“You build the relationships with the FTA, the relationships in Congress, with Congressional staffers, Congress people, themselves,” he says. “It’s the interaction with your colleagues and the sharing of information and the networking.
“We all have shared interests. We do compete with one another in terms of there is national competition for New Starts funding, but we have different interests because of the different natures of our authorities. But, substantially we are a collegial, cooperative industry and that takes place through APTA.”
HRT has a board that also thinks association involvement is important. Jim O’Sullivan, who preceded Townes as the executive director of Pentran, had proven the value to the board. “He was on APTA’s executive committee at the time and involved with other things outside the agency that benefited the agency,” Townes says. “So the board already understood that and as time went by during the period of time that we had two agencies in Hampton Roads, I think it was pretty obvious that Pentran was obtaining relative success.
“I think that relative success was obvious to board members at TRT and they were wise enough to attribute some of that to involvements that we had that they didn’t have at that higher level,” Townes explains. Once the merger was complete, Townes says it has always been seen as a benefit and it was a natural progression to follow that philosophy.
Being involved, working together and the research and development of young people is something Townes says has always been important to him. “It is just something that I think is natural if you care about what you do...” He adds, “If you care about its future and the future of anything ... it has to do with the capabilities of those coming behind us to deal with the challenges that are coming before us.”
More Related Information:
Archived Article: Rail Systems Update: Reaching Critical Mass in Rail Transit
Archived Article: Manager’s Forum — Legislative Challenges
Mass Transit Buyer’s Guide: Consulting, Outsourcing- Planners
Mass Transit Buyer’s Guide: Railroad Vehicle Builders, Rebuilders, Distributors