Everett Transit (ET) likes to think of itself as “the little agency doing big things.” The energy and inspiration behind many of those big things is, Steffani Lillie, program manager.
Lillie has been with Everett Transit for 10 years. After a brief stint at a local Transportation Management Association, she joined ET as the administrative assistant to the manager of Governmental Affairs and Information. She worked with employers to develop and enhance their commute trip reduction programs and was a key participant in the public campaign that led to a successful sales tax increase for transit.
When Everett Transit needed someone to learn graphics programs, Lillie applied her keen eye and natural artistic talent and became the company’s graphic designer and print production lead. As her skills grew she was rewarded with promotions and additional responsibilities including oversight of customer service and commute trip reduction.
Lillie transitioned from marketing and customer service tasks to learn the equally artful skills of grant writing and grant management. Since becoming responsible for grants, Lillie has been instrumental in securing $14 million in state and federal grants for new capital projects and vehicle acquisitions. During her tenure as grants manager, Everett Transit has built three transit stations, purchased 28 new vehicles and secured a grant for the early phases of a parking structure.
In 2006, Lillie was promoted to one of two program manager positions in the organization, making her the official public information officer for Transit in addition to successfully overseeing all the jobs she formerly did; customer service, commute trip reduction, grants, marketing, schedule design, production and communications. Among her significant accomplishments since her promotion is the coordination and implementation of a bus display and interactive program to promote the use of alternative transportation at the award-winning Everett Children’s Museum.
Lillie serves on the APTA Marketing Committee and several committees in the Puget Sound area that help assure coordinated messages with the six local and regional transit agencies. While most of her accomplishments are known and appreciated only by Everett Transit, one significant accomplishment is known around the world. In 2008 Mattel Toys adopted Everett Transit’s bus design to represent the public bus in its City Action toy series. ET’s little red bus, sold at toy stores everywhere, has appeared on Australian beaches and Southwest deserts, coffee tables and in floral arrangements. Thanks to Lillie and her team, ET is everywhere.
Part of Lilllie’s success story is her ability to find and mentor new people who will someday be able to replace her. As Lilllie’s career grew, the careers of her team members grew as well. All of her team members that started in entry-level positions have progressed to a higher level through her mentoring.
“I enjoy finding innovative ways to make public transit interesting and fun that result in recruiting new customers.”
“The public transit industry has been a great career path. There are lots of areas to learn and explore while making a positive change for the environment and toward reducing congestion.”