Marketing and Communications
BIRTHPLACE: Historic Frederick, Maryland (both the Mason Dixon line and the Appalachian Mountains travel through my hometown, which my mom’s family choose to make their home in the mid-1700s — deep roots, which I greatly value). I spent seven of my formative years growing up in Hawaii.
EDUCATION: -AA in Fashion Merchandising and Design (I love working with fabrics)
-BA in Mass Communications, with a focus on Public Relations and a minor in Marketing from the University of South Florida (Go Bulls!)
YEARS WORKING IN TRANSIT INDUSTRY: Almost 22 years
YEARS WORKING WITH QCA: 1 and 1/2 years
I’ve spent my entire professional life working in the Tampa Bay area. My combined degrees landed me my first professional communications job at University Mall, then the largest shopping mall in Tampa Bay. There I honed my writing and events skills with such responsibilities as the merchant newsletter, fashion tabloids (the photo shoots were very fun), and those crazy car shows and plant shows that used to be held in malls. From there, I had the privilege of spending seven years in the fine dining / night club business as marketing director for Tobacco Company Restaurant. It was a high-end, no jeans, over-21 destination that drew huge crowds. After my sixth year running a Halloween costume contest in a nightclub environment, I knew it was time to move on. That’s when I landed in public transit. I couldn’t believe it when I got the call for a second interview with Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority — what did I know about marketing buses? Well, I learned the marketing and communications tools needed to put fannies in seats (whether restaurant seats or bus seats) were relatively similar. I learned so much during my ten years at PSTA, and found I loved working in the public sector. I later was lured over to Hillsborough Area Regional Transit, where I continued the next eleven years serving the community in which I live. It’s been a very rewarding professional journey.
Now with Quest Corporation of America, Inc., I am learning every day. It is very exciting to work on the private side of our industry, and I particularly enjoy being able to support numerous clients — from public transit, to aviation, to roads and bridges. QCA associates have such a passion for being of service, and it is a core value exercised not only through the projects we support, but also through the community service activities we are encouraged to embrace.
BIGGEST SURPRISE IN MARKETING TRANSIT: Transit is such an integral part of a healthy community.
Transportation choices affect how people pursue their lifestyles, the economic health of the community, and even relocation plans for businesses. As I grow professionally in this industry, my respect for its role in our lives continues to evolve. It’s meaningful, and that has mattered to me. It has allowed me to combine my core values with my work life — a great thing!
BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN MARKETING TRANSIT: The target audiences are so vast. From the broad scope of ‘all taxpayers’ to the transit and paratransit rider, each has a specific message to be communicated and specific methods for communicating. We have to understand how to educate and motivate, using everything from door hangers to exterior bus ads, to presentations before community leaders. On the same day, our responsibilities can take us from wearing a business suit in the morning to hiking the blacktop in the afternoon. Certainly, it is never boring.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: I throw myself into enhancing the lives of my three children, which includes serving as the Meet Director for a nationally-sanctioned swimming championships event, producing the high school football program and chaperoning camping trips. Professionally, I have enjoyed serving on the Board of a local Saturday Farmers Market, directing the TECO Line Streetcar Fest (a 2.5 mile long event), and roadside cleaning through QCA’s Adopt-A-Road sponsorship.
PERSONAL BACKGROUND: I’m about anything water. As a family, we enjoy boating, tubing and snorkeling. I’m a distance swimmer, and I relish the opportunity to read a book. Also, I love cooking and take great pride in mastering traditional recipes from my family (German) and my husband’s (Sicilian).
INSPIRATION: I was inspired at an early age by my father’s passion for his career (as a microbiologist) and my mother’s dedication to volunteering in our community.
FAVORITE BOOK: I enjoy action adventures, biographies and most any magazine with recipes. Currently, I’m reading the seventh book in a series by author James Patterson.
FAVORITE COLOR: My favorite color is blue, particularly what I find to be calming shades of blue.
FAVORITE CANDY: I’m more of an ice cream fan. My favorite is a good, rich Coffee ice cream.
CLOSING WORDS: I have the privilege of being one of the founding members of what is today the Florida Transit Marketing Network, and so appreciate the dedication and energy of the many transit professionals I have worked with. I’ve learned much from many of you.