail--was on the cover of APTA's 2014 calendar.