Top 40 Under 40 2013: Shawn A. Chavira

Chavira’s father worked as superintendent of maintenance at LAC RTD. His class went on a field trip to the LAC RTD headquarters in the 3rd grade and Chavira was so excited to show all his friends his passion for buses. His youthful fascination with buses and the desire to follow in his father’s footsteps developed a personal mission to enter into the transportation industry with the goal of refining the complex landscape of modern transit services.

At First Transit, Shawn Chavira holds the position of assistant general manager. In his role, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of First Transit’s Foothill Transit contract run out of the Arcadia, Calif., facility. This project currently operates 140 vehicles and employs more than 360 drivers and staff.

Chavira has had many achievements in his seven years with First Transit. He started managing front line operations at the LADOT Downtown DASH project in the company’s manager in training program, where where he was promoted to general manager of the property within a year. Since then he has earned experience managing operations for LADOT Downtown DASH and Commuter Express services, Gardena Special Transit, Palos Verdes Peninsula Transportation Authority, the city of Carson and now Foothill Transit.

Responsibilities include every facet of front line operations: ensuring all key performance indicators are met on a daily basis, union negotiations, budget creation, forecasting manual run cut performance and design, and maintaining a SAFE work environment. Other responsibilities include assisting other departments with various projects including recruiting, procurement and safety.

Chavira took part in a collaborative effort with LADOT staff to perform specific run time checks and was successful in helping them change the scheduled run times of the Downtown DASH project. He helped the city of Carson redesign its system by placing additional service on a particular line that was experiencing high ridership which brought the service passenger per service hour number back in line with industry standards. He assisted with First Transit's startup of the Foothill Transit Arcadia, Calif., location.

“There is never a dull moment; transportation has this funny way of finding you before you find it!

“[For the future of public transit] specifically for California [I think] high-speed rail projects need to become more privatized in nature and wage order 9 needs to be reviewed to help the private sector.”