RTS Marketing and Communications Specialist

BIRTHPLACE:  Born and raised in Gainesville, Florida
EDUCATION:  I attended Gainesville High School and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education from the University of Florida when there was enough parking on campus that students drove their cars and they did not ride RTS.

YEARS WORKING WITH RTS:  September 12, 2006 marked 5 years

PROFESSIONAL HISTORY:I lived 18 years in the Boston/Cambridge area and worked in the private sector or academia until my return to Gainesville six years ago. My last nine years in Cambridge I worked at Harvard Business School – most recently as an executive education program coordinator. My marketing knowledge and expertise has been accumulated “in the trenches” at various jobs; and, I admit to consulting – on occasion – The Complete IDIOT’s Guide to Marketing Basics by Sarah White.

BIGGEST SURPRISE IN MARKETING TRANSIT: – I fondly remember the good old days at Harvard Business School when I had access to an entire marketing and art department and a generous budget to meet the marketing needs for the executive education programs I administered. Transit Professionals Share – Having worked in highly competitive environments in academia and the private sector; the sharing of ideas, projects, and resources in the transit industry was a welcome surprise.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN MARKETING TRANSIT AND RTS:Maximizing project results when you have explosive ridership and system growth combined with very limited resources. RTS Ridership increased from 2 million passengers in 1995 to 8.1 million in 2005 (305%). Based on the 2003 National Transit Database (NTD) report, RTS has the highest per capita trip rate in the State of Florida at 56 passenger trips per person. That means RTS surpasses Miami-Dade at 34, Taltran at 27, Broward County at 21, Hillsborough at 16 and Jacksonville Transportation Authority at 9. We are currently providing that level of service with 88 buses and 156 transit operators on a $15 million budget. Most transit professionals would love to have RTS’ explosive growth; but remember the old adage…. be careful what you ask for. I believe in some ways the challenges are more demanding because there is no quick fix in sight. It will take RTS several years before we have adequate fiscal and capital resources to adequately meet even our current service demands – much less, continue to provide enhanced services and meet our community’s increasing transportation needs.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: March of Dimes, Marketing Subcommittee Member

PERSONAL BACKGROUND: (family, pets, hobbies, pastimes, etc) Mr. Bo-Bo and Little Mommie are the center of my personal world. I am trying to implement my New Year’s Resolution (for the 10th year in a row) of maintaining balance between my personal and professional life. You could say – I am looking for a plateau in a world of hills and valleys.

CHILDHOOD AMBITION: To become a cowboy – a prima ballerina – an astronaut – a teacher – an actress – a scientist.
INSPIRATION: “Stay in the Moment and Just Breathe!” from “Miss Betty,” her friend and professional mentor in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
FAVORITE BOOK:Give me a conspiracy any day – DaVinci Code by Dan Brown.
FAVORITE CANDY: Semi-sweet chocolate. Default candy bar – Snickers

ANY OTHER RESPONSE/QUESTION THAT YOU’D LIKE TO RESPOND TO:Thanks to my colleagues in the transit industry, and especially the Florida Marketeers, I have a rewarding, exciting career at RTS. Thank you for your support, mentorship, and most of all the laughter you have shared over the years.