Top 40 Under 40 2013: Christine B. Rhoads

Christine Rhoads was recently promoted to the position of Senior Manager, Employee Engagement and Retention at First Transit and in her new role she is responsible for the oversight of recruiting initiatives and will be working to create a more positive and supportive employee life cycle environment. Rhoads will also be managing the implementation of HR technology solutions and developing a Management in Training Program through relationships with select colleges and universities that offer transportation-related degrees.

Rhoads provides support for many departments within First Transit. She plays an active role in startups, where the company has to interview, coordinate background checks, drug screens and process paperwork for new employees when it wins new contracts. Rhoads provides logistics and on-site support and takes a leadership role in ensuring the employee on-boarding process is seamless.

One of Rhoads’s flagship projects was connecting First Transit with the United States Army and its Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS) program. Support for the PaYS program has entered its second year, and Rhoads continues to manage this program in its entirety. The PaYS program is a nationwide Army initiative with corporate partners offering potential jobs to returning or retiring soldiers. Through this relationship and her efforts, First Transit has increased the number of veterans placed in a number of transit and vehicle maintenance positions throughout North America over the last year by about 16 percent.

Rhoads is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association’s Military Committee. She was also asked to present at the 2013 APTA Bus & Paratransit Conference on Veteran Recruiting; lead roundtable discussion on activities she led at First Transit.

“The public transit industry has been a meaningful profession for me. We are able to provide a service to people that directly impacts their daily lives. We provide the transportation resources necessary for education and medical visits, as well as for recreational use. The public transit industry expands the possibility of travel for many and has the power to connect us to each other and our communities. Knowing that our service creates these types of opportunities for people is a very rewarding feeling.

“I also enjoy the industry because it is always changing and thus is exciting. This is an industry where there is room for improvement and I am open and accepting to new challenges and expanding ideas that make travel more convenient, faster and safer.”

“During my time at First Transit I have been provided different opportunities and job experiences. Throughout these experiences, I have had individuals continue to encourage and mentor me. I am grateful to work for a company where senior management offers support and opportunities to be successful in this industry.”