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Meet Richard W. Andreski!

Richard W. Andreski
Chief of Staff, Rail Operations
New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ TRANSIT)
Co-chair, Early Career Program Mentors; member, Leadership APTA Class of 2009 and Human Resources Committee

Please describe your agency's scope.

NJ TRANSIT is New Jersey's public transportation corporation with a service area of 5,325 square miles, providing bus, rail, light rail and paratransit services and linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia. The agency's more than 11,000 skilled employees operate a fleet of 2,027 buses, 704 trains and 45 light rail vehicles serving nearly 223 million passenger trips each year. As the vehicle that connects New Jerseyans with employment, education, health care and recreational opportunities, NJ TRANSIT is vital to the state's economic and social well-being, as well as its quality of life.

How long have you worked in public transportation? What drew you to a career in the industry?
I had always been interested in public transportation, but initially overlooked it as a career choice. I graduated from Lafayette College with a biology degree and soon after graduating started a daily commute to New York City on NJ TRANSIT. As fate would have it, I read about a new commuter group being formed to lobby NJ TRANSIT for upgraded trains, stations and improved schedules. I jumped at the opportunity and, as they say, the rest is history.

Our ultimate goal was direct, one-seat service to Midtown Manhattan on NJ TRANSIT's Raritan Valley Line. After a brief time as an advocate, I realized my professional calling was in public transportation as it offered me a chance to help improve the quality of life for so many people and contribute on a range of important issues from the environment to economic development.

With the recent acquisition of new state-of-the-art dual-power locomotives and some operational adjustments, I am proud to say NJ TRANSIT now offers direct, one-seat service on the Raritan Valley Line.

How long have you been an APTA member? Please describe your involvement with APTA and note what's rewarding about it.
I have been involved with APTA since the beginning of my career, participating in the Leadership APTA program, Class of 2009. I have remained engaged with this great organization, most recently as co-chair of the Early Career Program, a leadership development program for individuals relatively new to the public transportation industry, with three to five years of work experience.

The Early Career Program, now in its second year, was the brain child of NJ TRANSIT Board Member and APTA Past Chair Flora Castillo. Flora recognized the pressing need to develop younger managers for senior leadership positions and asked me, along with my co-chair Jill Stober from KFH Group, to implement this program.

I owe much of my success to some exceptional people who took an interest in my own professional development, and this program has been a golden opportunity to give back and assist in others' development.

What have you found to be the most valuable APTA benefit or resource?
APTA's staff members are passionate about what they do and hold themselves to high standards of service. They are always willing to help and rise to the occasion when asked. They have been a resource for our own internal professional development programs and provided technical guidance on equipment design and maintenance practices. The Workforce Development and Educational Services Department does an outstanding job, offering webinars, online courses and university-caliber technical training and leadership development programs.

What do you like most about your career?
I have enjoyed the variety of experiences and diverse project assignments during my 16-year career at NJ TRANSIT. My professional career has included capital planning, rail and bus operations and policy roles, working directly for the executive director and with key external partners such as FTA and Amtrak. It has given me particular satisfaction seeing many of the projects I have been involved with completed and in service for the benefit of our customers.

More recently, I have been working with my counterparts up and down the Northeast Corridor representing NJ TRANSIT on the Northeast Corridor Commission. These efforts are the beginning of what I hope will be a new paradigm for increased investment and improved service for millions of people who travel over the Northeast Corridor each year.

In addition, I would like to see a sustained federal investment to take public transportation to the next level. We can't afford to delay investment as our national economy and ultimately our competitiveness in the global marketplace depend on safe, convenient and efficient public transportation.

What is unique about your agency? What would readers be surprised to learn?
Here are some fun facts about NJ TRANSIT: Newark Light Rail is one of the oldest continuously operating light rail lines in the U.S. It's been operating since 1935. Hoboken Terminal is the oldest still operating rail-ferry terminal in the U.S. It's the last of five former terminals on the Hudson River waterfront. The agency's rail operates in three states--New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. It's the largest statewide public transit agency.
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