Q: Tell these fine people reading this what your title is.
A: Principal and Senior VP.
Q: What’s that title mean on an org chart?
A: I often serve as the Project Manager on major projects, so I’m responsible for quality assurance, quality control, budget maintenance, troubleshooting, bringing the project in on time.
Our clients look to me or someone like me on another project to make sure they’re getting what we promised we’d be getting them.
In the role also, we’re always continually looking for way to help the client and to solve people’s problems. Here at TranSystems we’re deep into each of the modes – freight rail, highways, and bridges and so on – but we really excel where there is an intersection between the modes. I’m working on a project now that calls for designing a passenger rail and freight rail route that intersects with a number of congested roadways. There are technical demands on the rail side and technical demands on the highway side and they are quite different. The professionals in those organizations have very different takes on infrastructure as well. In this case, I can serve as the Rosetta Stone that translates the highway folks’ concerns to the rail guys…and vice versa.
Q: What was the educational and career path that got you here, both to TranSystems and to your spot on the team?
A: I got my bachelor’s in Civil Engineering and my Masters with a specialization in transportation.
Q: Now….to the heart of the matter. I won’t hold you to this exact day, but average out your activities over the last couple weeks and tell us what ‘a day in the life’ might be like.
A: I’ve got my schedule on my smartphone, I’ll just rattle off some items that are either just completed or are pending for today:
I have a telephone conference with a major client for an interview for a project (by the way, we’re coordinating that project between five different offices)
I attended a public participation meeting last night with citizens of Houston for an access management study
I negotiated with a contractor for scope of services; for this project by the way, we’ll be providing all disciplines, all market sectors, and all our lines of business; it includes security, inventory management, supply chain optimization, civil engineering plans for a major supply chain structure, and traffic engineering.
I went home mid-afternoon and watched my girls
I got invoices out
I met with a contractor on a design-build project on a multi-million dollar project
I spent some time mentoring a young engineer under or Project GROW program
I met with a contractor trying to refine our pursuit of a major project in the energy field
I attended our Senior Management Safety Program briefing
Lunch with a client
Q: I think you like this work very much, yes? Tell us why.
A: Our specialization in transportation, no one our size in the industry does that.
Also, our team approach, I can and do call anyone in the organization for knowledge-sharing when I need it, and the teamwork within the organizational chart for each project is second to none.
You get to leave a legacy; you get to see in a very concrete manner what you have done.
Every day you’re operating in a new arena, every day you go home tired but happy.
Q: Tell me about the people around you, up and down the halls. Tell me about TranSystems.
A: We have wonderful people. I am told that people first come here the thing they are most struck by is the openness between professionals. That’s an engrained habit that we’ll never let go of.
Q: OK, sir, we’ll let you get back to it. One more thing, I’ve got a niece interested in going into engineering. Any advice for her?
A: Tell her to get her degree and go into transportation! Every discipline of engineering finds application in transportation: electrical, right of way, mechanical, traffic, civil, architectural. You name it, we need it in transportation.